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What were some expectations of the war?
- It would be over by Christmas
- Austria-Hungary believed it would crush Serbia in weeks, if not days.
- The Tsar expected to defeat both Germany and Austria.
- The German generals expected to take Paris quickly and vice-versa for the French.
What is mobilisation?
Mobilisation involves the placing of a country's armed forces in the state of readiness for military action. They are the final steps taken before war.
What was the Schlieffen Plan and what were its aims?
Germany's strategic plan that was to wage war on France and Russia.
- Exploit Russia's slow mobilisation and attack France in the meantime, then turning attention to Russia when France was defeated.
- To attack France and take Paris within six weeks.
- Pass through Belgium and Luxembourg and push towards the French coastline before swinging around to take Paris.
What took place with the war of movement?
- Germany invaded Belgium on the fourth of August 1914, with a strong advance.
- They underestimated the strength of the Belgians.
- French troops launched an assault against the well defended positions of Lorraine.
- The German's momentum was lost (they were tired) and the timetable was abandoned.
- The French abandoned this plan and went back to defend Paris.
- The Germans had underestimated the Russian mobilisation rate, and thus required to split their armies between the Western and Eastern fronts.
Define War of Movement
What was the Race to the Sea?
Between September and November, both sides were trying to outflank each other, of which there were two ways to do so:
Around enemies forces
Gain control of ports
Each attempt failed, with troops halting at their position and digging trenches. This was the beginning of trench warfare.
What were the results of the initial advance?
- One million men dead.
- Destruction of the British Regular Army.
- Stalemate - no side could break through.
- Failure of the Schlieffen plan at the end of the War of Movement.
- Trenches were dug (to protect soldiers from the winter). They were expected to be temporary.
- Germany occupied almost all of Belgium and North East France.
Where did the Allies stop the German advance?
How was the Schlieffen Plan modified?
The swing west of Paris was detached - weaker 'hammer swing'.
Name three factors that slowed the German advance.
- Belgian resistance at Liege.
- British Expeditionary Force at the Battle of Mons.
- Supply problems due to lack of railway lines.
Reasons the Schlieffen Plan failed.
- Belgian resistance proved far stouter than Germany had anticipated.
- "Scrap of Paper", which brought Britain into the war.
- Delays in Aechen allowed France and Britain to mobilise. British troops to Belgium.
- Moltke making bad decisions under pressure.
- Unexpected rapid mobilisation of Russia.
- Germany had to divide its forced between the Western and Eastern front, weakening the German's advance on France.
Compare Allied trenches to German trenches.
- The German trenches were better designed and more comfortable than British trenches.
- This was due to the Germans holding high ground and soft rock in which allowed them to be drier and dig large dugouts.
- Right angled bays.
- Why were German Trenches superior to British trenches?
- The Germans gave up ground to attain higher ground, evading the flooding the British trenches endured. It was also strategically advantageous to be on high ground, and therefore superior.
British trenches were less complex and less equipped. The British didn't expect to remain in the trenches for long, unlike the Germans.
Tactics and strategies used throughout WWI?
- Attrition Warfare
- Wave Assault
- Over the Top
- Creeping Barrage
- Trench Raids
- Box Barrage
- Poisonous Gas
What is Attrition Warfare?
- A military strategy in which a war is attempted to be won by wearing down its enemy to the point of collapse through continuous losses in personnel and materials.
- It is easy to assert and difficult to resist.
Give an objection to attrition warfare.
The damage done by such a tactic is unclear. The logic of this method is hard to see due to the uncertainty of the level of damage asserting onto the enemy.
What is a Wave Assault?
Large wave formations to attack across a wide front. Generals rejection other methods due to the belief that inexperienced soldiers were incapable of more complex methods. 10-15 wave assaults were carried out at dawn to have a psychological impact on enemy troops.
What is a Creeping Barrage?
Infantry advances just behind the artillery. Once the precision of the artillery
What is Over the Top and what was it result for soldiers?
- An officer would blow his whistle to prompt infantry to leave the trench and expose themselves to the enemy.
- Along the front lines, with rifles and bayonets ready.
- Result was instant death by machine gun fire as soldiers were entirely vulnerable.
