papalagi (papalagi) wrote,

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (30 ноя 1874 - 24 янв 1965) The World Crisis Part II 1915

To All Who Tried



On June 18, I completed the following further general memorandum for the Cabinet. I endeavoured in this to show the relation which the attack on the Dardanelles took to the whole field of the war.



On May 9 General Joffre began his long-promised offensive in the Arras sector; 1,400 guns and 20 divisions were employed. He had limitless quantities of high-explosive shell. He had the loyal co-operation of the British on his left. After a month the French state that along their whole line, but principally in the Arras sector, they have lost 220,000 men. The British in the fighting around Ypres (the salient of which has been held as an aid to the French offensive) and in the attacks on the Aubers Ridge and towards La Bassée, have lost since April 22 4,000 officers and 96,000 men (exclusive of the most recent actions). The results are that the French have gained 1½ miles on a front of about 5, and the British have gained, in face of La Bassée, less than half the ground they have lost around Ypres. Out of approximately 19,500 square miles of France and Belgium in German hands we have recovered about 8.

All this hard and fruitless fighting would be tolerable if the German losses had been equal to our own. Unfortunately there are no reasons for such an assumption. It may be doubted whether the German losses in May and June in the western theatre are a third of the Anglo-French total. The enemy has been very silent about the fighting on this side and has proclaimed no triumph. It may be that he fears we shall desist from efforts which it is to his advantage we should continue, while he wins remarkable victories in the East.

We are therefore in the unsatisfactory position of having lost our ground before the defensive under modern conditions was understood, and having to retake it when the defensive has been developed into a fine art.

Even if we had had more troops ready, or had sent to France all those now employed at the Dardanelles, the numbers would not have been sufficient to effect a decisive change in the situation, or, indeed, to do more than produce casualties over a larger area. Numbers after a certain point do not count towards the solution of the problem in the western theatre.

The absence of any satisfactory method cannot be supplied by the bare breasts of gallant men.

Russia, then, alone offers the means of providing the Allies with the very large numerical preponderance which they will require to wear down the armies of the Central Powers. To acquire influence over Russia, to organize and equip her is the most important need. By May, 1916, Russia ought to have between 3,000,000 and 4,000,000 men in the line.

To acquire influence over Russia, to organize and equip her...

However these vast problems are approached, the dominant needs emerge in clear sequence.

First, to re-equip Russia for 1916.

Secondly, to rally the Balkan States against Austria and Turkey, thus forcing the Central Powers to bleed along a new front, and at the same time protecting Italy.

Thirdly, to nurse France through the winter.

But in order that a voice may be heard amid the indistinct murmurings or unconvincing assertions of the various Governments, it is necessary that one of the Powers should speak, not only with the consciousness of a clear policy, but with the indispensable prestige of victory. It is open to Great Britain now to take the necessary lead in the Allied Councils. She commands the sea. In that respect her primary weapon has vindicated itself even more decisively than the German army. She wields the power of the purse. She is becoming an important arsenal of munitions. Her military strength, which has for some months been respectable, is growing substantially. She only requires victory to give her the ascendancy without which no good common action is to be expected.

forcing the Central Powers to bleed along a new front...

She wields the power of the purse...

She only requires victory to give her the ascendancy...

W. S. C.

June 18, 1915.



The weight of field-gun ammunition available to prepare and support the British assaults in any of these battles on the Peninsula never exceeded 150 tons. For the purpose of judging the scale of the artillery preparation, this may be compared with over 1,300 tons fired in the first two days of the battle of Loos at the end of September in the same year; and with upwards of 25,000 tons often fired in two days during the August offensive of 1918. The rifle and machine-gun fire of the defence on each occasion remained a constant factor.

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