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Guest Alessandro Milan

Douglas Haig VS. Lloyd George

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Guest Alessandro Milan

Please join this forum and let's hear it from you guys, what is your opinion about the obnoxious behaviour of the British PM vs. the rigid, determined and maybe too much inflexible Army's scheme to win the war...

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Jonathan Saunders

I think obnoxious is a little strong. What you have to remember here is that L-G was answerable to the people ... the electorate. Haig was not. Also the extent of L-G's responsiblity was far greater than Haig's. When the time came in 1918, L-G sent the reinforcements that Haig required however I can understand his reasons for not readily providing additional troops after the debacle of the Somme and Third Ypres.

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armourersergeant

I think that it is worth noting that most of the senior generals during WW1 carrried on their own forms of politics both almost openly and clandestinely. Many used it to secure higher positions and many just to stay where they were.

I am no lover of LG but I am also the first to admit that Haig was one of the worst 'Political' Generals of ww1. he went behind the back of his superior (French) and then used his connections to keep himself there wether that was for the good of the army etc is another question but it doesnt change tha fact that Haig was a political general.

Arm.

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RodB

Some of the most frightening and depressing documents I have read were Haig's reports to parliament from the front. He talks about the first day on the Somme as a victory, and his justification of all the casualties of the war was that they were comparable to the enemy's. Not surprising LG held troops back.

Haig saw it as his personal war, saying I did this, I attacked here, my campaign on the Ancre forced the enemy back...

You can read the whole sad saga at

http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/haig_despatches.htm .

Having said this, Haig appears justified in getting rid of French, who appeared both defeatest and incompetent. Haig had the political skills to get the shells and guns he needed.

I get the impression the problem wasn't so much Haig as Rawlinson and Gough, who didn't appear to learn from mistakes and whose planning was minimal and sloppy. After the Somme it should have been obvious to Haig that these 2 were not military geniuses. Haig himself was all in favour of new weapons and tactics and can't really be blaimed if he had few Byngs, Plumers and Monashs.

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Guest Alessandro Milan

So Guys, who would you vouch for, Lloyd George or Herbert Asquith?

Did any of you read the former's War Memories? If so, could you give me your opinion of the book?

I understand that D.H. was so loyal to his superiors, as well as to his subalterns, that he never took the liberty of "Limoging" any of his Generals, and that proved as big a mistake as letting Gough divert from the originally planned attack during the Flanders Offensive of 1917.

D.H. was "dancing with the devil", in terms of good political relationship with the King, etc., but I am under the impression that he never took full advantage of these privileges, nor tried to exploit any difficult situation by showing off these allegiances of his. :ph34r:

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Guest Hussar
He talks about the first day on the Somme as a victory, and his justification of all the casualties of the war was that they were comparable to the enemy's. Not surprising LG held troops back.

Haig saw it as his personal war, saying I did this, I attacked here, my campaign on the Ancre forced the enemy back...

You have to take his position into account.

He was giving information to 'civilians' on the 'Home Front' so his communiques had to be as 'upbeat' as possible for the good of morale. Bear in mind that these despatches were being published in the Daily Papers and would have been eagerly read by, not just the population of Britain but, the Empire AND the German High Command.

LG was in no way justified in holding back reserves. He did this because of his own misguided opinions on how the war should be fought.

When referring to operations as " I did this" and " MY campaign" it was not for self aggrandissement but rather in HIS position as C in C of the British Army, taking full RESPONSIBILITY for operations, as opposed to full credit.

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