Why The Allies Couldnt Overcome German Trenches in Spring 1917 WW1 Documentary

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The Bloody Western Front Battles Of 1916 Show

that in the first years of the First World War, Even if you won you lost for minimal territorial gains. Hundreds of thousands of men were killed or wounded by shot and shelled. With both sides dealing with a growing manpower crisis. British French and German commanders would attempt to develop new tactics for yet another year of fighting, and one ambitious French general would soon put them all to the test in what he expected would be a war winning offensiveNK]. By early 1917.

Despite Two And A Half Years Of Fighting

the Western Front hadn’t moved very far. The Germans had mostly held their early war gains in 1915 and 1916 and inflicted terrible casualties on the British and French, but they were themselves running short of manpower as well. Well in late 1916 Chief of the Admiralty Henning von Holzendorf warned the chancellor. The war demands a decision by autumn 1917. If it is not to end with a general exhaustion of all parties and thus disastrously for us.

The Antanta Also Wanted To End The War.

In 1917. the French who had a much larger army than the British planned a spectacular launch to a large multi–front offensive to push the Germans out of France. French commander-in-chief Joseph Jeffrey devised a plan in November 1916 that called for offensives on the Italian and Russian fronts to support a major Franco–british push in the west. New British Prime Minister David Lloyd George was unimpressed and called the plan a complete farce.

It Repeated All The Bloody Stupidities Of

1915 and 1916 and the old Fatuous tactics of hammering away with human flesh and sinews at the strongest fortresses of. had changed Russia and italy were not able to sustain a major offensive and Jaffra had been replaced by General Robert Nivel. Nivel was brimming with confidence after his victory at Verdun and tweaked the plan to fit his particular style mass artillery followed by infantry assaults on narrow fronts. His plan included a British diversionary attack around Aras to force the Germans to divert their reserves. Once the Germans were distracted in the north, the French army would launch the main attack against the Nguyen Salient along the Chamande Dam.

Nivel Expected It Would Be A Knockout

blow British commander field Marshall Douglas Hague, however, was concerned by rumors that his forces would fall under French leadership. It would be madness to place the British under the French and I do not believe our troops would fight under French leadership. I am prepared to be tried by court martial. Rather than betray the army by agreeing to it being placed under the French Eventually after threats of resignation on both sides they compromised the British first third and fifth armies would support the French attack, but they would remain under British control. Hague also demanded more time to prepare and wanted the planned February offensive to be moved to May.

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The Compromise Solution Was April So

the Ontank was set to break open the stalemate on the Western front in April 1917, but the German Empire was also making plans that would make it a much tougher opponent to beat in 1914 and 1915. German doctrine had favored the offensive, but its huge losses in 1916 caused a change, while the antons could mostly replace their casualties with fresh reserves and colonial troops. German losses were not so easily replenished, so German commanders reluctantly accepted a move to the. defense was necessary. In September 1916 Field Marshal Powell von Hindenburg and general Erich Ludendorff took over the entire German war effort and they soon realized the situation in the west was extremely difficult for Germany staff Officer Hermann von Kl noted a conversation to this effect in his diary.

In 1916.

I spoke with Ludendorff alone about the overall situation. We were in agreement that a large-scale positive outcome is now no longer possible. We can only hold on and take the best opportunity for peace. We made too many serious errors this year.

One Of These German Mistakes Was

keeping too many men crammed into the front line trenches where they were vulnerable to allied artillery instead. The Germans developed new principles of elastic defense in depth. In a December 1916 document called the principles of command in the defensive battle in position warfare instead of holding a. front line at all costs the Germans would now allow the Anton to enter into a deeper defensive zone where German positions would be split into three sectors. The first was the four-felt zone consisting of one or two lightly defended trenches.

These Trenches Were Fine For Day-To-Day

trench warfare like raids or sniping, but the troops would withdraw from them. If the Allies attacked in force the battle zone. The gross Campsona was the main line of resistance. This would consist of new lines of trenches, but also reinforced hardpoints, buildings, bunkers, pillboxes and other obstacles behind. This would be a rear battle zone with more trenches, support facilities and units ready to counter attack.

These Troops Were To Wait For

the attackers to exhaust themselves and outrun their artillery support before launching aggressive counter-strikes and taking back any lost ground. These form the principles of the new doctrine’s. Bend withdraw and then snap back. The Germans also focused on how to better use terrain on the defensive, especially reverse slopes. The Germans had learned that machine guns placed on the downward slope of the hill were actually more useful for defense than placing them on top of the hill.

Despite A Shallower Field Of Fire,

they could surprise attackers and remain protected from enemy artillery behind the crest of the hill. German divisions were also deployed differently Stellung’s Division would be arranged as three regiments of breast, with each battalion manning a different sector from front to back. This allowed easier coordination and communication to withdraw or to counter-attack, but perhaps the most drastic change in the German defense in the west was Operation Alberich, a major withdrawal across the Nguyen Salient. In February and March 1917. German forces abandoned their extended front line and moved back to.

Freshly Constructed Hindenburg Line, Built With The

new defensive principles in mind. The new line was also significantly shorter and up to 72 kilometers further east, which freed up 13 German divisions. When Anton forces cautiously followed them. They found the Germans had destroyed anything and everything of use. In their wake.

