It's the Holiday Season!

A Merry Christmas and Happy 2018 to all of our readers. On behalf of all our editorial team, let me share an old Irish blessing with you:

May your days be many and your troubles be few. May all God's blessings descend upon you. May peace be within you may your heart be strong. May you find what you're seeking wherever you roam. MH

Presenting the 132nd Issue of Our
Monthly Magazine of the First World War
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Images of the Great War: America Crosses the Atlantic

How Fast the American Soldiers March,
Lucien Jonas (French, 1880-1947)

   National WWI Museum & Memorial
Kansas City, MO
Now thru 13 May 2018
Details: HERE

Click on the Image to Visit Our Daily Blog.

Poster of the Month

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

The Great War & the Middle East

Since we are covering an event from the Middle East in our "100 Years Ago" feature below. I thought we could share some of the excellent Internet sources covering that area that I've come across over the years.

The Sykes-Picot Agreement: 1916

The Balfour Declaration: 1917

The Ottoman Empire in World War I: A Rational Disaster (PDF)

Ten Things to Remember About the Arab Revolt

Gertrude Bell: Shaper of the Modern Middle East

Allenby's Operations (PDF)

The Postwar League of Nations Mandate System for the Middle East

Can You Name This WWI Veteran?
Win a Free Issue of OVER THE TOP!

Hint: One of the best U.S. generals you've probably never heard of.

If you can name this World War I veteran, we will send you a free issue of our monthly subscription magazine, OVER THE TOP. Email your answers HERE.

At Night in No-Man's-Land

These moments of nocturnal prowling leave an indelible impression. Eyes and ears are tensed to the maximum, the rustling approach of strange feet in the tall grass in an unutterably menacing thing. Your breath comes in shallow bursts; you have to force yourself to stifle any panting or wheezing.

Ernst Jünger
Storm of Steel, 1920

U.S. Centennial Organizations & Resources

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The Centennial Ticker

9 November 2017, Pershing Square, Washington, DC

Ground Broken for the
National World War I Memorial

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking for America's World War I Memorial on Thursday, 9 November 2017 at the memorial's site, Pershing Park.

Featured speakers for the event included U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley, Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, memorial architect Joseph Weishaar, and Centennial Commission chairman Terry Hamby. For the ceremonial groundbreaking, the keynote speakers used presentation shovels to turn soil that came to the ceremony from the Meuse-Argonne battlefield in France. Meuse-Argonne was the site of the largest military battle in the history of the United States military and involved over one million service-members, killing 26,000 Americans.

The event was ceremonial in nature, designed to bring together the Centennial Commission’s partners and supporters. The memorial has been granted unanimous design-concept approval by the regulatory agencies, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, the U.S. National Park Service, and the National Capital Planning Commission. However, the development process is still under way, and the Centennial Commission continues to work closely with those agencies to develop the final architecture for the site.

Model of Sculptor Sabin Howard's Centerpiece for the Memorial

The Centennial Commission used the event to announce that they had received leadership gifts from two of America’s leading veteran service organizations, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Each of the organizations made donations in the amount of $300,000, to be used for the creation of the new national-level memorial. Speaking of the Centennial Commission efforts, Secretary Shulkin said “Our duty as citizens of a free country is to remember our Veterans to honor them every day. Americans benefit from veterans’ service, so all have a role in building this monument to memorialize those who served in World War I. We honor them so Americans serving today know that they, too, will be remembered and cared for in the years after.”

Officials Turning Over Dirt from the Argonne Forest

Chairman Hamby agreed, "It has been a tragedy that the millions of veterans of the Great War have not been memorialized in the nation’s capital. Today, this ceremonial groundbreaking service starts the process of erecting a memorial, here in Pershing Park, alongside their leader. With this ceremony, our nation starts the process of keeping faith with our veterans of World War I." The event was a flourish of sights and sounds. Participants included a host of U.S. Military Academy cadets, the Pershing Rifles Group, and the U.S. Army Band's "Pershing's Own" Brass Quintet, and over a dozen World War I living-history reenactors.

Support Needed for Two Worthy Centennial Efforts

The USS Texas Is Taking On Water and Listing! Help Right Her!

The Sad State of the Last WWI Battleship

Things are not going well for our friends who care for the only surviving WWI-era Navy battleship, the USS Texas. They need our help. The museum ship, located at La Porte, TX, discovered a significant hull leak earlier this year, which created a list to the ship. They tried to patch the leak but found that the hull structure was seriously compromised and would require extensive repair work. Unfortunately, there is no way to permanently fix these leaks without getting the ship out of the water into a dry berth or dry dock. The dry berth solution is currently unfunded, and the Battleship Texas Foundation is working in conjunction with Texas Parks and Wildlife to try to raise those funds. (See below for details on the fundraising.) The team recently started a petition to the Texas state government to provide funds to save the ship. The petition can be found here:

Please sign up to support the preservation of this national treasure.

USS Texas Passing the Panama Canal, 1919

No Complete Roster of Americans Who Fell in WWI Exists!

San Antonio-based author and World War One historian Scott R. Schoner is working to correct this. He is completing a 20-year project that will honor the men and women of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. This listing of the 80,000+/- overseas war dead will span three volumes and will be the first comprehensive record of its kind ever published. Previously prepared typewritten lists by the U.S. Army following the war were never published, and these lists also omit the sacrifices of the nearly 3,000 U.S. Marines who died in service in the 4th Marine Brigade, fighting alongside their Army compatriots. Schoner’s work will finally publish the names, units, and dates of death of all known fatalities of the AEF.

