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View Full Version : Help I need a historian-WW1



emmyshimmy
07-26-2011, 05:52 AM
Oh the irony I have a double major in history and anthropology, but I studied Asia instead of Europe :(

My problem is this I have a MC (British) who has marched his jolly butt all the way across France just to be ambushed by the Hun. He is wounded and crawling over his dead buddies back up the road hoping to get to ____ where he can find medical help and be sent back to England. I don't know where to send him. I know Paris was useless later in the war, but this is early enough that the Germans have gained ground and before the Yanks got involved. Can anyone help?

Snick
07-26-2011, 06:54 AM
Positions were very different in the Fall of 1914 from where they were in the Summer of 1917. I believe that the British were on different parts of the front during different phases of the War. Exactly when is this set? While the lines didn't move fast, the War. Decide the time, then look up the position of the front and the positions of the British sector.

pdr
07-26-2011, 08:14 AM
British, it's British not English.

Right, before anyone can help you we need to know the year and the month so we can tell you who was where and doing what since a lot of the war in France was fairly immobile in trenches.

Also what rank does this poor Tommy have and what regiment is he in?

There were field hospitals behind the lines and Quaker and pacifist ambulance services right at the front to take men to the field hospital.

reiver33
07-26-2011, 09:28 AM
About the only situation I can think of when the British could have been ambushed by the Germans, unless you're talking about a purely tactical affair, would be in 1914.

The BEF (British Expeditionary Force) advanced into Belgium, this being why we were there (to protect their sovereignty) and then had to conduct a fighting retreat in the face of overwhelming odds. It was more a case of us plucky Brits rapping the Hun across the knuckles and falling back to another stop-gap position, with very little in the way of counter-attacks which might place your MC in the hands of the foe.

firedrake
07-26-2011, 10:44 AM
To the OP, what others have asked?

When would this incident take place? Where?

If you can provide a fixed point, then we can point you in the right direction. There's a wealth of material out there.

BigWords
07-26-2011, 01:10 PM
British, it's British not English.

Actually, it's not even that simple. There were commonwealth forces (India, notably) engaged in WWI, so don't go thinking this was a bunch of white guys shooting at each other - the clue is in the name: World War One.

Buffysquirrel
07-26-2011, 03:44 PM
Actually, it's not even that simple. There were commonwealth forces (India, notably) engaged in WWI, so don't go thinking this was a bunch of white guys shooting at each other - the clue is in the name: World War One.

It wasn't the Commonwealth at that time. It was still the Empire.

/pedant

emmyshimmy
07-26-2011, 05:18 PM
Thank you PDR that was very helpful.

The time is fall 1914. I want the kids marching their butts off to have enthusiasm still. The month is flexible since my Captain is about to fall threw time and end up in the present any how, but this march effects who he becomes.

waylander
07-26-2011, 05:23 PM
Somewhere around Le Cateau
http://www.firstworldwar.com/diaries/retreatfrommons.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Retreat

Buffysquirrel
07-26-2011, 05:35 PM
The time is fall 1914. I want the kids marching their butts off to have enthusiasm still. The month is flexible since my Captain is about to fall threw time and end up in the present any how, but this march effects who he becomes.

If they're British, it's autumn, not fall.

/pedant

BigWords
07-26-2011, 05:41 PM
It wasn't the Commonwealth at that time. It was still the Empire.

/pedant

Correction noted. :)

emmyshimmy
07-26-2011, 05:42 PM
Buffysquirrel thank you for your answer.

What month would the weather have been most pleasant? August or September? I don't want to write a lot of weather details because the important part is he is wounded and left on his own. The Englishman's Daughter-a wonderful memoir if you haven't read it I recommend it-informed this bit of plot.

waylander
07-26-2011, 05:57 PM
From the first link I left up above.
the weather was very hot in late August

firedrake
07-26-2011, 06:01 PM
it might be worth getting your hands on a copy of Lyn MacDonald's '1914 ' It's full of first-hand accounts of the run up to the war and the first few months. She interviewed a lot of old soldiers and there are also accounts from people who lived through it in other ways.
Definitely worth looking for.

emmyshimmy
07-26-2011, 06:43 PM
Thank you for the suggestion firedrake. I'll look for a copy today.

This first scene has proven to be the hardest part of the book. All the rest has been straight forward. The dialect of 1910's British slang has been fun and challenging...this battle sequence has been like giving birth.

mirandashell
07-27-2011, 01:19 AM
Ermmm........ please don't take this the wrong way but.... make sure you get the details right cos if you don't, you will get blasted. Especially as you're American......

