People often think of World War I as this quaint, jaunty escapade with men on horses in silly hats, and soldiers with pop-gun bayonet rifles. Especially as compared to World War II.
But far from it. WWI was a gruesome brutal event, especially for the soldiers that fought in it.
Worst of all was the Battle of the Somme, begun 100 years ago today. Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Somme
20,000 British soldiers died on the first day, most of them in the first 5 minutes of the battle.
After 5 days of (ineffective) cannon bombardment of the German front lines, the British commanders ordered their troops go over the top and walk over a mile of open land to the German trenches, where they were to finish them off in bayonet charges. They were assured that the Germans would be numb and decimated from the bombardment and would put up little resistance.
The British troops were cut down like rows of corn in a hail of German machine gun fire. Death rates, not just casualty rates, but death rates, were 90%+ in the first wave.
In their infinite arrogant wisdom, when the British generals heard what happened, they ordered another wave to attack - with the same result.
This type of thing went on until November 1916 until it was called off. When it was all said and done at the price of a million casualties, the end result of the battle was that the Allies advanced into the German lines . . . only 6 miles.
The Somme is the epitome of the saying "always fighting the last war." The 1800's bayonet charges were no match for machine guns on the other side. Unfortunately, it took the wise old generals in charge months and months to realize this. When their attacks failed in piles of dead bodies, they just ordered more. They completely ignored the reconnaissance that came back to them because it went counter to their brilliant plans.
When people on here were criticizing Brady Hoke for his 27 yards in 27 attempts game, they posted a parody sketch video of British WWI generals bragging how they will surprise the Hun by blindly charging into their lines for the 18th time after 17 failures . . . because who would believe that someone would be so stupid as to try it again? That sketch was based on the Somme. It's only "funny" when separated by 100 years of history.
It's been a bad week for the Brits, but they've faced worse. Far worse.