Goeben Ferries Turkish Troops to the Caucasus

The Goeben, pictured in 1914.  Two years later and with little proper maintenance, she may have looked somewhat worse for wear.

February 4 1916, Trebizond [Trabzon]–The Russian winter attack at Köpruköy had caught the Turks entirely off guard.  Now Erzurum and much of the eastern Black Sea coast was threatened.  The Turks had plenty of troops now available since the Allied evacuation of Gallipoli, but poor infrastructure in Anatolia meant it would take months for the Army to move them to the front against the Russians.  Desperate to get men to the Caucasus, the Turks drummed the Goeben [Yavuz], the most advanced ship in its fleet, to serve as a glorified troop transport, departing with 429 soldiers, a mountain artillery battery, and munitions on February 4th, bound for Trebizond.

The Russian Black Sea Fleet was also in the area, the next day assisting a Russian advance 100 miles to the east of Trebizond.  General Alexeyev, effective commander in chief of the Russian Army, was not pleased at this, having told its Admiral a week earlier that “we have no right…to disperse our troops…[to] tasks…secondary even if appreciable in themselves, in remote theaters of war.” Alexeyev often threatened to effectively disband the Black Sea Fleet and conscripting its sailors into the Army directly.

Sources include: Randal Gray, Chronicle of the First World War. Image credit: By Bundesarchiv, Bild 134-B0032 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5337610

The bodyguard to Emir Sherif Faisal (later Faisal I of Iraq), a man described by the original caption by James McBey as originally being from Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and that his kit consisted “of innumberable weapons of all epochs, from the Saracenic scimitar to the latest Mauser automatic”. Damascus, Ottoman Syria. November 11, 1918.

(Imperial War Museum)

crimson-house asked:

I'm writing a sort of horror book largely based around the war, and I'm wondering; in your opinion, do you think there were grand machinations for the war at the time? These days, a war economy supporting large chunks of the world isn't much of a stretch, though when go further back in time it seems more and more conspiratorial. Do you think that banks (and rich families) of the time looked at the war as a money-making opportunity that far back?

Sounds like an interesting project you’ve got going, I’d love to see where you go with it.

As to whether the War was a money making opportunity, I would say it definitely was. The economic balance of power  pre-War had the British Empire as the largest economy and financial centre of the world. Britain itself underwrote the costs of the War for its dominions and to a large extent the lesser Entente powers such as Italy. The British goverment spent billions of pounds during the War and had to borrow huge amounts from the US which slowly shifted the economic balance away from the Empire and towards the States. Bankers, especially in the US, made quite a lot of money as did those who sold the resources required for the War. 

On a similar note there is another WW1 phenomena that you might find interesting. The story of the Kadaververwertungsanstalt or German Corpse Factory is an interesting one that is pretty much perfect for a WW1 horror story. It fits in well with business/economic conspiracy and body horror. 

I hope this has been a bit of help to you and your endeavours.

The spout of a rum bottle, once used by WWI soldiers and now repurposed by a farmer as a component of his fence. Along the Western Front, it is fairly common to find original WWI war materials repurposed by farmers to build fences, sheds and more.