The End Of Passchendaele – Fighting in Petrograd I THE GREAT WAR Week 173


Your country has just been shaken by revolution,
but you wish to fight back. But the army isn’t there, the navy that
is there has joined the revolution, so what do you do? In Russia, you send in the teenagers. I’m Indy Neidell; welcome to the Great War. Last week saw the second Russian Revolution
of the year, as the Bolsheviks took control of Petrograd. The British army advanced in Palestine, the
Germans and Austrians in Italy, and the Canadians took Passchendaele in Belgium. Here’s what followed. The Italians had retreated and regrouped behind
the Piave River. Now, that river begins in the Carnic Mountains,
flows east of the Dolomites and the Asiago Plateau and then into the Adriatic around
35 km from Venice. In some places, it’s more than 1.5km wide. The Italian 3rd Army, led by the Duke of Aosta,
was in good order still. The 2nd army, though, had pretty much ceased
to exist the past two weeks; it’s men becoming either casualties, prisoners, or deserters. And just about all of its equipment was now
in the hands of the Austro-Hungarian army. The 1st and 4th Italian armies were still
in reasonable shape, and though the Austrians made huge efforts this week to force the Piave
Lines and take Venice, the Italians held, and Allied reinforcements were arriving daily. This battle – the Battle of Caporetto – will
not be officially over for over another few days, but in the book “Caporetto and the
Isonzo Campaign”, the final Italian numbers ended up like this: 280,000 men were taken
prisoners and another 350,000 deserted their posts. However, the casualty numbers are far smaller
– 30,000 wounded and 10,000 killed – this is because they were routed and fled, they
weren’t fighting for the most part. They also lost over 3,000 artillery pieces
and 3,000 machine guns. There were also now 400,000 refugees from
the lost territory. However, you might not think it, but the morale
of the Italian people and army actually ROSE after Caporetto, according to author John
McDonald, as the Italians were now fighting for their homeland, and not for conquest,
and the new army Chief of Staff Armando Diaz proved far more popular than his predecessor
Luigi Cadorna. One advance that continued this week, though,
was the British advance in Palestine. On the 10th, they occupied Medschdel. On the 11th, new Ottoman defense lines were
organized for Jerusalem and Hebron. On the 14th, the British reach the Jerusalem
railway. On the 16th, New Zealand forces enter Jaffa,
it will fall the following day (Gilbert). Now, the British War Cabinet was a bit leery
when receiving almost daily telegrams about advances; they warned General Edmund Allenby
not to outpace his supply lines and end up in the same disaster that happened at Kut
after the advance on Baghdad. Still, by week’s end, ANZAC troops occupied
Ramleh and Lydda. Lydda had been the crusader town St. George
de Lydde, which was the home of St. George the dragon slayer that the British had brought
home as their patron saint hundreds of years before (Gilbert). Another British army campaign was ending this
week, though, the Battle of Passchendaele. It ended the 10th as the Canadians consolidated
the ground they took last week. There are different estimates of the casualties
in various sources, but Martin Gilbert says that since the battle began July 31st, Allied
forces had gained 7km of ground with 62,000 dead and another 164,000 injured. The Germans had 83,000 dead and as many as
250,000 wounded. They’d also lost 26,000 men captured. The British Official History has the German
losses as being near 400,000, but many historians think that is a big overestimation, but at
a minimum, you’re looking at half a million casualties total for both sides in just over
three months. British Prime Minister David Lloyd George
said to the Supreme war Council, “We have won great victories. When I look at the appalling casualty lists,
I sometimes wish it had not been necessary to win so many.” But his enemies were far from finished, and
were making battle plans of their own. This week, on the 11th, German army Chief
of Staff Paul von Hindenburg decided to launch an all or nothing offensive in the west in
the coming year. This was based on what you could call Bruchmüller’s
verified experiment. At Riga, just recently, Bruchmüller’s artillery
had fired without preliminary registration fire, relying on mathematical aiming, and
thus, not giving away their own positions until the moment of attack, and had created
a breakthrough opportunity for the infantry assault to exploit. The guns could even be pre-registered beforehand
at specially constructed firing ranges, “…producing data of each gun’s variance from a theoretical
norm which, when combined with detailed meteorological allowance for barometric pressure and wind
speed and direction, would insure, as far as was humanly possible, that all would hit
their designated targets, whether enemy trenches or battery positions.” (Keegan) They would also mix explosive shells
