London Regiment (1908–1938)
"London Regiment" and "The London Regiment" redirect here. For the regiment, see London Regiment; the London Regiment was an infantry regiment in part of the Territorial Force. The regiment saw distinguished service in World War I and was disbanded in 1938, shortly before World War II, when most of its battalions were converted to other roles or transferred elsewhere; the lineage of some of its former battalions is continued by the current regiment of the same name. The regiment was first formed in 1908 in order to regiment the 26 Volunteer Force battalions in the newly formed County of London, each battalion having a distinctive uniform; the London battalions formed the London District, which consisted principally of the 1st and 2nd London Divisions. Now part of the Territorial Force, the London Regiment expanded to 88 battalions in the First World War. Of these, 49 battalions saw action in the trenches of the Western Front in France and Flanders, six saw action in the Gallipoli Campaign, 12 saw action at Salonika, 14 saw action against the Turks in Palestine, one saw action in Waziristan and Afghanistan.
Shortly after the outbreak of the First World War, the formation of Reserve or 2nd-Line units for each existing Territorial Force unit was authorised. They were distinguished by a'2/' prefix from their parent unit; these were formed from men who had not volunteered for overseas service, the recruits who were flooding in. They were mobilised for overseas service in their own right and new 3rd Line units were created to supply drafts to the two service battalions. Unusually, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th London Battalions each sent three battalions overseas and formed 4th Line reserve units, thus the 26 pre-war battalions of the London regiment became 82 battalions. In June 1915, men of TF units who had only volunteered for Home service were formed into composite Provisional Battalions for coast defence. In 1916 the Military Service Act swept away the Home/Overseas service distinction and the provisional battalions took on the dual role of home defence and physical conditioning to render men fit for drafting overseas.
For example, the 100th Provisional Battalion was formed from Home Service men of 173rd Brigade. 104th and 105th Provisional Battalions were assigned to the Honourable Artillery Company, whilst 100th–103rd and 106th–108th Provisional Battalions were assigned to the London Regiment in general. The London Regiment was reformed in the Territorial Army in the 1920s and its individual battalions were granted battle honours in 1924. However, the Regiment ceased to exist in 1938 and the battalions were all transferred to regular infantry regiments, the Royal Artillery and the Royal Engineers. For example, the 10th London Regiment was transferred to the corps of the Royal Berkshire Regiment, becoming the 5th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment. Becke, Major A. F. History of the Great War: Order of Battle of Divisions, Part 2b: The 2nd-Line Territorial Force Divisions, with the Home-Service Divisions and 74th and 75th Divisions, London: HM Stationery Office, 1937/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, ISBN 1-847347-39-8.
Becke, Major A. F. History of the Great War: Order of Battle of Divisions, Part 3a: New Army Divisions, London: HM Stationery Office, 1938/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, ISBN 1-847347-41-X. Grey, Major W. E. 2nd City of London Regiment in the Great War 1914–19, Westminster: Regimental Headquarters, 1929/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, ISBN 978-1-843423-69-0 Grimwade, Captain F. Clive, The War History of the 4th Battalion The London Regiment 1914–1919, London: Regimental Headquarters, 1922/Uckfield, Naval & Military Press, ISBN 978-1-843423-63-8. Osborne, Mike. Defending London: A Military History from Conquest to Cold War. History Press. ISBN 978-0752479316
Kensington Regiment (Princess Louise's)
The Kensington Regiment is a unit of the British Army, which originated in the Volunteer Rifle Corps' movement of the 1850s. In 1908 it became a battalion of the London Regiment in the Territorial Force, it was an infantry regiment from 1908-1940, a heavy fire support unit from 1940-1945, has been a unit of the Royal Corps of Signals since 1945. The origins of the Kensington Regiment dated from 1859 with the formation of the Volunteer Force, part of a'volunteer revival' as a result of a perceived French military threat, which had grown under the leadership of Napoleon III. A number of Volunteer Rifle Corps were formed in West London; these included the 2nd Middlesex Volunteer Rifle Corps formed under the patronage of the Viscount Ranelagh and the 4th Middlesex Volunteer Rifle Corps, formed under the patronage of the 2nd Baron Truro. By 1892 both units had been linked as Volunteer Battalions to the King's Royal Rifle Corps, continued this link until the formation of the Territorial Force in 1908.
