Pack your little kit, show your grit!

Do your bit! It’s not too late to join up  — on the 2017 trip to the battlefields in France. From Meuse-Argonne.com:

Hello, readers!  Space is still available on the World War 1 Historical Association’s June 2017 Pilgrimage to the Western Front, but the deadline for reserving your seat is December 31, 2016!  So don’t put off your decision-making too long; and please share this post with your friends who might be interested in the tour!!  Details can be found at our website:  http://ww1ha.org/2017-ww1-battlefield-pilgrimage/.

Tour Guide’s Skill Set

This tour is being led by webmaster Randal Gaulke.  Many readers know that Randal has been traveling to the American battlefields of France almost annually since 1986.  In planning the 2017 tour he has been working with Paul Guthrie and John Snow, both directors of the WW1HA, to plan the tour.  Paul has organized / overseen seven tours for the WW1HA and its predecessor organization, and John Snow has traveled to the area frequently, too.  Randal has outlined his experience in an October 8, 2016, blog post that can be accessed here:  http://meuse-argonne.com/?p=1603.)

shb-randy-on-the-map

Randal Gaulke gives a talk in 2007 on the map in the Mont Sec Memorial to U.S. troops in the St. Mihiel Salient. (Blogger’s note: That is Susan in the center of the photo with the suspiciously red hair.)

Endorsement From a 2017 Participant

Through this website, Randal also has the opportunity to help planning trips, including Valerie Young; who is booked on the 2017 tour.  She has written this endorsement:

Randy has been an invaluable resource to me this year in the planning of my personal journey to the Meuse-Argonne to bring to life the grandfather I never knew. His website was my initial introduction to his vast knowledge of the history and geography of the area. His recommendations for books, maps, other websites, and travel insights were tremendously helpful. We then had a lunch meeting where I shared my ideas about an individual journey; his great awareness and input validated my confidence and respect for him, his commitment to the Meuse-Argonne, and his desire to enable others to experience it as he has for so many years.

With Randy’s help, I was able to “follow in the footsteps” that my grandfather took nearly 100 years ago. Randy helped me find a guide/driver and accommodations, and provided important information on specific battlefield monuments and sites related to my grandfather’s infantry unit. His detailed knowledge of the area is essential to anyone planning a trip there. I am now writing about my grandfather’s military journey, and look forward to joining the tour in June 2017.

Making It Personal to the Participant

All of the organizing and presentation of history aside, there comes a time on a tour when a person is just struck by something that resonates with his / her soul–and that is why reading history or exploring Google Earth does NOT provide the same experience as a pilgrimage!

For the webmaster, one such occasion was listening to a Volksbund (German War Graves Association) employee talk about the last (annual) visit of an aging spouse to her husband’s grave at the cemetery.  She knew she would be meeting him again soon.

For two members of the 8th Kuerassier Regiment on the 2005 tour, it was touring Helly Ravine near Fort Douaumont.  Following their visit, they questioned whether reenacting was just playing cowboys and Indians; and they had a new-found understanding of the terrible conditions for the soldiers during the Verdun battle and during the Great War in general.

Additional Information on the Guide

In addition to presenting the events and their significance, the battlefield tour guide must become quite proficient in logistics:  One has to schedule visits, hotels, bus timing, etc.  To do this, one has to know the region and its people and be able to speak the language.  One also needs to be organized, to be financially savvy and to understand how to model / consider risks.

Randal has all of these qualifications.  He has arranged many details  for the second half of the 2007 Western Front Association USA Branch’s tour and other tours.  Randal was the coordinator for the WW1HA’s 2015 Symposium in Lisle, Illinois; which featured eight speakers and almost 100 participants over two days.  Randal’s profession as a high-yield bond analyst and his work as Treasurer of the Great War Association, Chairman of the Finance Committee at his previous church and Treasurer of Troop 56 BSA Millington, NJ has also helped him develop the skills necessary.

Again, it needs to be emphasized that Randal worked with the WW1HA and its directors to plan the trip.

Take Action Today!

Please reserve your space today;  Please tell your friends about this opportunity;  and please contact Randal with any questions:  lavarennes@meuse-argonne.com or 908-451-0252.

