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“‘During his time with the squadron, from 3 August to 1 October 1916, X was unable to perform effectively as a pilot, lacking either the self-confidence or the physical qualities required,’ a CO wrote of one of his subordinates. ‘He has been transferred to the schools as an instructor. I hope he will be able to make himself useful there and do his best to dispel the unfortunate impression he made with the squadron.’”

 

 

— Kings of the Air: French Aces and Airmen of the Great War by Ian Sumner

 

Kings of the Air: French Aces and Airmen of the Great War

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He might have been quite good at teaching the theory of flight, but was all thumbs and left feet when it came to actual flying of an aircraft, and sensitive manipulation of the controls.

I guess that's why good pilots are outstanding in their abilities to both understand the physics of flight, and to be good at controlling their aircraft with fine motor skills, and a good "feel" for what the aircraft is actually doing.

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More likely the Brit view of the French in general. At that stage most of the best engines were from or built under licence from the French. The brit's wouldn't put parachutes in their planes as they reckoned their (great? pilots would jump out rather than put in their best efforts. That's why so many brit pilots survived with horrible disfiguring burns you see in images after the war. Many more DIED from burns unable to exit it and save themselves. Nev

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Or it could be that fine old tradition of promoting someone out of a job they are useless at.

We're dealing with the results of that at the moment. several of the people I work with knew one of our managers as a tradesperson. As he was useless they would send him away on courses to keep him out of the way of the workers. Now he's kept on moving upwards but never really been competent at anything and it really shows now that he's in a spot to do some harm.

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The brits were big on the LMF concept.( Lack of Moral Fibre). It persisted through WW2 with a bit of "shell shock" as well. Today it's pretty well known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and we are somewhat more enlightened. (Hopefully) Maybe he was a pacifist or wanted a parachute. (as many did). Nev

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It's a pretty awful indictment of the British military of WW1, that they refused to allow pilots to carry parachutes.

The excuse that there was no room to carry a parachute on the WW1 aircraft doesn't wash, it would taken only a small amount of redesigning to make room for them.

 

http://ww1centenary.oucs.ox.ac.uk/machineaesthetic/absent-parachute/

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The parachute business is one of several reasons I say that the Germans were a less-bad lot than the poms. Not that the Germans were good enough to fight with. But they sure killed fewer of their own with firing squads. Australia killed none, and thanks to the legacy of Breaker Morant we didnt let the poms kill ours. My grandfather would have been killed by the poms I reckon.

One of the conspiracy theories of WW1 was how the pommy artillery lowered their guns on an attack to speed up the stragglers.

I don't believe this for a moment, but apparently the Russians did it.

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The Russians were pretty ruthless especially in WW2 at places like Stalingrad where they had more people than guns & sent unarmed soldiers in to pick up the rifles to replace those killed. They lost 1.1 million at Stalingrad, 21 million in WW2 and another 6 million due to war related famine & disease

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And those WW2 russians were the offspring of those who killed the aristocracy and established the "workers paradise " . They didn't do good huh.

My understanding was how after years of being herded into battle, the WW1 russian soldiers revolted and went back to Moscow, trying their generals on the way, and forming the Red army when they got home.

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The Russians were pretty ruthless especially in WW2 at places like Stalingrad where they had more people than guns & sent unarmed soldiers in to pick up the rifles to replace those killed. They lost 1.1 million at Stalingrad, 21 million in WW2 and another 6 million due to war related famine & disease

Stalin only had two choices at Stalingrad - be ruthless or lose the war to the Germans. Stalingrad had to be held at all costs and if it wasn't, we'd all be speaking German now. One controversial thing was his refusal to evacuate civilians. The east bank of the Volga was heavily fortified with rear guard elements with orders to shoot any retreating Russians, so there was little risk of the troops at Stalingrad disobeying orders and retreating. But the other risk was that they would surrender to the Germans, and Stalin kept the civilians there so the troops would have something more than real estate to fight for. It worked. A lot of Stalin's ruthlessness had tactical reasoning behind it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have read that the decisive battle of WW2 was the great tank battle near Kurtsk. Not won by either side, but it was the end of German armored might. But what if they decisively beat the russians only to have US atomic bombs on Germany? That would end the war methinks.