With the centennial upon us, Scott is trying to get this work into print and has launched a Kickstarter campaign to get some funding help. Below is a link. Please consider making a contribution to make this invaluable work available to research facilities and the American public.

December 1917
Allenby Takes Jerusalem

Field Marshal Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby

General Allenby was 56 years old when he took command of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) in June 1917. Little of his work on the Western Front would suggest he would prove a master of desert warfare. Within days of arriving in Palestine, the new commander of the EEF would dispel any misgivings regarding his capacity for independent command. As Australian Sir Henry George Chauvel, commander of the Desert Mounted Corps (DMC), described the EEF's change in command climate: "Allenby went through the hot, dusty camps of his army like a strong, fresh, reviving wind." He saw his mission as one of clearing Palestine of any Ottoman forces. After organizing his forces, he was ready to mount offensive operations in the fall.

The Third Battle of Gaza (31 Oct–7 Nov) exhibited Allenby's talent for orchestrating a combined arms operation while concurrently managing the problems of transport, supply, and deception. The battle had not been without lessons. Chauvel's Desert Mounted Corps suffered a number of casualties from German aircraft, revealing the vulnerability of exposed troops in a desert environment. The rough terrain east of Gaza proved difficult for both the mounted units and their supporting logistical assets. Allenby gave little pause and pursued the Turks northward as they retreated toward Junction Station (See map below.) Commanding the skies and bombing and strafing retreating columns almost at will, aircraft from the RFC made the pursuit a harrowing experience for the enemy. By 14 November, Allenby occupied Junction Station and effectively split the Turkish forces in half.

Map of the Sector

The first step in clearing Palestine was dislodging the Ottoman forces from their Gaza defenses. The stronghold had thus far proved impregnable to British assault and had cost his predecessor, General Archibald Murray, his job. Allenby's plan called for an infantry demonstration in front of Gaza, to include heavy artillery bombardments and naval gun support. Meanwhile, elements from two corps would secretly concentrate opposite the Turkish left at Beersheba, assault the garrison, and capture the water supplies. Once complete, the striking force of some 40,000 troops would roll up the Turkish left flank and intercept any retreating forces from Gaza.

The Third Battle of Gaza exhibited Allenby's talent for orchestrating a combined arms operation while concurrently managing the problems of transport, supply, and deception. By 5 November, the evacuation of Gaza began in earnest. Allenby gave little pause and pursued the Turks northward as they retreated toward Junction Station. Commanding the skies and bombing and strafing retreating columns almost at will, aircraft from the RFC made the pursuit a harrowing experience for the enemy. By 14 November, Allenby occupied Junction Station and effectively split the Turkish forces in half.

Jerusalem Welcoming Its Conqueror at the Jaffa Gate
(This Depiction Is Grander Than the Actual Event)

With the Turkish Seventh and Eighth Armies isolated from one another, Allenby next set his sights on Jerusalem, which Lloyd George had ordered taken by Christmas. Moving as rapidly as supply lines would allow, the EEF made good progress against a stiffening Turkish defense. Counterattacks increased in number and intensity. As one commentator noted, "The Turkish troops fought with a remarkable gallantry and succeeded at some points in gaining a footing in the outer line of the British defenses." By 8 December the Ottoman lines began to crack and, on the next day, they withdrew northward. On 11 December 1917 Allenby made his formal entry into the city–the first Christian leader to do so since 1187. He was ordered not to make a spectacle of his arrival as the Kaiser had in 1898, but it was a dramatic moment, nevertheless.

German military advisor General Kress von Kressenstein later wrote: "From a purely military point of view, the loss of Jerusalem was of no importance, but the moral effect of its capture, after having been in Turkish hands for 700 years . . . was a severe blow to the prestige of the Caliphate and of Turkey." Events on the Western Front, however, would slow down Allenby's advance in the spring of 1918. The German offensives on the Western Front would draw off a number of his best units. It would not be until later in the year that he could restart his drive to defeat the Turks, which he would do so brilliantly.

Sources: Over the Top, July & August 2010

Our 2018 Centennial Battlefield Tours


The Kaiser's Offensives &
the British Army's 100 Days

6 – 14 May 2018: Study of Germany's Last Effort to Win the War and the British Victory Offensive.

Includes: German advances in the Somme, Flanders, and the Marne Sectors, the Black Day of the German Army, the St. Quentin Canal, and the pursuit to Mons.

Reduced Price — $3,450 (dbl occupancy, sgl supp avail)

The full brochure covering the trip and registration details can now be downloaded


AEF: Pershing's Doughboys Centennial
Now Fully Booked – Waiting List Only

7 – 17 August 2018: Comprehensive Study of the American Expeditionary Force

Includes: All major battles, memorials, cemeteries, and service sites of your family members.

Price — $3,750 (dbl occupancy, sgl supp avail)

The full brochure covering the trip and registration details can now be downloaded

Click on Title to Access Story
"Extraordinary Scenes": Recently Discovered Account of the Christmas Truce

France names 2018 'Year Clemenceau' for close of WW1 Centenary

Ireland and the AEF

The Fates of 200,000 Chinese Workers in Russia in WWI

How WWI Ushered in the Century of Oil

The Garden Slugs That Protected the Doughboys

The Troubles of the Boston Symphony's German Conductor

One Week in 1917 for Australia at War

American Uniforms in WWI

100 years On, the Balfour Declaration and the Great War

Thanks to each and every one of you who has contributed material for this issue. Until our next issue, your editor, Mike Hanlon.
(Or send it to a friend)

Design by Shannon Niel
Content © Michael E. Hanlon