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 (1914-1918) WWI Battles    
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anemone
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Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/26/2017 6:50:32 AM
Despite World War I’s reputation as a senseless bloodbath whose military operations were seemingly devoid of any intelligent thought, the period 1914-1918 was history’s single largest revolution in military tactics and technologies.

Virtually nothing about standard battlefield operations prior to 1914 remained valid after 1918. Likewise, almost everything about battlefield operations in 1918 remains valid today, albeit adapted to the ever-increasing advances in weapons and technologies.

Is it acceptable to say that what emerged from World War I, then, was what we recognize today as the Modern Style of Warfare because virtually all military advances since 1918 have been incremental technical improvements to the efficiency of the conceptual model of the Modern Style of Warfare.????


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Jim
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anemone
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/26/2017 8:23:39 AM
Trench Watfare

The terrible casualties sustained in open warfare meant that trench warfare was introduced very quickly.

Trenches provided a very efficient way for soldiers to protect themselves against heavy firepower and within four months, soldiers on all fronts had begun digging trenches.

The downside of this innovation was that the Germans, being entrenched as invaders;meant that they had to be constantly attacked; and this ,of course, meant the attackers had to leave the safety of their trenches to do so andso incurred casualties as before.Not a good innovation really

Regards

Jim
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OpanaPointer
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/26/2017 8:53:24 AM
Trench warfare was not new. ACW saw it around Richmond IIRC. And in the Crimea. Based on my less than exhaustive study of those periods, of course.

anemone
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/26/2017 9:05:40 AM
Of course I cannot argue the facts Opana; but all I was inferring was that it was introduced as a battlefield development in WW1 after open frontal; attacks were evidently so costly in manpower-as you say it was not a "new" idea.


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Jim
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Michigan Dave
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/26/2017 9:19:20 AM
Hi Jim,

Nice website on WWI's Military innovations, and they are extensive, OP is right about Trench Warfare used at the end of the ACW, Robert E. Lee used it to starve off the taking of Richmond, VA., the Confederate capital! I wonder where Lee got the concept, because I don't think it was a tactic taught to him at West Point? OP or anyone, do you know how Marse Robert came up with his use of trench warfare? Did he come up with it on his own?? Also after WWI, trench warfare didn't last long into WWII, the French Army put all their eggs in one basket by using the Maginot Line, and the Germans just Blitzkrieg-ed around and over the French!

The beginning of the end of effective trench warfare!
What say you??
Regards,
Dave
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OpanaPointer
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/26/2017 9:52:58 AM
"Digging in" was called "the poor man's fortress" in one book I read. Sieges in Europe included trenches before the gunpowder age. Roman engineers may have come up with this scheme.

anemone
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/26/2017 10:09:52 AM
Dave and Opana-I am truly grateful to receive you comments-ie expanding on the origins of Trench Warfare-which I have said was not a "good" development in warfare tactics- by 1917 it was obsolescent.


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Jim
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OpanaPointer
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/26/2017 11:01:51 AM
I had this discussion with a prof. at Purdue who was charged with teaching the WWI class. His strength in history was centered around Hollywood.

Phil andrade
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/26/2017 11:15:32 AM
Dave,

Long before the Overland Campaign of 1864 - even before he took command in Virginia in the summer of 1862 - Lee had been nicknamed " King of Spades" because of his penchant for constructing earthworks and entrenching. He was, after all, an engineer....and his military science necessitated the construction and use of trenches.

When bullets fly - and even more when shells and high explosive are rampant - a man will seek refuge in Mother Earth.

A generation before 1914 a prescient commentator remarked that the next major full scale war would be a contest between the navvie and the gunnner, the entrenching tool and the shell.

The Great War of 1914-18 was - and this is my opinion, and might need to be modified - unique in the way that human flesh and blood was exposed to high intensity and sustained firepower : with this in mind, it's not to be wondered at that the corresponding need to dig and survive gave rise to such immense systems of entrenchments.

It needs to be suggested, though, that these trench systems gave way to battlefields of craters, during which the neatly configured trench lines disintegrated and the armies fought among shellholes. Seeking cover in the earth was not enough : men had to disperse, too, in order to reduce the effect of shellfire.

Regards, Phil

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Phil andrade
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/26/2017 11:29:37 AM

Quote:
"Digging in" was called "the poor man's fortress" in one book I read. Sieges in Europe included trenches before the gunpowder age. Roman engineers may have come up with this scheme.
--OpanaPointer


How right you are !

Julius Caesar was renowned for his insistence that his legionnaires be adept at shovelling the dirt.

Regards , Phil


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"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

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anemone
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/26/2017 11:49:18 AM
Infiltration

The first Trench Raids took place in 1914 and were seen as a good way of maintaining an ‘offensive spirit’ during the stalemate of trench warfare; but it was a dangerous activity even though only practiced at night Raiding {arty of say 6-8 men led by a subaltern and an NCO

During trench raids, soldiers would aim to kill the enemy, take prisoners and gather information. Soldiers carried specialised weapons, like knives and knuckledusters, during these raids, but also improvised weapons such as an improvised Trench Club.