The reason being, Hollywood has stripped our history from us over time and a lot of Brits are pretty sick of it.

So yeah, we get very pedantic about this stuff. Really, really pedantic.

pdr
07-27-2011, 01:42 AM
So yeah, we get very pedantic about this stuff. Really, really pedantic.

rightly so. There is a mass of original documents and released govt files about WW1 all easily accessible and so no need for any author to mess up the facts Hollywood style.

And yes, BigWords as a member of the Commonwealth as it now is I do know. We Kiwis took part with our Maori Battalions.

I get very tired of Americans who say England meaning Britain. They are usually the ones who think NZ is part of Australia. Sigh!

mirandashell
07-27-2011, 01:44 AM
You must get really fed up with it as Hollywood barely knows you exist!

firedrake
07-27-2011, 01:46 AM
You must get really fed up with it as Hollywood barely knows you exist!

Apart from being known as the place where 'Lord of the Rings' was filmed.

mirandashell
07-27-2011, 01:48 AM
Yeah... where Peter Jackson was born....

emmyshimmy
07-27-2011, 01:48 AM
Ermmm........ please don't take this the wrong way but.... make sure you get the details right cos if you don't, you will get blasted. Especially as you're American......

The reason being, Hollywood has stripped our history from us over time and a lot of Brits are pretty sick of it.

So yeah, we get very pedantic about this stuff. Really, really pedantic.

That's why I am here seeking help. The scene is not that long, but I want to be as correct as possible. In America WW1 doesn't exist. We are taught-Germans pissed everyone off, some Austrian got shot, we don't care, then they sunk our boat, we storm in, we won the war-the end. It's BS. I realize as I was not there and now anyone who was has gone on, the best I can do is not offend anyone.

If anyone cares to see this scene I have a first draft I'd be willing to share for help/critical feedback. PM if interested (as I don't want to clog up the board with a first draft).

emmyshimmy
07-27-2011, 01:51 AM
PS. Mirandashell, PDR, and others-I wish I was a citizen of the Empire still... can we give the colonies back, please?

mirandashell
07-27-2011, 01:56 AM
Fair play to you for trying to get it right then.

Might be better to stick it up in SYW with a link to this thread. You'll get more opinions that way.

mirandashell
07-27-2011, 01:57 AM
PS. Mirandashell, PDR, and others-I wish I was a citizen of the Empire still... can we give the colonies back, please?


Good lord no! not with your debt!

:D

lbender
07-27-2011, 03:50 AM
In America WW1 doesn't exist. We are taught-Germans pissed everyone off, some Austrian got shot, we don't care, then they sunk our boat, we storm in, we won the war-the end. It's BS. I realize as I was not there and now anyone who was has gone on, the best I can do is not offend anyone.


Not sure what you were taught, but I'm American and was taught, in high school, a whole lot more about what actually happened, including the fact that while we helped, we certainly didn't win it.

As far as the original question is concerned, why can't he be trying to make his way to "the field hospital"? Why does it have to be a particular town or city?

Snick
07-27-2011, 03:59 AM
You must get really fed up with it as Hollywood barely knows you exist!

So don't buy their products. The clowns who make movies don't know much about anything,but people still pay them money for that crap. Boycott Hollywood.

emmyshimmy
07-27-2011, 03:59 AM
lbender I am generalizing it's true. I was taught world history by a great guy, but we were running out of time and that is the gist of what I took from the class. To answer your question I seek as much accuracy as possible so as to not alienate readers who know about the events I am attempting to capture in a general way. Reasonable suspension of belief will be tested enough with the time travel, the least I can do is set up the time correctly.

mirandashell- please we promise to be good and productive. If not everyone then just take me :)

lbender
07-27-2011, 04:44 AM
Just a suggestion - but you can't alienate anybody by saying he was going to a field hospital. It's accurate, both for the purposes of your story and historically. I'm sure you'll have other details - enough at least to set the stage. If you try to put in too many, you risk putting off the other readers who really don't care about that kind of stuff and want to read the story. All you really need is enough so that the historians will recognize the approximate location as real.

emmyshimmy
07-27-2011, 05:02 AM
Thank you lbender. I think I found a way to get him from the passed to the present.

Priene
07-27-2011, 08:10 AM
British Army maps of 1914-1918 (http://www.1914-1918.net/maps.htm)

L.C. Blackwell
07-27-2011, 10:27 AM
Priene,

Oh. My. Thank you!! WWI isn't even a period I'm working in right now, but this is a fantastic resource, and I'm marking it just in case.