 

Visit the battlefields

What better way to remember those who fell in World War One than to book a battlefield tour!  The World War One Historical Association, working with Randal S. Gaulke of Meuse-Argonne.com, is offering an eight-day tour of the major American battlefields of WW1.  Tour dates are June 3-11, 2017.  Tour cost is $2,300 per person, assuming double occupancy.  The price includes most meals and costs, except airfare to France.  The tour will be by motor coach, and it will include two walks each day of moderate length over relatively easy terrain.

If you’ve visited these battlefields before, Randal hopes to be able to show you some new things.  If you haven’t visited the battlefields yet, be prepared for a moving experience. Our soldiers walked these roads, fields and forests. Many of them died there.

To some degree, there is flexibility to visit sites of importance to individual tour participants.  Please contact Randal regarding such requests.

You can find a full flier and terms and conditions on the http://ww1ha.org website; and you can contact Randal Gaulke with any questions at 908-451-0252 or lavarennes@meuse-argonne.com.

Sign up today to reserve your space!  Enrollment ends in late December.

4699987597_8dffb12749_o

Posted at Flickr by the National Library of Scotland: This image shows a British artilleryman demonstrating to a group of American soldiers. The gun, which is mounted rather precariously on a post, appears to be a Hotchkiss machine gun. This was a light, French-manufactured gun which was useful for its easy manoeuvrability.

Rudyard Kipling, in his poem, “The Ballad of the Clampherdown,” describes the sinking of a warship by a cruiser, “that carried the dainty Hotchkiss gun.”

[Original reads: “OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. A British machine gunner explains the working of his gun to American troops.”]

A personal note from Susan:

I strongly encourage you to make this trip. I have traveled with Randal Gaulke and can attest that he is knowledgeable — his particular interest is the German army, so he can give perspective from the enemy side as well as the Americans’ — and a good tour leader. You’re in France! Yes, you want to go over hill, over dale, you want to hit the dusty trail, but you also want to enjoy yourself. Like these guys.

4699199883_98336b9de4_z.jpg

Posted at Flickr by the National Library of Scotland: Six soldiers are standing looking into the camera. They are wearing American uniforms and hats but they are not armed or equipped. The background is mostly obscured by the soldiers and is also out of focus. Three soldiers stand in a line with a fourth just visible behind them. They are laughing and look relaxed. In front of this stands two more soldiers. The older of the two has bent his head round to talk to the younger, while his hand is round his mouth forcing him to smile.

Although there is no official caption with this photograph it does record a very personal and intimate moment amongst this group of friends. It also illustrates the strong sense of camaraderie experienced by soldiers in World War I across a very wide age range.

[Original reads: “BRITISH OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE WESTERN FRONT – AMERICANS AT THE FRONT.”]

Book review: “War of Attrition”

 

WAR OF ATTRITION

By William Philpott 

Overlook Press, 400 pp

 Review by Sal Compagno, WW1HA President

 

The first world war has left its permanent mark on military fighting in both small and large campaigns.  That war was to change the nature of fighting ever since.  William Philpott has demonstrated the shift in military tactics in his recent study, War of Attrition.  A British author of note, he has investigated why the first world conflict of the twentieth century was significantly different from previous wars.  His focus is on the learning curve needed to end the struggle after four years of fruitless efforts.

 Philpott covers many theaters of the war, but concentrates mostly on the Western Front as this campaign defined the crucial change in military tactics.  He emphasizes the long and painful lessons learned in the first two years of the war leading to an acknowledgement of the different character fighting had changed.  The bloody battles of Verdun and the Somme and those of the  Eastern Theater were preliminary to a conscious awareness among military minds how the war underwent a new direction.  New tactics and weapons were increasingly introduced yet  progress was both slow and costly.

Throughout the writing, Philpott demonstrates how supply, manpower reserves and will eventually turned the tide in favor of the Allies and the weakness of the Central Powers who could not match them.  It took more than two years to build and change the waring nations to adopt a total war consciousness.  He extends great praise to Ferdinand Foch and Phillipe Petain for recognizing what was needed to defeat the German army.  The French expression grignotage —gnawing — the enemy strength was to become the modus operandi for the last six months of the war literally wearing the the opposition out.  But the price was equally harsh for both sides. Yet, Foch, who was supreme commander, realized the price had to be paid.

The author spares no one for mistakes and errors in judgment.  He notes how Ludendorff never grasped the full extent of collapsing morale of the German soldier even with the spectacular victory in the Eastern Theater.  It was the declining morale and the lack of men and the desperate shortness of supplies which Germany could not replace forcing their submission.  Men, supply and determination were the key to victory. 

