- The last French manufacturer of red paint "garans" went bankrupt at the end of the 19 century and the army was forced to buy a chemical dye in ... Germany.
In 1909-1911, the French army carried out extensive work on the development of protective color uniforms (“Boer” uniform, reseded uniform, “Detail” form).
Its first and most vehement opponents were ... journalists and experts of the then media, who quickly set the public against the "degrading human dignity and the French spirit" of a protective uniform.
Then populist parliamentarians, forever economical financiers and army conservatives joined in, and the initiative was buried until 1914, when they had to urgently extract Detai's gray-blue overcoats from warehouses, which, fortunately, were not written off, unlike their predecessors, khaki and resedy.
2) "The offensive to the limit theory developed by general intellectuals has put France on the brink of disaster."
- Absolutely all sides of the initial period of the PRC adhered exclusively to the offensive image of war. The theoretical calculations of the French General Staff — by the way, less mechanistic than those of the Germans and those who paid great attention to the psychological aspect of the conduct of hostilities, were not distinguished by anything special against this background.
The real reason for the August hecatombs was a failure in the corps and divisional level officers, which was distinguished by a high average age and low quality.
In the regular military, in view of the low standard of living, there remained people who were not capable of anything else, and the reservists of the masses had no idea about modern methods of warfare.
3) "Merciless melee fights in trenches."
- Medical statistics on this score is merciless. To the lot of cold weapons accounted for 1% fatal injuries in 1915 year and 0,2% - in 1918. The main weapon of the trenches was a grenade (69%) and a firearm (15%).
This correlates with the distribution of injuries over the body: 28,3% - head, 27,6% - upper limbs, 33,5% - legs, 6,6% - chest, 2,6% - stomach, 0,5% - neck.
4) "Deadly Gas"
- 17000 killed and 480000 injured on the Western Front. That is, 3% cumulative loss and 0,5% dead. This gives us the ratio of killed to wounded 1: 28 versus the average on the front of 1: 1,7-2,5.
That is, no matter how cynical it sounds, much more soldiers survived after the gas, who could tell everyone about their suffering - despite the fact that only 2% of the wounded became disabled for life, and 70% of the poisoned returned to service in less than 6 weeks.
5) "France bled to death in the trenches of Verdun."
“Near Verdun, France lost about as many soldiers as it did in the 1918 mobile war of the year and almost half as much as in more mobile border battles on Marne.”
6) "The officers hid behind the backs of the soldiers."
- The percentage of those who died and disappeared from those drafted into the army, officers / soldiers: infantry - 29% / 22,9%, cavalry - 10,3% / 7,6%, artillery - 9,2% / 6%, sappers - 9,3, 6,4% / XNUMX% aviation - 21,6% / 3,5%. At the same time, so as not to speak again - this is the question of cavalry destroyed by machine guns.
7) "The generals shot the rebel soldiers."
- The number of soldiers sentenced to death by military field courts (including those who committed criminal offenses) is 740. This is 0,05% of all dead French infantrymen.
As you know, by the beginning of the First World War, the armies of Russia, Germany and Great Britain were equipped with machine guns of the same design (Hiram Maxim), differing only in ammunition and machine tools - the Sokolov wheeled machine in Russia, the tripod in Britain (such machines are used all over the world today ) and unusual sled machine in Germany. It was the last and the reason for the legend.
The fact is that the machine gun with such a machine was supposed to be carried either as a stretcher, or dragged along like a skid, and to facilitate this work, belts with carbines were attached to the machine gun.
At the front, when carrying, machine gunners sometimes died, and their corpses, fastened with straps to the machine gun, gave birth to a legend, and then rumor and the media replaced the straps with chains, for greater effect.
