Talk:Fifth Battle of Ypres

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Added sources and citations ready for an expanded narrative section.Keith-264 (talk) 12:17, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

Regarding the German Empire constituents[edit]

1. I'm not assuming anything - units of the different constituents were generally treated the same. Except maybe for a separate numbering scheme for the Bavarian units (and those are the only ones), no clue can be found that indicates that the German forces were strictly separated from each other by 'national' divides. In fact, this was one of the advantages of the German forces in the early parts of the war, given the non-united (i.e. divided by nation) Allied command. Also, you must still find a source which supports the division of the German forces into the constituent parts. This, consistently, does not divide the "German" forces. This, historical source (despite the title, it's actually talking of the 3rd Battle of Ypres, but that's not important), does not distinguish between the Bavarians or the Württembergers or the Prussians or whatever. Neither should we.

2. Even if the German Empire was technically a confederation, it is WP:OR to conclude from that that the different constituents need be mentioned separately. There is no other battle of WWI, anywhere on WP or in a reliable source, where that is the case. In fact, the German Empire was mostly considered as a single entity during WWI (and even for more than 40 years preceeding it, German unification having happened in 1871) - it declared war as a single entity (unlike, say, Germany and Austria-Hungary), and fought, as I said, as a single entity under the same leadership. WP:OR states that unless a piece of information is found to be the consensus of the reliable sources, then you can't put it on WP. Unless you can find more than one or two books/articles/... which explicitly state (i.e. more than just give a passing mention to the fact and more than just identifying X unit as Saxon or Bavarian or ...) that this battle was fought between the Allied powers and the different constituents of the German Empire (i.e. not "Allied vs Germans", "France + UK + Belgium + ... vs Germany", ...), then it's OR (in addition to being simply superfluous information, since it can be found of the wikilinked German Empire article anyway) and has no place in here. (talk) 16:07, 3 January 2018 (UTC)

Thanks for discussing this,

Contrary to what is generally believed an 'Imperial German Army' never existed. The navy was certainly imperial but the army was not, rather it contained several contingents. It is true that it was dominated by Prussia, but there were also substantial contributions from the kingdoms of Bavaria, Wurttemberg and Saxony, with smaller groupings from other parts of the Reich....This meant that the different contingents enjoyed a degree of independence from Prussia. Though in time of war all of these, even Bavaria, gave their allegiance to the Kaiser, in many ways, including the provision of manpower and adjustments to the order of battle, each contingent behaved autonomously.

— Sheldon p. 34

(Fighting the Somme, 2017)

Regards Keith-264 (talk) 16:23, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
The source doesn't state that they fought as separate countries (which is what listing the different constituents implies). It says that the army contained contingents from the constituents which worked on their own as to regards of reinforcements and unit organization (example the Bavarians decided how they would organize their forces and were tasked with providing reinforcements from them). It then says that, in time of war, they were all placed under the overall leadership of the German Empire (nominally, the Kaiser, but that was in theory only - in practice, military command was assumed (surprisingly!!!) by the military commanders, i.e. Moltke, Falkenhayn, Hindenburg, Ludenforff and subordinates). An example of this is the 5th Army (German Empire). This army contained a mixed contingent of troops - an even better example is the subordinate 52nd Infantry Division (German Empire) - which, under the same leadership, had troops from both Baden and Prussia - this shows it isn't an important distinction and that we shouldn't be making it either. (talk) 16:42, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
That distinction is spurious.Keith-264 (talk) 18:22, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
Which distinction? The one I was mentioning as not being important (in which case, I will go ahead with my edit since that pretty much ends the debate)? Or some other, in which case you got me confused... (talk) 18:56, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
BRD requires you to gain consensus so you risk 3RR if you continue.

....Freiherr von Soden....did not have to rely on the Prussians to assist. Instead, acting on his own initiative and pursuing the matter up the Wurttemberg chain of command, he was able, quite legitimately to send a request directly to the Ministry of War in Stuttgart for the raising of a new artillery regiment.

— Sheldon 2017, pp. 34–35

Keith-264 (talk) 19:44, 3 January 2018 (UTC)

The Royal Saxon Army...was the national army of the Kingdom of Saxony one of the four states of the German Reich to retain its own armed forces.

— Lucas & Schmieschek p. 8 (2015)

Keith-264 (talk) 19:47, 3 January 2018 (UTC)