What was a box barrage?
A tactic developed by late 1915 but was mostly successful during late 1917, early 1918. It involved troops attack at night surrounded by a field of gunfire in a box. Raids were short, troops were protected by machine guns. Useful for front lines but problems arose a troops moved deeper into enemy territory.
- A real danger. Shocking accuracy. Based in small nests behind the enemy front line and wore camouflage in no man's land.
- The Allies favoured the Ross rifle which could reach a distance of 500m. Germans used Manser rifle which allowed greater accuracy at 905m.
When did the Battle of Verdun take place and under which German General?
21st February - December 1916, France.
Why did the Germans attack Verdun?
- It was a symbol of French honour and therefore, the Germans knew they would not spare it.
- Prevented Allied attack on German positions in the Somme.
- Paved the way for an attack on Paris where a swift defeat of France would enable the Germans to defeat Russia on the Eastern Front.
Describe the German tactics and battle...
- Protected by a series of forts and a salient.
- Attacked on 21st Feb along 15km front.
- Assault included 100 000 rounds per hour fired at French front line trenches.
- Infantry moved forward slowly, due to lack of confidence.
- Second assault used infantry tactics and Germany captured fort Douamont on the 25th Feb.
What were the results of the Battle of Verdun?
- Town of Verdun was destroyed.
- Germans fired 23 million shells at the French positions.
- French army losses: 350 000
- German army losses: 330 000
- Germans did not break the French resistance.
Which general was in charge for the Battle of Verdun?
General Petain as of 25th Feb, replacing general Joffre.
Why did the British mount an attack on the Somme?
- Relieve pressure the pressure on the French in Verdun.
- General Haig sought to achieve a breakthrough on the Western Front at the Somme.
- Designed to wear down the German army.
Describe preparation and aims for the Somme. Why did it fail?
- To bombard the German front lines, create a gap and unleash closely coordinated infantry which would rush through, scattering German defenders.
- Failed because the Germans were aware of an impending attack and were prepared.
- Germans occupied high ground.
- Allied leaders were not in agreement.
- "Kitcheners army" lacked training.
When did the Battle of Somme take place?
1 July - 18 November
What happened on the first day of the Battle of the Somme?
- Preceding the attack was a week long bombardment of German trenches to destroy barbed wire and wipe out the front line trenches.
- Half a million shells were fired.
- Did not work due to the German's awareness and preparation of the attack, digging chambers 12 metres below for protection.
Casualties of the Battle of the Somme?
- Accurate casualties difficult to obtain.
- Allied: 620 000
- German: 500 000
- Kitchener's new armies were virtually wiped out.
- British advanced a mere 15km at its furthest point.
Why was the stalemate so difficult to break?
- Unpredictability of battle.
- New technologies were developed and offences had not been adapted to these.
- Charging at the enemy was feeble and suicidal due to machine guns. Tacticians did not think of an alternative and men were regularly and mercilessly gunned down.
- German army was spread thin, fighting on two fronts.
Was poisonous gas an effective tactic?
Seemed effective. Sufficient gas masks had not been developed. But only contributed to 11% of casualties.
What were problems encountered by soldiers throughout WWI?
- Poor sanitary conditions.
- Open wounds easily infected.
- Disease - dysentery
- Lice infestations.
- Flooding of trenches.
- Poisonous Gas - gas masks ineffective or unavailable.
List types of artillery used.
- High Explosive Shells.
- Shrapnel Shells.
- Gas shells.
- Rifles - Lewis gun and Lei Enfield
- Machine Guns.
- Mortars and flame throwers.
Name three poisonous gases and when they were used and their properties/effects.
- First used in 1915.
- Chlorine: April 1915. Easily smelt and visible. Affected the body so the soldier could not absorb oxygen because he was drowning in the water in his lungs.
Phosphine: December 1915. 15 times more powerful than Chlorine. Unseen. Fatal dose with immediate irritation, taking 48 hours for men to die.
Mustard Gas: July 1917. Aimed to harass rather than kill. Difficult to smell. Felt after 2-3 hours of exposure. Cause burning, red patches and blisters.
What were High Explosive Shells?