 War of Attrition is a study not to be ignored by serious students of military history and is highly recommended for the average reader.  Phillpott investigation of the nature of fighting in the first global conflict will enlighten both the historian and for those who appreciate the importance of the war.

 

 

 

 

WW1HA annual symposium

The World War One Historical Association 
Annual Symposium Details & Registration
 
October 21-22, 2016 
MacArthur Memorial
Norfolk, VA
                                           1916: Sex, Planes, and Disasters!
                                        
Our 2016 Annual Symposium in Norfolk, VA is fast approaching! The full registration package at $255 includes all presentations, the Friday dinner banquet and the must-see Friday afternoon tour of the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach including
transportation/snacks/beverages, docent-led tours, & a pilot talk.  (http://www.militaryaviationmuseum.org)

                                       World War One Aircraft at the Museum
 
Raffle Prize: Autographed Chicago Blackhawks Hockey Stick!
 

We are also offering an amazing raffle prize: a hockey stick autographed by members of the 2015 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, along with a Certificate of Authenticity. The 86th Infantry Division of the American Expeditionary Force, known as the Blackhawks, was established in August 1917 at Camp Grant in Rockford IL and was composed of men from Illinois and Wisconsin. Frederick McLaughlin served as a commander in the 86th Infantry Division. In 1926 he was granted a franchise by the National Hockey League, which he named the Chicago Blackhawks for his unit and his home town.

Raffle tickets will be $10 each or 3 for $25, sold only at the symposium. The drawing will be during the luncheon on Saturday – you must be present to win! As a reference price, a stick signed by the 2012 team for a charity auction is currently for sale online for $1200. 
Registration Information
Can’t attend the full symposium?  We are offering one day options, both with and without the dinner, and just the tour of the Military Aviation Museum. 
Register online at http://ww1ha.org/2016-symposium-registration/or download the mail-in registration form at http://ww1ha.org/downloads/Symposium2016Flyer.pdf
Our main 2016 symposium page is http://ww1ha.org/2016-annual-conference/.
Want more details? The full Symposium Program book with all registration options and all program details and speaker information is available now at http://ww1ha.org/downloads/2016SymposiumProgram.pdf
All presentations will be held at the MacArthur Memorial. There is lots of information about about the museum and its programs at http://www.macarthurmemorial.org/.
For hotel reservations at the Sheraton Norfolk please call 757-640-2752 ask for Christine or Chelsea or send an email to Christine.Palmer@norfolksheraton.comBe sure to ask for the WW1HA room block and special rate. Our symposium daily rate of $129.68 per night includes all taxes and free WiFi.  Hotel parking is $8 per day.Norfolk has many wonderful attractions to visit beyond the MacArthur Memorial – Plan your additional activities at http://www.visitnorfolktoday.com/

 

Questions? Contact Dana Lombardy at dana.lombardy@gmail.com or at 510-301-0753 during Pacific Time business hours.  

‘COUNTDOWN TO VETERANS DAY’

From Chris Isleib of the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission
OUR ‘COUNTDOWN TO VETERANS DAY’ HAS BEGUN!
Today is Wednesday, September 21, fifty days away from Veterans Day. 
We feel that one day per year is not enough to talk about veterans, veterans contributions, and veterans needs. So, for the next fifty days, we will join others in posting about veterans, using the #CountdownToVeteransDayhas htag.
We also feel that we can help people to have a more meaningful experience for their Veterans Day, by collecting an easy list of opportunities to volunteer, donate, or participate in local events. We have posted our list here – www.CountdownToVeteransDay. org
We invite you to join us in this Countdown To Veterans Day. Please feel free to repost or retweet any of the #CountdownToVeteransDay social media posts, or create your own, to help us get the word out.
Veterans needs, and veterans issues, will always need our help.

 

Chris Isleib

U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

Director of Public Affairs
301 641 4060
www.ww1cc.org/design
https://www.facebook.com/ww1centennial

 

News for New Yorkers

You’ll be interested in this nes if you’ll be in the Big Apple on Saturday.

