FM The Earl Haig

Legs

ADC
Book Reviewer
#2
You only mention it because you were his instructor when he was in training...
 
#4
By chance a couple of years ago I saw his grave in Dryburgh Abbey , near St Boswells in The Borders . I was astonished that it was not a huge Memorial but the standard Gravestone used for all who were killed in the Great War .
 
#6
Why was 2Lt Haig borrowing money from Tropper's discharge gratuity?
 
#7
joey_deacons_lad said:
The cnut still owes Tropper a tenner
Is there anyone, dead or alive, that DOESN`T owe Tropper a tenner?

By the way Tropp, your cheque is in the post to cover what I owe......
 
#8
In Andrew Marr's Book The Making of Britain, he states that FM Haig had the largest turn out at his funeral, ever, in UK.
Greater numbers then Diana, the late Queen Mum or Churchill.

john
 
#10
One of Britains greatest ever Generals, up there with Marlborough, Wellington or Slim, grossly libelled and misrepresented by the received interpretation of WW1 history. He was much admired in his lifetime as evidenced by the turnout as his funeral, the insults began only after that as the emotional, poetry based interpretation of WW1 that has dominated British historiography on the topic since the 30s overtook one based on actual real facts. Gordon Corrigans Mud, Blood & Poppycock, and Gary Sheffield's Forgotten Victory are good places to start for the general interest reader who wants a fact-based rather then emotion-based analysis...
 
#11
Bradstyley said:
One of Britains greatest ever Generals, up there with Marlborough, Wellington or Slim, grossly libelled and misrepresented by the received interpretation of WW1 history. He was much admired in his lifetime as evidenced by the turnout as his funeral, the insults began only after that as the emotional, poetry based interpretation of WW1 that has dominated British historiography on the topic since the 30s overtook one based on actual real facts. Gordon Corrigans Mud, Blood & Poppycock, and Gary Sheffield's Forgotten Victory are good places to start for the general interest reader who wants a fact-based rather then emotion-based analysis...
What he said. The Hundred Days of 1918 after the Kaiserschlacht show his mastery of the phases of war in Withdrawal followed by Defence then Advance and Attack. All done by the Army of the British Empire - the Frogs were exhausted and bleed dry. The Seppos really didn't really figure too much.
 
#12
I recently read 'Douglas Haig War Diaries and Letters' edited by Gary Sheffield and John Bourne and found it an excellent read and very illuminating on the psyche of the man. It's also a good general record of the progress of the war on the western front and pretty much all Divisions and lots of Brigades and individual Regiments get a mention. I got it from 'The Works' discount bookshop for £3.99 just before xmas (cover price was £25 so it was a bargain) and I think if anyone wants it it should still be on sale by them.
 
#13
A much misunderstood man, reviled in his own lifetime but fortunately over time his reputation is being rehabilitated. See my sigblock ......
 
#14
I remember being on a remembrance parade and having to listen to a Butcher-Haig-groupy rupert boring us with a lot of sho!t about his hero. It is the only time when I actually considered walking off a parade ...
 
#15
Volunteer said:
I remember being on a remembrance parade and having to listen to a Butcher-Haig-groupy rupert boring us with a lot of sho!t about his hero. It is the only time when I actually considered walking off a parade ...
obviously you're not a fan. It is worth remembering that Haig's orders from December 1915 when he became CinC of the BEF was quote "Driving the German Armies from French and Belgian territories and thereby restoring the neutrality of Belgium" and also "The defeat of the enemy by the combined Allied Armies".

In order to fulfil these orders the BEF necessarily had to take the offensive on the western front against a heavily fortified, well lead, well trained and well armed enemy. Mechanized warfare was in its infancy and therefore the only way of defeating the enemy and driving him back was to attack strongly defended areas with infantry which obviously resulted in massive casualties. True, Haig and many of his Generals made mistakes, but in my opinion to brand him a 'butcher' is wrong.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#16
I suggest people look at the state of training, enthusiasm and experience of the replacements sent out to France - particularly, after 1916, the conscripts; and also at the pre-war training and experience of officers who ended up commanding divisions and corps in the largest army Britain has ever fielded - before they start pretending they could have done better than Haig. By 1916 how many Bn commanders were trained Regulars? and so on. Also, the Somme battle was forced on Haig in order to take German pressure off the collapsing French army, and had to be fought using infantry as a substitute for artillery given the shortage of artillery ammunition. This last was the child of not being a warlike nation and in 1914 having nothing like the munitions industry that was actually needed to fight the war which was thrust upon us. Remedying the situation was deliberately impeded by the Trades Unions, who betrayed indeed their own working class ateighbours who were out in the Flanders mud. Just, indeed as they betrayed our fighting men in WW2 by clinging to restrictive practices in the docks and elsewhere.
 
#17
Seaweed - Don't forget that bastard LLoyd George and the aussie journo Murdoch. Charlatan shit stirrers of the first water.

If the WW1 British Generals were so bad how come the took an Army of 350,000 and turned it into an Army of nearly 5 million, and then taught it to cope with Arty and fieldworks and massed mmg's and Gas and air. How did they manage to keep it all together and not have any major mutinies like the others who started fighting in 1914. But most of all how did they cope with the kaiserschlact hold it, stop it, and then turn on the offensive and beat the best army in the world, time and time again?

Just a question!
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#18
Mush - quite. When I was a kid in WW2 there was a retired major-general who lived nearby called 'Stop The Gap' Carey who, I was told, held the line against the March 1918 German offensive. LlG had refused to send a lot of reinforcements to Haig in case he started another offensive from our side. The result was that sections of the British line were too thinly held. The bottom line is that Haig brought the German army to battle and BEAT it. Aided by the Royal Navy, whose blockade was strangling the Kraut home front and thus undermining morale (tens of thousands of Krauts died of starvation - RESULT!).

VG point about the tactical and strategic absorption of technology, including understanding the need for tanks and infantry to work together, which wasn't an intuitive insight.
 
#19
Whilst I agree that Haig has been maligned, to put him in the same group as Marlborough, Wellington and Slim is over-egging things a fair bit.

Haig was never the villain some have made him, good enough for his job? Yes. Great general No.
 

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