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This Land is My Land

This Land is My Land. A presentation of epic proportions, completed by scholars of the First Grate War. Tactics: Trench Warfare.

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This Land is My Land

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  1. This Land is My Land A presentation of epic proportions, completed by scholars of the First Grate War

  2. Tactics: Trench Warfare • Purpose: to gain protection from the opponents’ firepower (done by sacrificing mobility and digging in) while still retaining the ability to defend against assaults with machine gun emplacements and firing places for the soldiers • Front line trenches, protected by barbed wire, were dug according to the contours of the land and in zig-zag formation to limit the amount of damage a grenade could cause. • Support trenches were dug behind the main trenches and connected by various communication trenches. • Employed: dominated the Western Front, used by both sides but the Germans had pretty impressive trenches by 1918 • Significance in Battles: Battle of the Somme (one of the bloodiest battles of the entire war, the Germans had the advantage of better trenches and were determined to at least hold onto the strong defensive in the trenches rather than yield) • Impact on War: made traditional open war tactics obsolete, more difficult for an artillery bombardment to succeed when trying to take a trench

  3. Tactics: Trench Diagrams Cross section Aerial view

  4. War Strategies: Schlieffen Plan • Purpose: Germany’s plan to avoid a two-front war • quickly defeat France (deemed Germany’s biggest threat) in 6 weeks with a massive surprise attack (strong right-wing) through neutral Belgium • then swing around and defeat Russia, which was expected to take a full 6 weeks to mobilize • Employed by: Germany (executed specifically Moltke in 1914) • Significance in Battles: The First Battle of the Marne (fought in September 1914), where the Schlieffen Plan almost succeeded but poor German communication caused confusion and separation of troops - Moltke eventually ordered retreat because he feared the Allies had the capability to defeat the German armies trying to attack Paris instead of just halting their advances • Impact on War: Demonstrated the need for flexibility in war plans and the inapplicability of old war tactics when technology already revolutionized the way war is fought Some failures of the Schlieffen Plan

  5. War Strategies: Plan 17 • Purpose: to demonstrate French might by taking an offensive through Alsace-Lorraine • Believed that French soldiers could overcome German soldiers with their spirit alone: élan • The southern wing would capture Alsace-Lorraine while the northern wing would either move into Germany via Ardennes or into Luxemburg and Belgium depending on German movements • Convinced that Germany would not risk violating Belgian neutrality for fear of bringing Britain into the war • Employed by: France and overseen by Joffre (whose reluctance to deviate from the plan blinded him to reports of German movements) • Significance in Battles: Germany invaded Belgium on August 4th and the French were drawn into a trap and delt large casualties instead of successfully taking Alsace-Lorraine in the Battle of the Frontiers • Impact on War: once again showed how strict adherence to pre-prepared war plans disadvantaged the soldiers and caused fumbles when enemy movements did progress as expected by the plan

  6. Communications and Transport • The Wireless Telegraph/Telephone • Used by British and German HQs to communicate with frontlines. • Replaced cabled telegraphs and phones, which could be easily intercepted and the wires easily broken by German bombardment. • The telegraphs transmitted signals in Morse code, and were invented in the 1890s. • Transmitting messages through telephones and telegraphs held the risk of being intercepted, but the speed was undeniable, so the British took the risks. British D Mk 111 Portable Telephone Operator in front of wireless telegraph

  7. Communications and Transport • Carrier Pigeons • While there were new communication technologies, pigeons still proved useful where technology failed, and they flew too fast for snipers to shoot. • They were found mostly on the Western Front, used by the French and British. • When troops moved, the nests of the pigeons would move with them, so when pigeons were released to send messages, they were “flying blind” since they would not have known where their nests were beforehand. • The homing instincts were amazing on a battlefield where there was so much smoke and noise that it was disorienting for normal soldiers. • The French employed over 100,000 pigeons, with 95% of them reaching their destination. • There were fines and prison sentences for injuring carrier pigeons. • They helped maintain communications between headquarters and frontlines, and were extremely hardy, where a bullet wouldn’t fully down a pigeon until a long time later.

  8. Communications and Transport • Trains • All the European nations realized how valuable of a technology trains were, especially Germany, who had an expansive network of railways that could easily transport troops from one front of the war to the next extremely quickly, which was key to their plan of a quick war of conquest. • Trains were used to transport troops and supplies over large distances, so to slow down advances of the enemy, railroads were destroyed to hinder them (like what Belgium did to sabotage the Germans). • When Germany advanced into France, they outran their supply lines since they didn’t have any railroads that ran into France and so they had to slow down their advance, ruining their plan for a quick victory. • Transporting supplies to the frontlines was a problem, since they were so far from the main supply dumps, so the French and the Germans decided to start using 60cm gauge light railway systems, which could be easily laid down but also easily relocated elsewhere to better serve the frontlines. • Trains were also sometimes fitted with armor and weaponry to help in the fight while also being able to protect the valuable supplies they carried.