At this time the headquarters of the 2nd was at Beaufort House, Walham Green and the 4th were at Iverna Gardens, High Street, Kensington. Men from both units voluntarily went out to South Africa with the City Imperial Volunteers, thereby earning their Corps the right to the Battle Honour of'South Africa 1900-1902'. In 1908 as part of the Haldane Reforms of the Kingdom's volunteer forces, the "Kensingtons" Regiment was formed in an amalgamation of the 4th Middlesex V. R. C. and the 2nd Middlesex, V. R. C; the newly minted unit being titled the 13th London Regiment, T. F.. It based itself at the old 4th Middlesex V. R. C.'s Head Quarters at Iverna Gardens in the Borough of Kensington, which adopted it as its local Regiment and consented for the new Regiment to use its name in its formation's title. The Regiment took its Latin unit motto Quid Nobis Ardui from the Borough's Coat of Arms, her Royal Highness the Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll consented to the use of her name by the Regiment and it became designated as the Princess Louise's Kensingtons.
During World War I the Regiment was increased to war fighting capacity with three separate battalions being formed. This Battalion was mobilized on the declaration of war on 4 August 1914. In November 1914 it departed England for France, saw action on the Western Front, including the battles of Neuve Chapelle, Aubers Ridge, Arras, Cambrai, Somme, & the Hundred Days Offensive, it returned to the Corps' Head Quarters in Kensington from France for demobilization in May 1919. The Battalion was formed in August 1914 with the intention of acting as the Regiment's home training unit, furnishing reinforcements to the 1st Battalion in the field to replace losses sustained in action. However, by November 1914 it was decided by the War Office that with the war's scale of operations escalating the new 2nd battalions of the London Territorial Force's infantry regiments were to be mobilized for active service in the field; the 2nd Kensingtons did send drafts of reinforcements to join the 1st Battalion in France throughout 1915 whilst it was training in England, but this was ended by the close of that year and the responsibility for the Regiment's reinforcement supply was transferred to the 3rd Battalion, in preparation for the 2nd Battalion's departure on active service.
The 2nd Kensingtons was dispatched to Ireland in April 1916 to deal with the Fenian Revolution. Afterwards it saw action on the Western Front in France; the Battalion was broken up and demobilized in camps at Sidi Bashir in Egypt, Mersin in Asia Minor in February to March 1919. The 3rd Battalion was formed in November 1914 as the home training battalion of the Regiment with responsibility for supplying reinforcement drafts to the Regiment's two fighting battalions in the field, a role that it fulfilled until the end of the conflict in late 1918. In 1937, on the break-up of the London Regiment, the unit was re-designated the Princess Louise's Kensington Regiment, The Middlesex Regiment. During the Second World War the Kensingtons were the first Territorial Army unit to guard the Tower of London, including performing the Ceremony of the Keys, it changed its role from infantry to a heavy fire support unit armed with mortars, medium machine-guns and Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns. The 1st Kensingtons served with the British Expeditionary Force in France, deployed to North Africa to be part of British First Army to prepare for the Sicilian campaign, the Italian front, with the 78th Battleaxe Infantry Division.
The 2nd Kensingtons served first in Iceland and were to see action from Normandy to Arnhem, with the 49th Infantry Division. In 1947, the Regiment became part of the Royal Corps of Signals with the Army Phantom Signal Regiment; the Regiment was reformed as 41 Signal Regiment in 1961 and became a trunk communications Signal Regiment with squadrons in Portsmouth and Hammersmith. In 1967, with the reorganisation of the Territorial Army, the unit became a squadron of 31 Signal Regiment; the Squadron was reassigned from 31 Signal Regiment to 38 Signal Regiment in 2010. In 2014, 41 Signal Squadron amalga
Equestrian statue of George IV, Trafalgar Square
The statue of George IV in Trafalgar Square, London, is a bronze equestrian statue by Sir Francis Legatt Chantrey. It depicts the King dressed in ancient Roman riding bareback; the sculpture was designed to sit on top of the Marble Arch at the entrance to Buckingham Palace, but was placed in its current location following the King's death. Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey designed the statue to stand on top of Marble Arch in its original position as the entrance to Buckingham Palace, following architecture work by John Nash. Edward Blore took over the work, his redesign to reduce costs removed the Chantrey statue. Chantrey's work was funded by George IV himself, rather than by public subscription; the statue was cast in 1828. George IV died in 1830, the statue was placed on an empty plinth in Trafalgar Square in December 1843, expected to be on a temporary basis, however it has remained there since, it was unveiled to little ceremony, with The Times describing it as "somewhat erected". It was the first statue erected on one of the pedestals, which were installed three years earlier with architect Charles Barry expecting them to be filled by groups of statues.