The French went even further, and talked about the suicide bombers locked outside the "Schumann armor-carriers". The legend received a very wide spread, and as Hemingway later wrote in one of the post-war stories, "... his acquaintances who had heard detailed stories about German women chained to machine guns in the Ardennes Forest as patriots were not interested in unchallenged German machine gunners and were indifferent to his stories. "
Somewhat later, Richard Aldington mentioned these rumors in the novel The Death of a Hero (1929), where a purely civilian man teaches a soldier who came from the front on leave:
“- Oh, but our soldiers are such great, such great, you know, not that Germans. You’ve probably already seen that the Germans are faint-hearted? You know, they have to be chained to machine guns.
“I didn't notice anything like that.” I must say, they fight with amazing courage and perseverance. Do not you think that assuming the opposite is not very flattering for our soldiers? After all, we have not yet managed to really press the Germans. "
By the beginning of the Great War, the German command and officers did not hide the disdainful attitude towards the French army, associating it with the "Gallic rooster" - it was assumed that it was just as hot-tempered and loud, but in fact weak and frightened.
But already in the first battles, the French soldiers confirmed the long-standing reputation of staunch and courageous fighters, sincerely ready for self-sacrifice in the name of the motherland.
Their high combat qualities turned out to be more valuable because they had to fight this time with practically the worst weapon of all that was in the arsenals of both allies and opponents.
The main weapon of the French soldier - the 8-mm rifle "Lebel-Berthier" - could not be compared with the German "Mauser M.98", yielding in many respects to both the Russian "trilinear" and the Japanese "Arisack Type 38" and the American " Springfield M.1903 ", and many even attributed the gun machine gun" Shosh "to the category of weapons curiosities.
However, since the French infantrymen were doomed to use it (although they tried to replace the trophy or allied ones at the first opportunity), it was ultimately the “victory weapon” of the Great War, in which the French army certainly played a decisive role.
Machine gun "Shosh" began to develop also spontaneously, in response to the global trend to create automatic weapons systems.
The basis of the future automatic rifle (and the French created it) was taken nowhere more unclaimed and potentially unsuccessful machine gun system of the Austro-Hungarian designer Rudolf Frommer, based on the recoil energy of the barrel with a long stroke.
For quick-fire weapons, this scheme is the most undesirable because it leads to increased vibration. However, the French opted for it.
The tactical and technical characteristics of the new weapons were at the level "below the lowest." Perhaps the only positive quality of "Shosh" was a small weight - no more than 9,5 kg with equipped box magazine on 20 cartridges and a bipod.
Although here he did not become a champion: the Danish “Madsen” machine gun, which had excellent combat and reliable automation, weighed no more than 8,95 kg.
Despite all its shortcomings, the Shosh machine gun was a commercial success, albeit scandalous. In service with the French army, he remained until the 1924 of the year, and the total output of the machine gun at this point was quite a few 225 thousand.
The French managed to get the main income from the sales of their machine gun-outsider from the US military, which had a very saturated market of automatic weapons.
In the spring of 1917, shortly after America entered the war, the director of the American Army’s Armaments Department, General William Crozy, signed a contract to supply almost 16 thousands of Shosh machine guns.
It is noteworthy that several years earlier, the same official categorically rejected the idea of producing the excellent Lewis machine gun in the United States, but argued that the purchase of an obviously unsuccessful French model was "obvious lack of firepower of the American formations."
The result of its use in the US Army is not difficult to predict: the French machine gun received the same unflattering marks. Nevertheless, General Crozi continued to bulk purchases of these weapons.
17 August 1917, the Arms Commission of France received an order for another 25 thousand CSRG machine guns, only under the main American cartridge 30-06 Springfield (7,62? 63 mm).
The fate of this contract has been very remarkable. The automatic rifle Model 1918 (Chauchat) machine guns began to shoot even worse than those made for the native 8-mm cartridge.
The more energy-powerful 30-06 munitions not only often jammed, but it also very quickly broke the recharge mechanism. It is not surprising that, having received a little more than 19 thousands of machine guns under a new contract, the Americans categorically refused further deliveries.
Several deputies of the French parliament then tried to initiate an investigation into where the profits from the sale of obviously useless machine guns to the Americans went, but it was quickly closed - too many high-ranking military and diplomats were involved in a deal on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.