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Gallipoli was a pretty good read, so I'd imagine that this one is worthwhile.

As for Billy Hughes, you've reminded me of something I read in Norman Davies' excellent and very readable history of Europe called, funnily enough, Europe: A History. In almost a throw-away comment, Davies pins the blame for the harshness of the terms of Versailles on Hughes and his need for reparations to be expansive as possible so that Australia could get its piece of the pie.

So, in other words: if you really didn't like World War 2, blame Billy Hughes.

My thoughts exactly: Would I be up to it?
I honestly don't know and I have nothing witty to add.

Carn: It says in the book that Hughes was extremely unhappy at not being consulted over what happened vis-avis the post war divvying up. I'll add more when I get home later.

Dirk: I reckon every time I've ever seen a movie about "going over the top" or more correctly "jumping the bags" I've wondered whether I'd be able to do it, or whether I'd just stay in the trench paralysed and shit myself.

Tone, I know what you mean. It's really though-provoking stuff. I went to Gallipoli in 2002 and found it really moving. I was in Northern France just the other day (I stayed in Amiens!) and visited a whole bunch of memorials and cemetries. If you half-closed your eyes you could really see the trenches and the horror. I wasn't quite as moved at the time, although retrospectively was actually quite unsettled. I think everyone feels that way about WWI; it was just such a monumental fuck-up on both sides that you can't help but think "how did it EVER come to that?" Obviously being Australian it's particularly difficult to come to terms with because it's a sad fact that an entire generation of our men really thought that they were going on an adventure, and that they really WOULD be home by Christmas. Interestingly enough I have a mate back home in the army who says that the Australian military have never quite forgiven the British for what happened, and whenever they're on maneovres or something with them there's nearly always a bit of niggle, which I have to admit I kind've like, in a quiet kind of way.

I can't quite remember my HSC History classes though; what were the successes of Amiens? My friend lives there, and she's surprisingly ignorant of a lot of it.

Amiens was the battle where Canadian, Aussie, Yank, French and Pommy troop went on an offensive that involved more than just artillery harmlessly thumping the German lines followed by the troops harmfully being thumped by German machine guns.


Now there was a concept of firepower, a formula of guns and shells and firing patterns that meant infantry could take the trenches without fearful losses. Accurate counter-battery fire, creeping barrages, smoke barrages and tanks now protected the foot soldiers. Now the German wire was mostly cut, thanks to the graze fuse. The infantry itself had more firepower: battalions had fewer men but seven times as many Lewis guns as in 1916. Men such as Monash saw an 'orchestral composition' of artillery, infantry, tanks and air power. As Monash put it: 'Every individual unit must make its entryprecisely at the proper moment, and play its phase in the general harmony.'


Monash is held up to be the forerunner of combined arms assault, and yet, medieval armies commanded by cunning generals were utilising heavy weapons, fire support and light infantry in various combinations over 500 years ago.

The lessons were merely forgotten by the Brits during the period when the Royal Navy ruled the planet. The point that is being made that advances under the cover of protective fire was some form of tactical genius is ill-considered and not in line with the history of warfare. Monash was a student of history, and relearnt the lessons. Amiens was a success on the basis of the lessons of the past applied to the war of the present. No more, no less.

I don't know that Carlyon was crediting Monash with inventing the wheel, just that he was finally able to get things happening.

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