An inscription was added towards the end of the 19th century as the public were no longer aware of whom it was a statue. Journalist Janice Turner questioned the need for a George IV statue in Trafalgar Square in 2005. In 2012, milliner Stephen Jones created crowns for both George IV and his horse to be added to the statue as part of the "Hatwalk" art project sponsored by the Mayor of London. Media related to Equestrian statue of George IV, Trafalgar Square, London at Wikimedia Commons
World War I memorials
World War I memorials commemorate the events and the casualties of World War I. These war memorials include civic memorials, larger national monuments, war cemeteries, private memorials and a range of utilitarian designs such as halls and parks, dedicated to remembering those involved in the conflict. Huge numbers of memorials were built in the 1920s and 1930s, with around 176,000 erected in France alone; this was a new social phenomenon and marked a major cultural shift in how nations commemorated conflicts. Interest in World War I and its memorials faded after World War II, did not increase again until the 1980s and 1990s, which saw the renovation of many existing memorials and the opening of new sites. Visitor numbers at many memorials increased while major national and civic memorials continue to be used for annual ceremonies remembering the war. Architecturally, most war memorials were conservative in design, aiming to use established styles to produce a tragic but comforting and enduring commemoration of the war dead.
Classical themes were common, taking the prevailing styles of the late 19th century and simplifying them to produce cleaner, more abstract memorials. Allegorical and symbolic features drawing on Christian imagery, were used to communicate themes of self-sacrifice and death; some memorials adopted a medievalist theme instead, looking backwards to a more secure past, while others used emerging realist and Art Deco architectural styles to communicate the themes of the war. The commissioning of memorials occurred through a wide range of national and local institutions, reflecting local political traditions. War cemeteries and memorials to significant battles, were centrally controlled and funded by the state; the war encouraged the creation of new forms of memorial. Lists of memorial names, reflecting the huge scale of the losses, were a common feature, while Tombs of the Unknown Soldier containing a selected, unidentified body, empty cenotaph monuments commemorated the numerous unidentifiable corpses and those servicemen whose bodies were never found.
Ceremonies were held at the memorials, including those on Armistice Day, Anzac Day and the Fêtes de la Victoire, while pilgrimages to the sites of the conflict and the memorials there were common in the inter-war years. Much of the symbolism included in memorials was political in tone, politics played an important part in their construction. Many memorials were embroiled in local ethnic and religious tensions, with memorials either reflecting the contribution of particular groups to the conflict or being rejected by others. In several countries it proved difficult to produce memorials that appealed to and included the religious and political views of all of a community; the Fascist governments that came to power in Italy and Germany during the inter-war period made the construction of memorials a key part of their political programme, resulting in a number of larger memorial projects with strong national overtones being constructed in the 1930s. While few memorials embraced a pacifist perspective, some anti-war campaigners used the memorials for rallies and meetings.
Many of the political tensions of the inter-war period had diminished by the end of the 20th century, allowing some countries to commemorate the events of the war through memorials for the first time since the end of the war. In the centennial of World War I, the memory of the war has become a major theme for scholars and museums. On the eve of World War I there were no traditions of nationally commemorating mass casualties in war. France and Germany had been recently involved in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 to 1871. Germany had built a number of national war memorials commemorating their victory focusing on celebrating their military leaders. In France, memorials to their losses were common, but far from being a national response, many towns and villages did not erect memorials at all. A new organisation, the Souvenir Français, was established in the 1880s to protect French war memorials and encourage young French people to engage in military activities. Britain and Australia had both sent forces to participate in the Second Boer War of 1899 to 1902, which spurred an increased focus on war memorials.
The Boer War had involved 200,000 British volunteers alone, attracted considerable press coverage. Numerous war memorials were erected on their return, either by local community leaders or by the local Lord Lieutenant, acting on behalf of the county regiments. Australia had honoured its volunteers by placing individual plaques inside buildings, creating outdoor memorial tablets and erecting obelisks in public places. Although the Boer War encouraged a shift away from memorials portraying heroic commanding officers, as had been popular earlier in the 19th century, towards depicting ordinary soldiers, annual ceremonies surrounding the memorials were not common and no official memorial day emerged. Boer War memorials in both countries were felt to lack a suitable quality of design and execution, echoing contemporary concerns in the US about the statues erected to commemorate the American Civil War; the new European states that had formed in the second half of the 19th century had traditions of war memorials, but nothing on the scale that would emerge from World War I.