:)

pdr
07-27-2011, 11:54 AM
Check your facts re Hollywood and film making, Miranda Shell.

Priene
07-27-2011, 12:16 PM
By the way, as a general rule, British forces (and I think also Empire) were stationed (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3e/Stabilization_of_Western_Front_WWI.PNG) from the Channel in Belgium down through towards the Somme and Oise, while French lines extended from there to the German border. Most battles involving Britain were fought in the flatlands of Northern France and the southwestern tip of Belgium.

emmyshimmy
07-27-2011, 04:39 PM
Thank you all. I have a basic first chapter down now. You guys are great!

mirandashell
07-28-2011, 12:04 AM
Check your facts re Hollywood and film making, Miranda Shell.


Why?

Emmy - oh yeah! You can come, no problem!

emmyshimmy
07-28-2011, 01:12 AM
Mirandashell-Yay! I'm in :)

Everyone- I have posed the opening in the Sandbox part of the Writing Lab, it will probably get moved to SYW later. Please check it out and let me know if there are any glaring inaccuracies.

Thanks.

pdr
07-28-2011, 03:21 AM
Why?

Ah ha! You're one of those 'must have the last word' posters.

You're welcome to it, but do check your facts before posting sarky comments.

mirandashell
07-28-2011, 11:29 PM
Why?

Ah ha! You're one of those 'must have the last word' posters.

You're welcome to it, but do check your facts before posting sarky comments.


I'm not actually. I genuinely want to know why you think I'm wrong about Hollywood and its disregard of non-American history. Or are you talking about a different comment?

Brindle MacWuff
07-29-2011, 04:14 PM
This is fascinating! Emmyshimmy, what's the latest?

Brindle MacWuff
07-29-2011, 06:10 PM
Er, PDR, where has Miranda Shell been sarky? I can only agree with her comments so far. She ain't that kinda gal, me thinks.

pdr
07-30-2011, 02:11 AM
one liners. They can sound sarky.

Hollywood has been using NZ for the tax breaks in film making for years. Last year's deal for Hollywood was a tax break for the Hobbit films. The Hollywood associated companies seem to make a film a year in NZ whether using the actually scenery or Weta Workshops!

mirandashell
07-30-2011, 01:50 PM
Ok pdr. Sorry if that one-liner came over as an insult to NZ. It was meant as a joke.

But my point is kind of reinforced by your post. Hollywood doesn't give a monkeys about NZ history, does it? It films there cos it's cheap. Which is fair enough.

But no-one should believe that Hollywood is about anything more than making money. Something doesn't fit, they skate straight over it.

And coming from a country with centuries of history, it pisses me off.

SJAB
07-30-2011, 05:41 PM
I found this site very good.

One thing to remember is that the war during Autumn and early Winter 1914, was very different from the trench warfare that developed. There was a somewhat fluid front line, the fixed trench line did not start to delevop until the winter set in.

http://www.1914-1918.net/ramc.htm

A wounded man is either taken or gets to the Regimental Aid Post where he receives basic treatment, then is moved on to through the chain of Advanced Dressing Station, Field Ambulance, Casualty Clearing Stations to the base hospitals on the French coast, or even back to Blighty (England).

After the Boer War there was a huge re-think with regards to the treatment of the wounded, the system was built on and further developed as nature of the war changed. They were dealing with a huge amount of wounded and wounds, the likes of which had not been seen before.

emmyshimmy
07-30-2011, 11:15 PM
SJAB thank you for your post that was very helpful.

Brindle MacWuff- the latest is that I posted a VERY rough draft on SYW and received some feedback.

As to the NZ Hollywood show down I guess you can be glad your country is beautiful and people want to see it. No one cares if anything is filmed in America anymore. Even shows that are supposed to take place in major American cities (like CSI) film in Canada when they can :(

Brindle MacWuff
07-31-2011, 03:04 PM
I'm off to SYW, once I've worked out how to get there....

anybody know who I ask for the pword?

Alessandra Kelley
07-31-2011, 03:19 PM
I'm off to SYW, once I've worked out how to get there....

anybody know who I ask for the pword?

If you go to the Cooler home page and scroll down the forums and subforums, the pwords are listed next to each one. Seriously, it's amazing, like putting the front door key on a hook next to the door, very friendly. I think they only have them to keep out bears automated programs and spiders.