"A Copse. Evening"

"A Copse. Evening"
A. Y. Jackson, 1918
"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bombardment! Bombardment!


Simpson's reference. Gotta keep it light. Too many negative waves generated by my bad attitude concerning our "way of life".
A little wanton destruction should put us right.

27 June, 4 AM
"Ran to the cookhouse and fetched coffee, some having been brought up. There was also some bread to be had. By 6 o'clock the fire had increased and we had a headache. But, sit tight, it cannot last much longer. They say their munitions will soon be done... There must be an end sometime to this horrible bombardment..."

Freiwilliger Eversmann of the 143rd Regiment of Infantry.
From a diary collected later from his body.

The schedule for the daily 150,000 rounds of all sizes, sent East by the British guns was tightly controlled, part of the elaborate and detailed plans for the offensive.
The lightest and most plentiful guns were the field guns, 18#ers and 4.5" howitzers. They were given the task of "wire-cutting", the idea being, continually and systematically firing shrapnel shells into the German entanglements would "sweep away" the wire. It worked. Sort of.
When all was said and done, the field guns had fired two thirds of the total, around 1 million rounds.
A mile or so to the rear, ranged the "heavies". Giant howitzers of 6", 8", 9.2", 12" and 15" calibers pounded the German rear, hoping to destroy the German defenses and demoralize them so that the actual attack itself would be the walkover that Haig envisioned.
The heaviest, the fifteen-inchers were the most limited of the guns - only six on the battlefield. Nonetheless, 1500 of these 1450# projos went downrange over the course of the bombardment, more than a thousand tons. See photo at top.
All was going exactly to plan but for uncooperative weather. The first five days had been too cloudy for aerial reconnaissance so, when the weather broke on the 28th, it was decided to continue for two more days so that the planes could assess the extent of the damage.
In the meantime, the lads were moving up.

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