The Ostende Raid – Peace of Bucharest I THE GREAT WAR Week 198

What do you do to stop the enemy from sending
his submarines and destroyers at you? You try to destroy his harbors, and how do
you do that? You raid them by night. I’m Indy Neidell; welcome to the Great War. Last week, the Battle of La Lys finished in
Belgium, with the Germans unable to reach their objectives. The British also failed to hold Es Salt in
Palestine. The Americans were now arriving in France
by the hundreds of thousands, but the Supreme War Council could not convince their Commander,
John Pershing, to put them into the lines. The Bonnet Rouge treason trial opened in France
and the Germans established a military dictatorship in Ukraine. Actually, this week in Ukraine, the former
Russian Black Sea fleet arrived at Odessa and surrendered to local authorities, but
there was notable battle action at a port far to the northwest. On the 10th came a British attack on Ostend. The Vindictive was to be filled with concrete
and sunk in the harbor mouth in early morning hours. This was a sequel to last week’s attack
and was meant to sabotage the harbor as a German marine base. The Vindictive left Dover at midnight, escorted
by monitors, destroyers, motor launches, and torpedo boats. A destroyer went ahead to lay the guiding
light buoy. There was no bombardment to ensure surprise
and the monitors anchored in their firing positions at sea. When the Vindictive arrived, the motor launches
built a smoke screen around her. Airmen above awaited the signal to bomb the
town, and the Royal Marine Artillery in Flanders made ready to neutralize the German coastal
artillery. 15 minutes before the Vindictive made the
harbor mouth, two torpedo boats torpedoed the high wooden ends of the pier, destroying
a machine gun nest. This was the attack signal. Everyone opened fire. The Vindictive moved into position but a coastal
fog obscured everything. The Vindictive made three passes by the harbor
entrance before finding it. Under enemy fire, the Commander put her stem
against the eastern pier and tried to swing the stern around so she lay across the channel
at her full length. A screw broke, so this didn’t quite happen,
and the Commander was hit by a shell and killed, along with most of the bridge crew. Still, they blew out the bottom of the ship
and she sank around 200 meters inside the harbor. Or did they? That’s one source. Bryan Perrett wrote that the ship drifted
out of the channel and stuck on a sandbank. The result of this operation still rendered
the harbor unfit for large ships like cruisers, and made it tough for even destroyers or submarines
to use it. Within weeks, though, the Germans had dredged
a channel around the sunken ships from this raid and the one two weeks ago, and the German
subs were back in business. But you know, the original purpose of unrestricted
submarine warfare had been to try to knock Britain out of the war, and that hadn’t
happened. German army Quartermaster General Erich Ludendorff
still thought the defeat of the British was not only possible, but was the key to the
war, and it would happen in Flanders. Operation Georgette though, had brought British
and French reserves in droves up to Flanders, so he needed to draw them away again before
he could deliver his knockout blow. The movement of the French reserves had left
them thinned out in Champagne country, and this was where he would strike. Plans were in the works for further offensives
to begin late in May, with the names Blucher, Goerz, and Yorck. The attacks would be against the French in
the Chemin des Dames region, held by the French since last spring. The enemy was to be pushed back over the Aisne-Marne
Canal, to be pushed across the Vesle, the Germans would take Reims, and a secondary
attack days later would cross the Oise and the lower Ailette. It was an ambitious series of plans, and the
preparations were in full swing. But with the failure of Operations Georgette
and Michael, the Germans were starting to run out of time and resources. In fact, Ludendorff’s situation was now
worse than it had been before Michael in March. He no longer had the army with which he had
begun the year, having taken well over 300,000 casualties in just the past 6 weeks. That’s one out of every ten German soldiers
on the whole Western Front, so yeah, they’d literally been decimated. Over 50,000 of the absolute best troops had
been killed, and there just did not exist replacements of the same quality. A lot of the rest were demoralized, and they
had reason to be, for though they didn’t know the exact numbers, they knew that American
troops were arriving in droves and as the weeks passed those troops were ever more ready
to join the fight in the field. We’ve talked before about the colossal challenge
