52: Into the Breach Part 3- Tale of Two Villages

• March 21st, 2017

The awful pattern repeats itself as III Corps drives on Ovillers and La Boiselle.

 

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52: Into the Breach Part 2- Northern Folly

• February 28th, 2017

Gommecourt, Serre, Beaumont-Hamel and the Slaughter of the Somme.

The old British front line, looking northeast toward the German trenches. Note the drop in elevation.

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"Y" Ravine,

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52: Into the Breach Part 1- Thiepval and the Schwaben Redoubt

• February 5th, 2017

We begin our discussion of July 1st by examining X Corps' attack on Thiepval village.

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51b: Final Touches- Allied Armies and the Somme

• January 20th, 2017

A survey of the British, French and German armies on the eve of the Somme.

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51a:Final Touches- Allied Politics and the Somme

• January 17th, 2017

The Somme plan meets stiff opposition in London and Paris. 

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50: The Verdun Effect

• December 20th, 2016

Plans for the Somme shift as Verdun rears its ugly head.

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49: The Big Push

• December 6th, 2016

The origins of the Somme before Verdun screwed everything up.

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48: “Duggy”

• November 10th, 2016

Douglas Haig: The Man vs The Myth

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47: Crisis at Verdun

• October 20th, 2016

The battle of Verdun reaches its climax.

Map of the battlefield, note its "H" shaped outline.

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The ancient Citadel in downtown Verdun. To enlarge, right click-view image.

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Monument to Fleury residents who fought at Verdun.
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"Remains" of Fleury
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Markers indicating where houses and businesses once stood.
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The imposing Ossuary.
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View from a top the Ossuary, looking southeast towards Fleury. Note the concentrated battlefield: the interpretation center is visible along with the white path leading to the village. The ridge beyond was the German objective of June 23rd.
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Fort Douaumont
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Douaumont's roof, still heavily cratered.

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Yours truly at the entrance.

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Update!: 03/10/2016

• October 3rd, 2016

Traveling to France tomorrow, will be in Verdun on Thursday followed by a few days in Rome. Back to regular shows upon my return on Oct 16.

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46: The Fall of Fort Vaux

• August 3rd, 2016

The warriors of France and Germany engage in an bloody stand off for Fort Vaux.

Postcard commemorating Raynal's final pigeon and subsequent plaque.
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Summer (much belated) update!

• July 27th, 2016

Just an update on the state of the show. I took a summer job at a live music venue, and the hours have been hectic so I've found little time to focus on the podcast. Episode 46: The Fall of Fort Vaux is written, and once I carve out a free day it will be posted. It should be up in the coming weeks. August might be a difficult month, but because fewer acts have been booked there should be some more flexibility with the schedule. July was a monster, so I'm glad it's nearly over.

Since the job is so mind numbing, I've had a lot of time to think about how I want to approach things. Once things settle down for good in September, we'll hit the ground running and press forward. I've acquired a lot of great sources on the campaigns in the Mid-East and Caucasus, and I also plan to create a mini cast (5-8 eps) that focus exclusively on the air war. As a huge aviation nerd, that should be a lot of fun!

So have no fear, the show is not cancelled but I've had to put it on the backburner for a while. Apologizes for the delay but I hope that when we get back on the track this break will be well worth it.

-Daniel.

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45: Dead Man’s Hill

• May 31st, 2016

The fighting at Verdun intensifies as the Germans seize the crests of Mort Homme and Hill 304.

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44: The Guns of Galicia

• May 3rd, 2016

Under Brusilov's leadership, a resurgent Russian army smashes the Austro-Hungarians; Conrad surrenders to Falkenhayn's oversight.

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43: The Bear Blows First

• April 7th, 2016

With Tsar Nicholas II in charge of her armed forces, Russia looks to a fresh start; In Galicia, Aleksei Brusilov plans his masterpiece.

*Note: St. Petersburg was renamed Petrograd in 1914. I refer to both in the appropriate context. -Dan

Links to Romanov family photos:

Siberian Times, 2013

Mashable

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42: Women of War

• March 9th, 2016

A review of Verdun and a look at the British home front, which sees radical change under the direction of David Lloyd George and the Ministry of Munitions.

