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Collecting the Periphery - Part 4
Collecting the Periphery – Part 4 In February 2012 I started on a series of blogs dealing with the collecting of items that didn’t really fall within the usual collecting parameters of military yet where on the fringe, or periphery, of that field. Originally I thought to begin with The London County Council (LCC) School Attendance Medals. I will admit that this was the only topic that came to mind that fit the category for which I was aiming and therefore was intended to be somewhat of a “one off” ent...
Jul 07 2014 20:12 Read Full Blog Entry
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For much of the 18th Century and well into the early 19th Century, France’s artillery could lay claim to the title of the king of European battlefields. In fact, it was French king Louis XIV who first inscribed the Latin motto, Ultima Ratio Regum – Last Argument of Kings, on his cannon. As Emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte, himself an artillery subaltern in the Régiment de La Fère and commander of artillery in France’s Army of Italy, brought artillery tactics into the modern age. Mobile artillery, aggressively massed at the point of attack in direct support of the infantry or cavalry, was a devastating force on the Napoleonic battlefield. Foreshadowing the use of artillery during the First World War, Napoleon frequently employed “grand batteries” in both offensive and defensive roles. For example, at Borodino in 1812, he concentrated around 200 guns to both to open holes in Russian lines for assaults by French infantry and to stop enemy assaults through gaps in his own lines. Unlike artillery traditionalists who advocated conservation of ammunition, Napoleon advocated heavy, sustained fire regardless of expenditure and organized his trains to ensure sufficient supply. (McConachy) Under Napoleon, French artillery held a commanding position in the army and on the battlefield. However, in the decades that followed, the status of French artillery would decline, finally reaching bottom with failure in the Franco-Prussian War. During the First World War, France’s artillery would not be able to claim exclusive rights to the king’s crown; however, it would re-gain its rightful place as an essential combat arm and indispensable partner of the infantry.
May 2014 will celebrate the 10 year anniversary for GMIC. There are a lot of exciting things planned for next year at GMIC which also ties in with the 100 year rememberance anniversary for the Great War. Some of the things I will highlight are:
The Friends of Fort York at Toronto are a 20-year old group of volunteers who exist to complement the operation of the fort that was the founding place of the city in 1793, and played a prominent role in the War of 1812. The Friends publish a quarterly newsletter, The Fife & Drum, which is available gratis by subscription on the organization's website. Just published is an issue that includes a piece on several of Toronto's Crimean veterans including Alexander Roberts Dunn, V.C., and Michael Brophy who was the subject of a recent series of posts in the Collectors' Discussion Forum on the GMIC site on "A Very Very Very Old Soldier," started by Ulsterman in December, 2013.
Once in a while, or more often if you are like me, you will find yourself in need of having some medals mounted for your collection. You could send them out to a professional or you could add to your enjoyment of the hobby by mounting them yourself. There is a certain satisfaction in being able to “do-it-yourself” and the finished project may well surprise you in looking quite professional.
I have mounted groups of medals for friends wanting to preserve their father’s or grandfather’s medals as well as fellow collectors who just can’t be convinced to try this themselves. The one thing I will NOT do is add an attachment pin to the back of the mount unless it is for the veteran who was awarded the group. I will not be part of making it possible to easily wear someone else’s medals. However, I happen to like the way a group sits in a display case with the pin device in place and if I am mounting the group for my own collection I place a small piece of cardboard under the top edge to give it the same look; not affixed to the mount but simply placed under the group. I leave it to you as whether you want to add a mounting pin or not. I’ll point out when this should be done as we proceed.
Sources vary and exact figures are difficult to achieve; however, consensus is that artillery caused the majority (something close to 60 percent) of combat casualties in the First World War. Add in the effects of constant harassing fire, reaching far behind the lines with large caliber weapons, as well as those of artillery-delivered gas attacks, and there can be no doubt that artillery was an effective killer. German production of artillery shells went from 1.36 million in 1914 to 36 million in 1916. Certainly, many (if not most) of those were fired across no-man’s land into allied positions. On the other side, Britain’s Royal Artillery fired 170 million shells by the war’s end, sometimes in barrages that would last for days. (David) The sheer volume of artillery ammunition expended during the First World War certainly made life on the battlefield very dangerous.
Given the importance of artillery to the First World War and the approaching centenary of the war, a broad survey of the topic seems in order. Ideally, over the course of the centenary, I will periodically add installments to this space. While I spent over 10 years as a professional artilleryman, I am only an amateur historian; therefore, I do not presume I will add anything new to the wealth of information already written about artillery in the multitude of volumes on the First World War, including several texts dealing exclusively with the subject. There are also some very detailed and worthwhile websites on the topic. However, I have noted that this wealth of information is a lot like disconnected pockets of gold in a mine. By bringing together some basic facts and interesting information from both the printed works and these websites, my goal is to provide a useful starting point for discussion and further research for those with an interest in artillery during the First World War. I also will try to bring the topic to the soldier’s level by tying in post cards, documents, and other items related to artillery in the First World War that I have collected over the years. This also will allow me to try and focus the discussion more on the tactical level of regiment and below rather than on the strategic and operational levels above divisions.
I'm going to place here and clean up later on depending the work progress, a serie of illustrations about the WW1 British ranks (based in the 1913 British Regular Army Regulations). It is an open work and it is mainly thought to learn making this that to speak with authority.
Hello, here is the link:
One archive: PDF (A): 11 Megas.
Its is free and a gift to the forum for its ten years of life.
H.M.S. HOOD was the largest ship built for Britain's Royal Navy. She was to be the last of 4 Admiral Class Battlecruisers - first ordered in 1916. However, after the Battle of Jutland it was realised that the German Battleships were superior in a number of ways to our own
To mark the occasion of the Centenary of the Great War GMIC will be creating a Special Interest Section to post relevant items and topics relating to this event. Any contributions including articles or case studies most welcome.
The 2013 Photography Competition is starting. Entries can be submitted from today. The categories have changed from last year to allow for greater flexibility. This is a competition with some great prizes. Show imagination composition and, most importantly look for the different angle or approach to the subject. Where the entry calls for a brief description to accompany the photo make it brief and concise.
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