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World War I in France 1916 - the Somme and Verdun.

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2003 History Coursework World War I in France in 1916 - the Somme and Verdun Part A 1) On the Western Front, I believe that bombardment could have played an important role but it did not. It was also misused in many ways. One such way is its use to destroy the barbed wire that was placed in front of the trenches to stop the enemy from being able to run straight into the trenches. Using artillery, however, to destroy wire is totally the wrong thing to do as the wire is not destroyed; it is just thrown up into the air and then comes back down in an even bigger tangled mess. Source A from a textbook used in British schools called Britain at War 1914-1919 by Craig Mair, and demonstrates my point very well. Being included in a textbook, the source must be considered reliable as if it was not then the book would not have been printed. The source says that British troops at the Battle of the Somme were told by their superiors that the barbed wire would be destroyed by the bombardment and that all they needed to do was walk up to the German trenches. ...read more.


If they had finished earlier, then thousands of people would have been saved. This is why the ordinary soldiers, such as Fred Pearson, hated him so much. Overall, Haig must be judged as a success as he the commander of the winning side and he also managed to push the most powerful army of the time out of France. Part B 3) I believe 1916 was a turning point in the war for many reasons. 1916 saw the rise of new technology, with the invention tanks and the more widespread use of aeroplanes. Tanks, which although did not work terribly well when first introduced, brought an end to the stalemate at the Somme. They provided shelter from machine gun fire which could wipe out whole companies of men in seconds. It was Field Marshal Haig who ordered their use at the Somme to break the stalemate as British troops were being slaughtered by the German machine guns. Aircraft was also more widely used in 1916. Before an attack, aircraft would be used to spot targets for artillery to attack, however on days with low cloud cover, this became impossible such as on the first day of the Somme. The Battle of Verdun was a decisive moment in the war. ...read more.


This led to increased pressure inside Germany to end the war. Events in Russia on the Eastern Front also led to a turn of events on the Western Front. In 1916, the Russian General Brusilov, launched a huge offensive against the Austrians and managed to recapture most of the territory lost during numerous Austrian offensives in 1915. This forced the Germans to transfer thirty-five divisions of troops from the Western Front to fight the Russians on the Eastern Front. This meant that the German strangle hold on the French at Verdun and for the rest of the war until 1917, was eased, which allowed the French to regroup for further offensives. I believe that it is for these reasons that 1916 was a massive turning point in the First World War as it paved the way for further offensives. The policy on unrestricted submarine warfare played an important part as this brought America into the war in 1917. This tipped the balance of the war into Britain and Frances favour as it provided them with fresh troops and munitions. Ultimately the German army lost because, of the British naval blockade, America entering the war, and the weakness of Germany's allies. If these had not been the case for Britain and France then the war would have been won by Germany. By David Cavanna, 10D ...read more.

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