Italy built various war memorials after unification in the 1860s, but there was little agreement about who s
Battle of Messines (1917)
The Battle of Messines was conducted by the British Second Army, on the Western Front near the village of Messines in West Flanders, during the First World War. The Nivelle Offensive in April and May had failed to achieve its more ambitious aims, had led to the demoralisation of French troops and dislocated the Anglo-French strategy for 1917; the offensive at Messines forced the Germans to move reserves to Flanders from the Arras and Aisne fronts, which relieved pressure on the French. The tactical objective of the attack at Messines was to capture the German defences on the ridge, which ran from Ploegsteert Wood in the south, through Messines and Wytschaete to Mt. Sorrel, to deprive the German 4th Army of the high ground south of Ypres; the ridge gave commanding views the British defences and back areas further north, from which the British intended to conduct the Northern Operation, an advance to Passchendaele Ridge and capture the Belgian coast up to the Dutch frontier. The Second Army had five corps, of which three conducted the attack and two remained on the northern flank, not engaged in the main operation.
The 4th Army divisions of Gruppe Wijtschate held the ridge and were reinforced by a division from Gruppe Ypern. The battle began with the detonation of 19 mines beneath the German front position, which devastated these German defences and left 19 large craters; this was followed by a creeping barrage 700 yd deep, protecting the British troops as they secured the ridge with support from tanks, cavalry patrols and aircraft. The effectiveness of the British mines and bombardments was improved by advances in artillery survey, flash spotting and centralised control of artillery from the Second Army headquarters. British attacks from 8 to 14 June advanced the front line beyond the former German Sehnenstellung line; the Battle of Messines was a prelude to the much larger Third Battle of Ypres, the preliminary bombardment for which began on 11 July 1917. In 1916, the British planned to clear the German army from the Belgian coast to prevent them from using the coastal ports as bases from which to attack merchant ships and troop transports in the North Sea and English Channel.
In January 1916, Plumer recommended to Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig the capture of Messines Ridge before an operation to capture the Gheluvelt plateau further north. The Flanders campaign was postponed because of the Battle of Verdun in 1916 and the demands of the Battle of the Somme; when it became apparent that the Second Battle of the Aisne had failed to achieve its most ambitious objectives, Haig instructed the Second Army to capture the Messines–Wytschaete Ridge as soon as possible. Haig intended to force the Germans to move troops away from the French armies on the Aisne front, where demoralisation amid the failure of the Nivelle Offensive had led to mutinies. British operations in Flanders would relieve pressure on the French Army and the capture of Messines Ridge would give the British control of the tactically important ground on the southern flank of the Ypres Salient, shorten the front and deprive the Germans of observation over British positions further north; the British would gain observation of the southern slope of Menin Ridge at the west end of the Gheluvelt plateau, ready for the Northern Operation.
The front line around Ypres had changed little since the end of the Second Battle of Ypres. The British held the city, while the Germans held the high ground of the Messines–Wytschaete Ridge to the south, the lower ridges to the east and the flat ground to the north. High ground is a relative term; the Gheluvelt plateau is about 100 ft above its neighbourhood. Wytschaete is about 150 ft higher than the plain and control of this ground was vital for artillery observation; the Ypres front was a salient bulging into the German lines and was overlooked by German artillery observers on the higher ground. The British valleys east of the ridges; the ridges ran north and east from Messines, 264 ft above sea-level at its highest point, past Clapham Junction at the west end of the Gheluvelt plateau, 2.5 mi from Ypres at 213 ft and Gheluvelt, above 164 ft to Passchendaele, 5.5 mi from Ypres at 164 ft above sea-level, declining from there to a plain further north. Gradients varied to 1:60 at Hooge and 1:33 at Zonnebeke.
