Hundreds of thousands of men have
died and the conflict has now spread all over the globe, and as the snows and winds of November
开始肆虐 西线完全陷入了僵局之中 所有参战的军队
grow harsher and the western front freezes into total stalemate, all of the warring armies
realize one great reality of this war: defense is more powerful than offense. This would
remain true until the bitter end.
I’m Indy Neidell; welcome to the Great War
Here’s where we left off last week. The Ottoman Empire had just joined the war and
Russia had sent troops into Eastern Turkey. The Austro-Hungarian Empire was once again
试图镇压塞尔维亚人 与此同时 奥军在更北面同俄军的交战中撤退
trying to crush the Serbs, while simultaneously further north retreating from the Russians.
The Russians had actually pushed back both the Austrians AND the Germans but their advance
into Germany had stalled when supply lines grew too long, and on the Western Front the
Kaiser himself had come to Flanders to give his troops moral support as they hurled themselves
again and again and again at the Allies at the Battle of Ypres,
trying to break through to the sea.
The Allies had kept the Germans from reaching the Channel or the North Sea for nearly two
months now, and though virtually the entire line from the Sea down to Switzerland had
solidified into stalemate, up in Flanders at the ongoing battle of Ypres, the fighting was heavier than ever.
The Prussian guard was ordered to take Ypres on the 11th, and their attack was preceded
by the heaviest artillery bombardment of the war, probably the heaviest of all time up
till then. This bombardment had been made possible by a week of stockpiling artillery
的炮弹 不久之后 德军在实际上突破了英军的防线之后
shells, and for a little while the Germans actually broke through the British front lines
but were beaten back once again.
This attack was so concentrated and so devastating that at one point the British reportedly thought
they saw a wave of Germans advancing in the smoke and fog, but as the smoke cleared they
saw that it wasn’t a wave, it was an entire bank of dead German soldiers.
The German breakthrough had failed once again. The fighting at Ypres faded to a stop mid
大风 雨雪的到来而逐渐平息 在糟糕的天气下
month as high winds, rain, and snow came on for days, and movement became nearly impossible
移动变得近乎不可能 这里仍然有零星的交火 德军于17日
in the abysmal weather. There were still sporadic attacks, and though the Germans dug in on
开始挖掘战壕 在接下来的数日内 战事的结果并不十分明朗
the 17th, the end of the battle wasn’t really apparent for another few days.
Both sides set to work building trenches, and the lines stretched from the sea to the
阿尔卑斯山 由于火炮数量日渐增加 在此支援下 炮弹的短缺成了
Alps, supported by growing amounts of artillery, and their bombardments were limited only by
shortages of shells.
佛兰德斯的战场上各方都伤亡巨大——数十万来自法国 比利时 德国 英国
The casualties were enormous in Flanders- hundreds of thousands of men, French, Belgian,
German, British, and from all corners of the imperial world. The British had now lost their
他们专业的部队 他们是欧洲最好的士兵 而且英军今后只能依靠
professional army, the best soldiers in Europe, and in future would rely on new recruits who
could only hope to hold the line and wait for reinforcements and all for what? Why Ypres?
那么 看这里 这一地区向北地势平坦 而且它通过河流和运河
Well, look at it. The land to the north is flat and is linked to the coast by rivers
连接着海岸 但是向南它高出约500米 这对任何控制这一小镇
and canals, but to the south rises about 500 meters, which gives an excellent height advantage
的人来说都提供了明显的高度优势 而且 这一地区的所有主要道路都在伊普尔汇聚
to whoever controls the town. Also, all of the major roads in the area converged on Ypres.
It was a great strategic position and would be fought over for the rest of the war.
朗格马克 博力根森林 阿尔芒蒂耶尔同所有出现在第一次伊普尔战役
And the names: Langemarck, Polygon Wood, Armentieres and all the others from the First Battle of
和向海边行进中的地名一道 现在都成为双方传奇故事的素材 虽然协约国
Ypres and the race to the sea are now the stuff of legend on both sides, but even though
部队在数量上 装备上以及火力上都占据优势 但是他们的取胜源于
the Allies were outnumbered, out equipped, and outgunned, they won because modern warfare
现代战争已显现出巨大的防守优势 这是大家都未曾预料的 现在人人都看到
had turned out to have a heavy defensive advantage, which was unexpected. Everyone now saw that
even heavy artillery barrages and huge offensives with superior numbers could be held back by
infantry and cavalry armed with rifles and machine guns dug in to trenches.
Here’s a little anecdote from Ypres I read in Martin Gilbert’s “The First World War”
that I thought I’d throw in: at Dixmude, a German battalion of mostly students managed
to overrun a French machine gun post during the fighting this week. One of those students
attacking was 19-year-old Richard Sorge, who later turned against Germany and became one
of Stalin’s most trusted spies. It was he that warned Stalin of Hitler’s plans to
1941年6月进攻苏联的计划 而日本无意于进攻西伯利亚 这使得
attack Russia in June 1941 and that Japan had no intentions to attack Siberia, which
allowed Stalin to deploy his troops in the west to win the battle of Moscow. Sorge was
later caught and executed by the Japanese.
Defense was also playing a huge role in the East.
