For the first time in a while, we have a first-person shooter video game out that brings the best graphics and killing that is WW1.  But in all honesty, it comes nothing to the amount of death, rather, senseless death.

How it Began

Think about how the War started, fate stepped in.  A group of plotters including Gavrilo Princip in a conspiracy to assassinate Arch Duke Ferdinand gathered along a parade route in Serbia. The Arch Duke was visiting to see military maneuvers in Sarajevo. They throw a bomb, it explodes and hits the car and bounces off, hits the next car and it explodes and chaos ensues.  The assassin takes a cyanide pull and runs and jumps in the river.  The pill fails to kill the bomb thrower and the river is 6′ deep and the authorities capture him.  So Gavrilo Princip, despondent that the plot had failed goes to a cafe.  He may also have hoped that the car came back that direction, but mostly he was sulking about missing the opportunity.

The motorcade took off to the town hall to lodge a complaint.  Then the Arch Duke and his wife decide they want to go to the hospital to visit the wounded.  The driver takes a wrong turn down a street, realizes it, stops, and begins to turn the car around.

Open car of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand

Open car of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand

Gavrilo Princip, walks out of the cafe downtrodden and looks up and sees the very man he’d plan to assassinate is not more than 5 feet away –  shakes off the astonishment, pulls out his gun and shoots the Arch Duke and his wife right there. Boom, WW1 beings.

Bloodied shirt 100 years later of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand.

Bloodied shirt 100 years later of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand.

Brain explodes right? The fate that this event had to happen put the Arch Duke right in front of the very person a 2nd time.

The World’s Technological Advances Killing More than Ever Before

The last larger European War was in reality, the Napoleonic Wars.  You can see this in the older pictures at the start of WW1 in 1914 with flashy uniforms, horses, and full cavalry charges.  The world had yet to see how effective the new machines of war can impact and change the way war is fought.

French cavalry wearing Napoleonic style uniforms, in 1914

French cavalry wearing Napoleonic style uniforms, in 1914

How soon those cavalry charges are snuffed out with the technological advances of the machine gun.  The old tactics of horse cavalry charging and army with inaccurate rifles and the psychological impact that it used to have is gone in a matter of seconds with a hail of tens of thousands of bullets.

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Advancing towards death

How much the killing power that machines have afforded man on the battlefield.  Mechanization.

The militaries were not prepared, they started the war the same way they left off the last major war, and thus WW1 turned into a meat-grinder of human beings.  ‘How long it takes to absorb the lessons that are being taught in the conflict.’ Is really the key theme.

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Bodies upon bodies

The bayonet charge, and the culture of the offensive.  The militaries are organized like Napoleonic times – they don’t want to hear that is the wrong way to be organized.

Artillery – Big Bertha

The gun crew had to go 300 yards away (3 football fields).  The crew had to lay cement, wait for it to dry, then assemble the gun. Then when they want to fire it – the gun crew goes 300 yards away and fire it electronically, had to put cotton wadding over their eyes, nose, ears, and fire it with their mouths open on they blow out their ear drums.  The shell is fired in a 4000′ arc it takes a full minute to get from the gun to the target.  The shells hit the top of a fort, pierces the concrete and armor, then it explodes.  Welcome to 20th-century warfare.

“After it was em-placed, the bombardment began, the crew wearing head padding lay prone 300 yards away while the gun was fired electronically.  60 seconds ticked by, and everyone listend in to the telephone report of our battery commander who had his observation post 1500 meters from the bombardment fort and could watch a close range the column of smoke earth and fire that climbed into the heavens at close range.  The first of the shells delay fused to explode only after penetration of the forts protective skin fell short. 6 minutes later the next was fired and then 5 more each of them walked up  towards the target as the elevation was corrected.  The relentless approaching footfall of the detonations spoked the paralyzed defenders of the devastation to come.  The 8th struck home and then the gun fell silent for the night.”

General Commanding a Fort in Belgium on the Shelling of the big  Guns:

“A shell wrecked the arcade under which the general staff were sheltering. All light was extinguished by the force of the explosion and the officers ran the risk of asphyxiation by the horrible gasses emitted from the shell.  When the firing ceased I ventured out on a tour of inspection on the external slopes which I found had been reduced to a rubble heap.  A few minutes later the bombardment was resumed it seemed as all the German batteries were firing salvos.  Nobody will ever be able to form an adequate idea of what the reality was like.  I have only learned since that when the big siege mortars entered into the action they hurled against us shells weighing a 1000 kilos.  The explosive force of which surpassed anything known hitherto.  Their approach was to be heard in an acute buzzing and then they burst with a thunderous roar raising clouds of missile, stones, and dust.  After some time passed amid these horrors I wished to return to my observation tower but I’d hardly advanced a few feet in the gallery when a great blast passed by and I was thrown violently to the ground.  I managed to get up and continued on my way only to be stopped by a choking cloud of poisonous gas. It was a mixture of the gas from an explosion and the smoke of a fire in the troops quarters.  We were driven back half suffocated looking out of a peep hole I saw to my horror that the fort had fallen. “

Dead for just two battles:

Battle of the Somme 1.2 Million
Battle of Verdun: 976,000

Think about that, one battle had more casualties than the bloodiest war in American History the Civil war with a mere 600,000 casualties.

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230 Deaths an Hour for Four Years

 

 

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