WW 1 on the Western Front: Failure to develop and adapt new tactics with new technologies led to massive loss of life
WW 1 on the Western Front: Failure to Develop and Adapt New Tactics with New Technologies Led to Massive Loss of Life
Background of the Study
World War I, which took place in the Western Front, indicates a war that was senseless where the infantry ran and got murdered by artilleries and machine guns. The reason behind such huge losses of lives was the fact that there was minimal organization and leadership on the part of the British and French forces. During this period there were minimal innovations made and used by the forces. This made it easy for most of them to be slaughtered while fighting against forces that had enough tact and technology in their disposal. German forces had a hint of the new technologies, as they were early written down by a commander whose name was Balck Wilhelm. Wilhelm purported that bullets were essential as they did write new tactics when events of war were involved. Through the use of Wilhelm and other commanders the German commanders were able to provide a strong defense against their opponents (Atenstaed 635).
The Germans retreated the war became one of taking position rather than that of movement and maneuver. The aliens desired to penetrate their enemies together with the Germans. Penetration became hard because of the introduction of new weapons and the renovation of those old ones to ensure a strong battle. This was the time when the airplane, the poison gas and the tank were introduced. Such technologies coupled with poor leadership and organization led to the killing of most forces from the other side.
The armies became equally exhausted after trying to break the stalemate in the year 1917. The losses that were recorded at Verdun in 1916 together with the mutiny in the year 1917 led to an important French army. The British army was also defenseless after the war of the Somme and the collision with the Passchendale in the same year. The rate of casualties from the Germans was also high while there was peace on the Russian Front. This made the German army increase their reinforcement with new divisions with the desire of providing a major operation before the inclusion of the American forces (Hibberd 45).
There were later myths of how new technologies were introduced leading to a massive fallout of the later armies to the war. The large number of casualties is believed to be from new groups which were introduced later, and were not conversant with the new technologies that had been introduced.
After World War I many theories and myths have been developed by various historians on the issues of death while on the battleground. Most historians and scholars have not come up with a single and concrete opinion on the causes of the massive deaths that were witnessed during the war. The issues concerning organization and leadership on the part of the generals have not been fully explored in various research works hence the need for this research.
Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this research will be to find out if organization and leadership had any impact on the number of casualties during World War I. It will also highlight other reasons that are thought to have led to massive deaths among the soldiers while on the battle ground.
Significance of the Study
The study will be helpful to upcoming historians as it will generate information on the issues of World War I and open up new literature that will be able to close the gap on the causes of massive deaths among soldiers during this period. It will also be helpful to the students as they will learn new information about World War I, and this will help them appreciate the events and the nations that were involved. In overall it will add more literature to the subject matter.
Scope and Limitations of the Study
Due to varied information that concern the topic, the researcher will only consider important aspects that deal on the issues of survivors and those that were killed during the war. It will only make considerations on the issues of organization and leadership while making recommendations and conclusions. Resources and time will be the greatest limitation will undertake the study.
Most literature indicates that the lions during the war were led by donkeys (Goemans 56). Such a phrase indicates how those that were in the battle line were brave with quality tactics compared to their senior who only provided guidelines. It is vital to note that most commanders during the war had brave soldiers who stayed under trenches for long periods, and could fight back with their enemies any time they were attacked. The commanders on the other hand, visited the region very few times and only sent their supervisors in the event of any new information.
The level of incompetence on the part of the commanders was relatively high, and only made decisions after the situation around them was tough. However, it is true that most of these generals visited the fighting sites and this led to a massive death of more than 200 of them. Some of the generals were captured while others were killed or wounded. The generals during this time are considered to be brave compared to those around presently.
Naturally, most of the generals were not brilliant while handling their soldiers, while others made use of assistants who were not up to the job. This led to wrong information being relayed from the central positions to the soldiers leading to high death tolls. The leaders made use of past tactics even when they were faced with different conditions in the battle fields. They however, managed to kill most of their opponents who had sophisticated weapons with high level tact from their generals. The technological environment that was used by the British and the French soldiers was also new, and this made it impossible for the Germans and their allies from penetrating easily (Müller 398).