it was to get an American army ready for war, but I’ll throw out a comparison here just
to give you an idea of what had been accomplished in little more than a single year. When America joined the war, its entire army
was smaller than the casualties the British took at the Somme, or the French at Verdun,
or even the Germans at Verdun. Just saying. Where would the Americans fight, anyhow, once
they did actively join in force? The British held the north and the French
the approaches to Paris, so that pretty much left the East, just south of Verdun. Pershing approved of this , since a breakthrough
that captured Metz could really hurt the Germans, if he could pull it off. He also did not listen to his allies and give
top priority to the skills of trench warfare, and thought the war ahead was a war of movement. Whether or not that would be the case, he
saw skill with the rifle as the key to victory and was kind of blind to the effect of machine
guns on infantry operations. We’ve seen this often so far in the war,
and that is the kind of thing that can come back to haunt you. Anyway, hundreds of thousands of men and millions
of tons of stuff had to be brought in from the French coast. An office was set up in Paris where Chicago
banker Charles Dawes managed and purchased supplies. This was all done day-to-day pretty much on
a wing and a prayer since the magnitude of even the “little” things was staggering. Like to provide telephone set up for the American
Expeditionary Force? Yeah, the Americans installed 22,000 miles
of phone lines, and leased 12,000 more from the French. That’s nearly 50,000 kilometers. Which is 10,000 km more than the entire circumference
of the earth, so there were some logistical issues. And those telephone lines were lit up this
week by news of the ongoing Bonnet Rouge trial. Lieutenant Marchand, an interpreter with the
French army and an expert in German propaganda, testified the 7th against the directors of
the Bonnet Rouge newspaper. He showed the similarity between the Bonnet
Rouge and the Gazette des Ardennes, which is a paper the Germans published in French
in occupied France to dishearten soldiers and the French population. Some of the Gazette articles- which did not
appear in the Bonnet Rouge because of censors- also appeared in a German published paper
in Zurich. Marchand showed that in 15 different press
campaigns, the Bonnet Rouge, the Gazette, and the Zurich paper used the same arguments,
cited the same facts, had the same style of composition, and even made the same errors
in citation. The final phase of the trial is next week,
but things are not looking good for the seven accused. Another paper was in the news this week, though
not a newspaper. On the 7th, the Peace of Bucharest was signed
between Romania and Central Powers. Its Conditions (Chronology):
Immediate demobilization of Romanian army Give Bulgaria back all territory Bulgaria
lost in 1913 treaty after Balkan Wars. Give central powers a strip of land so they
completely control the mouths of the Danube. An army of occupation to remain in Romania
at Romanian expense. This treaty in some ways did to Romania what
the Brest-Litovsk treaty did to Russia. Germany took a majority interest in the Romanian
oil fields, Austria-Hungary was given 24%, and this was under a 99-year lease. And there was some action far to the south,
in German East Africa. Last week, British columns from the coast
and Lake Nyasa force the Germans to River Lurio, with British and Portuguese troops
approaching from the south. The Germans then retreated to Nanungu. Now on the 5th, though, German General Von
Lettow-Vorbeck is defeated at Nanungu by General Northey and driven northeastward with heavy
losses. And the week ends, with a harsh peace for
Romania, logistical nightmares in France, a civilian treason trial continues, Germany
makes plans for yet more offensives, and the British try to stymie the German fleet. Oh, and on May 9th, a German soldier named
Adolf Hitler was awarded a regimental diploma for outstanding bravery. It’s crazy when you stop to think of all
the stuff you have to do in this war other than the actual fighting. Equipping and supplying millions of men just
boggles the mind. 50,000 km of telephone cables? Someone has to put that all up, and connect
everything, and keep track of everyone, and that’s just one logistical issue of hundreds. And millions of men are away from home so
who’s going to do all this? When you think about questions like that you
realize that modern war is all encompassing. If you want to know more about Adolf Hitler
in World War 1, you can check out our episode about that right here. Our Patreon supporter of the week is Fraggle
Wrangler. You have been supporting us on Patreon for
over three years now and we are thankful for every dollar we got. Don’t forget to subscribe and see you next