with a variety of gas shells – tear gas, asphyxiating phosgene gas – that in combination would defeat
the enemy gas masks, since tear gas and other lachrymatory gases was designed to make you
take off your gas mask in a reflex action. The plans would develop all winter. And a developing story right now was Russia’s
October Revolution. Now, as the week began, ousted Prime Minister
and Minister of War Alexander Kerensky had not been seen for a couple of days, but rumors
began to circulate that he was on his way to Petrograd with the Cossacks and would be
there by the 11th to take back the city from the Bolsheviks. Moderates on the left had established a “Committee
for Salvation of Country and Revolution” to rally the anti-Bolshevik forces and ensure
that a legitimate government would be voted into power by the Constituent Assembly promised
for November. Encouraged by the prospect of Kerensky’s
arrival, they called on the officer cadets to act. The cadets, just 15 and 16 years old, seized
several buildings on the 11th, and engaged in skirmishes with Red Guards throughout the
city and were soon under siege at two of their bases, the Alexandrovsky Military Academy
and the Vladimirsky Military School. At Vladimirsky the Red Guards brought up field
guns and blew holes in the building until the cadets raised a white flag. Some of the cadets were beaten and bayoneted
to death, but most were taken away as prisoners. The building was nearly reduced to rubble. At Alexandrovsky, some cadets hid in the huge
woodpiles out front, stacked up for winter. “Routed out, they climbed to the top and
fired into the ranks of the Bolsheviks in a last desperate attempt to check their advance. Hopelessly outnumbered, they fought on until
their ammunition gave out, then stood… waiting for death. It was horrible to watch the Bolsheviks playing
with them as a cat plays with a mouse, prolonging the moment of suspense, carefully singling
out their living targets, till they had shot them all down, one by one.” That was written by Countess Nositz. Apparently, the bodies remained there for
days. Now, those inside the academy surrendered,
but many had their hands tied and were then executed from behind. For the next few days, any cadets found on
the streets were murdered by Kronstadt Sailors and Red Guards. And where was Kerensky in all this? Well, he had rallied support from 18 companies
of Cossacks under General Krasnov, yes, and marched on Tsarskoe Selo, yes, but Krasnov
pulled back rather than sacrifice 1,200 men to the 50,000 odd Bolsheviks being raised
against them. So by the 15th, Kerensky had fled; his departure
meant the final fall of the Provisional Government. And another government fell this week. In France, that of Prime Minister Paul Painlevé
resigned after a vote of no confidence. Georges Clemenceau will be the new PM. And the week ends, as does the Battles of
Passchendaele and Caporetto. The British still advance in Palestine, though,
and the Bolsheviks begin to consolidate power in Russia. I want to say a few words about Passchendaele
to end today. It is remembered by many as a place of murder,
where countless men died in a futile battle, and it’s hard to deny that the gains were
not worth the costs, but the thing is – the objectives of the offensive, to clear the
Belgian coast, to put pressure on the Germans while the French army was in disarray early
in the summer, to take the high ground, and maybe even achieve a breakthrough, were valid
objectives, and even though only a few objectives were achieved isn’t necessarily a reason
for not having tried, and of course reducing the German strength and taking Passchendaele
Ridge are certainly plusses. Had Sir Douglas Haig stopped the offensive
after, say, Broodseinde at the beginning of October, his reputation today would be less
damaged, yet Robin Neillands argues in “The Great War Generals on the Western Front”,
that though the battle was begun too late in the year, though it suffered from delays
between its phases, though the troops at times were seriously unlucky with the weather during
their attacks – there were long dry periods when the offensives succeeded, but the rains
seemed to always come at crucial phases for the British- knowing this all NOW, sure, it’s
easy to say that the attack should have been called off after Broodseinde, but Neillands
says, and I quote, “…such a halt would have left the British armies in an untenable
position for the winter, particularly on the 5th Army front where the ground… would soon
become a morass. When you cannot stay where you are, and do
not wish to fall back, the only alternative is to push on – and pushing on would at least
kill a lot of Germans.” If you want to know more about the Hindenburg
Line Defense System that was seriously challenged during the Battle of Passchendaele, check
out our episode about it right here. Our Patreons supporter of the week is Guilhermo
Pereira – your support on Patreon means we can invest in better maps and animations. If you want to see more of them, consider
supporting us on Patreon. Don’t forget to subscribe, see you next