Both of your quotes simply repeat the point above (that they were, from an organizational point of view, distinct). However, in most accounts of World War I, there is no distinction and troops from what is today Germany are usually referred to as "Germans". The above quotes are interesting, and could be used in the article about the Imperial German army. However, as I said, most accounts of the war name Germany as a whole and not as it's constituent parts - when Germany surrendered in 1918, it did so as one entity. We should also defer to consensus on other pages. World War I and other relevant pages only have "German Empire". Also, which distinction? (haven't understood that one yet). (talk) 20:50, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
I offer facts from RS and you don't; reiteration of opinion is not enough.Keith-264 (talk) 21:15, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
I reiterate because you ignore. I actually presented evidence of the Germans not being divided by "nation" for the purposes of describing their military operations - units maybe were administered distinctly but when it came down to the fighting, they fought under overall GERMAN leadership and sources most often present them as being "German" - ex. Here, "the Germans attacked", "German troops", ... "the Germans were attacking". This is even true in non-english language sources: the French official history, "Les armées francaises dans la Grande guerre" (henceforth abbreviated as AFGG) also uses "German" (i.e. in French, "allemand") to refer to the opposing side, not "Prussian" or "Bavarian" or ... except maybe to identify X unit as being Bavarian or Saxon or else; "L'armée allemande", "les forces militaires de l'Allemagne" (AFGG, Tome I, Volume I, 1936, p. 62) "des troupes allemandes ont pénétrées en territoire luxembourgeois" "Des éléments des XIXe et XIIe corps saxons" (id., p. 114) "le commandemant allemand", "les armées allemandes" (id., p. 586). The Canadian OH by Nicholson also consistently refers to troops from Germany, whether Saxon or Prussian or Bavarian or Wurttemberger as "Germans". Therefore, per WP:COMMONNAME, which states "Although official, scientific, birth, original, or trademarked names are often used for article titles, the term or name most typically used in reliable sources is generally preferred. Other encyclopedias are among the sources that may be helpful in deciding what titles are in an encyclopedic register, as well as what names are most frequently used." (emphasis mine), there's no dispute that the troops of the German Empire should be solely designated as being from the "German Empire" in the infobox and that it is not necessary to separate it into constituents - should a certain unit which participated be from a certain part of Germany, then it is also justified pointing that out in the text of the article (ex. "the Saxon XIIth corps"). (talk) 23:27, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
Yes and the Germans called all the English speakers English, much to the dismay of Scottish and Australian troops. Commonname is important but so is the Wiki assumption that newer sources are more accurate than older ones. Multiplying the number of mistaken, obsolete and superficial treatments of the "German" army (notice that all contingents had a local rather than a generic name until Hitler revealed the Wehrmacht in the 30s) isn't much help. Keith-264 (talk) 00:07, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
So, the two newer books you cite are correct while all older ones are "mistaken, obsolete and superficial" - unless you can also find statements which explicitly state that the different German Empire constituents formed armies which were entirely distinct (as distinct as the armies of the United Kingdom and say, France), then that statement is WP:OR. You also can't just disregard older sources simply because they don't agree with your point of view. Even newer sources still use "German", for example this book from 2011. Specifically, saying that the "German" army was not really "German" but simply a sum of the armies from the constituents would go against most if not all of scholarship on WWI, which uses "German" and "German Empire" predominantly. WP:RS mentions explicitly that "With regard to historical events, older reports (closer to the event, but not too close such that they are prone to the errors of breaking news) tend to have the most detail, and are less likely to have errors introduced by repeated copying and summarizing." Also, as far as I know, Scotland and Australia (to use your example) didn't go on to become one united country, as did the different constituents of the German Empire. In fact, as I already pointed out, German unification happened in 1871 - long before WWI. Actually, Germany was something people identified to long before it was officially one "united" country - the current German national anthem dates from 1848. Comparing Scots and Austrlians being called "English" to Bavarians and Saxons being called "German" is comparing apples to oranges. (talk) 00:41, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
You tried an appeal to authority so I did the same; as for Australia and Scotland, they did come from a united country, Oz didn't become sovereign until the 80s and Scotland bottled it a few years ago. The German empire was explicitly not a unitary state, it was more federal than the USA. Repeated copying etc is a risk that comes from taking tertiary sources and commercial hackwork as seriously as scholarly treatments which combine academic rigour with primary sources. We know now that French and British code-breakers were as busy in WWI as in WWII, which might explain the number of times that "a German officer was captured carrying maps...." appears in the OH. Deutschland had been an idea, not a place since the Thirty Years' War. Keith-264 (talk) 01:04, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
"Deutschland had been an idea, not a place since the Thirty Years' War." - Which might explain why it's the term commonly used to refer to it - again, Bavaria + Saxony + ... = "German" is not the same as Australia + Scotland + ... = "English".
"which might explain the number of times that "a German officer was captured carrying maps...." appears in the OH" - The only reference to anything similar in the 1962 OH (an enemy revealing plans) is about a certain deserter (named in other sources) mentioned on p. 60, and, even less similar on p. 289 "One captured German officer reported that his regiment while marching up had been caught in concentration after concentration, and that it was completely spent before it was engaged by Canadian infantry"
"You tried an appeal to authority" - that's kind of the essence of WP:NOR - whatever appears in an article must appear in a source, or if it appears differently in many sources, the majority opinion must be presented predominantly. As I said, the view of the German army being federal is something which can go in the relevant article since covering it to that detail here in this article (we don't even know the German OOB, how can we be sure units from all listed constituents participated) is too detailed and not related to the subject of the article (which is the 5th Battle of Ypres, not the German Imperial Army and its constituents). (talk) 16:36, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
Perhaps I should have written that you tried an appeal to authority in general, rather than authority in particular, like the two RS I referred to. Do you have any RS which advert to the federal structure of the Imperial army? Lack of sources should determine content not accuracy and as you pointed out above, we should be cautious with sources whih uncritically regurgitate previous work. The OH is History of the Great War not the COH. Keith-264 (talk) 17:32, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
And somehow this and this (no. 1) are not RS which demonstrate the use of "German" to refer to the broad structure that was the Imperial army? (talk) 18:03, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
And another RS, [1] which uses "Germany". (talk) 18:40, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
"Broad structure"...? More sophistry. Keith-264 (talk) 21:50, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
