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Were the Heavy Allied Casualties on The Western Front Caused Mainly by the Tactics Used by Commanders?

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Introduction

Were the Heavy Allied Casualties on The Western Front Caused Mainly by the Tactics Used by Commanders? World War One (1914-1918) was one of the greatest wars of all time (thus it is commonly known as the 'Great War'), the second largest War in entire human history and the largest at the time of occurrence. Because of the relatively recent introduction of the industrial period, mass weapon, transport and ships were more readily available than ever before and this provided the foundation for the war's cruel nature. This modern style created a pathway to the unprecedented casualty figures and mass destruction on such a huge scale. This form of fighting was an unknown territory for those who participated; few had any idea of how long the war would last, and most of the commanding officers were unwilling to accept that it was a different style from anything they had previously attempted to lead. ...read more.

Middle

Therefore the basis of the question is whether the central cause of Allied casualties was the choices and actions of commanders, or the multiple additional factors including trench life, modern weaponry and the newfound use of airborne military units. Because of the global spread of industrialism, mass production of weapons and ammunition, warships and alternate transport vehicles could be more easily achieved at an unparalleled rate in both the Triple Entente and the Central Powers. This meant that high quality weapons could be produced at a relatively low cost and provided for each soldier; therefore it was possible for both sides to have roughly the same amount and type of military equipment during a battle. However, this did not mean that they had equal amounts of similar military apparatus due to differing tactical approaches; for instance Edmund "The Bull" Allenby was a field marshal who believed that the use of cavalry was appropriate even against the Ottoman's machine guns when he fought in the Third Battle of Gaza. ...read more.

Conclusion

Machine gun operators were commonly protected from fire inside concrete 'pillboxes' (dug-in guard posts with firing loopholes). Their main disadvantage was that each gun took six to eight men to operate and they were very heavy. They had an inbuilt water cooling system; however, the guns occasionally overheated after only two minutes of firing and therefore were used in intermittent bursts rather than continuous streams of fire.*Germans appreciated the use of machine guns. However, machine guns did not in fact contribute to the casualty count of the British soldiers at a level remotely comparable with the immense damage caused by artillery. These caused on average an estimated three quarters of all combat deaths. They were used in many different ways; they could be used to fire fragmentation, gas and even incendiary shells. Fragmentation shells were designed to release as much shrapnel as possible upon impact (explosion) and incendiary shells were used to set fire to the surrounding environment. By Sam Reine-Harris ...read more.

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