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41: The Jutland Controversy

• January 16th, 2016

A retrospective look at the battle of Jutland.

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40: “Repel all boarders!”

• December 17th, 2015

The battle of Jutland rages into the night.

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39: Ghosts in the Mist

• November 25th, 2015

A decade after Dreadnought revolutionized naval warfare, the battle fleets of Great Britain and Germany finally meet.

EDIT: Since they were armoured cruisers, Arbuthnot was part of First Cruiser Squadron, not First 'Light' Cruiser as incorrectly stated. -Dan

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38: The Run to the South

• November 3rd, 2015

The battle of Jutland begins on the afternoon of May 31st, 1916.

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37: The Trident

• September 23rd, 2015

Reinhardt Scheer assumes command of the German battlefleet, and the war in the North Sea kicks into high gear.

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36: Conrad’s Folly

• August 19th, 2015

Conrad sees red, and attempts to eliminate the Italians with a single blow. At Verdun, the French discover retaking Fort Douaumont will require a bit more planning.

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35: A Prison of the Nations

• July 20th, 2015

Battered and bloodied, Austria-Hungary limps its way into 1916.

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34: Russia From the Ashes

• June 24th, 2015

Russia under goes some rapid internal changes.

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33: No Success Anywhere

• June 10th, 2015

Desperate to capture the Meuse Heights, the German 5th Army extends operations onto the west bank of the Meuse. When things falter, both armies commit more men to "the Mincer".

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32: Thunder and Earthquake

• May 29th, 2015

The battle at Verdun began on February 21st, 1916. Nothing would ever be the same.

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31: The New Way

• May 19th, 2015

Falkenhayn begins laying the ground work for the coming battle at Verdun.

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30: Character of the Coalition

• May 9th, 2015

As 1916 beckons, both the Allies and Central Powers realize they're in for another bloody year.

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29: Travelling on a Volcano

• April 29th, 2015

In this episode we discuss the sinking of the Cunard liner Lusitania and what it meant for the first unrestricted U-boat campaign.

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28: Order, Counter Order, Disorder

• April 21st, 2015

To contest the supremacy of the Allied fleets, Germany unleashes the first unrestricted U-Boat campaign in February, 1915.

*Gahh when I say the Russians retreated 500 miles, I mean 500 kilometers of course.  -Dan

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SMS Blucher capsizing at the battle of Dogger Bank (January 1915).

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27: Puff From a Cigarette

• March 29th, 2015

An ambitious Anglo-French attack in Artois and Champagne is met with disaster. At the battles of Loos, the BEF makes use of chlorine gas for the first time.

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26: Field of Blackbirds

• March 19th, 2015

Serbia is the latest victim of Falkenhayn's combined offensive. The Serbs refuse to surrender, opting to evacuate and continue the fight elsewhere.

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25: Sing the Love of Danger

• March 9th, 2015

On May 23rd, 1915 an energized but divided Italy enters the Great War. This episode examines why the Italians initially chose neutrality, only to declare war against their former allies.

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24: The Great Retreat

• February 27th, 2015

A combined Austro-German offensive in May 1915 collapses the Polish Salient, forcing the Russians into a 4 month 310 mile retreat. The war on the Eastern Front is effectively over.

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23: No Risk Too Great- Part 2 of 2.

• February 17th, 2015

The Dardanelles campaign unravels as the Allies land on the Gallipoli peninsula.

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23: No Risk Too Great- Part 1 of 2.

• February 7th, 2015

With German efforts concentrated in the East, the Allies begin looking for alternative ways to break the deadlock, leading their focus to fall on the Dardanelles and Gallipoli peninsula.

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22: Codename: Disinfection

• January 28th, 2015

This week we examine German strategy in 1915, and Falkenhayn's decision to unleash chlorine gas at the Ypres Salient.
 
40 Maps That Explain World War One (Trench map is #26)

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21: The Road Ahead

• January 17th, 2015

Despite popular theory, the war does not end by Christmas. This week we are on the Western Front for the early goings of 1915.

