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Bourlon and Bourlon Wood. From 'The Tank Corps' by Major Clough Williams-Ellis & A. Williams-Ellis
Text:
The Bapaume-Cambrai Road.
12. L.O. 28.
57º Bourlon & Wood
2.12.17.10.

Bourlon and Bourlon Wood. From The Tank Corps by Major Clough Williams-Ellis & A. Williams-Ellis.

The election of soldier delegates to the first Soviet. From a Bulgarian poster.
Text, Bulgarian:
Изборитъ на войнишкитъ дептатн эа първня Съвътъ
Election of Soldier Delegates to the First Soviet

The election of soldier delegates to the first Soviet. From a Bulgarian poster.

1918 German pen and ink drawing of the road to Cambrai, France. Two smaller trees seem to serve as the good and bad thief on either side of the crucified Jesus Christ.
Text:
Strasse nach Cambrai
EKIECBJR?

1918 German pen and ink drawing of the road to Cambrai, France. Two smaller trees seem to serve as the good and bad thief on either side of the crucified Jesus Christ.

Postcard of a German soldier guarding French POWs, most of them colonial troops, the colorful uniforms of a Zouave, Spahi, Senegalese, and metropolitan French soldier contrasting with the field gray German uniform. A 1915 postcard by Emil Huber.
Text:
Emil Huber 1915
Reverse:
Unsere Feldgrauen
Serie II
? preussischer Infanterie-Soldat
Prussian Infantry Soldier
Logo: K.E.B.

Postcard of a German soldier guarding French POWs, most of them colonial troops, the colorful uniforms of a Zouave, Spahi, Senegalese, and metropolitan French soldier contrasting with the field gray German uniform. A 1915 postcard by Emil Huber.

We'll join in! Women beneath the flags of and in the uniforms of the %+%Organization%m%66%n%Vierbund%-% of Turkey, Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Bulgaria, are willing to play their part in the war effort.
Text:
Wir machen mit!
We'll join in!
Reverse:
Dated Augsburg, February 3, 1916

We'll join in! Women beneath the flags of and in the uniforms of the Vierbund of Turkey, Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Bulgaria, are willing to play their part in the war effort.

Quotations found: 7

Saturday, November 24, 1917

"During the night [of November 23–24, 1917], the first snow fell, making communications even more difficult. Then came the incessant rain. It was in these conditions that all the tanks which had been in action were ordered back for re-fitting, leaving only twelve of 1 Battalion available for the following day. These were to attack Bourlon village at noon with the 121st Brigade of 40th Division. During the morning, this time was changed to 3:00 p.m. Then the IV Corps commander, Lieutenant General Woollcombe, visited the divisional headquarters at Havrincourt and stated that as he thought there were not enough tanks to ensure success, the operation should be postponed until the next day. These orders were sent to all the various brigade headquarters in the Graincourt area, but due to the destruction of telephone lines by enemy shelling, they did not reach 121st Brigade until it was too late. The attack had started." ((1), more)

Sunday, November 25, 1917

". . . On November 25 [1917] the elections for the Constituent Assembly began. . . .

The results of the election were startling. Out of a total of 41.7 million votes only 9.8 million were polled for the Bolsheviks—24 percent or, at the most, 29 percent if you counted the Left Social Revolutionaries with them. Even in Petrograd and Moscow, even in the army and the navy, Lenin had less than half the vote. The Social Revolutionaries with nearly 20.8 million votes, or 58 per cent of the total, were the big winners. As for the Mensheviks, they had all but vanished from the scene, and the bourgeois parties polled only 1.99 million votes between them."
((2), more)

Monday, November 26, 1917

"On November 25 and 26 [1917] we renewed our attack upon Fontaine-Notre-Dame and again tried to capture Bourlon Village.

In the end, however, both these important points remained in enemy hands.

A week had now elapsed since the launching of the battle.

According to the original scheme, the action should not have been continued for more than three days, but in spite of our original 'Self-Denying Ordinance' as to ground, when desirable points of vantage were actually in our hands, we had fallen a prey to 'land hunger' and had still fought on and continued to advance in order to consolidate these new and delightful possessions."
((3), more)

Tuesday, November 27, 1917

"'I think no man may look into it now and live after his view—neither an English soldier nor a German soldier—because the little narrow streets which go between its burnt and broken houses are swept by bullets from our machine-guns in the south and from the enemy's in the north, and no human being could stay alive there for a second after showing himself in the village . . . Men fought in the streets and in the broken houses and behind the walls and round the ruins of the little church of Notre Dame.'

