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How did warfare change between November 1914 and March 1918?

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Introduction

How did warfare change between November 1914 and March 1918? Warfare changed in many different ways between these times. Trenches were developed to shield against machine gun fire that meant soldiers had to dig below the line of fire, causing a trench. This was a basic trench. This developed into a trench system on both sides throughout most of the war. However, the Germans tended to develop theirs ore because they knew that to win the war all they had to do was defend. So the dug a trench and they were basically told to hold their positions. The British were told to force them back and gain some territory, so theoretically they were meant to be always moving forward. Therefore the generals concluded that trench warfare as far as the British were concerned, trench warfare was deemed as temporary. An example of how much the Germans took the trench seriously would be the Hindenburg Line. This was defence in depth. They retreated to this after suffering fatal casualties at the Battle of the Somme. The Hindenburg Line had a hill in front of the main trench system, 2000 metres of several strong points, an artillery protection line and supplementary defences. It would be argued that this was an almost impassable. ...read more.

Middle

Gas was mainly ineffective by 1917 because most soldiers wore protective masks. The tank was developed in 1916 and was used during the battle of the Somme by the British. They were not affected by machine gun fire and could go straight over trenches. However, after The Battle of the Somme, they were deemed mechanically unreliable. In the battle of Passchendaele they spearheaded the mission with tanks. However, a huge artillery bombardment came first and then the rain began. There was terrible mud and the tank got stuck or even sank. The tank was only useful on firm flat ground. By November 1917, the tanks were used at Cambrai on firm, dry, flat land and the Germans were pushed back 6 miles in 10 hours, which was great considering at Passchendaele it took 3 months to capture almost the same amount of land. By 1918, the Mark 1, which was used at the Somme, was replaced by The French Renault that was capable of moving at 8mph with a crew of 8 and the British Mark 4. The Germans for a change were slow to realise the tank, mainly due to their defence in depth tactic, believing that the tank was an offensive weapon. The Cavalry was thought as the best method of attack before the First World War. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, they suffered heavy casualties in Verdun, so they were unable to gain an advantage despite good tactics. At the Somme the British attacked in large groups. This made them easy to be caught by machine gun fire. Tactics were able to develop because the technology was developing rapidly so air attacks were authorised more often as generals began to realise how useful planes were, Gas was used to cause panic, Machine guns were developed as were German zeppelins were used against British civilians. The bombing of civilians was a major landmark. Before, both sides would never have dreamed of bombing the innocent. But this unwritten rule was breached when Zeppelins bombed Britain. Britain was even planning a massive bombing of Berlin. This was too late because the war ended. Before the Americans arrived and before the German people ran out of food, the Germans tried one last tactical attack. Operation Michael. They shelled more shells in 24 hours than Britain in the Battle of the Somme and used Stormtroopers to seal off enemy trenches. It failed because they ran out of ammunition. This shows change from the realisation in 1915 that all they had to do was defend to a massive offensive, called the Ludendorff Offensive. This took the British by surprise. Then Haig ordered a change of tactic. He had to defend with the "backs to the wall" tactic. Germany's gamble of all out attack failed. They consequently lost the war. ...read more.

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