Then, let's go see what that means in the dictionary: "Broad: 'relating to the main or essential points'".[2] or "Broad: 'General; without detail.'"[3] "Structure: 'something arranged in a definite pattern of organization'"[4]. It is not necessary to go into the details of the German army because that is not the subject of this article - which is, I repeat, the 5th Battle of Ypres. Therefore, if we mention it, it should be in a broad manner, without going into unrelated specifics as to the detailed organization of it. That information, as I said, goes into detailed article German Army (German Empire), not here: it is absolutely irrelevant to the subject, and throughout the article itself, the Germans are referred to as being "Germans", not "Bavarians" or "Saxons" or something else. Unless you can prove that the distinctions of the German Imperial Army constituents are particularly relevant to the topic (for example, if you could provide an ORBAT and a detailed account of events which shows that, example, Bavarian units played a really important role by themselves as a distinct formation from the rest of the German army), there is no point in including that information in the infobox if it's not expended upon in the article. Also, you seem to be the sole person in favour of including it, i.e. it was added by you. Therefore, what is currently in the article is not global consensus (rather, local consensus), and as I said we should defer to the (global) consensus of other editors (which are invariably more numerous than the two of us). The consensus of other editors, as I showed by linking to the page on World War I, but which you will invariably find on other related pages (Category:World War I and in multiple reliable sources (which I'm bored of linking, but you get the idea), is that "German Empire" is enough and that it is not necessary to list the different nations separately.
Unless you can answer the question above (i.e. prove that the distinctions of the German Imperial Army constituents are particularly relevant to the topic, which again is the 5th Battle of Ypres not the German Imperial Army), I think this discussion will just remain stalled at the present point. Also, don't answer with one-liners because that's bordering on the insulting (especially when I take the time to make a reasoned answer and you dismiss it as being wrong without explaining) and is a rather bad argument (here) (talk) 22:40, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
I don't need to prove anything to you, you have no authority define an acceptable comment in such a self-serving way and I don't need you to dictate the form of the comments that I make. As you paint yourself further into a corner of your own making, your remarks get more offensive and long-winded; I suggest that you could learn from the example I set. The logical thing for you to do is agree to differ and let sleeping dogs lie. Keith-264 (talk) 23:35, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
I'm not. You're trying to force this article to your POV, while clearly disregarding all other articles on WWI which do differently . I presented sources for my edit, and even options for resolving the stalemate (WP:NOTSTUCK) - given the title of the article, I think you don't need to be an expert to deduce that it shouldn't be talking about the details of the Imperial German Army (which it doesn't, so again no reason for putting it in the infobox). Also, WP:LOCALCONSENSUS clearly states that consensus at one place at one time among a limited group of editors (or in this case, the opinion of one editor, but that's unimportant) cannot override broader community consensus. As I proved, broader community consensus is not to include what you think should be included. Therefore, I suggest you do the sensible thing and realize you are not seeing the forest for the trees. (talk) 00:07, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
Wiki is not a source and your reasons for editing the article against consensus are disingenuous and your resort to OR is transparent. You need to try harder or follow my advice. In the meantime I suggest that you leave the article alone. Keith-264 (talk) 22:47, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
"Consensus" - is it your consensus or real consensus? I provided plenty of sources showing the use of "German" - WP community consensus is also an important factor, which you can't just throw away, per WP:LOCALCONSENSUS. There's no OR in anything I did - technically, you are doing OR by using sources which do not relate to the topic (again, 5th Battle of Ypres) to conclude that we should include a separate listing of the German constituents, while there's no content in the article whatsoever which supports such a division - articles uses "German" throughout, has no reference to any unit coming from a particular nation (in fact, there's no ORBAT of any kind) and, slightly irrelevant to our dispute, but still interesting, has no precise narrative of the action (it's rather broad, simply stating "the British had taken X place by date Y, ..." or a variant thereof). You're asking for sources, so here are some more:
1. WP consensus: Template:Campaignbox Hundred Days 1918 - all articles (except this one) have "German Empire" vs. whoever it is that fought
2. Some other reliable source which happens (is it random or is it because that's what sources generally use?) to use "German" [5] - "when Britain and Germany went to war" "Germany surrendered on 11 November." "German trenches" "surviving Germans" - not a single mention of either Bavaria, Saxony, Baden or Wurrtemberg
3. Don't filibuster. If you're not interested in having a discussion, we can go to WP:DRN or WP:3O or somewhere else, but don't be rude. (talk) 23:09, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
The longer your posts, the more vapid they get. If tantrums and straw men are all you've got left, I suggest you have another look at the beam in your own eye before complaining about motes in mine. Keith-264 (talk) 23:15, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
Now you're down to criticizing tone (which isn't that negative, by the way). Please stop. (talk) 23:20, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
Please stop sulking, it isn't becoming and your last edit demeaned your dignity. I suggest that you reflect on the difference between the (federal) German empire known as the Reich in Germany and the federal army. Keith-264 (talk) 00:15, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
Ok I've had enough - you haven't responded to any of my arguments or the sources I've presented in your last 4 posts - I'm going to start with WP:3O and if that doesn't solve this we'll go for DRN. (talk) 01:59, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
Reiteration isn't an "argument" and it is not for you to dictate the frame of reference. I suggest that you devote your energies to adding to the substance of the article, which has been becalmed for several years.Keith-264 (talk) 09:14, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
Responding to the tone (which, again, I'm trying my best to keep polite) or supposing the state of mind of the other isn't constructive either. I'm reiterating because you seem to respond to each of them with some variant way to say WP:TLDR (they aren't that long, BTW, 2000 bytes/(6.1 bytes/word [5.1 letters + 1 space]) = 330 words - really not long). Don't be rude, read what I say before criticizing it and overall "attack" the message not the messenger. (talk) 15:12, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
I suggest that you're manufacturing a grievance instead of facing facts. I commend WP:Civil for your attention. Keith-264 (talk) 15:55, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
I have given nothing but direct quotes from reliable sources which show that the structure of the German army is irrelevant - we're not talking about it (the army) but about this battle and shouldn't go into too much details about it (especially given that there's no detail whatsoever about the German army or its structure in the present article - why the infobox). If there's something uncivil in me suggesting you attack my arguments and not attack me then please enlighten me because I'm at a loss. (talk) 16:06, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
Come off it, you aren't a victim. "Shouldn't go into too much details about it" really? I suggest that articles should have the details they need to enlighten our dear reader. I'm glad that you agree that the article needs work, it's a point I made earlier and I look forward to seeing you make improvements. I wouldn't use the article's inadequacy as a reason for a lack diligence though.Keith-264 (talk) 21:31, 6 January 2018 (UTC)