Underneath the soil was London clay and silt. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission categories of "sand", "sandy soils" and "well-balanced soils", Messines Ridge was "well-balanced soil", drained by many streams and ditches, which needed regular maintenance. Since the First Battle of Ypres in 1914, much of the drainage in the area had been destroyed by artillery-fire, although some repairs had been achieved by army Land Drainage Companies brought from England; the area was considered by the British to be drier than Loos and Plugstreet Wood further south. The Second Army devised a centralised artillery plan of great sophistication, following the practice established at the Battle of Arras in April 1917; the use of field survey, gun calibration, weather data and a new and accurate 1:10,000 scale map, much improved artillery accuracy. Target-finding became systematic, with the use of new sound-ranging equipment, better organisation of flash-spotting and the communicat
The Illustrated London News
The Illustrated London News appeared first on Saturday 14 May 1842, as the world's first illustrated weekly news magazine. Founded by Herbert Ingram, it appeared weekly until 1971 less thereafter, ceased publication in 2003; the company continues today as Illustrated London News Ltd, a publishing and digital agency in London, which holds the publication and business archives of the magazine. The Illustrated London News founder Herbert Ingram was born in Boston, Lincolnshire, in 1811, opened a printing and bookselling business in Nottingham around 1834 in partnership with his brother-in-law, Nathaniel Cooke; as a newsagent, Ingram was struck by the reliable increase in newspaper sales when they featured pictures and shocking stories. Ingram began to plan a weekly newspaper. Ingram rented an office, recruited artists and reporters, employed as his editor Frederick William Naylor Bayley editor of the National Omnibus; the first issue of The Illustrated London News appeared on Saturday, 14 May 1842, timed to report on the young Queen Victoria's first masquerade ball.
Its 16 pages and 32 wood engravings covered topics such as the war in Afghanistan, the Versailles rail accident, a survey of the candidates for the US presidential election, extensive crime reports and book reviews, a list of births and deaths. Ingram hired 200 men to carry placards through the streets of London promoting the first edition of his new newspaper. Costing sixpence, the first issue sold 26,000 copies. Despite this initial success, sales of the second and subsequent editions were disappointing. However, Ingram was determined to make his newspaper a success, sent every clergyman in the country a copy of the edition which contained illustrations of the installation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, by this means secured a great many new subscribers, its circulation soon increased to 40,000 and by the end of its first year was 60,000. In 1851, after the newspaper published Joseph Paxton's designs for the Crystal Palace before Prince Albert had seen them, the circulation rose to 130,000.
In 1852, when it produced a special edition covering the funeral of the Duke of Wellington, sales increased to 150,000. Competitors soon began to appear: Lloyd’s Illustrated Paper was founded that year, while Reynold's Newspaper opened in 1850. Andrew Spottiswoode's Pictorial Times lost £20,000 before it was sold to Ingram by Henry Vizetelly, who had left the ILN to found it. Ingram folded it into another purchase, The Lady's Newspaper, which became The Lady's Newspaper and Pictorial Times. Vizetelly was behind a competitor, Illustrated Times in 1855, bought out by Ingram in 1859. Ingram's other early collaborators left the business in the 1850s. Nathanial Cooke, his business partner and brother-in-law, found himself in a subordinate role in the business and parted on bad terms around 1854. 1858 saw the departure of William Little, who, in addition to providing a loan of £10,000, was printer and publisher of the paper for 15 years. Little's relationship with Ingram deteriorated over Ingram's harassment of their mutual sister-in-law.
Herbert Ingram died on 8 September 1860 in a paddle-steamer accident on Lake Michigan, he was succeeded as proprietor by his youngest son, who in turn was succeeded by his son, Sir Bruce Ingram in 1900, who remained as editor until his death. By 1863, The Illustrated London News was selling more than 300,000 copies every week, enormous figures in comparison to other British newspapers of the time; the death of Herbert and his eldest son left the company without a manager. Control passed to Ingram's widow Ann, his friend Sir Edward William Watkin, who managed the business for twelve years. Once Ingram's two younger sons and Charles, were old enough, they took over as managing directors, although it was William who took the lead, it was a period of expansion and increased competition for the ILN. As reading habits and the illustrated news market changed, the ILN bought or established a number of new publications, evolving from a single newspaper to a larger-scale publishing business; as with Herbert Ingram's purchases in the 1850s, this expansion was an effective way of managing competition: dominating markets and buying out competing ventures.
As too with the acquisitions of the 1850s, several similar illustrated publications were established in this period by former employees of The Illustrated London News. Serious competition for the ILN appeared in 1869, with the establishment of The Graphic, a weekly illustrated paper founded by W. L. Thomas. Thomas was a former wood engraver for The Illustrated London News, brought his expertise in illustrated publishing to his new magazine; the Graphic was popular for its coverage of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, was well regarded among artists: Vincent van Gogh was a particular admirer. William Ingram became chief proprietor of The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, The Lady's Pictorial, which may have been a title of The Lady's Newspaper and Pictorial Times; the Penny Illustrated Paper, aimed at a working-class readership, was established by the news company shortly after Ingram's death in 1861. This was in response to the abolition of stamp and paper taxes, which made cheaper publications possible.