Shells that burst on impact with the ground, creating a large explosion and sending jagged fragments of their iron casing in all directions. Designed to destroy trenches, roads and buildings and kill or injure groups of troops.
What were Shrapnel Shells?
Shells timed to explode in mid air at a predetermined height above ground. The explosion would release a hail of small led balls in a shotgun effect.
What were gas shells?
Used to deposit poisonous gas in the enemy's line and release the toxic substance upon bursting.
Which rifle was used by the British?
- Lei Enfield - capable of a distance up to 550m close fire and 1250 effective fire.
- Function impaired by the mud.
Which rifle was used by the Allies?
Lewis gun. Easily jammed due to mud. One man could fire it, 550 rounds a minute.
Information on Tanks?
- First used by the British.
- Top speed was 6km/h.
- Difficult to steer especially on soft ground.
- The temperature inside rose to a stifling level.
- No more that 3 hours could be spent inside a tank due to its noise and high temperatures or they would suffer from heart attacks.
- Became trapped in mud when first used on the battlefield.
- Weren't successful until 20th November 1917 at Cambrai.
Explain the use of grenades during the war.
- Less than 2% of casualties.
- British Mills.
- German stick grenades.
- Both could be thrown at great distances causing destruction.
Explain the use of machine guns during the war.
- Organised so that they would be operational within 4 seconds.
- Used bullet belts containing 250 bullets
- Costly to fire and took 16 men to use.
- Defensive weapons, mostly used by Germans.
Explain the use of mortars during the war.
- Popular in years of stalemate.
- Inflicted lots of damage with little effort, creating holes the size of rooms.
- Range up to 3000m and were accurate.
- Could kill front lines soldiers without exposing the attackers, killing as many as 25 men.
Explain the use of aircraft during the war.
- Made in 1914.
- Fragile and unreliable.
- Weren't really used outside reconnaissance missions.
Explain the use of flame throwers during the war.
- Threw flaming oil about 22m.
- Generated black smoke and loud noises.
- Created terror and confusions.
- Cleared the way for troops.
- Terror weapons due to limited range and uncertain aim and high fuel consumption.
What was Château Generalship?
- Referred to the generals of the war in which remained in châteaus, living in splendour while me were fighting and facing the realities of war.
- In the château they were ignorant of what was actually occurring in the trenches, or indifferent.
Which weapon caused 50% of casualties?
What was defence in depth?
Literally no idea.
What were some successful tactics?
- Machine guns.
- Trench mortars - ranged 60-200m, giving more flexibility at the front.
- German's successful infiltration tactics in the Spring Offensive: Explosive shells, storm troops, machine guns, grenades.
- All arms assault (Allies during 1918)
- Flexible defence (Allies) enabled to counter German infiltration.
- "Blobs" were used instead of "waves" (Allies mostly after June 1918, last 100 day advance).
Describe an all arms assault and when was it first used and by who?
- Battle of Aamel.
- No preliminary bombardment, it was a surprise attack.
- Infantry moved behind screen of tanks.
- Protective creeping barrage.
- RAF provided air support - supplied troops with ammunition by air drops.
- Tanks - allowed allies to break trench deadlock, but caused few casualties on their own. Effect was mostly on German morale.
- More Lewis guns and grenades.
When was the Battle of Passchendale? What is another name for it?
- Officially began 7 June 1917.
- First Battle of Ypres, the war of mud.
What were the aims of the Battle of Passchendale?
- Capture German naval bases at Ostend and Zeebrugee.
- Draw pressure off French army who had been suffering after the mutinies after the Nivelle offensive earlier that year.
- Break the stalemate???
Who was the General that led the Battle of Passchendale? What did he see this battle as an opportunity for?
- General Haig.
- Break the stalemate - the Germans has low morale and was on the verge of collapse.
What were tactics used in the Battle of Pas.?
- "Leap Frog", which in essence, was advancing in stages, from one objective to another with new troops moving forward to take each successive stage.
- "Bite and Hold" implemented by General Plumer. Required soldiers to use speed and surprise to occupy a small section of the enemy's front line and then defeat counter attackers.
Describe the start of the Battle of Pass.
- Began 7 June 1917.
- With copious yet cautious use of artillery bombardment.
