US expeditionary force in World War I

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
5,876
Spain
Sorry if I misunderstood you. But your original list implied the Aussies were bettervsoldiers because they were tougher outdoorsy types who could weather campaigning (how that helps in France?) ...
which I disagreed with. They were better because they were able to maintain better standards amongst recruits. British and Germans had widened the goalposts and were taking all types.

But as pointed out how a Melbourne office employee is better prepared for campaigning than a Glaswegian docker or a Nottingham butcher I don’t know.
Sorry if I didn´t explain very good. As I wrote.. Australian Army in 1915 was good recruits but they were inexperienced as it was proved in Gallipoli.. But there they won experience and in 1916 they were the best troops in British Empire Army. British Army was better Army in British Empire during 1914 (BEF) and likely in 1915 (although the soldier in 1915 is not the same standar that in 1914). But in 1916-1918 I think Aussies were the best soldiers in BE Forces.

And I agree with you. A Melbourne pencil pusher did not have to be better than a Highland shepherd or a Yorkshire farmer but British Forces in 1916 were not better than Austrialian forces because british conscript recruits lacked of a very good standar (they accepted recruits they rejected in 1914 or early 1915) and not experience at all.. and not the training BEF had. Australian had better recruit standar (Not conscription at all in 1916) and experience won in Gallipoli.

Kevin,

How do you know 66% British Forces were "volunteers" in 1918? According what I read.. Conscription put end to the volunteers.
 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
13,465
Navan, Ireland
............................

Kevin,

How do you know 66% British Forces were "volunteers" in 1918? According what I read.. Conscription put end to the volunteers.
Well from history books (even Wiki quotes the figure of around 35% conscripts) The British did not have 100% casualties in their pre 1916 army -- it carried on to be supplemented by the new conscripts (also post 1916 volunteers continued , although how many of them 'jumped before they were pushed' is open to debate.) So that the conscripts still remained the minority (a big one true).
 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
13,465
Navan, Ireland
Her is an interesting question;-

Sergeant Ivor Rees joined the South Wales Borders in 1914 at the outbreak of war or soon after.

He served bravely in France from 1915 to 1917 (with one 'blighty' period with Trench fever) then in 1917 he won the VC

His citation read:

"At Pilckem, Belgium, on 31st July 1917, an enemy machine gun inflicted many casualties when it opened fire at close range. Sergeant Rees, leading his platoon, gradually worked his way round the right flank, by making short rushes, to the rear of the gun position. At 20 yards from the machine gun, Sergeant Rees rushed forward towards it, shooting one of the crew, and bayoneting the other. He bombed a large concrete emplacement, killing five of the enemy and taking 30 prisoners, including two officers and capturing a machine gun, undamaged.
— London Gazette, 14 September 1917"​

In1918 now a CSM he qualified as an instructor and spent all of 1918 in the UK training recruits.

1539022077664.jpeg

However with his VC and other campaign medals (and there are images of him wearing them correctly) there is one strange one. His last medal is a Victory medal USA with three clasps Meuse-Argonne, Aisne-Maine Defence Sector.

But there is no record of him serving with the USA military with the SWB's, I find it very hard to believe that a VC winner would wear any medal he was not entitled to.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
7,801
How do you know 66% British Forces were "volunteers" in 1918? According what I read.. Conscription put end to the volunteers.
Been unable to find good stats on enlistemnt versus conscripts for 1917-1918

Conscription in World War 1
"some 4.9 million men were enlisted in the British army between 1914 and 1918, of whom 2.4 million enlisted prior to the introduction of conscription and 2.5 million after it. It is calculated that only 1.3 million men were actually conscripted."
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,874
Sydney
by the end of 1918 the French and Germans had been fighting hard for four years ,
both were busted
the 1914 losses at the battle of the frontiers , the Artois offensive , Verdun , the Somme the "chemin des dames" slaughter had broken the spirit of the French
the German after four years of incessant offensive and fire fighting on other fronts were a shadow of their former glory
taking the best in the stormtroopers had a disastrous effect on the rest of the units ,
without the most committed fighters, surrendering was seen as the most practical course of action
in both army the cynicism and distrust of their own command had reached critical point
the French could hope for victory , for the Germans this hope was long gone
most dispiriting for them was to witness the quality and quantity of food in allied lines comparing to their miserable rations
letters from home , returning wounded highlighted the state of starvation their families endured .

