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Using at least 2 sources and your own knowledge, explain why it is possible to describe the fighting on the Western front as a 'war of attrition'

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Using at least 2 sources and your own knowledge, explain why it is possible to describe the fighting on the Western front as a 'war of attrition' By Dylan Harapoff The strategy and tactics that were employed on the Western Front are often describe as, 'attrition'; the need to put one's whole human and mechanical resources to wear down the enemy. The Fighting on the western front consisted of advanced technological warfare that relied heavily upon artillery, machine guns, tanks and gas, which characterises a 'war of attrition'. Source 19.J indicates the importance of firepower in winning battles whilst source 19.K further compliments the idea of a 'war of attrition' by depicting the emphasis placed upon tanks despite their apparent initial failure. The western front was too represented by the common held and often out-dated belief that numerical manpower would prove to be the determining factor in victory. Both source 19.L and source 19.K explore the perceptible need of numbers initiated by officers clearly evident by the persistent of sending troops in 'line by line' at the Somme in 1916, during the peak of the 'war of attrition' in the belief that the sheer mass of resources would destroy the enemy. ...read more.


The Somme, for example produced 60000 British casualties during its first day, which accumulated to a total of over a million casualties by its end in November 1916. The immense destruction caused by the power of new technology indicating another testament to the war of attrition as Source 19.J explores the German perspective through general Sixt Von Armin who felt the repercussions of the strength in artillery. He states, "...the casualties were so great before the enemy's attack was launched, that the possibility of the front line repulsing the attack was very doubtful" which corresponds directly to the nature of the fighting being characterised as a 'war of attrition' as the effect of the methodical artillery is portrayed but more importantly so is the emphasis given to this nature of fighting by each of the generals. The nature of the Western Front in its unconscious belief than superiority in men held the key further acknowledges the idea of a 'war of Attrition". During the Battle of the Somme, British Generals gave orders that men would only need to walk across no-man's land as when they were to reach the German trenches there wouldn't be one ...read more.


Likewise Source 19.K pictures a number of soldiers that were needed to provide assistance to a tank again outlining the demands placed upon troops in the 'war of attrition'. The nature of the fighting at the western front can also be represented as a 'war of attrition' due to the changing face of war through total war. Many of the soldiers were often supported through economic and social means particularly enforced by government regulations in order to benefit the front with material assets that could be inturn utilised in the war of attrition. The fighting consisted of an abundance of shells and ammunitions where, "more shells were fired one day at the Somme than over the whole Franco-Prussian War. The only means for this was through the coordination of an intense home campaign in the munitions industry allowing the nature of the fighting to resemble a 'war of attrition'. Furthermore the development of tactics such as the introduction of creeping barrages, in-depth defence, tanks and gas complimented the home front campaign creating a 'war of attrition'. General Sixt von Armin acknowledges the impact of attrition into the development of in-depth tactics to create limit losses and aid the firepower. ...read more.

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