Arbitrary break[edit]

Pictogram voting comment.png 3O Response: This seems like a relatively minor distinction, almost not worthy arguing about. Nevertheless:

  1. Purely on sources, Keith-264 "wins" the argument: There seems to have been an internal distinction between components from the different states, and that can certainly be implied within the article body where proper (eg. "Saxon Gen. so and so").
  2. However, as the definition of Imperial Germany and the use of flags in Wiki infoboxes do not completely coincide, it's as much a matter of Wiki convention as anything else.
  3. I would ask that each of you provide some examples supporting their use case from other articles, preferably ones on WWI battles.
  4. In the event that the convention seems grossly inadequate to either of you, we can ask for the attention of WikiProject History and coordinate a change across all relevant articles pending consensus.
As an aside, I suggest the IP editor ( register for a Wikipedia account so as to make future edits and past references easier. François Robere (talk) 16:53, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
Thank you for your outside opinion but I'd rather see this as a search for accuracy, not a win-lose contest. I think that has a lot to offer. Keith-264 (talk) 17:07, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
(fixed indenting) I don't dispute that there were distinctions of the German army - I agree, it is not the same completely unified organization one would see in WW2. However, we must keep an attention to detail and not be excessive (emphasis) in that pursuit. That policy suggests "Some readers need a lot of details on one or more aspects of the topic (links to full-sized separate subarticles)." Since the article is about the battle, I think the most obvious solution (in light of that) would be adding the sources about the distinction in the separate article about the German army, which I'm doing forthwith. If you want to discuss the current convention at WikiProject Military History (or History), I'm all for it.
As to the convention, Central Powers lists only Germany/German Empire, as does WWI and, example, all the battles in the previously mentioned infobox (Template:Campaignbox Hundred Days 1918) except for this one and Valenciennes which has no infobox but states that it was between "the Germans [and] Canadian and British forces." (talk) 17:32, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
Taking from the quotes above, this is what I've got. If you can expand it with further statements from the sources you have, that'd be great. (talk) 17:43, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
@Keith-264: The point I was making is that this is as much a matter of convention within Wikipedia as it is about historical accuracy, so it should be in line with other articles on the subject. The IP editor's search suggests the convention is a "unified" view. François Robere (talk) 19:51, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
The use of the term Germany is not in dispute, only the nature of the Imperial army, which was not homogeneous, as the sources show. No-one is claiming that the constituent parts of the German Empire were allies, only that the Imperial German army was an amalgam, substantially different to the French army etc. Wiki conventions based on assumptions, ignorance or mistaken impressions are to be deprecated, not reinforced. Keith-264 (talk) 20:33, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
Very well, then this should be changed in all articles about battles/fronts in WWI, and the best way to do so would be through WikiProject History. François Robere (talk) 20:43, 6 January 2018 (UTC)

─────────────────────────Go to it. Keith-264 (talk) 20:49, 6 January 2018 (UTC)

I've asked for their attention. Bear in mind that convention has its reasons too, and is not necessarily as wrong as you perceive it. François Robere (talk) 20:59, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
Please bear in mind, however, that standards or conventions set by wiki-projects are no more binding on editing practices than essays unless the project goes the extra step to have the standards or conventions elevated into guidelines or policies via the process described in the Policy policy (not a typo). See the Consensus policy which states,

"Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale. For instance, unless they can convince the broader community that such action is right, participants in a wikiproject cannot decide that some generally accepted policy or guideline does not apply to articles within its scope. Wikiproject advice pages ... have not formally been approved by the community through the policy and guideline proposal process, thus have no more status than an essay."

The WikiProject guideline, linked in that quote, goes on to say that,

"projects have wrongly used these pages as a means of asserting ownership over articles within their scope, such as insisting that all articles that interest the project must contain a criticism section or must not contain an infobox, or that a specific type of article can't be linked in navigation templates, and that other editors of the article get no say in this because of a 'consensus' within the project. An advice page written by several participants of a project is a 'local consensus' that is no more binding on editors than material written by any single individual editor. Any advice page that has not been formally approved by the community through the WP:PROPOSAL process has the actual status of an optional essay."

Unless a wikiproject standard or convention has been raised to a policy or guideline then every article stands on its own, even if it is within the scope of the project. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 22:32, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
Which is why we're talking about convention and not standard. Either way it's a question of consistency across articles from the same category, intended not only to reflect historical reality but to provide a clear and useful reading experience. François Robere (talk) 22:38, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
As I wrote, the convention (although, yes, possibly lacking in accuracy) is also what seems to be followed by reliable sources, which generally tend to use "German" unless they are referring to a particular unit or group of units which participated, ex. Nicholson 1962, p. 153 "There were occasional checks by fire from some machine-gun emplacement which had escaped destruction, or from grenades hurled by isolated pockets of Germans. But the majority of the Wurttembergers [Nicholson doesn't mention it directly, but these would be troops from the 26th and 27th I.D., 13th Corps, i.e. Wurttemberg Corps - which were occupying the positions being attacked] [...]". (talk) 23:01, 6 January 2018 (UTC)

─────────────────────────I think you are confusing convention with coincidence. Keith-264 (talk) 23:18, 6 January 2018 (UTC)