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76 thoughts on “The End Of Passchendaele – Fighting in Petrograd I THE GREAT WAR Week 173”

  1. Thomas Di Marco says:

    I live in milan, no news about our troops at caporetto such a shame…

  2. HardWankinMan says:

    please talk about D'Annunzio!

  3. patrick Katalenas says:

    man, i'm hating the communists more and more.

  4. ahmad mahamad says:

    Hello Indy and crew,can you talk about prototype German tanks during the war? i hope you add this in out of the trenches please

  5. KaKeX says:

    Finnish during WW1 (im finnish so i know and its pretty interesting)

  6. Bob McFishkens says:

    What are y'all going to do when the war ends?

  7. Kaptain Eik says:

    "On the 16th, New Zealand forces entered Jaffa". Indeed

  8. Za Meme Connoisseur says:

    Cadorna and Diaz died in the same year. Odd.

  9. thicc boye says:

    could you do a video about the finnish civil war on 06.12.17?

  10. Buster says:

    I joined late and have spent the past 6 weeks binging all 478 previous videos, I am now finally caught up and thoroughly satisfied. Thanks for making such a great channel.

  11. kkb faker says:

    Das interessiert mich jetzt wirklich wer vermisst auch die deutsche Version da von

  12. Mister Brick says:

    Finally, Clemenceau the old tiger enters the game 😀

  13. flint the kaka harris says:

    Smash Bolsivism World Wide!!!!

  14. Edward Tonkin says:

    St George is the patron saint of England, not all of Britain. (St David in Wales, and St Andrew in Scotland).

  15. Rico Man says:

    Those are some brave boys

  16. Saul says:

    Love the new map

  17. KaiserVenom says:

    Did you ever hear the tragedy of Darth Hotzendorf The Austrian Chief of Staff? I thought not. It’s not a story the Serbians would tell you. It’s a Central Powers legend. Darth Hotzendorf was a Field Marshall of the Austrians, so powerful and so wise he could use the Russians to influence the Serbians to create world wars… He had such a knowledge of war that he could even keep the Austrians he cared about from winning. The dark side of Austria is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural. He became so powerful… the only thing he was afraid of was losing his power, which eventually, of course, he did. Unfortunately, he taught Franz Josef I everything he knew, then Kaiser Karl I dismissed him in his sleep. Ironic. He could invade Russia, but Serbia.

  18. Luka Mesarovic says:

    Will you do kolubarska battle?

  19. The Crazy Old Coot says:

    Do I hear the rumble of tanks in the background?

  20. Matthew Arenson says:

    I'm guessing next week Cambrai

  21. Noah got lego says:

    What will happen to the Channel in fall 2018 ?

  22. Anthony Meyers says:

    Was there a cease fire on the Eastern front during the "October" revolution? Were there still fighting on the Romanian and ottoman fronts?

  23. Shirley Gwillim says:

    St George is England's patron saint not Britain's.

