Monday, June 27, 2016

Wounds, Scars, and Terriers at Battle of the Somme




The battle now known as the Somme Offensive began on July 1, 1916, and continued through November 18 of the same year. In the preliminary artillery bombardment at the start of the Battle of the Somme, British artillery fired 1.73 million shells on the German lines. Despite the massive artillery pounding, the British suffered over 57,000 casualties (killed and wounded) on the first day of battle.

This was trench warfare at its worst, with more than a million men wounded or killed. The Somme saw the first use of airplanes and tanks in warfare.



One of the combatants at the Somme Offensive was a young Adolph Hitler who had with him a pet terrier he had captured in 1915, when the dog ran over from the British side.  Hitler very much loved this dog, which he described as a "proper circus dog" because it knew so many tricks.


Hitler was wounded in the left thigh during the Battle of the Somme in October of 1916, when a shell exploded at the entrance to the dispatch runners' dugout. He was transferred to Munich and took the dog with him.  He and the dog went back to the front in early 1917, but the dog was stolen from him in August of 1917, probably by the train station manager who had tried to buy the clever dog off of Hitler earlier in the day.



3 comments:

jeffrey thurston said...

Things feel a bit 1914ish right now in the world- entangling alliances- poking bears- unintended consequences...

jeffrey thurston said...

Of course if we have WW3 now it'll be us living in the dirt- armies and their masters will ensconced in plush bunkers somewhere...

Joe Mama said...

Private communication:

It is interesting how there is little new under the sun.

This blog post http://eatonrapidsjoe.blogspot.com/2013/07/chess-link-added.html

briefly discusses the reason for the zig-zagging of the trenches and compares it to the typical arrangement of pawns at the beginning of a game of chess. Note that a pawn,a foot soldier, had a shield and pike, his offense was skewed to the right and his defense was stronger against attacks from the left.