If this were the only time in the book that Nicholson (or if this were the only book by anybody which) used "German" I'd accept it as coincidence... It isn't. (talk) 23:20, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
Also, though I don't know how much weight should be put into this since I'm basing it off the summary made by somebody else of a source I don't have with me, (Günter Wegner, Stellenbesetzung der deutschen Heere 1815-1939. (Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück, 1993), Vol. 1, p. 73, "[from this page] It was, effectively, also the army of the Kingdom of Württemberg, which had been integrated in 1871 into the Prussian Army command structure, as had the armies of most German states." (emphasis mine). (talk) 23:28, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
Nicholson's a RS but the field has also moved on since 1960. "Integrated" into the command structure in the sense that the Kaiser became the supreme warlord in time of war. If you look, you can see that the Bavarians even had different coloured uniforms. Have a look at Sheldon on the 26th Reserve Division commander instigating the raising of new artillery units from Wurttemberg to reinforce the Somme front. How often has Wales or Texas created new army units independent of the official army hierarchy? There is enough evidence for a reasonable person to accept that the Imperial army wasn't homogeneous in the manner of the French or British armies and that this matters.Keith-264 (talk) 09:21, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
Integrate here probably means "to incorporate into a larger unit" or "to form, coordinate, or blend into a functioning or unified whole " ([6]) - the keywords here are "larger unit" or "functioning, unified whole": while each part is indeed independent/autonomous, it is also part of the "larger unit", i.e. the German Imperial Army (under the theoretical leadership of the Kaiser), in the same way that soldiers from Scotland or [Northern] Ireland or England are (or were, if we're talking about WWI) part of the British (Imperial) Army. It remains then a matter of convention whether the constituents are listed separately or not. For the British Army, it is accepted that they are - i.e. nobody in his right mind will say "British forces fought against the Germans at 2nd Ypres" without explicitly mentioning there were also Canadians which played a major role.
For the Germans, however, given the facts stated above (Germany being an idea since the 30 years war, Germany being technically unified since 1871, it becoming an even further unified country just after WWI and throughout the rest of modern history (so far)) and the general convention being the use of "German", (ex. Granatstein, 2011, p. 88 (link here), "The Mont Sorrel battlefield was at the easternmost point of Ypres Salient's projection into the German lines [...]"). Here the author uses German to describe the whole of the enemy force i.e. which wasn't composed solely of Württembergers. He doesn't even list those separately. Nicholson (despite his book being quite older) actually gives more details. it seems reasonable to stick with simply "German" - it might not be the most accurate way to say it but if RS use it, then we can't be doing anything wrong by copying such usage. (talk) 15:16, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
After 1918, the German 1871 Reich continued, minus the Hohenzollerns and about 20% of its territory. It was the Nazi regime that created a centralised state and a German army. You should really look for examples of German usage rather than hair splitting about non-German, non-German-speaking usage.Keith-264 (talk) 19:25, 9 January 2018 (UTC)
1. This being English WP, we mostly care about usage of English-language sources (i.e. German language sources can be used but they are not really a reliable indicator for the purposes of WP:COMMONNAME. (talk) 22:34, 9 January 2018 (UTC)

I've read fairly widely on the fighting on the Western Front of World War I, and have never once seen the constituent states of the German Empire treated as separate belligerents like the infobox is currently implying. At most, books note the origin of units and/or soldiers, but even this isn't common and there's no suggestion that the governments of the states had any influence whatsoever over how the units were deployed or operated. As such, there's no reason to confuse and mislead readers by listing them as belligerents in this battle. Nick-D (talk) 04:41, 18 January 2018 (UTC)

Recent edit[edit]

"Lack of response"? The matter has been done to death. WP:Game WP:Dead horse....Keith-264 (talk) 19:17, 9 January 2018 (UTC)

I just wasn't sure - you didn't pursue the matter at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Military_history#Usage_of_flags_in_battle_infobox_in_the_context_of_WWI and so I wasn't sure if this was a case of 'consent by silence' or if you were filibustering. (talk) 22:36, 9 January 2018 (UTC)
Explain how I could take it to talk - if you disagree, say so clearly (silence is not clear) not by making vague mentions to WP:Dead horse (which can also be interpreted both ways). Furthermore, I strongly suggest YOU take it to the above (preceding comment) linked Wikiproject page so we can get the opinion of more (and knowledgeable) contributors. (talk) 14:57, 10 January 2018 (UTC)
Can I propose that we use a collapsible list for the German empire combatants? Eastfarthingan (talk) 12:46, 13 January 2018 (UTC)
Suits me.Keith-264 (talk) 15:13, 13 January 2018 (UTC)
Can you make an example of it here? I worry it would be unsightly. I remain firm that the constituents should just go and be treated in detail in the article about the German Imperial Army (i.e. what I added for now here) but if it doesn't look bad then it can go in the article, wouldn't be a major problem. (talk) 16:17, 13 January 2018 (UTC)

Fifth Ypres[edit]

[Originally posted in error on editor talk page] (UTC+0) Keith-264 (talk) 1:46 am, Today (UTC+0) More vandalism by another editor.* Comments on article talk seem to be generating no response. Can you find sources which provide an order of battle of some kind? Like the British OH (which I personally don't have), or the French and German ones for that matter (the latter 2 being available via internet, I'll check if I can find something). WP:NOR states that we can't put something in an article unless it appears in a reliable source: currently, we just don't know which constituents of the German Imperial Army participated at 5th Ypres: was there or was there not a Bavarian unit (idem for Saxony, Württemberg and Prussia). Lacking proof of the individual participation, it would be OR to include any of the constituents in the infobox (since we are literally saying "there was at least one unit from place X which participated in the battle", without any proof), in addition to being a blatant breach of the current consensus of other pages (for which to change, you must go make your case at the appropriate location) and English-language reliable sources. (talk) 12:10 am, 11 January 2018, last Thursday (2 days ago)