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A British Officer Recalled His Experience

including booby traps from a captured German operation order. It appears that our patrols entered the hostile trenches only one hour after they’d been vacated pretty sharp work. The German trenches we’ve taken over are deep, well constructed and surprisingly dry masses of beer bottles. Unfortunately empty are strewn about and gun cotton attached to shell cases and grenades has been left ready to explode when picked up or accidentally kicked we’ve lost five casualties In this way. The Germans adjusted their tactics after Verdun and the Somme but the British army.

Had Also Learned From Its Mistakes And Now

looked for new ways to break the trench deadlock. After the fighting in 1916 failed to break the stalemate. British officers identified their own army’s tactical shortcomings. One of these was that British troops often advanced in linear fashion to maintain cohesion and ease of command. The British had hoped that their artillery could destroy the Germans before the infantry even left its own trenches, but the sum showed this was not the case.

Another Issue Concerned Command When Advancing Troops

came under fire confusion and panic often set in NCos and junior officers would wait for orders from higher up, but in many cases their superior officers were either overwhelmed. Had been killed or communication with them had been cut to counter all this British Empire troops began to adopt new assault tactics that relied more on tactical movement at the platoon level. Troops were now to advance in open formation, moving from cover to cover to deal with issues of command. The command structure was decentralized and junior officers could now take more initiative in leading their units attacking enemy strong points from the flanks and using enfilade fire was now a priority as well. Canadian Corps commander Lieutenant General Julian Bing reminded his officers of the importance of decision making in an emergency.

The Man Who Does Something Is Sometimes Wrong.

But the man who does nothing is always wrong. New weapons also began to reach British frontline troops in 1916 they often lacked the firepower to defend captured trenches against German counter-attacks. 1917 British platoons had a lot more firepower, including specially trained bombers and rifle grenadiers as well as one light Luis machine gun per 60-man platoon. Heavy machine guns would also be used on the assault to provide suppressing fire.

British Reports Also Singled Out The Artillery Of

1916 for criticism on the song artillery barrages were spread along a wide front and consequently could not destroy the German defenses as intended, especially targets behind the front lines. Like enemy artillery. Another problem was faulty ammunition. Many shells were duds and had older fuses that did not explode at the moment of impact, which meant that they didn’t cut German barbed wire very effectively. In 1917 1917 the British introduced new instantaneous Fuse number 106 and improved coordination between artillery and observation, especially aircraft.

British Gunners Also Began To Prioritize Counter-Battery Fire.

With the help of new methods like flash spotting and sound ranging. The rolling barrage technique also became more refined with better synchronization and control at the psalm. Each British gun covered about 50 meters of German front, but at aras it became one per 20 meters. The British also became more active in underground warfare.

They Dug More Tunnels Under No

man’s land to place mines under German positions and dug subways to move troops to the jumping off trenches under cover. On April 9 1917, the diversionary British offensive began called the Battle of Aris in English and the Australians. In German 18 British divisions 3 000 guns and 48 tanks went over the top so let’s take a look at. What went right and what went wrong for British and Empire troops in the fighting that followed in the opening stage of the Battle of Aras. The Canadian corps attack at Vimy Ridge proved to be one of the most successful British actions.

The Germans Had Fortified Defensive Positions On

the ridge, which dominated the surrounding area, but the Canadians with British infantry and artillery support captured most of it in just one day British and Canadian artillery smashed the German positions on the ridge, which allowed the Canadian infantry using the new small unit tactics to capture the first German lines of defense fairly quickly. New Canadian units then leapfrogged through the first exhausted wave and continued to assault the next German lions shell-shocked and disorganized. Surviving German troops surrendered in large numbers seventeen-year-old Hermann Kraft was one of the four thousand captured during the battle and left a. of his capture, our sergeant ordered us up the stairs himself going first suddenly he yells Tommy’s and fell back dead tumbling down the stairs.

One Of Our Old Hands.

He was 22. Came down the stairs and told us to abandon our weapons and come up as the position was hopeless and the English were all over us. I walked up the stairs to a huge Tommy, who was brandishing a baseball bat.

One Of The Soldiers Wore No Helmet

and had no hair apart from a small tuft on the top of his head. He also had white and red paint on his face and was very fearsome looking. I then realized.

Summary

French and German commanders would attempt to develop new tactics for yet another year of fighting . One ambitious French general would soon put them all to the test in what he expected would be a war winning offensive . Despite two and a half years of fighting the Western Front hadn’t moved very far . The Germans had mostly held their early war gains in 1915 and 1916 and inflicted terrible casualties on the British and French, but they were themselves running short of manpower as well . In 1917 the French who had a much larger army than the British planned a spectacular launch to a large multi–front offensive to push the Germans out of France . The French commander-in-chief Joseph Jeffrey devised a plan in November 1916 that called for offensives on the Italian and Russian fronts to support a major Franco–british push in the west . New British Prime Minister David Lloyd George was unimpressed and called the plan a complete farce. The plan was called a ‘complete farce’ by Lloyd George ….. Click here to read more and watch the full video