John Hill, Supervisor of Military Programs for Colonial Williamsburg, lays this one to rest. “I have heard many reenactors note the need for two opposing teeth as part of their musket-firing …
Originally posted on History Extra.
1) France had more tanks, guns and men than Germany in 1940
It is always assumed that during the Second World War the Germans bludgeoned their way to victory with a highly modern and mechanised army and Air Force that was superior to anything the Allies could muster in May 1940. The reality was very different.
On 10 May 1940, when the Germans attacked, only 16 of their 135 divisions were mechanised – that is, equipped with motorised transport. The rest depended on horses and cart or feet. France alone had 117 divisions.
France also had more guns: Germany had 7,378 artillery pieces and France 10,700. It didn’t stop there: the Germans could muster 2,439 tanks while the French had 3,254, most of which were bigger, better armed and armoured than the German panzers.
2) The priority for manpower in the UK is surprising
Britain had decided before the war began that it would make air and naval power the focus of its fighting capability, and it was only after the fall of France that British powers realised that the Army would have to grow substantially too.
However, right up until the spring of 1944, the priority for manpower in the UK was not the navy, RAF, army, or even the merchant navy, but the Ministry of Aircraft Production. In the war, Britain alone built 132,500 aircraft, a staggering achievement – especially when considering that Fighter Command in the battle of Britain never had more than…
Soldiering On – Jez Colborne
Learning-disabled people don’t go to war. Not officially anyway. Not nowadays. They are the ones left behind. Composer and musician Jez Colborne is seduced by the pomp and ceremony surrounding war: the camaraderie, the camouflage, the marching bands and parades. The only thing he doesn’t like is the killing. In collaboration with Mind the Gap this pop-music style video features an original song composed and performed by Jez, set in and old cinema playing silent films from WW1. It explores the contradiction between Jez’s desire to be part of an experience he is locked out of… and his horror at the brutal reality of war.
Resemblance – Claire Cunningham
A solo performance created around the act of assembling (and disassembling) a crutch in the manner of a soldier assembling his gun. Enacting a ritual that mirrors the act of creating a weapon of destruction, when actually creating an object of support. Looking at the balance between creation and destruction, supply and demand and human and object, the film also acknowledges and honours the role of women munitions workers in WW1, and question the preconceptions we make about objects and their ‘users’, or indeed their ‘makers’.
See more: 14-18-NOW