The burden is on you, not me if you want to challenge something in the article. It's a barebones effort which needs to be completed by someone who has sufficient sources to do it justice. Order of battle for the Spring Offensive this might help.*Keith-264 (talk) 8:42 am, 11 January 2018, last Thursday (2 days ago) (UTC+0)
  • This is my signature to my edit which I put here two days ago.Keith-264 (talk) 15:11, 13 January 2018 (UTC)
Nobody owns article content, we must judge from what is currently in there - which currently does not allow us to conclude which German units participated. I suggested you look at the BOH since you seem to have access to it (given earlier comments).
As for the burden of proof, it lies on whoever is proposing a theory (or in this case, content - which you added some 4 years ago), i.e. ad ignorantiam, lack of contrary evidence does not make something true, but lack of supporting evidence (per WP:NOR, but also in a court of law where stuff must be proven "beyond reasonable doubt" to conclude someone is guilty of it) is enough to remove something from an article unless such evidence can be found, if it exists.
At the moment, there is no sufficient proof to keep it in the article.
I did check the French OH (AFGG) but it has only 1/2 page (spread over two pages) describing the disposition of (only) Allied forces prior to the battle and then about 1 page of narrative which again gives little detail of the Germans, besides actions undertaken in reaction to Allied attacks. (All of this, in addition to the fact this goes, again, against the consensus of both WP and reliable sources). (talk) 2:17 pm, 11 January 2018, last Thursday (2 days ago) (UTC+0)
You cannot tamper with other peoples' edits on a talk page; do not revert it again.Keith-264 (talk) 5:00 pm, 11 January 2018, last Thursday (2 days ago) (UTC+0)
You are in the wrong here - you cannot tamper with other peoples' comments (what you did with mine), so don't (especially if I object to it) - WP:TPO explicitly states "you should not edit or delete the comments of other editors without their permission" and "normally you should stop if there is any objection". Any constructive comment regarding the above? (talk) 5:26 pm, 11 January 2018, last Thursday (2 days ago) (UTC+0)

The edit here is mine, yours was on my talk page, where comments can be deleted. What don't you understand? Leave. it. alone.Keith-264 (talk) 5:41 pm, 11 January 2018, last Thursday (2 days ago) (UTC+0)

WP:TPO: "Never edit or move someone's comment to change its meaning, even on your own talk page." (emphasis as in source) (talk) 6:31 pm, 11 January 2018, last Thursday (2 days ago) (UTC+0)

Going back to the question of which contingents were present. Prussia, obviously, as everything in the Imperial German Army not Bavarian, Saxon, or Württembergian was made part of it in the decades since 1871 (though the origin often being visible in the regimental names). You´ll find more information if you take a look at the respective army commanders in the infobox. Rupprecht was Crown Prince of Bavaria and always had Bavarian troops in his army and army group. Sixt von Armin commanded the 4th Army and the article on that says that in October 1918 (though at the end of the months) each of its corps (beside the Naval Corps of course) had one or more Bavarian divisions which means that at least some of those must have been there. Likewise Quast`s 6th Army had Bavarian divisions in at least one of his corps (55th). Smaller units are more difficult to find but Württemberg had at least parts of a cavalry unit (Reserve Dragoon Regiment) attached to various corps of those armies during that time. So definitely Prussia and Bavaria, maybe Württemberg. Don´t know about Saxony though ...GELongstreet (talk) 18:03, 11 January 2018 (UTC)

So, per that information, and admitting it is bordering on OR ("at least some of those must have been there" - which is a reasonable assumption but again just an assumption and not a statement made in a source...) I'll go put comment marks around Württemberg and Saxony. The German OH has a precise graph of which units where attached to which army - I don't know if it includes cavalry divisions, but I'll go check. The US-produced "Histories of 251 Divisions" might also have some information about any division being involved in specific battles, so will see if that brings anything new. (talk) 18:24, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
Here (should be p. 617)! Gives Marine Corps-Garde Corps-X Reserve Corps (4th Army), being attacked early on Sept. 28, holding the line between Dixmude and Hollebeke. Will see for the rest. (talk) 18:41, 11 January 2018 (UTC)

Official Histories[edit]

I'm not sure about copyright status, but it begins by stating that "Early on 28 September the enemy attacked the Kronprinz Rupprecht Army Group, also in Flanders, but on a more extended front, as had been done against the 4th Army in the days before. Making strong use of tanks and aerial resources, the attack came from the British, Belgian and French troops which were standing in front of the Flanders Army Group. Detachments from the English fleet bombarded the Marine Corps from the sea, and the attack, which was preceded by a 3-hour long artillery preparation, hit a 30 kilometer wide section between Dixmude and the Lys, and strongpoints on both sides of the Houthulster wood and of the road leading from Ypres to Menin. The enemy succeeded in pushing back the southern wing of the Marine Corps, of the Guard Corps and the X Reserve Corps to the Dixmude-Houthulst-Becelaere-Zandvoorde-Hollebeke line; the heights of Wytschaete having to be evacuated, four divisions were provided [as reinforcements] by the 4th Army. Abreast the 17th Army, the enemy conquered the Hagen position with large forces, and temporarily took over Arleur from the II Bavarian Army Corps, advanced against the forward portions of the XVIII Army Corps up to just west of Cambrai, and reached sections of the Schelde against the XIV Reserve Corps, even heading towards Marcoing." - this is in contradiction with what is currently in the article. Or the correct turn of events (which would then need to be updated in the article) would be:

  • 1. A 3-hour long artillery preparation begins, except on the British front (this last part not mentioned in German OH
  • 2. The artillery bombardment ends,
  • 3. and the British attack on their 4.5 mile front, while the others attack on the remainder of the 30 km front. (talk) 19:12, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
Just for the records: as far as translation is concerned the used term for the unit is not Marine Corps but Naval Corps; as the German word Marine means Navy (or Naval). ...GELongstreet (talk) 20:10, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
We still all understood which unit it was (I'll take greater care in future attempts)... I'll work on including that information about the Order of Battle and the information I can get from the French volume, which gives:
  • British 2nd Army (Gen. Plumer): 15th, 10th, 19th, 2th [British] Army Corps (7 1/2 Divs in Front line, 2 1/2 Divs in rear areas)
  • Belgian Army (King Albert): Southern Group, Gen. Biebuyck (11th, 8th, 12th, 6th [Belgian] Divisions), Centre Group, Gen. Jacques (9th, 3rd Divisions and 128th French Division behind these two), Northern Group, Gen. Bernheim (7, 1, 10), and the remainder (4, 2, 5) from Clercken to the sea.
  • French Forces: as reserves, the first group (attached to the command of the Belgians) being the 7th [French] Army Corps (Gen. Massenet, 41st, 164th Divisions (and the 128th)). The second group was 34th Army Corps (Gen. Nudant, 5th, 70th, 77th Divisions), this one was still under the control of Foch. The 2nd Cavalry Corps (Gen. Robillot, 2nd, 4th and 6th Cavalry Divisions) was also bivouacked in the area. (AFGG, Tome 7 Vol 1, p. 360-361). This still doesn't solve the problems of the Württembergers or the Saxons. (talk) 22:28, 11 January 2018 (UTC)

