Cambrai

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Stephen White
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Cambrai

Post by Stephen White » Tue Nov 19, 2019 9:42 pm

102 years ago this evening, Brigadier General Hugh Elles, commanding the Tank Corps in France issued this Special Order of the Day:

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Cambrai Day is tomorrow, the day the tank came of age in the hands of the world’s first tank unit.

Tradition has it that Tankies celebrate with a glass of “gunfire” at dawn. Count me in.

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Stephen White
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Re: Cambrai

Post by Stephen White » Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:34 am

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Cambrai Day.


We will remember them.

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Chris Hall
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Re: Cambrai

Post by Chris Hall » Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:44 am

Thank you, Stephen - this was on my 'To Do' list as well :D

Happy Cambrai Day, fellow tankies worldwide ! It is fit and proper to remember the events of 102 years ago - with Gunfire, if legally available ..... :wink:

All the best,

Chris
Mark IV (Liesel, Abteilung 14, France 1918)
Morris Quad, 25-pdr & 2 x limbers (45RA, Korea 1951)
M3 Lee (25th Dragoons, Burma 1944)
Rolls-Royce Armoured Car (10(RN)AMB, German E. Africa 1916)

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Re: Cambrai

Post by Kevin Hunter » Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:24 am

Gunfire - cup of black tea with a shot of rum.

Definitely legal, not so sure about tasty......

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Steve Lewington
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Re: Cambrai

Post by Steve Lewington » Wed Nov 20, 2019 1:42 pm

Afternoon Stephen chris Kevin.
Kevin once had never forgotten tastes even better after two or three lol.
Sadly I was up and away before 5 this morning so no no gunfire but I will be having one this evening and another four for some very good lost comrades who are no longer with us.
Have a great day gents and
FEAR Naught.

Steve
There is no time for peace.
No respite.
No forgiveness.
There is only ......WAR.

SdKfz 7 Half Track, 88mm Flak 36, Panzer III, TIGER I Mid 2010, Panzer iv, Sdkfz251, Famo ,Chech Hedgehog x2
Ammo limber, 25 pounder,

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Chris Hall
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Re: Cambrai

Post by Chris Hall » Wed Nov 20, 2019 2:44 pm

Kevin Hunter wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:24 am
Gunfire - cup of black tea with a shot of rum.
I always thought there was a sprinkle of gunpowder in there as well :oops: - but, never having served, how would I know ?
Mark IV (Liesel, Abteilung 14, France 1918)
Morris Quad, 25-pdr & 2 x limbers (45RA, Korea 1951)
M3 Lee (25th Dragoons, Burma 1944)
Rolls-Royce Armoured Car (10(RN)AMB, German E. Africa 1916)

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Re: Cambrai

Post by Kevin Hunter » Wed Nov 20, 2019 3:17 pm

Chris Hall wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 2:44 pm
I always thought there was a sprinkle of gunpowder in there as well :oops: - but, never having served, how would I know ?
Me neither Chris. If it’s not a close guarded secret maybe the Tankies will confirm whether that’s true or myth. Wikipedia only gives the legal recipe :D

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Steve Lewington
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Re: Cambrai

Post by Steve Lewington » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:06 pm

No gunpowder lads just a good slug of rum laced with a little drop of tea :lol:
Steve
There is no time for peace.
No respite.
No forgiveness.
There is only ......WAR.

SdKfz 7 Half Track, 88mm Flak 36, Panzer III, TIGER I Mid 2010, Panzer iv, Sdkfz251, Famo ,Chech Hedgehog x2
Ammo limber, 25 pounder,

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Stephen White
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Re: Cambrai

Post by Stephen White » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:45 pm

I joined the Army after gunpowder had gone out of fashion........... I can admit to being in charge of the mixing of gunfire one Cambrai Day. The cookhouse supplied a "Norgie" (= Norwegian food container)

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filled with tea and the Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant supplied the Pusser's Rum. The mix was left up to us. Tasting required patience and skill.

