Wednesday, May 7, 2008

1916. Society (1)

1916. The Great War in Europe takes a heavy toll, the United States remains neutral while chasing Mexican bandit Pancho Villa, the Irish rise against the British in a great Easter rebellion.

1916. Pancho Villa has raided Columbus, N. Mex., March 9, killing 17 Americans, and a U.S. punitive expedition has moved into Mexico under the command of Gen. John J. Pershing, who is unable to catch him.

1916. Ireland's Easter rebellion beginning April 24 lasts a week but has little popular support. Some 2,000 rebels rise at Dublin, police arrest the rebel leaders. People hiss them but they become martyrs when convicted of treason and hanged August 3.

1916. The Battle of the Somme from July to mid-November is the bloodiest battle in history and follows the largest artillery barrage in history. 1,437 British guns rain 1.5 million shells on the enemy along an 18-mile front. The Allied armies lose 794,000 men, the Central Powers lose 538,888. The Allies drive the Germans back no more than 7 miles at any point, and the Germans will regain most of the lost ground in 1918.

1916. Commander-in-chief of British forces Gen. Douglas Haig is found to have said at a War Council April 14 of last year, "The machine gun is a much overrated weapon; two per battalion is more than sufficient." Like other top officers, Haig does not visit the front liens, saying he considers it his duty not to let the sight of wounded men affect his judgment.

1916. The first tanks to be used in warfare go into action September 15 in the Battle of the Somme. British writer and Boer War veteran Ernest Dunlap Swinton has invented the machines.

To be continued.

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