  9. Communications and Transport • Motorized Transport • To solve the problem of transporting supplies to the frontlines, the British decided to employ 1,000 or so civilian lorries and 300 buses made especially for the transport of troops and supplies. • In the end, the plan didn’t work out, as heavy rains turned roads into a mudflat that the motor vehicles had a hard time working their way across, leaving the front lines undersupplied. • The British decided to switch to light railroads that the French and the Germans utilized.

  10. Communications and Transport • Horses/Mules • Where land was conquered, horses and mules had to be brought in to transport supplies because the railroads that had been laid down before were all but destroyed. • Horses were rather inefficient because they had to transport the food for both the horses and the soldiers, which added a lot of weight to the carriages. • Nevertheless, horses were had proven with time that they were reliable transports for both soldiers and supplies, and all armies used them. • When the British were waiting for railroads and locomotives to be constructed, they heavily relied on horses to transport supplies to the frontlines. • The Germans and the British used them for calvary charges, but they soon became obsolete as the traps and artillery fire easily killed the horses. • Thousands of horses fell in battle, and many more from fatigue from being overworked.

  11. Chemical Weapons

  12. Chemical Weapons a Brief History • 1914 • August • The French deploy tear-gas grenades, first developed in 1912 for police use. • October • German forces fire 3,000 shells containing dianisidine chlorosulfate, a lung irritant, at the British army at Neuve-Chapelle. The British are unaware that they had been subjected to a chemical attack because the chemical is incinerated by the explosive charge. • 1915 • January • The Germans fire 18,000 shells filled with the irritant xylyl bromide at Russian troops at Bolinow. The Russians are unharmed because the extreme cold keeps the liquid from vaporizing. • September • The British military uses chemical weapons for the first time against the Germans (chlorine gas) at the Battle of Loos. • December • Germans first use phosgene on Allied troops. More than 1,000 British soldiers are injured and 120 die.

  13. 1918 • May • U.S. research on mustard gas moves from a lab at American University in Maryland to a site called Edgewood Arsenal run by the newly created Chemical Warfare Service. Soon 10% of American artillery shells contain chemical weapons. • June • The Allies begin using mustard gas against German troops. • November • World War I ends with 1.3 million casualties caused by chemical weapons, including 90,000 to 100,000 fatalities, primarily from phosgene.

  14. Chemical Weapons Main Chemicals Utilized • Chlorine Gas • produces a greenish-yellow cloud that smells of bleach and immediately irritates the eyes, nose, lungs, and throat of those exposed to it. At high enough doses it kills by asphyxiation. • Phosgene • smells like moldy hay, is also an irritant but six times more deadly than chlorine gas. Phosgene is also a much stealthier weapon: it’s colorless, and soldiers did not at first know they had received a fatal dose. After a day or two, victims’ lungs would fill with fluid, and they would slowly suffocate in an agonizing death. Although the Germans were the first to use phosgene on the battlefield, it became the primary chemical weapon of the Allies. Phosgene was responsible for 85% of chemical-weapons fatalities during World War I. • Mustard Gas • a potent blistering agent, was dubbed King of the Battle Gases. Like phosgene, its effects are not immediate. It has a potent smell; some say it reeks of garlic, gasoline, rubber, or dead horses. Hours after exposure a victim’s eyes become bloodshot, begin to water, and become increasingly painful, with some victims suffering temporary blindness. Worse, skin begins to blister, particularly in moist areas, such as the armpits and genitals. As the blisters pop, they often become infected. Mustard gas could also contaminate land where it had been deployed. Exposure sensitized victims; further exposure even at lower doses produced symptoms. Mustard gas caused the highest number of casualties from chemical weapons—upward of 120,000 by some estimates—but it caused few direct deaths because the open air of the battlefield kept concentrations below the lethal threshold.

