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Students will be invited to explore the full aspects of discipline and morale and will consider why the wartime executions of soldiers have come to dominate the historiography.

British Military Leadership in the First World War by John Terraine

Other topics, such as the the experience of women in the British army, the British army on the home front, logistics and officer selection will also be discussed in detail. University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer. I've spent half a century yikes writing for radio and print—mostly print.

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I hope to be still tapping the keys as I take my last breath. After two years of war it seems that our higher commanders are still without common sense. In any well-regulated organization a divisional commander would be shot for incompetence — here another regiment is ordered to attempt the same task in the same maddening way.

The British Army and the Great War - HI860

The origin of the phrase above is murky but it has come to summarize the widely held belief that Allied generals were blundering idiots who ordered brave soldiers into near suicidal attacks. From the North Sea to the Alps, two opposing lines of trenches had been dug. In , Allied forces under General Sir John French had tried to break the stalemate with frontal assaults against German trenches.

Losses were devastating and little ground was taken. He was trained as a cavalry officer and never shed his belief in the value of men on horseback charging the enemy. Back in field headquarters, generals and staff officers puzzled over how to deal with this new kind of warfare. Their first idea was to throw large numbers of men at the defensive lines in an attempt to overrun the trenches and break into open ground behind. During an eight-day bombardment, 1.

But many of the rounds were duds that never exploded. First World War. Then, at 7. We were sitting ducks … We had no choice.

The British Naval Blockade of Germany I THE GREAT WAR Special

Within minutes, Will Marshall only had two companions left for 60 yards on either side of him. Within minutes, of them were either killed, wounded, or missing. By the time the Battle of the Somme was halted, the British and Empire forces had suffered , casualties.

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The Great War Generals on the Western Front, by Robin Neillands

The French lost nearly ,, and it is estimated that German casualties were in the region of , Allied forces gained some ground but it reached only 12 km at its deepest points. Haig seemed to show a cold disregard for the sacrifices his soldiers made. At the end of the first day of the Battle of the Somme he was told that total casualties were estimated at more than 40, they were in excess of 58, He used the same tactics as with the Battle of the Somme a year earlier, with the same result — massive loss of life and very little advance.

A ten-day artillery barrage 3, guns firing four and a quarter million shells gave the German defenders ample warning an infantry attack was coming. When it did, the slaughter of the Somme was repeated, waves of attackers mowed down by machine-gun fire. The shelling destroyed the drainage systems in the low-lying ground and pock-marked the battlefield with water-filled craters. Heavy rain turned the soil into mud.

But, still men were ordered into the attack across what had become a nearly impassable swamp.

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The whole fiasco cost , Allied casualties and , German dead and wounded. GHQ and armies know next to nothing of what is going on. Each brigade and battalion is attempting to carry out a dozen orders and counter orders at the same time. As the Corps mover their headquarters back so do the divisions. Fortunately the Germans also deviated from their intentions with dreadful losses as a result While the German army was defeated in this defeat was in part achieved through the wearing out battles which the allies had forced Germany to fight from onwards particularly Verdun, the Somme and Passchendaele as well as the desperate defence of The high hopes of victory carried in the hearts of German soldiers meant that when the battle turned against them with the French counter-attack of 18 th July and the British counter-attack at Amiens in August German morale collapsed in the face of mobile warfare in August September and October Alternatives to traditional forms of warfare were opening up use of tanks and ground attack planes but by the end of August but these were not fully developed into an all arms army.

Instead GHQ emphasised an infantry army where all other branches of the army came secondary to the infantry.

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This was even true in the later stages of the Amiens battle were artillery predominated so that it was really the concept of attrition aided by traditional and semi-traditional technology that ended the war. Tanks were used with success in the Battle of Amiens but high losses and mechanical breakdown saw their number diminish quickly.

Of the tanks used on August 11 th had to be handed over to salvage and repair units as too badly damaged to continue. Two hundred tanks were available on August 12 th and large number were again available on the 17 th August but this was still an innovative weapon, the crews inside were poisoned by the hot fumes of the engine, they suffered regular mechanical breakdown and could be knocked out by artillery fire. By late August the British had lost confidence in tanks and had gone back to the tried and trusted combination of infantry supported by artillery, a formula that they used until the end in November.

Conclusions While tanks and technology played a role in it was a case of massive amounts of technology in the form of tanks supporting often poorly trained troops or worn out troops in set piece battles. Where troops were experienced it is a case of experienced in what?