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  1. MH-10: Attempt to End Stalemate-1914-1916 But No Man's Land is a goblin sightWhen patrols crawl over at dead o' night;Boche or British, Belgian or French,You dice with death when you cross the trenchJames H. Knight-Adkin - No Man's Land

  2. Stalemate & Attempts to End ItThe Western Front • A final major attempt was made by both sides to encircle the others Northern flank in Flanders • This too would end in horrendous casualties with little else to show for it • Except for a long defensive line, fortified by trench & barb wire • Gradual realization emerged that WWI would not be short • No short decisive battles likely

  3. Stalemate & Deadlock • Stalemate & deadlock obvious to all levels: • Both at the Operationalandtactical levels • This fact did not stop the participants from trying to break through each other’s defensive lines however • War also spread throughout Europe => then World • From an isolated terrorist’s act to a World War: • Conducted globally on land, sea, & even in the air • Armies consumed ever greater $$$ resources • Governments mobilized entire populations

  4. Reassessing Strategies • Key participants forced to reassess their strategies • Key Question: What strategy most likely to win war? • Central Powers: where to focus its forces best? • East or West? • Defense or offense? • Which theater to concentrate on first? • Allies: similar questions: • Concentrate allied armies on Western Front? • Continue to try for breakthrough? • Seek alternative front – perhaps strategic flank?

  5. Elusive & Costly Strategy • Debate raged on which allied strategy should be pursued: • But all agreed to block enemy’s access to materials: • Who takes the lead to block Germany’s materials? • ?_________ ___________ • Which strategy did allies decide to pursue in 1915? • ?___________________ • How well was this strategy executed & what resulted? • Cost ?__________& success ?__________ • Search for a successful breakthrough continues

  6. Mobility in the West • What do allied leaders conclude about mobility in West? • ?__________ & a ?__________ ________war likely • What do Central Powers conclude at this point in war about the two fronts & which front appears better to operate in? • ?___________ line in Westcould be held for time being; • Eastern Front offered more potential for mobility & success- why? ?_________________

  7. Home front – adjustments required: • Mobilization & organizing $$$ resources require sacrifice of each side’s population: • Higher taxes, shortages & substitutions, rationing • Role of Sea Power? • Would play a major ?_____________ role • Protect & deny transit of raw materials needed for war • Which side in best position to accomplish above? • German response to deal with attendant shortfalls: • Price controls, rationing, innovation, invention, erstatz • “War bread,” cellulose, et cetera

  8. Search for Tactical & Strategic Alternatives • Following “Race to Sea” – • Both sides attempt to attain what? • Breakthrough into enemy’s rear • Key Op & tactical objectives: • End the stalemate in West: • Achieve breakthroughto open field in enemy’s rear • Fight and win adecisive battle • Both sides worked hard to achieve this key objective: • Initiated several more operational offensives&tactical assaults: • Ypres, Champagne, St. Mihiel • Results? (Ypres typical example)

  9. First Battle of Ypres- The Plan • The battle started as an unexpected meeting engagement (then a series) • The BEF had just redeployed from the Marne area north to Flanders (closer to their LOC) • Falkenhayn had just reinforced his northern RF for an offensive • Operational & Tactical Objectives: • BEF intended to destroy 4th Army remnants near Ghent • Germans wanted to flank the Allies and take the Channel ports at Calais & Dunkirk • They would begin in earnest with an attack on 31 Oct through Ypres

  10. First Battle of Ypres- Execution: 31 Oct 1914“The Massacre of the Innocents” • OOB: • BEF had 7 Infantry & 3 Calvary Divisions for total of 100K well trained combat veterans (all excellent marksmen) • Germans had 4th& 6th Armies reinforced with an Army TG for total of 150K • Mostly untrained green recruits • 31 Oct: Germans launch 2 pronged attack at Messines Ridge &Gheluvelt • Capture both but unable to exploit • Cost: II Bavarian Corps=> “Kindermort” • (Nothing between the Germans & Ypres) • Heroic charges by remnants of London Scottish & 2nd Worcesters restore line at great costs (321 of 750 and 192 of 461)

  11. First Battle of Ypres- Results • After numerous attacks & counter-attacks • No permanent breakthrough achieved • But 58K Brits & even more attacking Germans lay dead or wounded • And the surrounding landscaped lay barren & destroyed