There has been a slight misunderstanding for years about the gunpowder reference. It sounds plausible, if somewhat toxic, that gunpowder might have been included but that's in the way of an urban myth. The reference to "gunpowder" however is accurate. In the days before the invention of the hydrometer and with it the ability to test the alcohol content of a spirit by volume, clever Royal Navy matelots applied a test with gunpowder to prove that the spirit supplied by unscrupulous pussers had not been diluted. The spirit and gunpowder were mixed into a paste and a flame was applied. If the paste burned, the spirit was said to be "100% proof". That is equivalent to 57% bv. Any lower percentage and the mixture would not ignite. The spirits and gunpowder were stored near each other on men-o-war and it was sensible to make sure that in action, wet gunpowder would still go bang.

Army issue rum was not something you drank lightly. Many an unsuspecting new soldier swigged the humble dawn cup of black tea, thinking it was the answer to the consequences of the Eve of Cambrai celebrations. The look on their faces after the first mouthful made it all worthwhile. Of course, the knowing had a similar smile but for different reasons. We officers and NCOs would get up before dawn to serve the soldiers their gunfire at first light, accompanied by the Piper and his cloth piano. The bagpipes are a lethal weapon at short range and the combination of piping and gunfire certainly sorted the men from the boys.

Which takes us back to Cambrai. By the evening of the 20th, not all objectives had been taken but substantial penetrations of the Siegfried Stellung had been achieved. The cost in tank crews was tragic but by comparison with the losses of infantry at the Somme battles a year earlier it was dramatically better. By the end of Day 1, of the 378 tanks involved, 179 had been put out of action. 65 had been hit, 71 had mechanical problems and 43 were bogged in the trench lines.

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Frank Breitenbach
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Re: Cambrai

Post by Frank Breitenbach » Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:04 am

Hello
Here are some pictures from my grandfather. He was during the Cambrai campaign there and he was decorated (I hope it is the right word) with the “Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse”. The third pictures show his coment where the tanks are. I know from Stephen that there is a different to the official cronicl.
He was born in 1899. The picture from him is when he go into the WW1 and the second is from WW2. My grandmother told me, that he looks like an old man when he come back from the WW1. There is no great different when you see pictures with him in the early 1920 and when he was 80 years. He never say somethings from the war. I believe it was as horror for all peoples.
Regards
Frank
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Stephen White
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Re: Cambrai

Post by Stephen White » Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:21 am

Frank

Vielen Dank für das Posten. Es bedeutet so viel. Der Akt der Erinnerung ist für alle.

Thank you Frank for posting these memorable pictures. The act of Remembrance is for all who suffered from conflict.

We will remember them. Wir werden uns an Sie erinnern.

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Re: Cambrai

Post by simon_manning » Sun Nov 24, 2019 12:57 pm

This is one of those post's that comes up every now and again that reminds me of how lucky we have been not to be involved in a situation like these people faced, either side, it makes it embarrassing to be a human Being, regards simon manning.

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Chris Hall
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Re: Cambrai

Post by Chris Hall » Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:55 pm

And here we are again - the eve of Cambrai, the first massed tank attack in history. Despite us all having suffered an horrendous year, we owe it to our forebears to remember their, much greater, sacrifices.

Fear Naught.
Mark IV (Liesel, Abteilung 14, France 1918)
Morris Quad, 25-pdr & 2 x limbers (45RA, Korea 1951)
M3 Lee (25th Dragoons, Burma 1944)
Rolls-Royce Armoured Car (10(RN)AMB, German E. Africa 1916)

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Stephen White
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Re: Cambrai

Post by Stephen White » Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:53 pm

Fear naught indeed Chris. Well said. To Tankies everywhere (and even tankers in the US), we will remember them. M I B - the men in black.

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Re: Cambrai

Post by Stephen White » Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:54 pm

Cambrai - the movie.

https://youtu.be/rAz6G1NVMYk

A thousand times better and more accurate to history than that Fury rubbish.

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