  15. Chemical Weapons Influence • Machine guns, high explosives, and artillery shells led to far more casualties and deaths than chemical weapons: Poison gas caused less than 1% of total WWI fatalities , after gas masks were developed, in many cases the gases became ineffective. The main damage done from chemical weapons was, in fact, psychological. For the average soldier enduring the various effects of the gases was nothing short of terrifying. • This idea of fighting a war from a psychological vector, no doubt has a strong basis in chemical war

  16. Arms • Overview: • Machine guns • Sniper rifles • Heavy Artillery • Hand Grenades • Tanks

  17. Machine Guns • The machine gun was a large gun that fired bullets in rapid succession. • WWI machine guns ranged from 60 kg in 1914 to around 10 kg toward the end of the war, not including the large amount of ammunition needed. • 1914 machine guns required 4 to 6 men to operate. • USed as a defensive weapon, since it was highly effective in mowing down lines of advancing men, but too heavy to keep up with an infantry.

  18. Use and significance of machine guns • Heavy use as a defensive weapon by Belgians, French, Germans. • British took longer to jump on the trend, and we all know the Russians never played the high-tech game. • Significant in just about every battle in the war, particularly after the Marne when the pace of war slowed and defense became a factor.

  19. Artillery • Highly effective at crushing exposed enemy infantry. • Field guns for direct fire. • Mortars and howitzers for indirect, heavy fire. • Used by all nations. • French used mostly lighter 75 mm guns since they could be moved quickly. • Germans had an array of lighter guns, and heavy mortars and railway guns to hammer cities under siege. • Britain and the US used varying weights of light field artillery and heavier guns. • Russia had some, but once again came unprepared.

  20. Use and significance of artillery • Artillery were used in all land battles to crush infantry. Germans infamously use larger guns to hammer cities under siege. • Played decisive role in some early battles before trench warfare began. • Germans won a major part of Tannenberg by artillery alone. • Especially effective for Germans on the eastern front, where enemy was not well equipped with artillery to counter them. • Lost some effectiveness once trench warfare began. • Harder to hit men in trenches.

  21. Sniper Rifles • Sniper rifles are high-powered rifles that are especially accurate at long range. • Particularly useful once trench warfare evolved for picking off men on the front lines of enemy trenches. • Most commonly used by Germans, British, and Americans. • Snipers usually operated from no man’s land, and would pick off any men who dared to look out from enemy trenches. • German snipers often would lure British soldiers to look out of trenches with tricks like kites with English words on them. • Influential particularly on the Western front in every battle as snipers would whittle down enemy front lines before full blown infantry assaults were launched. • German snipers would spend weeks studying enemy trenches and movement schedules, making them particularly effective.

  22. Hand Grenades • Hand grenades are small, hand-thrown explosives. • Some set to explode on impact, others on a timer. • Concussion grenades used in offensive scenarios, and riskier fragmentation grenades typically used strictly in defense. • Used mainly by Germans, French, British, and Americans. • Significant in all battles after trench warfare develops, used as a “trench-breaker”. • Allied bomb squads tried to get within range to hurl grenades into German trenches. • Grenade technology would lead to more specialized gas bombs. • Would make the war much more brutal and deadly for front line soldiers. • Impacted outcome of war, as explosives would finally allow the allies to advance on German trench encampments and keep pushing them back.

  23. Tanks • Tanks are large, armored vehicles with large guns that function similarly to field guns or even heavier artillery. • Toward the end of the war, the British, French, Americans, and Germans began using heavily armored tanks with flat tracks that allowed them to traverse muddy terrain. • First used by the British at Flers, completely stunning the Germans against them. • All countries quickly developed tank technology and they became influential in the later stages of the war. • Gave an overall advantage to the allies as British and allied tank units outnumbered German counterparts

  24. Citations • https://www.britannica.com/topic/trench-warfare#ref186699 • https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/a-soldiers-life-1914-1918/life-in-the-trenches-of-the-first-world-war/ • https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/battle-of-the-somme • https://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-one/battles-of-world-war-one/the-first-battle-of-the-marne/ • https://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-one/causes-of-world-war-one/the-schlieffen-plan/ • https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/the-first-world-war-a-complete-timeline/ • https://www.firstworldwar.com/features/plans.htm • https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/communication_technology • https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/wireless_telegraphy • https://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-one/the-western-front-in-world-war-one/animals-in-world-war-one/pigeons-and-world-war-one/ • https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/transport-and-supply-during-the-first-world-war • https://www.warhistoryonline.com/world-war-ii/check-incredible-armored-trains-wwi-wwii.html/2 • https://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-one/the-western-front-in-world-war-one/animals-in-world-war-one/horses-in-world-war-one/

  25. More Citations https://www.firstworldwar.com/weaponry/tanks.htm https://www.firstworldwar.com/weaponry/machineguns.htm https://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/ww1-artillery.asp https://spartacus-educational.com/FWWsnipers.htm

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