So Philip Gibbs, a
Daily Telegraph war correspondent at the time, described the fight on November 27 to take Fontaine, the village which had been captured once and allowed to fall back into German hands because it was thought it would be an easy objective to take again." ((4), more)

Wednesday, November 28, 1917

"'Why are you so skinny?'

'Commandant, when you don't miss a hitch in the trenches for thirty-six months, you can hardly get fat.'

The commandant's voice softened. He turned to our Lieutenant Lorius and said, 'All your men look good. But you have this corporal who's worn out. Take care of him.'

. . . This was the first kind-hearted word that a superior officer had said to me since I'd been at the front. That's why I've made note of it."
((5), more)


Quotation contexts and source information

Saturday, November 24, 1917

(1) On November 24, 1917, the Battle of Cambrai was in the fourth day of what had been intended battle of not more than three days. The British had taken much of Bourlon Wood south of the village of Bourlon. British commander Douglas Haig still looked to unleash his cavalry.

The Battle of Cambrai by Brian Cooper, page 168, copyright © Bryan Cooper 1967, publisher: Stein and Day, publication date: 1968

Sunday, November 25, 1917

(2) Russian parties across the political spectrum had called for a freely elected parliament for years. The November, 1917 vote for a Constituent Assembly came a month after Vladimir Lenin and his Bolsheviks seized power from a weak government unable to deliver an end to the war or the distribution of land to those who worked it. Petrograd was the capital and where the revolution was launched. Moscow was also controlled by the Bolsheviks who had strong support in the army and navy, but not as much support as expected.

The Russian Revolution by Alan Moorehead, page 264, copyright © 1958 by Time, Inc., publisher: Carroll and Graf, publication date: 1989

Monday, November 26, 1917

(3) The British tank and infantry offensive in the Battle of Cambrai began on November 20 and met with unexpected success on the first day as the tanks and infantry trained to work with them cooperated in the advance. On the second and subsequent days, the British did not have reserves to continue the offensive, and could only proceed with fewer tanks, and weary soldiers who had not been trained for tank warfare. The British took much of Bourlon Wood, but could not capture and hold the village of Bourlon north of the woods or Fontaine-Notre-Dame to the east.

The Tank Corps by Clough Williams-Ellis & A. Williams-Ellis, page 116, publisher: The Offices of "Country Life," Ltd. and George Newnes, Ltd., publication date: 1919

Tuesday, November 27, 1917

(4) The British tank and infantry offensive in the Battle of Cambrai began on November 20 and met with unexpected success on the first day as the tanks and infantry trained to work with them cooperated in the advance. On the second and subsequent days, the British did not have reserves to continue the offensive, and could only proceed with fewer tanks, and weary soldiers who had not been trained for tank warfare. The British took much of the key objective of Bourlon Wood, but could not capture and hold the village of Bourlon north of the woods or Fontaine-Notre-Dame to the east. As the battle extended into its second week, it was another infantry action, with tanks having little presence or effect. Fontaine-Notre-Dame was the last village on the road from Bapaume to Cambrai, an important communications center and a key objective of the British offensive.

The Battle of Cambrai by Brian Cooper, page 176, copyright © Bryan Cooper 1967, publisher: Stein and Day, publication date: 1968

Wednesday, November 28, 1917

(5) Excerpt from the notebooks of French Infantry Corporal Louis Barthas of the 296th Regiment. Barthas was writing in late November, 1917, immediately after his regiment had been dissolved and its men assigned to other units. The regiment had been implicated in the army mutinies of the spring and early summer: On May 30, Barthas was asked to take the lead role in forming soviet that would assume command of his company. He declined, but did write a manifesto on behalf of the company protesting the delay in leaves after the Second Battle of the Aisne. On the 31st, the battalions of his regiment were separated, and his demonstrated against a return to the front line trenches. The regiment was sent to the Argonne, then a quiet sector on the Western Front. When Georges Clemenceau came to power in November 20, he quickly went after any who opposed waging the war to victory. Clemenceau and the Regiment had crossed swords in 1907 during a wine-growers protest. Clemenceau then was in power, and the 296th had mutinied. The commandant's kind words for Barthas are more a direct result of Henri Pétain's command that officers care for their men.

Poilu: The World War I Notebooks of Corporal Louis Barthas, Barrelmaker, 1914-1918 by Louis Barthas, page 342, copyright © 2014 by Yale University, publisher: Yale University Press, publication date: 2014


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