Author: Dying Splendor of the Old World

Footage of the British Women’s Auxiliary…

Footage of the British Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps during the Great War.

“My son! Go and save your Motherland!&r…

“My son! Go and save your Motherland!” A recruiting poster for the White Volunteer Army in South Russia.

August 16, 1918 – Whites Take Ekaterinodar

August 16, 1918 – Whites Take Ekaterinodar

Pictured – The Kornilov Shock Regiment avenges their chief. 

The anti-Bolshevik cause was dealt a potentially fatal setback in April 1918 when General Lavr Kornilov was killed by a Red shell while besieging the town of Ekaterinodar in the Kuban region of South Russia. Kornilov’s Volunteer Army of some 5,000 men was thrown into disarray and forced to retreat through the snowy steppes, in an episode remembered as the “ice March.” Lenin declared victory with Kornilov’s death: “It can be said with certainty that, in the main, the civil war has ended.”

He was wrong. The Don Cossacks had grown disenchanted with Bolshevik rule and proclaimed their independence, pledging support to the Volunteers. Russian troops from Romania arrived as well, joining the White cause. Soon the tiny Volunteer Army had metamorphosed into a larger force, and a much more colorful one, too. It counted among its units groups such as Shkuro’s White Wolves, a band of ruthless mounted partisans, and the Kornilov Shock Regiment, a unit composed entirely of officers wearing black and red uniforms emblazoned with skulls and crossbones. Although the Reds had a manpower advantage in South Russia, they were outmatched in terms of quality.

Now under the command of General Anton Denikin, the Whites returned to Ekaterinodar and laid it to siege. They destroyed the Red Western Army in front of the city, a force of 30,000 men which was annihilated. Although one of Kornilov’s lieutenants named Markov was killed, the Volunteers entered Ekaterinodar in triumph. Of course, their victory would be temporary. Ekaterinodar means “Catherine’s gift.” Today the city is called Krasnodar, which means “Gift of the Reds.”

The advance.

The advance.

“View of German naval gun used for anti-aircr…

“View of
German naval gun used for anti-aircraft. Destroyed by an American Aviator
in the last counter offensive at Chateau Thierry. The gun was being
moved when hit, killing the entire battery. Near Ville Neuve, France.”

August 15, 1918 – Czechoslovakia Declared an A…

August 15, 1918 – Czechoslovakia Declared an Allied Power

Pictured – Rallying to the flag.

Britian formerly recognized Czechoslovakia as an independent Allied power in August 1918, followed by the US and France later in the war. Although there was no existing Czechoslovakian state – the Austro-Hungarian Empire continued to rule from Bohemia to the Carpathians – there was a Czech National Council that existed as a shadow government, and the Czech Legion was seen as a regular army fighting against the Central Powers in Russia. The Allies hoped that recognizing Czech independence would foment revolution in Austria and speed the Dual Monarchy’s collapse.

greatwar-1914:

greatwar-1914:

“I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees.”  Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata, whose Zapatista peasant army fought a long guerrilla campaign south of Mexico City.  This picture was taken in Mexico City in 1914, after the revolutionaries captured the capital.  However, the victors soon fell out, and Zapata allied with Pancho Villa against the liberal Constitutionalist faction.  He did die, assassinated in 1919, but still has an iconic legacy in Mexico today.

 Captain Vere Arthur Edmonstone Elliott of Rho…

 Captain Vere Arthur Edmonstone Elliott of Rhodesia, B Battery, 165th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. Killed March 1918.

HQ, 15th Suffolk Yeomanry, August 14 1918.

HQ, 15th Suffolk Yeomanry, August 14 1918.

August 14, 1918 – Fonck Downs Three German Pla…

August 14, 1918 – Fonck Downs Three German Planes in Ten Seconds

Pictured – Gaudy, morose, bad-tempered, vain, but one hell of a pilot.

One of René Fonck’s closest friends described him as “A tiresome braggart, and
even a bore.” One history book collected epitaphs from people who liked Fonck less: “A dreadful show-off, intolerable, always
bragging, egotistical, ham-like, a poseur, gaudy, loud, hard to take,
expressionless at times, morose, deliberately cruel, over-neat, tightly
tailored, etc.“

But Fonck was also the best Allied pilot of the Great War. It was a reputation he had already well cemented by 1918, especially after feats such as shooting down six enemy planes in one day. In Germany Fonck was respected, in the airbases at Lille and Douai he was feared. On August 14 Fonck did something about equally impressive when he shot down three German aircraft in ten seconds during one frontal attack. Each crashed within one hundred meters of the others. Flying his SPAD S.XIII fighter,  Fonck used only five bullets or less for every kill: "I put my bullets into the target as if I placed them there by hand.”

Fonck also usually made sure everyone in shouting distance knew about his feats. His friends remarked that he was a great comrade to have in the air and a terrible one to have on the ground: “Afterwards he
can’t forget how he rescued you, nor let you forget it. He can almost
make you wish he hadn’t helped you in the first place.“