• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

British army at war

Free essay example:

6. “The incompetence of the commanders of the British Army were responsible for the death of his friends”. I agree with this statement, although only to a certain extent, as it is clearly evident from both my own knowledge and also the twelve sources I am using for this topic, that there are many different opinions that can be expressed throughout the sources and from my own knowledge, most of it is all depending on what side the person was on – German, or English, also it depends what park they were playing in the war (if any at all), i.e. if they were just a journalist of if they were actually involved in the war as a soldier or a person behind the scenes.

        From my own point of view, and my own knowledge, I first of all say that from what I know about General Haig, one of the main commanders of the British Army, in general, is that he was said to have had no real knowledge of the way in which he should command, had no discipline over the soldiers, but worst of all, he did not care much about the tactics of attacking at all, as he was even once reported of saying he, “just wanted his team to win”, this was also noted by many soldiers and journalists because they believed that Haig, and other important Generals, did not have any real tactics, and sent their troops out like “headless chickens”.

        This is backed up by the information in the 4th Army training manual, in source B, “The men must learn to obey instinct without thinking...carried out as a drill”. Thinking, here is used as a euphemism, I believe, for “instructions”, because it is clear that if the commanders are relying on the soldiers to rely on intuition, they have not advised them very well tactically. Also, in Source D, the British Army appears to be just punching the enemy, i.e. just driving towards them, without any real plan apart from attacking. Source F also believes tactics were not working very well, as one of the officers in the Somme explains, “No one…understood why our attacks at the beginning of the Somme failed…Germans had camouflaged guns.” This, I think, is used as an excuse, a way to say that the Germans had been “cheating” by using equipment which they could not use. This was also from a very good officer, so you expect that those other officers below his quality would have even less of an idea with the tactics. Source I also says “French positions,,,were so much batter than ours”, so maybe the officers should have started with the simple tactics i.e. positioning. Also source L definitely agrees with this, when Lt John Raws says, “…I honestly believe that Goldy and the other officers were murdered through the incompetence…of those in high authority.” So not only the soldiers, but also some of the other Lieutenants disagreed with the dangerous tactics which could end up in the soldiers getting injured or even killed.

        However, one could argue that it was not the fault of the officers alone, as in source H it describes that maybe the officers weren’t given enough artillery and equipment to attack well.

        In conclusion, I think that I agree with the idea that the incompetence of the commander of the British Army were responsible for the deaths of his friends, as the evidence in the sources and from my own knowledge shows that not only the soldiers, but the officers also, knew that the tactics of the officers were not working.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Britain 1905-1951 section.

(?)
Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Related GCSE History Skills and Knowledge Essays

See our best essays

Related GCSE Britain 1905-1951 essays

  1. How important was Haig's role in the successes and failures of the British Army ...

    As the wave after wave of men attacked the Germans would come out of the trenches and gun down all the men. As for the cavalry the mud made it slow and sticky for the horses making them easy targets for German machine guns.

  2. How important were Haig's tactics in bringing an end to WW1?

    Because the Germans had calculated that the destruction of 600,000 tons monthly for six consecutive months would be sufficient to force Great Britain to capitulate, they were doubly certain of victory after April. Great Britain, however, roused itself to unprecedented efforts to fight the submarine menace.

  1. Free essay

    Bletchley Park

    Hence this shows that because Churchill was importuned with such a grievous burden (leading Britain through World War II), the thing that he perceived to be a solution for the ominous U-Boats was Bletchley Park. In fact, it was partly because of them, that the number of German U-Boats diminished, during the battles fought at sea.

  2. Sources A,B and C portray a particular view of the attitudes of British Soldiers ...

    However the points used in the programme must hold some element of truth in order to be relevant to the episode. It says in 'The front line soldier and the Staff' - " to some soldiers the commander-in-cheif was so renound a figure hat they failed to recognise him even when they encountered him in person..."

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work