In the Imperial forces ,the Australian had borne a heavy burden, they felt it was more than a fair share
the British had engaged in heavy fighting only for two years ,
while there was some fighting before , pretty much whipping out the professionals ,the conscript army too was not as happy as the press made out
for a detailed study of the condemnation to death and those carried out , per division , per years
Discipline in the BEF : An analysis of executions in British Divisions 1914-1918 | The Western Front Association

it is obvious from the numbers that prolonged fighting would wear out the troops
the saving grace was the tanks , better battle results and the near certainty that the Germans were beaten and war was coming to an end
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
5,876
Spain
Been unable to find good stats on enlistemnt versus conscripts for 1917-1918

Conscription in World War 1
"some 4.9 million men were enlisted in the British army between 1914 and 1918, of whom 2.4 million enlisted prior to the introduction of conscription and 2.5 million after it. It is calculated that only 1.3 million men were actually conscripted."
But Puigsville.. as you well point out.. it is not possible to say who was volunteer or not from 1916.. because the Consciption Act made mandatory the militar service... so we can speak till december 1915. Yes I agree with you till December 1915.
 
May 2011
13,465
Navan, Ireland
But Puigsville.. as you well point out.. it is not possible to say who was volunteer or not from 1916.. because the Consciption Act made mandatory the militar service... so we can speak till december 1915. Yes I agree with you till December 1915.
No , as has been pointed out, the British army was not wiped out in 1916 so the volunteers who joined before conscription continued to serve. Post 1916 people continued to volunteer while others were conscripted , its usually put at around 2/3rds of the British army in 1918 were volunteers.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
5,876
Spain
No , as has been pointed out, the British army was not wiped out in 1916 so the volunteers who joined before conscription continued to serve. Post 1916 people continued to volunteer while others were conscripted , its usually put at around 2/3rds of the British army in 1918 were volunteers.
Yes Kevin.. but how do you know who were volunteer and who were conscript after January 1916 when the act banned the Volunteer character. So I understand if we talk about 1914 -1918... because the volunteers from 1914 and 1915 continued being volunteers 1916-1918.. but all the people joined the Army from 1916.. they were not volunteers (because Act forbade the volunteers). The Medical Services had 6 and then 7 categories:

A: General Service
B1: Abroad (Garrison Service)
B2: Abroad (Labour)
B3: Abroad (Sedentary Work)
C1: At Home (Garrison Service)
C2: At Home (Labour)
C3: At Home (Sedentary Work).

In fact, what I read it is between January to July 1916, only 43.000 recruits were brought to General Service, whilst 93.000 disobeyed and failed to appear when they were called on and 743.587 claimed exemptions in addition to 1.433.827 already starred or badged.

From a psicologic aspect... the 1916 recruit is awful. ."Since volunteering had already taken the cream of the Nation"... Nor the excellent 1914 professional nor the gallantry and idealist 1915 volunteer..1916 is a man or a boy without any interest or motivation for going to the War... In 1914 Summer, War was a kind of violent sport, one anecdote to talk to the grandsons...in 1916 was a a dreadful experience.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
7,801
B


From a psicologic aspect... the 1916 recruit is awful. ."Since volunteering had already taken the cream of the Nation"... Nor the excellent 1914 professional nor the gallantry and idealist 1915 volunteer..1916 is a man or a boy without any interest or motivation for going to the War... In 1914 Summer, War was a kind of violent sport, one anecdote to talk to the grandsons...in 1916 was a a dreadful experience.
and compared to any other army that was always relying on conscripts?
 

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