  24. anarky4321 says:

    this war is really starting to drag on

  25. Mahesvara says:

    A testimony from an aristocrat is not exactly the one I would have chosen for events in Petrograd. Kinda have an obvious bias.

  26. Frist Name Last Name says:

    Still waiting for that calvary brake through…Any day now…anyday.

  27. Follower of Saints says:

    Did I hear someone say revolution!?

  28. Nathan Morgan says:

    Can u please talk about Ireland during the war ??

  29. Urinal Septim says:

    If you look up Indiana Neidell on google, one of the things google says people also search for is Conrad Von Hotzendorf

  30. Ratty says:

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.

    Always remember

  31. J A says:

    Indy is in battlefront 2! Congrats

  32. The Nothing Nobody says:

    A Vote of No Confidence? Palpatine is pleased.

  33. Leon Trotsky says:

    Finally caught up to the series

  34. MareTranquil says:

    The Germans lost more than the Allies?

    What happened to the whole "Defense is now king" thing?

  35. Otto Halbhuber says:

    Serbia already surrendered and so why isn't 2/3 of it part of Bulgaria? (Please put this on a out of the trenches)

  36. Gaham Humphrey says:

    Are you guys gonna do the follow up events in Europe after The Great War Ended? I'd love to see you guys covering the Friekorps in the 2020s

  37. lars kuno Andersen says:

    Canada went in with 600.000 men 60.000 never return home. by the enemy they were called stormtroopers and the fact was that every time the British pulled out the Canadians had to take the hole when it went south. Damn the British

  38. Mr. Play&Film says:

    I believe i have a problem, in 1 weekend I started and got caught up with this series. Send help.

  39. D W says:

    You should check the pronunciation of Armando Diaz – as in Italian the letter Z produces a C sound – unless of course he's Spanish.

  40. TOXIN714 says:

    Have you seen the movie Passchendale or hear the song by iron maiden of the same name?

  41. yukikaze says:

    Indy the picture of armored cars in Petrograd are left to right: Mgebrov-renault, Fiat, Austin, Garford piture from a book on Russian armor. Before this there is a picture of people at work the woman in the center is Grand DuchessTatania 2nd daughter of ex Tsar Nicholas II she is wearing a white blouse and sweater. This picture was taken in May 1917 when the Imperial family was planting a garden. Tatania is murdered with the rest of her family.

  42. yukikaze says:

    Countess nolitz was an American woman who married a Russian Count and later wrote a book about her experiences

  43. telsah1 says:

    Awesome video. Always. Awesome channel. Thank you.

  44. David Keane says:

    I swear, he has spent more time in the trenches and still has enthusiasm.. Fair play brother!!

  45. Olga Maria Carcamo says:

    I just realized I want to use your model of narrative but talking about the Spanish civil war. My mind has been blowed.

  46. Shane Wright says:

    Knock Knock
    Who's there
    Cardorna Who?
    Cadorna open, take off the child lock!

  47. sharkfinbite says:

    Was there any land in Italy really worth in much resources, economic potential, and offering a strategic political advantage to Austria-Hungary to waste so much lives to obtain and have if they won the war? To me, I get a feeling if there were any advantages one of the Italian's land had it was not sufficient for Aus.-Hung. to spend all their resources trying to obtain. Was the entire endeavor more worth it to Italy to take lands in Austria instead; or was it the same thing for them as well? (Were the goals they set out to achieve against each other really worth it; or was it just another typical case of people getting all worked up about a political issue than , that was not worth it, and it kept escalating until they lost interest in putting in account of logical thoughts and the cost of it all? )

  48. Lazim says:

    "Send in the teenagers."

  49. A Jim Fan says:

    "I'm ready to fight a war, captain!"
    "Alright, jump in that trench and sit there."