───────────────────────── For the German OOB, this gives only the 4th Army as having been involved in this battle, i.e. "28. [September] Beginn dem Grossangriffe in Flandern." A further 3 or 4 were also involved (with plausible dates) in the "abandonement [original German 'verlust', lit. 'loss'] of the Siegfriedstellung [Hindenburg line] between Cambrai and the Oise" - this is too far to the south, right? (talk) 19:32, 12 January 2018 (UTC)

Checking "Histories of 251 Divisions" - Nothing of use for the Naval Corps - it places the 3rd Division and the 85th Landwehr in the East (says "rumors put the 85th Lw in the west, but that seems unlikely") - . The 38th Lw is said to have slipped to the south of the German lines in Flanders and forced back due to the fighting in October, but nothing which places it specifically at this battle. The 1st and 2nd Naval Division suffer the same problem (placed vaguely in Flanders but no mention of the exact position). I haven't repeated the exercise for the other Corps, but the results would probably be similar. Given that the table in the German OH only gives transfers of divisions between armies, I doubt one can conclude which were involved in specific battles. This means we need more sources and not just the official histories. (talk) 05:54, 13 January 2018 (UTC)


Vandalism reverted.Keith-264 (talk) 01:46, 13 January 2018 (UTC)
I won't move it, but shouldn't this comment go somewhere else since it's clearly not a response to the above? (talk) 03:11, 13 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Rv vandalism to talk page.Keith-264 (talk) 09:17, 13 January 2018 (UTC)
I see no rational reason for what you just did but if you're going to strike your signature, might as well remove the comment? (talk) 16:10, 13 January 2018 (UTC)


Did a cheeky little ce, changed isbn 10s to 13s, found an oclc for the FOH, rm dupe wikilinks, templated further reading. Not sure of the FOH volume cited is the text or annex one though. Keith-264 (talk) 12:51, 12 January 2018 (UTC)

The text volume. (talk) 15:12, 12 January 2018 (UTC)
And we need the other volume too (Vol. I) - which is used for the OOB. (talk) 15:40, 12 January 2018 (UTC)
 Done (talk) 17:13, 12 January 2018 (UTC)

─────────────────────────Good, that's what the oclc links to.Keith-264 (talk) 22:36, 12 January 2018 (UTC)

User talk pages[edit]

For information: "Personal talk page cleanup: Although archiving is preferred, users may freely remove comments from their own talk pages." [7]Keith-264 (talk) 13:01, 12 January 2018 (UTC)

Yes, you can remove it. That was never the problem, rather - 'WP:TPO: "Never edit or move someone's comment to change its meaning, even on your own talk page." (emphasis as in source)'. (talk) 15:42, 12 January 2018 (UTC)
The comment I put on here was mine; Dear oh dear.Keith-264 (talk) 22:34, 12 January 2018 (UTC)

Can´t you two just cut it? One quoted the other's comment from his talk page here, in a possibly not perfect way. The other has a problem with it and reverts. The other has a problem with the revert and reverts and now you flood each other with this stuff which is totally not needed here. I suppose you either take your behavioural issues back to one of you user talk pages or you bring it to ANI - or you simply drop it. This is the article talk page. ...GELongstreet (talk) 02:24, 13 January 2018 (UTC)


Template:Cite book

  • orig-year: Original publication year; displays after the date or year. For clarity, please supply specifics. For example: |orig-year=First published 1859 or |orig-year=Composed 1904. Alias: origyear.
  • No exception made for reprints. Keith-264 (talk) 08:57, 16 January 2018 (UTC)
Not a reprint - and Help:Citation_Style_1#Dates "year Year of publication edition being referenced." - which is what I am referencing (that's the date given on the site, [8] which gives for the specific volume in question "Year of publication: 1944").
No, it's the 2012 [edit:online] edition of the 1944 publication. Keith-264 (talk) 16:31, 18 January 2018 (UTC)

Preliminary bombardment[edit]

I'd favour the British account and put the German one in an {{efn|text}} Keith-264 (talk) 15:38, 16 January 2018 (UTC)

The French OH also gives a three-hour artillery preparation... "Le 28 septembre, après une préparation d'artillerie de trois heures, le groupement des Flandres, IIe armée britannique au sud, armée belge au nord, engage à son tour l'offensive, [...]" (AFGG 1928b, p. 15) 'On the 28th of September, after a three-hour artillery preparation, the Flanders [Army] Group, 2nd British Army to the south, Belgian Army to the north, joined in turn the offensive, [...]'. (talk) 20:47, 16 January 2018 (UTC)
And [sorry, the link leads to the wrong place - it's in: Tome VII. La campagne offensive [...] -> Premier volume. Les offensives de [...] -> 40.000e belge. - Bataille des crêtes des Flandres] that map might help with the OOB. (talk) 20:53, 16 January 2018 (UTC)

Battle in which Hitler was wounded (?)[edit]

According to William L. Shirer's, 'The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich', Hitler was wounded in a gas attack in this battle on October 13th (p.30). Should this be included and if so how? Cornelius (talk) 06:12, 1 February 2018 (UTC)

@Renassault: This was removed (by me) earlier because it lacked a source. Now that one is found, feel free to include it (you can search the edit history for the previous version, then add your reference). I think the most appropriate place for it to go would be in the casualties section (i.e. describing him as a "notable casualty"). (talk) 19:26, 13 February 2018 (UTC)

Fed armies redux[edit]

Zuber, T., ed. (2014). The First Battle of the First World War: Alsace-Lorraine (condensed edition of Deuringer, K. Die Schlacht in Lothringen und in den Vogesen 1914 [The Battle in Lorraine and the Vosges 1914] Bayerische Kriegsarchiv, München, 1929 ed.). Stroud: The History Press. ISBN 978-0-7524-6086-4.