  12. Steep Learning Curve of War • Learning curve for military commanders extremely high: • Tactics only gradually adjusted to new realities faced: • Example: How to deal with entrenchedmachine guns & artillery • “The machine gun is a much overrated weapon” (Haig -1915) • Tacticalchanges were finally made: • Pre-assault artillery bombardment expanded • Improved coordination between arty & infantry • Supporting arms incorporated, to include chorine & tear gas • Smoke adapted to hide tactical intent & panic enemy • Assault tactics also modified: • Massive artillery preparation & effect made on both sides • Less time needed to re-enforce defense than re-enforce assaulters • Example: Tactical defense in-depth(German defense belts) • Overall impact toward realizing allied objective? • ?______________ ____________________

  13. Trench Warfare • Evolution: 2-3 lines to extensive belted systems • Day to day existence in the trenches: • Waiting to be ordered to go “Over the top” to “no man’s land” • Assaulting entrenched Machine Guns, arty, barb wire • Constant threat: attack, overrun, arty barrages, disease, maiming & death

  14. Peripheral Operational Strategy • Various attempts made to find new fronts • Strategic Aim: • Breakthrough & end stalemate: • Attempts included British & French attack on German colonies • Located throughout Africa & Pacific • When Ottoman Empire allied with Germany: • New opportunity opened to hit strategic flank of Central Powers • Started debate of pros & cons of a peripheral strategy: • Two opposing positions: • Westerners: Concentrate all on Western Front: • (? Who specifically advocated:______________________) • Easterners: Indirect approach – Middle East & SE Europe • (? Who specifically advocated:______________________)

  15. Gallipoli Campaign (Feb 1915 – Jan 1916): • Strategic Objective: • Seize Dardanelles & expand sea borne communication w/Russia • Sever LOC between Germany & Turkey

  16. Royal Navy Takes First Shot • 1st Stage of Campaign: British Navy force straits: • Navy show only – Kirchner insists army not available • Churchilltakes on project as his own & forces it over Navy HQ objections • Navy’s tactical & operational objectives: • Clear mines in strait & force narrows to east • Seize Gallipoli Peninsula & Constantinople

  17. Royal Navy- Execution • Royal Navy’s Execution: • 19 & 25 Feb 1915: first & 2nd attempts made by combined Br & Fr Fleet(BBs, BCR, pre-DN, CR, DDs, SS, Trawlers + Seaplane CV) • Naval bombardment ineffective and causes loss of strategic (& operational) surprise • 18 Mar:Navy attempts to force narrows (X 1600 m & heavily mined) • Turk mines & mobile shore batteries ensure heavy British Navy losses that include several capital ships & minesweepers • Navy forced to withdraw to await Army & reinforcements to land & silence Turk guns • A month would pass before their arrival • Delay enables Turks to reinforce & prepare entrenched batteries

  18. Army Takes Over • Ian Hamilton appointed to lead force • Delay at the top & scramble at last minute below to come up with plans & logistics • Divided command & misunderstood objectives reign • Von Sanders & 84K Turks use British delay to great effect: • Place troops in central position for rapid reaction to landing & await invasion • Brits put together a straightforward plan for opposed amphibious assault: • Army’s initial tactical objectives: • Helles & Anzac Cove beachheads

  19. Army’s Execution: 25 April • Army assault commences: • FR, Br, & ANZAC hit assigned landing sites at Helles & Anzac Cove • Heroic efforts try to beat stiff resistance - taken at great costs (6 Victoria Crosses) • 28 April/May/June: Britsattempts 3 separate assaults on Krithia (all fail) • 6 Aug: 125K reinforcements deployed to land at Sulva Bay (with diversions to south) • All assaults repulsed at high casualties • Evacuate forces 10-20 Dec & 9 Jan 1916 • Many British Army & Navy C2 errors • Who’s in charge? • Result: Missed opportunities & failure at very high cost • Brits: 205K; Fr: 47K out of 480K Allies • Turks: 250K

  20. Battles of Attrition - 1916 • Distinct lack of formal tactical coordination evident among allies: • Informal Brit & Frenchoperationalcoordination only • British focus in Flanders on Northern coast near North Sea • British Navy operations only real allied success • With exception of German SS ops, Brits were able to bottle up German Surface Fleet following the sea Battle of Jutland

  21. Central Power Operations in East • Central Powers enjoyed greater success in East: • Operations in Poland & Galacia • Gorlice-Tarnow Breakthrough: • Forced Russian withdrawal to East • Still, British Navy blockade having serious effect on Germany’s economy • Falkenhayn decides he must now focus on Western Front • What does he decide to attack & why?

