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How far was Haig responsible for the failings of the British war effort on the western front in 1916 and 1917?

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How far was Haig responsible for the failings of the British war effort on the western front in 1916 and 1917? In December 1915, Haig was appointed commander in chief of the BEF. Haig now became under extreme pressure from the French to produce a diversion from Verdun. The first Battle of the Somme was fought from July to November 1916. The Battle of the Somme was planned as a joint French and British operation. The idea originally came from the French Commander-in-Chief, Joseph Joffre and was accepted by General Sir Douglas Haig. Haig used 750,000 men against the German front-line. However, the bombardment failed to destroy the barbed-wire or the concrete bunkers protecting the German soldiers. This meant that the Germans were able to exploit their good defensive positions on higher ground when the British and French troops attacked at 7.30 on the morning of the 1st July. The British suffered 58,000 casualties (a third of them killed), therefore making it the worse day in the history of the British Army. During the First World War Verdun was a fortified French garrison town on the River Meuse 200km east of Paris. ...read more.


Haig first used tanks in the Somme there were 49 of them, they got stuck in mud and broke down but some got threw to German defenses and cased havoc in the German trenches, haig then ordered 1,000 more tanks. As a young officer, Haig fought in the Sudan, in the Boer War and held administrative posts in India. From 1906-1909 he was assigned to the War Office, where he helped form the Territorial Army and organize an expeditionary force for any future war in Europe. When war broke out in August 1914, Haig led the 1st Corps to northern France. In early 1915 he became commander of the 1st Army before succeeding Sir John French as commander in chief of the British Expeditionary Force in December. Haig fought as a Calvary officer he rode a horse but in the 1st world war horses had been replace by tanks, how was Haig able to know the power of tanks and planes? This is not what he was trained in. Haig's idea that the war could only be won on the Western Front was supported by King George V. This caused friction with David Lloyd George, Secretary of State for War and Prime Minister from December 1916. ...read more.


I never met a man in a high position who seemed to me so utterly devoid of imagination." Lloyd George, War Memoirs (1928). "Haig's great weight of responsibility must have been vastly increased by the knowledge that Lloyd George mistrusted his military opinion and ability... But Haig was not deflected from his purpose. Only a man of outstanding integrity and great strength of character would have remained and done what he did." EKG Sixsmith, Douglas Haig (1976) These contrast completely but both are true in some respects. I don't think the failings of the British war effort were all Haig's fault, weather, new weapons and new technologies and the lack of skill surrounding them were also to blame for the problems the British encountered. But Haig's stubbornness and old fashioned tactics also played apart in the failings of the British army's war against the German's. General Haig's way of fighting was old, times had moved on, technology had improved but he was oblivious to the power of modern war. This is reflected in the way he controlled the war. It is shown strongly in the trenches. After the war, Haig organized the British Legion and traveled throughout the British Empire collecting money for former servicemen. He was created an earl in 1919. With thanks to www.johnclare.net for providing quotes and valuable information. Page1 Tom Jimpson ...read more.

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