Preface: "...the only battle in which the Bavarian Army, under Bavarian leadership, fought independently." so not only the infrastructure but the operations (at least in 1914) were independent. Does anyone know of a similar thing in any other army? Keith-264 (talk) 19:48, 13 February 2018 (UTC)

"...the only battle". Obvious. And what of the consensus (or, unanimity) of other editors? (talk) 20:10, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
"Consensus on Wikipedia does not mean unanimity (which, although an ideal result, is not always achievable); nor is it the result of a vote. Decision-making involves an effort to incorporate all editors' legitimate concerns, while respecting Wikipedia's policies and guidelines." PS apologies for the typos in the edit summary. Regards Keith-264 (talk) 21:25, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
I added the quote because it adverted to the operational as well as the infrastructural independence of the Bavarian army. The end operational independence mirrors that of the Baden divisions, as does the retention of infrastructural independence discussed above and cited by Sheldon. I wouldn't have known that at least one national army operated as one as well as being separate in recruitment, equipment, training and leadership if that book hadn't arrived the other day. Keith-264 (talk) 21:38, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
You still miss the point. The quote you use is not referring to this battle. In fact, it explicitly states that the battle it refers to was 'the only battle'. Consensus isn't unanimity, but when you're the only one opposing something, you clearly aren't the consensus. That policy should be interpreted actually as "you can have consensus without unanimity", not as "unanimity (minus 1, or not) is not a consensus" (talk) 21:41, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
No, I made the point, not only were the four armies separate in infrastructure as demonstrated earlier, at least one national army fought as one in 1914, that the Bavarian army was dispersed later doesn't negate the earlier findings, it reinforces them. Your point about numbers adverts to the policy comment about a vote not being valid. I have incorporated your concerns by citing sources demonstrating the peculiar nature of the Imperial army and added one that goes further by describing operational as well as institutional independence, albeit short-lived. Interpreting the policy is OR and a conflict of interest. Keith-264 (talk) 22:04, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
It does negate them. The reliable source explicitly states that it was the "only battle". You are resorting to OR, which clearly says that you can't infer anything from sources. Also, the German Army in 1918 was very different from its earlier form in 1914. (talk) 22:07, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
And concerning the policy, I might have used "interpreted" but really that means "understood" - it does say "Editors should make a good faith effort to reach a consensus. That means that the dissenting party has to state how the current proposal fails to meet the interests of the wider group, rather than merely stating they will not accept it. But after a good faith discussion, sometimes the dissenting party must consent to move forward even if they disagree with the specific course of action." (talk) 22:08, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
No, the earlier examples in the RS were about institutional independence but common authority, the new source goes further for 1914 and describes operational independence as well, before common authority was imposed. You're the dissenting party by the way and quoting isn't OR, neither is describing why it's relevant to the discussion. "Interpreted" but really that means "understood"? Oh really ;O)Keith-264 (talk) 22:26, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
You are the dissenting party as pertains to the inclusion in the infobox, per the discussion at WP:MILHIST. And I already said that a source about 1914 should be taken with a grain of salt when the subject of the article is a battle in 1918. Or, shorter: 1914 does not equal 1918. The policy I'm quoting, if you were thinking of another one, is WP:UNANIMITY, which is unambiguous about what it says. And again, the source is not talking about this battle, so making any link between the independence of the Bavarian Army at a specific battle in 1914 and this battle (in 1918) is indeed OR. (talk) 23:09, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
No, the people who want to change the infobox are the dissenters and have failed to gain consensus. Your claim about Zuber is spurious and based on a false premiss that I added it for anything other than information, to demonstrate that the independence of the federal armies went deeper than even I realised. On the other hand I decided overnight to remove the information from the infobox, until sufficient information accrued in English to make the point unarguable to other editors and because you have at least taken an interest in a dormant article. I'm sure that this will return but it could be another decade so edit away. Regards Keith-264 (talk) 09:36, 14 February 2018 (UTC)
The discussion at WP:MILHIST clearly shows that people are against including the information which should have been removed. Consensus isn't unanimity, and you being against it does not mean it hasn't been reached, especially when all others agree the contested information has no place. My claim that "a source which refers to a battle in 1914 is not related to this battle in 1918" is not spurious, it is absolutely correct. Even more so when the author takes the time to specifically point out that the battle in 1914 was "the only battle in which the Bavarian Army fought independently". That information, again, does not go in this article - rather, it would go in the article about the relevant battle. (talk) 22:35, 14 February 2018 (UTC)
The discussion showed little more than ignorance; yet again you fail to acknowledge that the information adverted to operational independence, which hadn't appeared in previous sources which only referred to institutional independence. What happened by 1918 to the institutional independence which was demonstrated beyond argument in the earlier discussion? Keith-264 (talk) 00:41, 15 February 2018 (UTC)
It seems to be, by most others and by most reliable sources (which can hardly be dismissed as "little more than ignorant"), not considered sufficient independence to warrant a separate treatment in the infobox. If I take another example, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all have, to some extant, some form of institutional independence from each other, yet on the international stage they are usually referred to as the "United Kingdom" (or sometimes wrongly as simply "England", in the same way the German Empire was said to be "Prussian" (which, like with the English, were the dominating faction but far from being the only one)). (talk) 00:54, 15 February 2018 (UTC)
Reiteration of opinion goes nowhere. WP:STICK. Keith-264 (talk) 01:14, 15 February 2018 (UTC)
Well, that would be good advice if it didn't look like I was talking to a wall, hence why I tried to vary my responses with different arguments (i.e. the UK example). (talk) 01:16, 15 February 2018 (UTC)