The British commanders had training on how to fight wars that were small in their colonial background. The introduction of World War I became a challenge as it involved more enemies who had sophisticated weapons and tactics. The British commanders were therefore not able to fathom the realities of the war in advance, and this made them to fight by using old methods that were not applicable at the time. The British army was thrown under a large struggle which was unique and elaborate. Lack of leadership training after employment of the generals led to minimal experiences while fighting during WWI. Training on fighting under small colonies made it hard for the generals to penetrate through the massive armies of their enemies. Later after three years the British soldiers had learnt new tactics which gave them an upper hand in defeating their enemies. They became the best during this time and lead defeats against the Germans and other opponents who were fighting against them.
The organization of those who were fighting and their leaders was similar to those used in earlier times. This only changed after four years of fighting and after a massive death toll on the side of the British and French armies. The generals however made use of horses while travelling around the battlefields with the aim of informing their soldiers to fight without covering fire. Such a tactic was later seen as failure on the part of the generals as more casualties were reported. They later developed new strategies whereby all combat teams were informed to go forward with different shells of artillery to ensure first positioning of the soldiers (Crane 157).
During this time the soldiers were armed with machine guns that were portable together with grenades. The use of such weapons became useful as it led to enemy retreats. The use of portable radios was useful as real time communication was enhanced between the soldiers and the generals for purposes of quick responses. Before such an organization the soldiers were not able to meet their targets on time and this made them loose more lives.
The Use of New Technology and Tact
World War I saw the introduction of new technologies and tact that led to massive deaths from either region. The Germans for example introduced chemical weapons, and this was used to kill and demoralize the defenders. As such most British soldiers died while others were injured leading to low morale while on the battle fields. They also made use of the mastered gas which was seen as lethal together with tear gas. These soldiers also made use of chlorine and phosgene which were also dangerous and effective in chasing their enemies away. The defenders were also responsive and came up with gas masks which were able to shield them from the gases. As such very few soldiers succumbed to the use of gasses while on the battle field (Horne 158).
It later emerged that all the men who took cover from their regions of hiding were safe compared to those who ran around without cover. The trenches were effective regions to take cover, but were less helpful when the German soldiers decided to use grenades and machine guns together with tankers. Such weapons were lethal were able to kill massive numbers under short periods of time. Those soldiers who sat down or on the trenches were more likely to be killed compared to those that were up on the banks. During gas raids those that were down in the trenches were also safe because the gases were dense in such regions. The soldiers also employed new tactical moves which meant that those in combat went ahead with artilleries to clear the way for the incoming groups.
During World War I many soldiers lost their lives while others were captured or wounded. The war became unsuccessful because of the organization and leadership of most generals who were operating under their regimes. As one group employed sophisticated technological weapons others were using old methods of fighting which led to massive deaths. Both the French and the British soldiers died in big numbers while their allies also lost most lives. The end of World War I left Europe with many trenches which were built using multiple finances from the governments. The hegemony of the European world was also tested as they began tumbling down and this meant that four empires were completely shattered. The failure of the colonies to adapt new ways of fighting and new technologies led to more lives being lost. This was because most of the generals were adamant to introduce and make use of the new technologies which were being used by their enemies.
This is a causal survey at it is meant to find out what causes one variable against the other (Walsham 329). Causality survey is desirable because the study will be investigating the reasons behind massive killings among soldiers from the French and British sides. First the study will have to describe the events of World War I and then make comments on the causes of high fatalities with clear considerations on leadership and organization as variables. A research design enables all the circumstances and variable in any research to be arranged for purposes of collecting and analysis of data (Hawkridge 118).
The research will make use of secondary data from the internet and other publications to ensure varied information for the research. The researcher will ensure the reliability and validity of the instruments of collecting data for purpose of having information that can be relied upon during the analysis stage. The researcher will later indicate the findings and summary with the aim of making recommendations to the study.
Atenstaed, R L. “The medical response to trench nephritis in World War One.” Kidney international 70.4 (2006): 635-640. Print.
Crane, Conrad. “The Origins of World War I.” History: Reviews of New Books 2003: 156-157. Print.
Goemans, Hein. War and punishment : the causes of war termination and the First World War. Princeton University Press, 2000. Print.
Hawkridge, D. “Doing educational research.” British Journal of Educational Technology 36.1 (2005): 118-119.
Hibberd, Dominic. “World War One and the Breakdown of Language.” Times Literary Supplement 2004.Horne, John. A Companion to World War I. Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. Print.
Müller, Sven Oliver. “:Remembering War: The Great War between Memory and History in the Twentieth Century.” The Journal of Modern History 2008: 398-399. Print.
Walsham, Geoff. “Doing interpretive research.” European Journal of Information Systems 2006: 320-330. Print.