- Allies had some impending success, gaining a foothold on the German occupied Messines Ridge.
- Allies resumed artillery Shelling on German defences until 18 July.
What advantages did the Germans have at the Battle of Pass.?
- Higher ground.
- Wide view of the Allies' attack movement.
- Preparation and forewarning.
How many casualties were there on the first day of the Battle of Pas.?
What was the battleground like?
- Land around Pass. was muddy, swamp ground, exacerbated by August rain.
- Shell craters filled with water forming lakes of slimy water.
- Tanks did not work.
- Soldiers had to transport shells on mules walking on ductboards.
What were the casualty rates of the Battle of Passchendale and what did the battle mean for the allies?
- Allies - 300 000
- Germans - 260 000
- Allies were weakened, Haig was criticised, gains at Cambrai were lost.
Evaluate Haig - points for.
- "Architect of war"
- Attempted to break the stalemate (he didn't)
- Not impulsive - patience, sobriety, fortitude
- First to use modern weapons such as tanks.
- Led a well disciplined army.
- Took advantage of demoralised army.
- Adapted tactics to best suit modern warfare.
Evaluate Haig - points against.
- "Butcher", heartlessly sending soldiers over the top to be slaughtered.
- Used outdated tactics: horses.
- High number of casualties.
- "Lions led by donkeys"
- Blames others for faults.
- Inflexible strategies.
- Persistent with attrition.
- Willing to sacrifice his men.
- Thought the machine gun was an overrated weapon early in the war.
What is total war?
Government mobilisation of all its resources to support the efforts of its own troops and undermine those of its opponents.
Nations organised citizens to produce unprecedented quantities of materials. The military depended on the home front for support and essentials to continue the war on this scale. (Trenches expected to be a temp thing).
What was the DORA?
- Defence of the Realm Act.
- By-product of "total war" in Britain. The government was given powers to intervene with civilian's lives and regulate any aspect of it. It could be used to imprison without a trial, cut social activities such as sport and entertainment.
What affect did total war have?
- Fought on multiple fronts.
- Citizens were no longer unaffected by foreign wars.
- Civilians became targets for military operations.
- The German's use of Zeppelin raid on Londen in 1915 pulled the British away from ordinary life.
What were some restrictions under DORA?
- Public houses forced to close during afternoon.
- Alcohol watered down to reduce drunkenness.
- DORA arrested without a warrant.
- No one was allowed to buy binoculars.
- No one was allowed to spread rumours of the military.
- No fireworks for bonfires.
- No one was allowed to give bread to houses.
- No church bells.
- Government could take over any factory.
- Lights banned in some places after 10:30pm.
- Mail and newspaper censored.
- Munitions workers couldn't leave jobs.
- Strikes banned.
- Limits on wages.
When was rationing introduced in Britain and under what policy?
- Voluntary rationing in 1915
- Compulsory rationing in 1918, under DORA.
What is the Patriotic Auxiliary Service Law? What was it to overcome?
- All men between 18-70 had to register for compulsory labour services.
- Overcome man shortages workers.
How many skilled workers were released from military service and why?
- 3.1 million
- Attempt to improve agricultural production.
What is censorship? What did this mean for citizens of Germany and Britain?
- Government control over what the public can view, read or hear.
- In Germany, these regulations determined what could be discussed by the public and suppressed anything regarded as controversial.
- In Britain, newspaper published self censored editions, willingly following government line.
- British soldiers could not keep diaries.
What was the goal of censorship?
To promote patriotism, strong government, national unity and morale.
What were aims of propaganda?
- Encourage the purchase of war bonds.
- Create hatred of the enemy.
- Promote enlistment.
- To create sympathy for Belgium.
- Maintain morale in the face of growing difficulties.
- Encourage women to work for the war.
- Encourage criticism of shirkers and conchies.
- Attack opponents of the war.
- Encourage American entry into the war.
What did the British use as propaganda?
- Nurse Clavell
- Sinking of the Lusitania
Compare British and German home fronts.
- Both countries found it hard to overcome shortages and impacts of rising costs.
- The German homefront suffered more severely than Britain - hunger and malnutrition.