After retreating from the Russians for over a week an Austrian army- well over 100,000
选择了一种完全防御的战略 并构筑了防御工事 龟缩在
strong- opted for an entirely defensive strategy and barricaded themselves into the fortress
普热梅希尔的碉堡内 俄军就在城外 对普热梅希尔的第二次围攻始于
of Przemysl, the Russians at the gates. This second siege of Przemysl began November 9th,
and would be the longest siege of the war.
But though the war had settled down to stalemate in the west and siege in the Carpathians,
the center of the Eastern Front was still in flux.
The Germans had discovered that Russia was gearing up to continue her temporarily paused
invasion of Germany, so German General Ludendorff decided to make a preemptive strike. In a
great feat of logistics, he managed to turn and re-locate his whole army to strike against
11月11日 德军发起进攻 狠狠地打击战线过分拉长的
the Russian right flank. On November 11th, the Germans attacked, hitting the overextended
Siberian Corps hard and opening up a 30-mile gap in the Russian lines, cutting off the
The Germans were actually outnumbered, but their attack was so well managed that it took
three or four days before the Russian command realized the danger as the Germans pressed
forward. The Russians then disengaged and force-marched back to the city of Lodz, a
railway center that was very well supplied. And here they prepared to meet the advancing
德军接触 俄军有一支庞大的军队 伴随着俄军入侵土耳其
Germans. The Russians had a gigantic army, but the
fronts they were fighting on became larger and more numerous, with a new one opening
up as Russian troops invaded Turkey.
Now that the Ottoman Empire had joined Germany and Austria-Hungary in the war, this was the
first engagement of the Caucasus campaign that would continue through the winter. This
attack was named the Bergmann Offensive after Russian General Georgy Bergmann, and his troops
had crossed into Turkey on November 2nd in three localized fronts.
The Turkish counter offensive this week was not only large, it also even threatened to
surround the Russians. Russian reinforcements managed to prevent this from happening, but
this was a real crusher for Russian morale, as their losses are estimated as high as 40%.
This was also a big boost for Envar Pasha, the Turkish Minister of War, who’d brought
the Ottomans into the war in the first place.
Something else that was designed as a moral boost for the Turks also happened this week
when Ottoman Sultan Mehmet V declared a jihad on the allies November 11th.
Germany and the Ottomans had hoped that all Islam would rise against the allies with the
起而参与反对协约国的战斗 但是其结果是谁都没有受此影响 更别说
declaration of a holy war, but nobody really bothered as it turned out, certainly not the
印度穆斯林和俄国鞑靼人响应号召 事实是 如果圣战意为将一部分
Indian Muslims or Russian Tatars. Thing is, if Holy war meant taking one set of Christian
as allies to fight other Christians as enemies, then it didn’t really make sense to most
The war had come to the Middle East, though, with the Battle of Fao on November 8th.
When the Ottomans had entered the war the British had feared for their oil supplies
on the Persian Gulf and decided to seize the Ottoman controlled part of the coast around
Fao fortress. They had landed the 6th but failed to advance because of heavy fire from
the fortress, but two days later the British heavy artillery arrived and they were able
to take both the fortress and the town. This was the first battle of the Mesopotamian campaign.
所以当本周结束时 英军进入美索不达米亚 土军获胜 而俄军
And so the week ends, with the British marching into Mesopotamia, the Turks triumphant, the
Russians falling back to Lodz, and the rain and snow temporarily quieting the guns in
至于奥地利军队 在北部地区 他们可能龟缩在要塞中
the west. And as for the Austrians, in the north they may be in their fortress, but in
the Balkans a half a million of them were pushing deeper and deeper into Serbia.
这里有一点小伏笔 再次感谢马丁·吉尔伯特：弗拉基米尔·列宁 此时
Here’s a little foreshadowing, thanks again to Martin Gilbert: Vladimir Lenin, at this
time exiled in Switzerland, wrote that we were now in the epoch of the bayonet, and
from this would spread a civil war between classes which was the prelude to a revolution
and the triumph of the working classes.
的确我们现在正处于一个全新的时代 但不仅仅是进攻 还有
And indeed we were in a new epoch, but perhaps not just of the bayonet, but the epoch of
防御战争 不管是运用还是破环铁路 正如法军和
defensive war. Whether it was the use of or destruction of railways, as the French and
Belgians did early in the war or the Germans did in Poland last week, or with rifles along
the lines in Flanders, we see again and again that in this war defense has the advantage,
in pretty much every way.
Thousands upon thousands of men backed by heavy artillery would charge enemy trench
冲去 成千上万的人将会死去 在步枪或机关枪
positions and thousands upon thousands of men would die, falling to the rifle or the
仅仅占据几米的优势所交织的火网下死去 这就是 现代战争
machine gun in no-mans land for at best an advantage of a few meters. This was modern war.
现在 有人会说现代战争是所有荣耀的终结 是一个残忍的均衡器
Now, one could argue that this modern war was the end of all glory, a great brutal equalizer
that did not care who died or lived. But even from the mud of the trenches some remarkable
historical figures emerged. We don’t always have time to tell their story in our regular
所以 我们开启了全新的传记系列来讲述他们的故事 你可以在这里
episodes, so, we started a new biography format in which we tell their stories. You can check
out our first episode about Manfred von Richthofen aka the Red Baron right here. Let us know
in the comments what you think about it and who else you want to see featured.
See you next week.