The Penny Illustrated Paper ran until 1913. In 1893, the
Machine Gun Corps
The Machine Gun Corps was a corps of the British Army, formed in October 1915 in response to the need for more effective use of machine guns on the Western Front in the First World War. The Heavy Branch of the MGC was the first to use tanks in combat and was subsequently turned into the Tank Corps called the Royal Tank Regiment; the MGC remained in existence after the war until it was disbanded in 1922. At the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, the tactical potential of machine guns was not appreciated by the British Armed Forces; the prevalent attitude of senior ranks at the outbreak of the Great War can be summed up by the opinion of an officer that a single battery of machine guns per army corps was a sufficient level of issue. Despite the evidence of fighting in Manchuria the army therefore went to war with each infantry battalion and cavalry regiment containing a machine gun section of just two guns; these organic units were supplemented in November 1914 by the formation of the Motor Machine Gun Service administered by the Royal Artillery, consisting of motor-cycle mounted machine gun batteries.
A machine gun school was opened in France. After a year of warfare on the Western Front it was self-evident that to be effective–in the opinion of former sceptics-that machine guns must be used in larger units and some commanders advocated crewing them with specially trained men who not only conversant with their weapons but who understood how they should be best deployed for maximum effect. To achieve this, the Machine Gun Corps was formed in October 1915 with Infantry and Motor branches, followed in 1916 by the Heavy Branch. A depot and training centre was established at Belton Park in Grantham, a base depôt at Camiers in France; the Infantry Branch was by far the largest and was formed by the transfer of battalion machine gun sections to the MGC. These sections were grouped into three per division. New companies were raised at Grantham. In 1917, a fourth company was added to each division. In February and March 1918, the four companies in each division were formed into a Machine Gun Battalion.
The Guards Division formed the Guards Machine Gun Regiment. The Cavalry Branch consisted of one per cavalry brigade; the Motor Branch was formed by absorbing the MMGS and the armoured car squadrons of the disbanded Royal Naval Armoured Car Service. It formed several types of units: motor cycle batteries, light armoured motor batteries and light car patrols; as well as motor cycles, other vehicles used included Ford Model T cars. The Heavy Section was formed in March 1916. Men of this branch crewed the first tanks in action at Flers, during the Battle of the Somme in September 1916. In July 1917, the Heavy Branch separated from the MGC to become the Tank Corps called the Royal Tank Regiment; the MGC saw action in all the main theatres of war, including France and Belgium, Mesopotamia, Salonika, East Africa and Italy. In its short history, the MGC gained an enviable record for heroism as a front line fighting force. Indeed, in the latter part of the war, as tactics changed to defence in depth, it served well in advance of the front line.
It had a less enviable record for its casualty rate. Some 170,500 officers and men served in the MGC, with 62,049 becoming casualties, including 12,498 killed, earning it the nickname'the Suicide Club'. While the undeniable bravery and self-sacrifice of the corps stands testament to the men and their regimental esprit de corps it is a symptom of the fixed belief on the part of senior commanders that machine guns were confined to a marginal if useful role, that of an adjunct to massed rifle fire, ignoring the proven potential of this weapon in the indirect role By setting up the same weapons more used in the direct role the delivering of accurate and sustained fire at high elevation became less an art than a science that could reliably deliver plunging fire at twice the maximum effective range of hand-held weapons of identical calibre, but not so convincingly a belief to hold that the machine gunners were in effect hiding behind the front lines while uselessly firing into the air, making a show instead of dying beside riflemen whose weapons used identical ammunition.
This conviction may explain–from both sides–the persistence with which machine gunners were placed in exposed positions where their fire was only marginally effective but enemy troops could be seen to fall victim to it, the great personal bravery with which those same men fought when the same enemy concentrated their forces against the greater threat represented by an unsupported sandbag emplacement. As stated by Paul Cornish in Machine Guns and the Great War:'The theory behind this technique had long been understood... as early as 1908... the mathematical work required to provide a reliable basis for the conduct of such fire was carried out by a group of British enthusiasts at the Hythe musketry school... However, it was 1915 before such fire was carried out in the field...' Cornish goes on'To conduct such fire the proposed target would be located... the relative position of the machine gun relative to it would be determined with ruler and protractor.. Calculations would be made to determine the gun's potential cone of fire and the trajectory of its bullets.
A clinometer, combined with a graduated elevation dial fitted to the tripod would