Presentation on theme: "War on land – the Western Front The Western Front was the most important for several reasons. Its size (320km) and the fact it was operational for."— Presentation transcript:
War on land – the Western Front The Western Front was the most important for several reasons. Its size (320km) and the fact it was operational for all four years. The fighting on the Western front had a significant impact on ideas and attitudes.
Cross Section of a trench
View from above
Why did trench warfare lead to a stalemate? In order to hold their positions soldiers had to dig down to keep out of the line of fire. These hastily dug ditches soon became permanent. They evolved into complex defensive systems on both sides.
Casualties Deadlier for attackers than defenders. Why would this be the case? What is ‘going over the top’? Why did this lead to stalemate?
War of Attrition There was little change in the position of the front over the four years. The aim of battles was not to win territory but to destroy the opposing army. It was a war of attrition to break the morale of the enemy and reduce their numbers.
Pictures from the trenches
Study Section The Christmas truce. Shell-shock. Trench foot. The work of miners tunneling beneath the trenches. Communication systems used in the trenches. Those who were shot for ‘cowardice’.
How did the development of weaponry lead to a change in tactics on the Western Front? Both sides used a wide range of weapons to try and break the deadlock. The infantry charge was the key battle tactic used throughout the war. Weapons were developed to make this strategy more effective.
Machine guns and rifles
Main types of guns… Lee-Enfield rifle with bayonet attached – 25 rounds a minute could be fired. 600 rounds a minute could be fired. Another WW1 innovation was the submachine gun known as a ‘trench sweeper’
Hand grenades Small hand-thrown bombs. The British used the pineapple shaped Mills bomb. The Germans used stick-shaped grenades nicknamed ‘potato-mashers’
The real killer In WW1 artillery inflicted 70% of all casualties. The war was so static the guns could take up permanent positions. Every major attack was preceded by a prolonged artillery barrage.
Problems with artillery Not accurate enough to destroy enemy trenches. It gave the enemy warning of an attack to come. (Battle of the Somme) ‘Creeping barrage’ and ‘artillery ambush’
Poison Gas Chlorine Gas was first used by the Germans. Phosgene Gas 18x stronger. Mustard Gas which burned, blinded and slowly killed victims over several weeks. Gas masks were developed by scientists making gas as a weapon less effective.
WC’s??? The tank was not able to break the stalemate. It was slow and unreliable and many tanks broke down before reaching the trenches. Their armor plating was also not strong enough to resist artillery. Battle of the Somme & Battle of Cambrai
What was the importance of naval warfare in WWI? The control of the seas was crucial to both sides. GB was an island and needed food, industrial supplies and soldiers from other countries. Germany also needed food and other supplies from overseas.
GB rules the waves? GB was successful in controlling the trade routes. The Allies blockaded German ships. GB enforced the search of neutral shipping and stopped them going to Germany.
Mines and Submarines
U-Boats The Germans used U-boats to try and enforce their own blockade on GB. This proved to be politically dangerous warfare. The Germans hope that unrestricted sub warfare would starve GB and France.
Why was GB able to survive the U-boat blockade? The convoy system was the turning point. As technology progressed depth charges and ‘listening devices’ helped to attack U-boats. Improved sub. nets forced the U-boats to go north around GB made them less effective.
Battle of Jutland
Major Naval engagement One major challenge to GB’s supremacy – 31 May-1 June After several hours of exchanging artillery fire, the Germans sailed back to port. GB lost 14 ships and Germany 11. The result Germany had not destroyed GB’s fleet it was still in control of the surface waters.
Importance of naval supremacy GB’s navy was able to move 8.5 million troops across the British Empire. Imports reached GB and they were able to maintain the blockade on Germany. They were also able to sustain the convoy system and transport US troops and equipment for the final battles.
Zeppelins and airships
Airships and civilian targets The Germans had the Zepellin and were able to bomb civilian targets in England. The British used airships mainly for escorting ships and spotting U-boats. They soon became easy targets and were replaced by bomber fleets later in the war.
Bombing Raids The German Gotha caused 3000 casualties in raids over London and SE England. By 1918 GB was making raids into enemy territory – Mainz, Stuttgart and Mannheim. The idea of attacking civilian targets had become a feature of war by 1918.
Aircraft-Reconnaissance Pilots were able to report on troop concentrations and artillery movements. Photographs of trench systems could be taken from the air. Messages were dropped by aircraft and communication with the ground possible.
Red Baron and Micky Mannock
Dog-fights At first pilots tried to attack each other with rifles and pistols. By 1915 machine guns were fitted and synchronized to shoot through propeller. Dog-fights became a common site over the trenches.
Potential of airpower By 1918 there were more than 8000 aircraft on all sides. Control of the skies over the battlefield had become essential for victory. It was clear that bombing civilians affected enemy morale. The end of WWI was still determined by what happened on the ground. This was a sign of what was to come in