100 thoughts on “The Ostende Raid – Peace of Bucharest I THE GREAT WAR Week 198

  1. Finally, the OHL is living up to the high standards set forth by Conrad von Cadorna. I'm satisfied.

  2. Indy I watch your videos any chance I get. I was wondering if you can make a video about EVERY type of injury that could be inflicted during combat and how the mdeics dealt with each one. Keep up the vids, peace

  3. Almost perfect prononciation of bonnet rouge, juste don't say the T at the end bonnet (more like bon-a) rouge is like rooj

  4. 7:22 that guy on the bottom left is all like "Ehm, guys, are you seeing this? There's a text just floating up here".

  5. 50 000km of telephone line. If I had to have anything to do with that project as a signaller, I would have just shot myself in the face and called it a day.

  6. Excellent, maybe think of doing for WWII week by week and some specials related to events happening in the week… I realize with this week by week way of doing history that some weeks the situation was quite calm.

  7. In my world history class. We are do our we1 topic. We are watching your vids. And I still keep watch your weekly vids. Ty for make history fun and interesting.

  8. At 3:12, I think we see the inspiration for Space Marine Attack/Assault Bikes in Warhammer 40k. Awesome, even if it is just a method of transporting a machine gun.

  9. What a random comment about that Adolf Hitler
    Who the heck cares? What did he do that was so important?

  10. – "Can there be a peace between us?"
    – "Peace… no peace…"
    – "What do you want us to do?"
    – "Die…… die….!"

    No compromise.
    Next episode: WW3. Coming soon! On all theaters.

  11. Another allied power is out of the war. Germany and Austria-Hungary will be victorious and there will be peace in our time. 😉

  12. I suspect that it might have been a better idea to treat the arriving American troops as reinforcements to be distributed to other units already in place. On the other hand both the English and French have a bad reputation for misusing such foreign reinforcements.

  13. It should be noted that the Peace of Bucharest had not been ratified by the King, who allowed a secret mobilization. Eventually, the lack of a ratification made it easy to renounce it on November 10th.

  14. An interesting thing happened with Lloyd George this week too, a sort of attempted coup. Which no doubt you didn't have time to cover.

  15. "What do you do to stop the enemy from sending his submarines and destroyers at you?" My answer: You don't. You see, 1 person cant stop a fleet, Sir!

  16. So you tell me that the romanians gave a cut out of the oil deals to germany and austria hungary for 99 years???

  17. Hey Indy and crew! I just recently completed a research project on the American 79th Division and its service during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. It also includes more information on the training problems that the AEF faced during the war. Would you be at all interested in taking a look?

  18. You have labelled Nyasaland as Mozambique, but it is in fact Malawi which your map has folded into 'Northern Rhodesia' (modern day Zambia). Are you sure you have the graphics right?

  19. Hey Indy, question for Out of the Trenches. Couldn't you consider Pershing a more strategically sound General than most of the other Supreme Commanders during the War? I mean, yes, "skill with a rifle" didn't hold up much when going toe to toe with German machine guns, but he was one of the only ones who actually preferred a war of motion rather than bogging the enemy down through attrition. And even with the immense casualties wrought by the Meuse-Argonne Offensive there are countless examples of skilled American soldiers taking hundreds of German prisoners (i.e. Alan York). I guess my overall question is, how did Black Jack Pershing hold up in commanding the young American Army in combat, in a war full of veteran European militaries and commanders? Did he bring any new strategic ideas to the table? And how was he viewed among the older Command Staff such as Haig, Clemenceau (think I'm spelling that right), and Petain?

  20. to be fair to the americans, indy keeps saying pershing woudn't let his troops forward, he was insisting they fight as a single ameircan army, the british and the french wanted them interspecred with their formations to make up their losses, easrlier this year british brigades had to be reduced from 4 battallions to three battalions. Pershing saw this as the europeans , having wasted their pwn people wanting to do the same to his.

  21. Any chance of an episode touring the set? I'm curious about all the various artifacts I see every week on/around your desk…

  22. A long time ago (the mid 1960's) I found a book titled "Zeebrugge," which told of the "raid of the blockships" to cut down on U-Boat raids. It was quite a tale of adventure, courage under fire, and posthumous Victoria Crosses.

  23. You have to remember General John Pershing had been told to send his troops into battle UNDER THE UNION JACK.
    To Pershing's credit, he said we are no longer Colonies of the Crown!
    He also was dealing with Senators and Congressman, trying to convince him what State Divisions to throw into the fight.
    Rich States sons would be protected.
    NOT IN PERSHING'S ARMY, thous the forming of the RAINBOW DIVISIONS.
    He often said America's sons are here only to repay Laffiet's contributions to the founding of The United States of America.

  24. What the United States accomplished in a single year from 1917-1918 was nothing short of stupendous. Allied frustrations are comprehensible because of how much is at stake, but the work done to get the US Army from a band of border guards and Indian fighters all the way up to full major power combat readiness in so few months is incredible.

    That said, the time delay had still become unacceptable in a modern warfare situation, which is why the US was much more aggressive at drawing up its forces and preparing for war in WWII

  25. After this war Britain was strongest in Europe and using France,Russia,Portgual,Belgium,Greece,Italy,Romanias,Serbians and Americans as their puppets. They didn't want germany to become to powerful so taking her colonies and if they could they take Big chuck of German land or Austrian land for themselves. They knew if got their way they rule all over Europe,Africa and Middle east with a Iron grip.

  26. With all this going on in the week.. I wonder if peace was still seen as a possibility for British and German. But since its history.. we know it didn't happen.

  27. OMG Indie? What kind of segue is that? How do you go from getting giddy about WW1 logistics to "if you want to learn more about Hitler during the war…"?

  28. As Indy mentions logistics in this episode, I'd love to know more about the enormity of the logistical exercise by all sides.

  29. have been following the show since you appeared on the alternatehistoryhub wayyy back in 2014 great show I've enjoyed it a lot. I have a question for out of the trenches. How did the Germans feel about Americans using shotguns when they went into trenches?

