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The Guns of August: WWI

German military on battlefield, Aug 1914. Photo: Wikipedia.com

One hundred years ago this month the unrest in the Balkan area, which was comprised of Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece, boiled over into the beginning of a war that some initially thought could be over in a few short weeks. In reality it was over four years later and over 16 million deaths and 20 million wounded before the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918.

The timeline of how quickly this war began and how quickly it became a world war can be seen on several websites. One interesting site is HistoryPlace.com, and another more detailed site is GreatWar.co.uk.

Most historians believe the war started on June 28, 1914, when the Archduke of Austria and his wife were visiting Sarajevo in Bosnia. They were assassinated and the Austrians, thinking that the assassination was done by a Serbian nationalist, began to gather their allies. Less than a month later, on July 23, 1914, Austria-Hungary, with German support, delivers an ultimatum to Serbia. Five days later war on Serbia is declared. Great Britain calls for mediation to cool down the crisis and Russia, while beginning partial mobilization, calls on Germany for restraint.

One week later on July 30th Austria bombs Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. The next day, against Germany's wishes, Russia begins full military mobilization.

Then August dawns. On August 1, Germany declares war on Russia. Immediately, France and Belgium begin to mobilize their troops. Two days later Germany invades neutral Belgium and declares war on France. The next day Great Britain declares war on Germany. The declaration is binding on all Dominions within the British Empire including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa. This has become a world war. On the 5th the United States declares its neutrality.

On August 6, the Austro-Hungarian Empire declares war on Russia. During the next two weeks the French try to stop the German invasion and lose 27,000 soldiers in one day, the most casualties the French military has ever had in one day.

On August 12, Great Britain and France declare war on Austria-Hungary and Serbia is invaded by Austria-Hungary. On the 17th of the month Russia invades Germany. This invasion marks the beginning of the Eastern Front in Europe.

German troops occupy Brussels, the capital of Belgium, on August 20th and following this the main German armies continue west and invade France. According to HistoryPlace.com, "This is all part of the German master plan, the Schlieffen Plan. The plan calls for a giant counter-clockwise movement of German armies wheeling into France, swallowing up Paris, and then attacking the rear of the French armies concentrated in the Alsace-Lorraine area. The Germans seek to achieve victory over France within six weeks and then focus on defeating Russia in the East before Russia's six-million-man army, the world's largest, can fully mobilize."

On August 23, 1914 Japan declares war on Germany. The Japanese then prepare to assist the British in expelling the Germans from the Far East. German possessions in the South Pacific include a naval base on the coast of China, part of New Guinea, Samoa, and the Caroline, Marshall and Mariana Islands.

Read The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman. This book, first published in 1962, tells of the first month of World War I. The book received the Pulitzer Prize and is still a must read for anyone interested in military history. In the next Bugler we will look at the Schlieffen Plan, the German master plan to conquer France and the Battle of the Marne, where the fate of Paris was ultimately decided.

Competitive Drill: Sequencing

In competitive rifle exhibition drill, there is an element to a routine that is commonly referred to as sequencing. We all know that the person who wins a competition isn't always the person who threw down the best tricks; it's the person who threw down the best routine. Upon entering solo rifle exhibition drill, we all become choreographers as much as we become professional drillers. So, how does one go about creating an effective routine? The answer is never simple, as our art form is as much about spinning rifles as it is about expression. There are many ways to succeed, and it helps to subscribe to a personalized theory. In this article, I will explore a more liberal interpretation of sequencing by relating it to dubstep.

Dubstep Theory is great for advanced drillers with a large vocabulary of difficult movements. To understand Dubstep Theory, we have to understand the structure of dubstep. For those unfamiliar with dubstep, or its structure, listen to "An Introduction to Dubstep Production" by Dubba Jonny. This song has done a fantastic job of breaking down the basics of dubstep and showing them in practice.

Let's start at the beginning. Dubstep has a build-up. It starts slow, and we know something else is coming. We feel something else coming. We really want something else to come, but we know it won't be as sweet without this tension-building phase.

The song (or rather, your drill routine) starts slow, building high anticipation in your audience. Maybe there's an introduction. Whatever it is, it starts slowly, then it gets slightly more complex. There's a small taste of what's coming, but nothing big. And then...

BOOM!

There's a drop. We all know the drop. We all love the drop. We've been promised the drop, so when it hits, if it delivers, then it's extremely appreciated. When we listen to dubstep, the drop is the best part because it's predictably unpredictable. What I mean is that, after so much build-up, we know it's coming and it's going to be "dirty," but we never predict just how hard it does hit.

In drill, the "drop" is just as important (not dropping the rifle! Don't do that...). After so much tension-building, the audience and judges want something that's going to make their jaw fall to the floor, something that's going to make them jump up and down. Deliver it without mercy, no forgiveness. Keep that pace up for a while, really show off.

The beatdown section is about showing off a different style. After watching your style of drill for a minute, the audience might get desensitized. They might think you're a one-style driller. Show them that they're wrong, show them the depth of your technique.

Then...
Simmer down...
Wait for it...
And then...
DROP!
Take everyone by surprise.

This is my favorite part. Often, this is expressed by an extended break in a person’s drill routine – a handful of manual arms, a slow walk, a short breath of air. We know what they’re capable of, we’ve already had a show. They stop for a moment, slow things down… and then come back with something we never thought was possible, out of nowhere. People love being surprised, so surprise them.

The rest of the routine is about finishing strongly without losing your tempo. Finish your routine strongly, and then get out of the drill pad.

Adam Jeup has been an active driller for 11 years and has competed at IWDC. He owns and operates Independent Drill, a learning resource for drillers of all skill levels. Adam is a regular contributor to the Bugler. Stay tuned for his exclusive articles on competitive drill!

Correction

In Glendale Parade Store's 2014-2015 catalog we incorrectly stated that the winner of the Spin-Off competition at the National Middle School Championships was Cadet Torres from Trimble Tech Middle School in Fort Worth. He is Cadet Juliez Torres and he is currently a member of the Matador Battalion at Estacado High School in Lubbock, Texas. We apologize for the error.

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