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20: We’re All in This Together

• January 7th, 2015

Did Europe really cheer the outbreak of war?  An examination of the Western home fronts provides a glimpse into "the spirit of 1914".

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The Christmas Truce

• December 31st, 2014

Hello all, I hope the holidays are treating you well!

My local newspaper printed a brief article I submitted about the 1914 Christmas truce, so if you are interested in reading it I've pasted the full text here. -Dan

No Man’s Land match a myth

Hamilton Spectator

Christmas in the trenches 100 years ago (Dec. 18)

The piece on the 1914 Christmas Truce is another example of how we prefer the myths over the realities of the First World War. The circumstances surrounding the truce are highly debatable, and none more than the supposed soccer match between British and German soldiers in No Man's Land. First off, No Man's Land was no place to organize, let alone play a soccer match. Even in 1914, the ground was heavily cratered, dotted by barbed wire and uncollected dead, so the notion that a game spontaneously broke out in the middle of it is ridiculous. Second, the risk of enemy troops getting an unobstructed view of one's trench lines was far too great to allow prolonged fraternization; and third, soccer balls were simply not in abundance at the front.

Sources which we use to support this myth are unreliable. The lion's share coming from British testimonies which are often second-hand accounts, and historians have yet to uncover anything substantial from the German perspective. The choice to begin the piece with the quotation: "the gas clouds rolled no more" was careless. Chlorine gas did not appear on the Western Front until April 1915, nor do the accounts of Gerald Blake mention anything about a soccer game being played.

As we mark the centenary of the First World War, we should use this opportunity to shed light on the realities of those years, and not reinforce myths which no longer stand to modern research.

Daniel Clark, Hamilton

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19: Numbers are Everything

• December 28th, 2014

A look at the larger world at war, and Graf Spee makes his voyage into the history books.

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18: Where Loyalties Lay

• December 18th, 2014

The final months of 1914 draw to a close on the Eastern Front. The Russians flex their military muscle, while the Austro-Hungarians suffer a defeat which helps doom their army.

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17: War of the Eagles

• December 8th, 2014

Our first look at events on the Eastern front; The Austrians humiliate themselves against the Serbs. While in East Prussia, the Russians are annihilated at Tannenberg.

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16: Massacre of the Innocents

• November 28th, 2014

The lines stagnate across the Western theatre.Near the Belgian town of Ypres, German and British troops learn a harsh reality.

Please note: The Asine runs west of Verdun, not east as I state in the episode. -Dan

Map of Western theatre (Sept-Nov 1914) Right click to view in full.

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Mass grave at Langemark German Cemetery

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15: Those Long August Days

• November 19th, 2014

The war on the Western Front opens up, as the German army cruises through Belgium to the gates of Paris. The allies unveil a new secret weapon on the battlefield.

I apologize for the delay this week. I had a heck of a time getting all this stuff sorted out but this is a much better version then I what had originally written. -Dan

Map of the Western Theater, August-September 1914. Note the borders have been modified to to reflect 1914.

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14: To Constantinople With Love

• November 5th, 2014

Two German battle cruisers escape the pursuit of the Royal Navy and seek refuge at Constantinople. The entry of the Ottoman Empire by November 1914, ensures that fighting would no longer be restricted to the European continent.

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13: Into the Abyss: Part 2 of 2.

• October 24th, 2014

We conclude our discussion of the July Crisis by looking at events in Britain and offer an answer to why the war broke out.

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13: Into the Abyss: Part 1 of 2.

• October 3rd, 2014

A century after the Napoleonic Wars, the Concert of Europe crumbles in a matter of weeks following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

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12: To The Precipice

• September 23rd, 2014

Before killing off Franz Ferdinand, we take a look at some of the domestic issues effecting the Great Powers on the eve of July 1914.

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11: The Balkan Wars

• September 11th, 2014

On the heels of the Italian invasion of Libya, a collection of Balkan nations declare war on the Ottoman Empire.

A "very" basic map of the First Balkan War. October 1912-May 1913.

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