"Many thought that courage consisted of presenting themselves as a target. It is always necessary to point out that war is about killing and not about being killed."
|--||Gen. Joseph Joffre, French supreme commander, |
to Field Marshal Sir John French, Commanding the BEF
"Damn it, I can’t explain. Tell him that all that men can do, our fellows will do."
Chef de bataillon de réserve,
23e Régiment d'infanterie,
on the green troops of 1914
- Laid down early in 1914 the 3,750 ton British light cruiser Caroline was commissioned by year’s end, and saw service with the Grand Fleet, then for decades as a training ship, headquarters ship, and reserve depot until the early twenty-first century, and is now "moored in perpetuity" at Belfast, Northern Ireland, the last veteran of the Battle of Jutland still afloat.
- On August 22nd, 1914, at the height of the “Battle of the Frontiers,” the French Army suffered some 27,000 men killed in action, the highest loss in a single day in its history.
- More than 29 percent of German casualties on the Western Front in World War I were incurred in August and September of 1914.
- In 1912 the French attempted to secure an alliance with Spain, hoping to “borrow” six divisions to replace the troops they had posted in the Alps, just in case Italy did support its Central Powers allies.
- On October 28, 1914, the German cruiser Emden slipped into the Sumatran port of Penang to torpedo the Russian cruiser Zhemchug, which had no one on watch, as everyone was below availing themselves of the services of some 60 prostitutes, as well as a French destroyer.
- Seeking to assist their Ottoman allies, Germany began smuggling weapons to Turkey by rail through neutral Romania and Bulgaria by packing them in beer barrels, until a Romanian railroad worker discovered the ruse while attempting to quench his thirst.
- In the years leading up to the outbreak of the Great War, 58.4 percent of French men aged 21 through 60 had undergone military training, the highest proportion of any nation in Europe, with Germany following at 48 percent, Russia at 43.6, Austria-Hungary at 34, and Italy at only 30.2 percent.
- At the onset of the World War, the German Army had about 4,000 machine guns, a figure that would rise to 80,000 by war’s end.