Wednesday, 11 November 2015

11/11/1915 - remembrance for the year in numbers

The Woman's Peace Movement demonstrates 1915
1915 is perhaps not remembered as much as the other WW1 years, with their seismic actions at the Marne, Verdun, Somme or Passchendaele or the political upheavals of 1917 or 1918. However, as we have seen, a great deal happened, and the campaigns in Gallipoli and on the Eastern Front were as significant as any in the war. In a year when Rupert Brooke (off Gallipoli) and Keir Hardie died, and Edith Piaf and Frank Sinatra (and my mother) were born, these are some of the numbers. 

18,000 - poison gas shells were fired in January for the first time in the war as Germans on the Eastern Front attacked Russian positions west of Warsaw. They had little effect on the Russians as sub-zero temperatures prevented the gas from vaporising. At Ypres 2, 5,730 gas cylinders infamously were used against the Allied positions. The British themselves would employ (unsuccessfully) 5,100 chlorine cylinders in their attack at the Battle of Loos

1.5 million - estimated Armenian deaths from slaughter in Turkey or starvation in Syria and Mesopotamia, during the 1915 Genocide.
Trench Misery 1915 in Champagne

240,000 - French Casualties in the First Champagne offensive  After a month of fighting, the exhausted French broke off the offensive.

120,000  - the number of Austrians surrendering to the Russians in the capture of Przemysl in Galicia on March 22nd. This marked the culmination of a series of winter battles between the Austrians and Russians to secure the strategic Carpathian Mountain passes and opened the way for a Russian invasion of Hungary. Realising this, the Germans transferred massive resources for their own Eastern Front assault, Gorlice-Tarnow. 

700,000 - shells fired by Germany in its pre bombardment for the Gorlice-Tarnow action -the largest bombardment to date in the war.

1.4 million - Russian casualties from the Gorlice-Tarnow breakthrough and the subsequent German advances to September, when the Tzar replaced Prince Nikolas as the Supreme Commander. A further 750,000 Russian troops were taken prisoner.

Representation of the ambush
1192 - passengers and crew lost when a German U-Boat ambushed the British passenger liner Lusitania off the Irish coast. It sank in 18 minutes. 

400 miles - the length of the common border between Austria and Italy, longer than the Western Front, although much of it Alpine ranges. The better equipped Austrians took advantage of the mountainous terrain to establish strong defensive positions all along the border. In the valley of the Isonzo river four battles were fought during 1915 with similar inconclusive results, totalling 230,000 casualties for the Italians and 165,000 for the Austrians

50,000 - the number of British casualties during the unsuccessful Loos offensive in September. This would prove to be the final major action for British Army Commander John French, who was sacked and replaced by Douglas Haig before the year end.

503,000  -  an upper estimate of the deaths and casualties on all sides through the Gallipoli campaign of 1915. Approximately half Allied and half Turkish.

83,000 - the number of troops successfully evacuated from Gallipoli by the British Navy.

6 - the number of British battleships lost in 1915. All were pre-Dreadnought class.

14 - days, the longest instance of Christmas Truce 1914? The photo below of German and British Soldiers was taken on 9th January 1915...

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