  22. Battle of Verdun (Feb-Aug 1916) • Falkenhayn’sObjective: “Bleed the allies white…”– • Battle of Attrition strategy: • Troops’ view: Sausage grinder vs. the furnace • French do fight for Verdun & barely hold on • Seek help from Allies & develop flexible defense (Petain) • Results: high causalities for little to no gain (Map) • Over 300,000 lost byboth sides

  23. Battle of the Somme (24June – mid Nov 1916) • Sir Douglas Haig’s Grand illusion & the limits of arty bombardment • Ambitious tactical objectives with diluted fire preparation • Objectives: High ground between Bapaume & Peronne • Offensive moved up to take pressure off French at Verdun (Operational) • Result: disaster – 30,000 Brits killed/wounded in 1st hour • High casualties for very little gain => miscalculation=> huge waste of troops • 57.4K by days end & both sides exhausted by end of Battle

  24. Eastern Theater- 1916 • Meanwhile the Russians are gearing up to help out their allies to the West • Tsar makes critical personnel change affecting South Western Front • Russians then commence planning for a major offensive- • Name of this Offensive?* • ?________ ____________

  25. Brusilov Offensive • Russia’s Strategic Objective: • Relieve pressure on western front • Timed & coordinated with British offensive in the Somme (relieve French at Verdun) • Cmdr SW Front replaced by General Brusilov • Good move by Tsar- why? • Brusilovmakes several immediate tactical improvements: • Adapts tacticalLessons Learned • Coordinates arty support with infantry assaults • Meticulous planning completed for ops

  26. Brusilov Offensive- Execution • Brusilov conducts full day of arty prep: • June 4: offensive begins along 175 mile front • Four field armies successfully attack along entire front • Capture 140K Austrians, 216 guns, 645 MGs • July 2: Northern Front Cmdr finally begins his advance => with very little gain • (His advance was suppose to be the main one) • Brusilov continued his own advance: • Germans & Austrians rush in reinforcements: • Effect: slows Russian advance • Still Brusilov’s forces advance 50 Miles (Map) • Captured 390K POWs by late July • And took much pressure off French at Verdun

  27. Brusilov Offensive- Key Points • BrusilovOffensive had major impact on Verdun- how & why? • Hampered Germans in their prosecution of ?__________ Offensive because more troops were needed in the East to stop the Russian advance • Also effected Austria’s offense in Italy • Forced redeployment of troops to East • Russian “victory” at very high cost • Strategic impact? • Sowed the seeds of future ?_______ ________ during 1917

  28. Tactical & Technical Advances:Tactics & Weapons • Tactics: • Coordinated arty prep for infantry assaults becomes norm • French adapt flexible defense • (forged at Verdun) • Germans invent elastic defense (Dec 1916): • Spread out front, yield ground & then counterattack; • Small units given local C2 with emphasis on unit level initiative: target objective=> enemy arty • Advances in Weapons Technology: • Gas, trench mortar, flamethrower • Bangalore Torpedo, light Machine Gun

  29. Tactical & Technical Advances: Airplane • Employment: Recon primarily (Battle of Marne) • Aerial photo of Western front • Problem with using airplane during early stages of war? • (?__________ – neither efficient or rapid) • Refinements offered greater potential for future employment: • Air to air combat • Close air support • Strategic bombing • Naval aviation (CVs of WWII) • Photos: Fokker Tri-planes & British Bi-wing fighters

  30. Tactical & Technical Advances: Tanks • French & British developed first armored vehicle: • Both recognized potential application to overcoming defense of the trenches • Brits employed first during Somme (with little success) • Frenchin 1917 offensive • First effective use of Tank: • Tactical assault on Cambrai– Nov 1917 • Photos: British assault on Hindenburg Line& German Tank-Infantry training

  31. Assessment (1914-1916) • Offensives of 1914-16 cost many lives for little gain: • Great $$$ resources also expended to end war • New tactics & technologies employed to little effect; • All aimed at breakthrough to end stalemate; • New weapons & Tactics: • Aircraft, tank, gas, & assortment of infantry weapons • Tactics - continued to be developed & refined: • Elastic defense • Coordinated assaults • Creeping barrage

  32. Assessment- Major Adjustments • Both sides forced to make operational adjustments: • After numerous breakthrough attempts by both sides fail • Alternatives to Trench Warfare in West urgently sought: • Peripheral strategies: Allies @ Gallipoli & GW in Middle East • Alternate concentration of fronts (Germans) • (Western front => Eastern front => Back to West again) • Variation of more of the same? • Strategy of attrition (Falkenhayn at Verdun) • By late 1916- high cost & casualties take toll on both sides: • Still all sides determined to stick it out no matter what - why? • Too much ?_______ & ?_____________ already invested • Upper class sons ?_________ - including those of Generals • No one willing to admit this loss was for “nothing”

  33. Eastern Theater • Meanwhile the Russians are gearing up to help out their allies in the West • Tsar makes critical personnel change affecting South Western Front • Russians then commence planning for a major offensive- • Name of this Offensive? • ?__________________