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More recently, I heard that the British Airborne troops were the last to be equipped with a reserve parachute. And that they only got them to bring them into line with the rest of NATO.

I don't know if this is correct, but it wouldn't surprise me. In fairness, it would be touch and go whether there would be time to recognise a malfunction and deploy a reserve. But it would give you something to do?

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I tend to avoid war books and movies: for me, there's enough misery in the world without dwelling on that stuff.

But I did read 'Goodbye To All That', which is Robert Grave's biographical account of his time in the trenches during WW1. (He also wrote 'I Claudius' which some here might remember.)

I found it enormously readable, very honest, and quite free of the jingoistic b-shit that covers some of this stuff.

And part of the honesty is description of the total disconnect, not only between the front and HQ, but between the front and all the civvies back home, pumped up as they were with propaganda and righteous indignation.

I recommend it.

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Or it could be that fine old tradition of promoting someone out of a job they are useless at.

We're dealing with the results of that at the moment. several of the people I work with knew one of our managers as a tradesperson. As he was useless they would send him away on courses to keep him out of the way of the workers. Now he's kept on moving upwards but never really been competent at anything and it really shows now that he's in a spot to do some harm.

 

I have worked in a situation like this in a large organisation and it is very unpleasant. Difficult and/or incompetent people were often promoted "out of the way".

 

The problem is that this "strategy" was only ever a temporary fix, especially when they were promoted to a position where they could cause even more trouble.

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I have worked in a situation like this in a large organisation and it is very unpleasant. Difficult and/or incompetent people were often promoted "out of the way".

 

The problem is that this "strategy" was only ever a temporary fix, especially when they were promoted to a position where they could cause even more trouble.

It's a bit like the policy of moving on paedophiles, so they became someone else's problem.

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A.Delfosse BADGERY, on whose family property at Badgerys Creek, Sydney, made one of the first flights in Australia, was another early pilot whose war service affected his mental state. In 1913 he received his pilot's certificate (No 717) at Hendon. He joined the RFC and was posted to Egypt early in WWl. Whatever happened their shattered his nerves and he was sent back to England for duty as a flying instructor. There, his nervous condition robbed him of the ability to even fly by himself. No doubt the frequent crashes and deaths amongst students and instructors further ruined his love for flying. In the end, he was discharged, "Medically Unfit" and returned to Australia, where he seems to have moved out of the aviation business.

 

Here's his Service Record View Digital Image

Edited by old man emu
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More recently, I heard that the British Airborne troops were the last to be equipped with a reserve parachute.

I was told that the word paranoid came from the annoyed feeling you get when your parachute doesn't open.

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Especially on the second and subsequent times. Paranoid is when you only think it's happening to you. When you find out it's happening to others as well, then it's OK. but you've lost your basis for bitching. Nev

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On the topic of incompetence, how about the buildings inspector who refused to sign out some shed footings because the holes were square instead of the round ones he wanted? The square footings were bigger than the round ones, they were diameter by diameter, same depth.

This happened a few years ago in Western Victoria. I reckon the incompetence is even bigger than the ww1 parachute business, luckily not so lethal.

To their credit, the local council did not renew that inspector's contract. I wonder where he is now...

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It's a pretty awful indictment of the British military of WW1, that they refused to allow pilots to carry parachutes.

The excuse that there was no room to carry a parachute on the WW1 aircraft doesn't wash, it would taken only a small amount of redesigning to make room for them.

 

http://ww1centenary.oucs.ox.ac.uk/machineaesthetic/absent-parachute/

 

The treatment of all soldiers during WW1 disgusts me to the n'th degree. A lot of the poor souls had to take orders from imbeciles who were given higher rank simply because they weren't the plebs from the factory floor. And the clowns that never saw battle treating the war like a chess game. Makes my blood boil.

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