- Large amounts of debt to fight the war - Britain grew 11 times and Germany 8 times compared to pre war levels.
I don't know if we need to know these but here are some German words. What do they mean?
- Krieg - War.
- Ersatz - Substitute.
- Kriegiuirtzschaft - War Economy.
- Krigbot - War bread.
Describe the main change to women's lives during the war.
"Total War" brought changes to women's civilian life; they acquired jobs to fill wartime needs. The number of women in employment in Britain increased over 3 million in July 1914 and 5 million in 1918. They took positions traditionally regarded as "men's work".
Which jobs did women perform during the war?
- Heavy work: unloading coal, stroking furnaces and building ships.
- Conductors on trains and buses, clerical officers in private businesses, banking, education, medicine, nursing.
- Agriculture, timber cutting, drivers, cooks.
Name the two major turning points in 1917.
- APRIL - USA breaks its policy of isolation and entered the war on the side of the Allies.
- NOVEMBER - Russian revolution by the Bolsheviks. They had promised that if they had succeeded in revolutionising Russia, they would end the war, and did.
How many casualties had Russia suffered in 1917?
- 1915 - 2 million.
- 1917 - 8 million, 1 million deserted.
Why did Germany want to end the war with Russia?
- To stop fighting the war on two fronts.
- This would allow them to bombard the Western front with their full capacity (1 million men and resources)
- When this happened they were able to push the Allies back to the river Marne.
Describe the treaty of Brest-Litovsk.
- Germany was determined to assert authority over Russia but Russia denied its terms based on Russia's rights to self determination.
- They stopped negotiations.
- Thus, Germany resumed their advance, forcing Russia to sign the treaty.
- It was a humiliation for Russia. They lost: >A quarter of their European territory. >34% of their population. >89% of coal mines. >32% of agricultural lands.
What were America's reasons for entering the war?
- Main reason: sinking of the Lusitania on 8 May 1915. 1924 lives were lost, 128 being American.
- Germany declaring unrestricted U-boat warfare on 1st Feb 1917: Unrestricted warfare infringing on freedom of the seas and thus a loss of more American lives.
- Worried about Britain not returning the large sums of money they had loaned them if the Allies lost.
- Mexican-German alliance negotiations. (Zimmerman telegram) Mexican territory taken by American would be returned to Mexico.
Why is the American entry into the war a turning point? Describe their slow entry into the war.
- Assured victory.
- However, participation was slow: European powers had spent years preparing for the war, unlike America. They also lacked modern weapons.
What is the "Spring Offensive" also known as?
- Kaiser's battle.
- Ludendorff offensive.
What was the aims of the Spring offensive?
- Drive a wedge between the British and French armies by launching a massive German assault on Anglo-French lines.
- Drive British back to the English channel and take Paris.
What tactics were used in the Spring Offensive?
- Rapid surprise attacks of "storm units" of small squads of elite attackers.
- "Feuerwalze", intensive and overwhelming artillery and infantry bombardment of the enemy command and communications, artillery and front line.
- Creeping Barrage: Barrage of 6000 guns and 30 000 mortars. Poisonous gas shells fired totalled to 2 million. Snipers.
Describe the progress of the Spring Offensive.
- Tenth Day:
- -90 000 prisoners.
- -16km advance in Flanders.
- -Regained was was lost at the Somme.
- -30 May Germans drove back the French 32km to the river Marne.
Fourth offensive: 8000 POW and 12km.
Why was the battle of Amiens a turning point?
- German "black day".
- Largest operation seen at the time.
- 552 vehicles.
- 800 aircraft.
- Field guns that shielded against infantry.
- Began 8 August 1918 at 4am.
- By the afternoon, main fighting was over and the allies had advanced 13km, capturing 12000 and over 400 guns.
- 24 000 German POV at the end of the third day.
- Germany's worst defeat since the beginning of the war.
Who issued the Fourteen Points and when?
Woodrow Wilson, the president of Murica, on 8 January 1918.
Who is leader of France when the war ended?
Contrast the 14 points with the Armistice terms.
They were different in severity and restrictions. The armistice declared Germany was required to compensate for all the damage by "German aggression" during the war. The 14 points focused more on self determination with no mention of war costs.