NEW YORK – There will be a host of World War I-related activities this Saturday at NYC’s Governors Island. A platoon of living history reenactors will bring World War I Doughboys to Governors Island National Monument on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, for a free exhibition. See demonstrations and hear stories as reenactors portray famous New York regiments, including the Harlem Hell Fighters, at Doughboy Day at Fort Jay.
The centennial of American involvement in the “Great War” is in 2017 and this group of volunteer reenactors will share the story of U.S. participation. Both men and women will be in full uniform and provide displays and talks about the role America played in World War I. It is free and suitable for all ages.
Participants: Long Island Living History Association (facebook.com/longislandlivinghistoryassociation), military historians whose main purpose is to educate the public on all wars America has participated in; the Ebony Doughboys (ebonydoughboys.org) a group of African American living historians who are focused on telling the story of the outstanding record of service of African Americans during the First World War; Mark D. Van Ells, author of “America and World War I: A Traveler’s Guide.” Actress Laurie Gaulke will represent women in the war with her show, “Doughnuts for Doughboys: A Salvation Army Lassie in Neuvilly.”
The events are free, open to the public, and run 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM at Governors Island National Monument. The displays will be on the Parade Ground and talks in and outside Castle Williams.
“We are proud to be part of ‘Doughboy Day’ on Governors Island” said Dr. Libby O’Connell, Chair of the World War I Centennial Committee for New York City. “Events like this bring the diverse history of the Great War alive for new generations. “
Colonel Robert J D’Alessandro (Ret.) Chairman of the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission observed, “This upcoming living history event on historic Governors Island will raise awareness of the innovations and the sacrifice that characterized America’s involvement in this ‘War to End All Wars’. I’m pleased that this commemoration will be part of the annual observances during the centennial. “
Schedule:
10:00-4:00: Displays of vintage artifacts, equipment, uniforms, and weapons. Parade Ground.
10:30: Opening remarks on Parade Ground.
11:00, 11:30, 12:00, 2:00, 3:30: “Eugene Bullard, America’s first black fighter pilot” (actor Chadd Gray). Gazebo outside Castle Williams.
11:30 and 3:30: “Doughnuts for Doughboys: A Salvation Army Lassie in Neuvilly” Castle Williams.
12:00: “Harlem Hell Fighters and the Black Doughboy experience.” Stories of: Pvts. Jenkins Fennell and Lewis A. Taylor. Presented by the Ebony Doughboys. Castle Williams.
12:30: Doughboy March from Parade Ground to Fort Jay and back to Castle Williams.
2:00: “America and World War I: A Traveler’s Guide” author Mark D. Van Ells. Castle Williams.
3:00: “Rediscovering the Doughboy Experience in WW1” artifacts presentation, Randy Gaulke, WW1 Historical Association. Castle Williams.
4:00: Doughboy March from Castle Williams to Meuse-Argonne Point.
5:00: End of event
Getting There:
Governors Island is located in New York Harbor, 1/2 mile from the southern tip of Lower Manhattan and 400 yards west of Brooklyn’s Red Hook waterfront. Ferry service is provided from Battery Maritime Building at 10 South Street on the corner of South and Whitehall Streets (next to the Staten Island ferry terminal). Ferry service is provided from Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 at the end of Atlantic Avenue. Commercial ferry service is provided by the East River Ferry and serves several points on the East River. Ferries run every half hour. For a ferry schedule: https://govisland.com/info/ferry
Supporting Organizations:
Governors Island National Monument (nps.gov/gois) manages 22 acres containing Fort Jay and Castle Williams. The U.S. National Park Service provides education and historic interpretation of the island.
World War One Centennial Committee for New York City (wwi100nyc.org) is dedicated to planning, producing, and coordinating events and activities commemorating the First World War in New York City and the surrounding areas.
U.S. World War One Centennial Commission (worldwar1centennial.org) was created by Congress in 2013 to provide public outreach, education programs, and commemorative events for American involvement in World War I. The Commission was also authorized to build the new National World War I Memorial in Washington DC.

 

A call for writers

From Sergio Lugo, Editor, MPHS
I am writing to solicit articles for an upcoming issue of the Military Postal History Society Bulletin to be released in April 2017.  That Anniversary edition bulletin will commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the U.S. declaration of war in WWI and American involvement in the war.   The articles we publish always have to have a tie in to postal history.
The website of the MPHS is at www.militaryphs.org.  The website contains limited sections of MPHS Bulletins.  The Bulletins treat subjects for all wars, not just WWI.  Recent editions have included articles on tankless raining in WWI; the year 1916 and its import for the U.S. in WW I; special British mailing cards of WWI; the correspondence of a British captain KIA at Kut, Mesopotamia;  clandestine British censorship of U.S. mail,  and others.
The citation for issue # 2, 2017 lists the numerous articles we have lined up (either completed or pending) for that edition.  Attendees to the annual WW1HA seminar in October are welcome to submit articles for that issue – provided, of course, that it focuses on the U.S. and use supporting postal history.
Thank you for your time and consideration.