  30. Imagine the logistics of feeding all of those men. Actually crazy the scale of this war

  31. Wait, I wonder when is the war going to end. its been nearly four years since this war started and I remember the soldiers who went off to fight from our neighbourhood. Well looks like these Germans are winning but struggling a bit on the western front. Also Who is Adolf Hitler?? Why did they mention him? He is not like some general or important person. Thats the bit im confused. Anyway i hope this war is going to end and hopefully the men in our area comes back.

  32. I can answer one of the statements Indy made as to the organisation of Logistics for the British Army at least.  The supply and storage of goods and ammunition was through the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) who had a logistics tail leading back to the UK.  The Army Service Corps (ASC, which would get the Royal prefix just after the war to become the RASC) moved the goods by road and full gauge railway.  Light gauge Railways run by the Royal Engineers (RE) took stores (particularly artillery shells) to the front along with the RASC.  Pioneer battalions or work details from a unit in the trenches would distribute within the trenches.The RE also supplied the Signal Service which would become the Royal Signals in 1920, who did the telegraphy and telephony.Catering was done at Regimental level, with the Army Catering Corps not being formed until 1941, drawing supplies from the RAOC, carried by the ASC.  The RAOC also carried out local purchase of bulk food items.The RE (Postal Section) carried out the postal duties.All of these services, bar the Royal Signals, as of 1994 became part of the Royal Logistics Corps.

  33. You should all come to Liverpool, England in early October, we've got the giant puppets that did a ww1 special event back in 2014 coming over again, potentially for the last time! There's also a fair amount of WW1 stuff over and near here too!

  34. Only a few months left… I will miss this channel. I hope we'll see you again in 21 years for the sequel. 😉

  35. Lol, 'there were a few logistical issues', I thought it was the British who were supposed to be the masters of understatement! That is a classic.

    The US did pull off a remarkable feat, however, there are caveats, training in the US was… spotty. This is not to denigrate the US by the way, expanding your army to the point where your officer corps alone was more than double the size of your peace time army is going to have repercussions on training! This excellent lecture should give an idea of the challenges they faced, and their failures as well as their successes….

    It is a lecture given by Dr Shawn Faulkner, a former US Army officer and one of the leading experts of the US experience of WWI. He also gave an excellent lecture that highlights the problems of offensive battles in the Great War, you can find it here:

  36. Concerning logistics, that's why operational research was invented during WWII and has become most important in many fields.

  37. I watched a documentary on Waterloo and I saw around 10 easy victory's for the French. I learned all this from watching The Great War

  38. Where do you find the men to operate all those telephone exchanges? "Hello Girls!"

  39. Who can blame Pershing? A commander who refuses to use his troops as cannon fodder, but instead seeks to give them a serious fighting chance? What continent was THAT guy from??

  40. My great great grandfather was a major in the Romanian Army and died I think when the Romanians where retreating to Moldova.

  41. Romania seems like it got screwed by the War so far, but don't worry, they'll turn out okay by November.

  42. Between Brest-Littovsk, Bucharest, and the recent German offensives (mixed bag though they be), I can't say I blame the British and French for getting on the Americans' backs. "We're not doing too well over here, guys, can you maybe step it up a little?"

  43. Both Russia and Romania got horrible treaties from Germany, however it is the treaty of Versailles that gets the bad review.

  44. No offense I love you guys but I think your running out of ideas lol maybe start talking about ww2

  45. The U.S went into the war with a 1914 mentality and refused to listen to the opinions of more experienced armies.

  46. I can remember reading that there was an assumption in Europe that the American Army had to be much bigger then it actually was at the start of WW1 for it to control so much territory. If so, then it is understandable why everyone would assume the USA would be able to deploy a trained army faster then it actually did.

  47. Hundreds of people were awarded medals for outstanding bravery. What makes this 'Adolf Hitler' guy so special?

  48. I've finally caught up with everyone after 11 weeks of binge watching. Looking forward to the new episode tomorrow!

  49. The Peace of Bucharest was not legal. All treaties must be signed by the king in order to be valid. The Romanian king refused to sign the peace treaty, so Romania was very much at war.

  50. R A P E T H E M B Y N I G H T

    What's that? Raid? Ah.. Bugger. Someone get Nigel on the wireless before we have an international 'Oscar Wilde' on our hands.

  51. Everyone bouncing around about hilter but I was like, omg,THE CHARLES DAWES. Son of Rufus Dawes and 30th Vice President!

  52. Beeing Jewish is pretty stupid, but by far not as stupid as beeing katholic. As katholic you can rape, murder,… as soon as you convince, you are forgiven. Doesn't mather if you raped children, as soon as you confess, you are forgiven.

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