  50. James Mortimer says:

    Oh you have 12000 man… that´s cute

  51. Çağan Gültekin says:

    is hindenburg line sucsseded in the battle of passandale

  52. Joseph Nardone says:

    Really like the series and really like the quoting from the books but, as an Honorably Discharged Veteran of the US Army who enlisted to serve his country, I find it offensive that the historians speak with bravado about war when, probably, they all never served in the military nor saw and experienced actual combat. There is a whole lot more to being a soldier and war than is found in the old war records researched. The history is probably as accurate as can be but it is the commentary without actual experiential knowledge that is unprofessional and offensive.

  53. awesomeguy17ful says:


  54. TheStapleGunKid says:

    Man the battle with the Red Guards and Cadets seems epic. Someone really should make a movie about this.

  55. Austin Worthington says:

    Italian morale rises as Cadorna plummeted

  56. Tyson Lacayo says:

    14 people are retarded

  57. Venge Ance says:

    It is ironic that the communist revolution might not have happened if the Germany did not sponsor it, and if they did not, there might not have been a Soviet Union, and they might not have lost millions of young men fighting those same Soviets…

  58. Amitabha Kusari says:

    7:36 Is that you Indy? What were doing with the Russian Provisional Government?

  59. DCW 87 says:

    When a New Zealand General reached Russia, and was asked, "What are you doing here?". He said, "Don't worry, the Australians and Canadians aren't far behind".

  60. Danny Medina says:

    Friend and foe will meet again, those who died at Passchendaele…

  61. Rangermsg 04 says:

    In soviet russia teenager send you in.

  62. Jason Lee says:

    Vladimirsky sounds like a Russian bro

  63. Christopher Morton says:

    I know Indy a few week back commented that the 75K additional loses in October was an insult to the word "only." I agree!

    That said, it is a reminder that men were dying everyday when things were static. But in war remaining static won't bring victory. If you are not going to settle by diplomacy (and again, should have been earlier this year), then you must "conquer"' a peace. Haig did that, while inflicting more casualties on the Germans (by best estimates, Gilbert's estimates are too low for British, and German ones are hard to determine thanks to different standards, probably 320k). In a war with far more advantage in defense (especially in Flanders). We can jeer Haig all we want but he did cause severe damage to the German Army and gained better positions on the front. It was a victory, and considering what happens in early 1918 with the move of a million men West, may have saved final defeat by May of 1918. Just something to consider.

    Can anyone knowing that atrocious deaths at the hands of the Soviets in the USSR not weep hearing of the October Revolution?

  64. Christopher Morton says:

    Also, thank you Indy for your very balanced final comments on Pashendale. I spend a lot of time defending Haig…can you tell what my current articles I'm writing are focused on. Seeing the need for finding the right ground to winter and damaging Germans as necessary things…appreciate your thoughtful statements. A lot!

    May no other war ever happen that has even the casualties of November at Pashendale.

  65. Kaiser Jackson says:


    -idk, some Russian guy

  66. azenzioanthony says:

    30k subs in 4 days, if we can do this, the war will be won

  67. M.M. Sonmezdag says:

    is this english??

  68. HISTORIAN D says:

    I have a dought who is public in france if more than 60% of voters are in military?.

  69. Andrew Lines says:

    4:58 to 5:16, I understand nothing

  70. patrick murphy says:

    Why did the British keep Haig in command for so long?

  71. Yau Jia Jun says:

    2.30 is that Total War music ? Nice

  72. Swarm Sheppard says:

    The war to end all wars didn't teach humanity anything about the horrifying reality of the nature of industrialized warfare

  73. Ghostrebel017 says:

    What's the price of a mile?

  74. Kurdi Rasan says:

    I have just seen a video in which the producer of the great war talks about what they have done in last 5 years i want to say that i will support this channel with everything i can and please do continue so the great war covers all the 20th century history

  75. Joe Gerhard USA says:

    Rommel shows up and takes almost all of Venetia

  76. maveric619 says:

    Battlefield nothing but a muddy tomb,
    Be reunited with my dead friends soon

  77. Coffee and Chill says:

    How. How. How. How can you lose 600.000 men in 10 days and keep fighting. How

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