“100 CITIES/100 MEMORIALS”

WASHINGTON, DC:  The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum and Library have announced a new program to help people across the country restore and preserve local World War I memorials.
“100 CITIES/100 MEMORIALS” is a fund-matching program, where groups or individuals can A) identify local World War I memorials in their area, B) put together a conservation treatment proposal for a memorial in distress, C) submit their plan for consideration for matching grant funds, D) have the memorial treated by an accredited conservator, with communication help & possible matching funds.
The details of the program, including guidelines and online application form, can be found on the website www.ww1cc.org/100Memorials
The program is designed to foster a sense of heritage in local communities, to recognize local stories & people who were involved in the war, and create a way for community members to participate in the national World War I Centennial.
Kenneth Clarke, President and CEO of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library stated, “The words ‘Lest We Forget’ appear on World War I memorials across the nation. Sadly, however, many of these memorials are in need of conservation and restoration, in this, their centennial year.”
The 100 CITIES/100 MEMORIALS program is particularly well-suited for community-service projects hosted by school groups, scout troops, veteran group posts, historical/cultural organizations, faith groups, local sports teams, and others.
Dan Dayton, Executive Director of the Centennial Commission, commented
“Doughboys came from every town and village in the US. This program gives the Commission a way to say thank you in a very tangible way.”
The sponsor organizations have teamed with the World War I Memorial Inventory Project, which is assembling a crowd-sourced, online database to document and assess the condition of the thousands of World War I memorials across the country.
Some of the 100 CITIES/100 MEMORIALS program specifics include the following:
– All submitted projects will be given communication resources to help participants publicize their work, post imagery to social media, and tell their own stories.
–  Webinars & videos hosted on the Centennial Commission website will provide information about conserving memorials, researching a memorial’s history, and creating a project plan for submission.
– All World War I memorial projects are eligible to be considered for this program’s matching funds. However, the matching funds available per project is currently limited to $2,000, which is likely to be most useful for smaller projects.
– In November 2016, one hundred of the submitted projects will be selected by a jury to receive matching funds.
– To qualify for a matching grant, a project proposal needs to be submitted by November 11, 2016.  Memorials need to be located in the 50 states or US territories, and the preservation work must be completed (or have been completed) between January 1, 2014 and November 11, 2018.
This fund-matching program has been adopted by The American Legion by Resolution of the National Executive Committee. The Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library welcome additional supporting organizations as well as additional sponsors to expand the funds available to the awardees.
Information on the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission can be found here
Information about the Pritzker Military Museum and Library can be found here
Information about the World War I Memorial Inventory Project can be found here

 

Do you belong to the WFA?

Here’s a list of the articles available at the Western Front Association website.

Welcome to the May 2016 issue of Trench Lines, the newsletter of The Western Front Association.

Plant a rose to remember someone who fought or served in other ways during the Battle of the Somme with ‘Tommy’s Rose’.

Create a ‘Memory Square’ of someone and it will be featured on the ‘Path of the Remembered’.

Engage with a local community event, with ‘The Living Memory Project’ – one of 141 events to emphasise that the Battle of the Somme lasted several months, not just a single day.

Go along to the study day ‘1916: The World at War’ courtesy of the First World War Research Group at the University of Wolverhampton on 28 May.

See Mike Sheil’s huge, evocative photographs of the Battlefields of the Somme in the exhibition ‘Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace 1916’ that opens in the City of London on 1 June.

Attend the two Western Front Association day long conferences with the joint title ‘A World At War 1916’. Our first conference is on 4 June ‘The Somme and Beyond’ in Birmingham and our second conference is on 9 July ‘Perspectives on the Somme’ in York.

Read reviews of First World War books by Western Front Association members: ‘Fatal Charge at Gallipoli’ reviewed by Richard Pursehouse; ‘Trapped Behind Enemy Lines’ reviewed by Dr. Giovanni Timmermans, and ‘Lancaster in the Great War’ reviewed by Simon Phillips.

Book Review: “Wilson”

 “Wilson”  By A. Scott Berg
(G. P. Putnam & Sons) 2013     818 pp
Review by WW1HA President Sal Compagno