Trench raiding had multiple purposes. Typically, the intention would be one or more of the following:

Capture, wound or kill enemy troops
Destroy, disable or capture high value equipment e.g. machine guns such as the MG08
Gather intelligence by seizing important documents (e.g. maps) or enemy officers for interrogation
Reconnaissance for a future massed attack during daylight hours
Keep the enemy feeling under threat during the hours of darkness, thereby reducing their efficiency and morale
Maintain aggressiveness and fighting spirit in the troops by sending them on such missions


Regards

Jim
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George
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/26/2017 12:30:23 PM
Trench raids were not always received well by the men assigned to participate.

Some trench raids involved large numbers and some were disasters.

Canadian General Arthur Currie felt that the raids helped maintain the fighting spirit that may have waned in those long periods between attacks when men were confined to trenches or the rear.

The men of the Canadian Corps were quite proficient at the task of trench raiding.

The Canadians claim that the first trench raid of the war was carried out by men of Princess Patricia's Light Infantry (PPCLI).

The raid took place near Ypres in Belgium and involved about 100 men. They destroyed 30 m of German trenches and killed several but at a cost of 5 KIA and 11 wounded.

As the war progressed the Canadians developed a reputation for fierceness and ruthlessness in trench raids. They had honed trench raiding tactics so well that Marshall Joffre sent French officers to Canadian Corps HQ to learn best practices.

Once in the trenches, hand grenades and the Lewis gun were employed effectively.

And if it became necessary to get really close and into hand to hand combat, a variety of primitive weapons were developed.

Like these, on display in Ottawa at the Canadian War Museum











anemone
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/26/2017 12:39:03 PM
Many thanks George for the elaboration of the procedure
and pics of the weapons used.I must admit that I did not
know that the practice of trench raiding lasted so long into
the war.


Regards

Jim
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anemone
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/26/2017 12:52:52 PM
The Introduction of Lethal Gas as a weapon

On April 22, 1915, German forces shock Allied soldiers along the western front by firing more than 150 tons of lethal chlorine gas against two French colonial divisions at Ypres, Belgium. This was the first major gas attack by the Germans, and it devastated the Allied line.

Toxic smoke has been used occasionally in warfare since ancient times, and in 1912 the French used small amounts of tear gas in police operations. At the outbreak of World War I, the Germans began actively to develop chemical weapons.

In October 1914, the Germans placed some small tear-gas canisters in shells that were fired at Neuve Chapelle, France, but Allied troops were not exposed.

In January 1915, the Germans fired shells loaded with xylyl bromide, a more lethal gas, at Russian troops at Bolimov on the eastern front. Because of the wintry cold, most of the gas froze, but the Russians nonetheless reported more than 1,000 killed as a result of the new weapon.

Regards

Jim
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Jim Cameron
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/26/2017 12:56:22 PM
Trench raids could involve hundreds of men. They were often carefully planned and rehearsed, with complex artillery support plans, including box and standing barrages to isolate the target area.
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MikeMeech
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/26/2017 3:28:04 PM

Quote:
Trench raids could involve hundreds of men. They were often carefully planned and rehearsed, with complex artillery support plans, including box and standing barrages to isolate the target area.
--Jim Cameron


Hi

Yes they could become quite large with up to a battalion being used along with artillery and even air support. This is a problem when called 'Trench Raids' as this gives an impression of quite small forces being used (as there were in some). The British put them under the heading of 'Minor Enterprises'. 'Raiding on the Western Front' by Anthony Saunders, Pen & Sword, 2012, covers raids from both sides of the line quite well.
He has the first British raid (page 1) taking place on the morning of 9 November, 1914 when Capt. Forrester led 20 men of 2nd Black Watch to deal with a German machine gun. They put this out of action and killed 20 Germans for two of their own wounded. The second raid took place on the night of 9-10 November, 1914 when two 50 man parties from the 1st and 2nd Battalions of 39th Garhwal Rifles entered German trenches to demolish them, this was not that successful as they ran out of time to do a thorough job.
The PPCLI raid was on 28 February, 1915 (page 19)which was the first by Canadian troops. It was not the first in 1915, that was undertaken by the 1st Worcesters on the night of 2-3 January (page 18).
Raids were used to evolve infantry tactics and aid in 'training' junior leadership skills as well as undertaking the actual aims of the raid. Like many other operations they did not always succeed.

Mike

Phil andrade
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/26/2017 3:33:31 PM
Germans also mounted these raids. They made plenty of forays, killing and capturing large numbers of French and British ( and Dominion ) troops in actions we don't often hear about.

Their defensive stance tends to obscure how aggressive they could be : they, too, preferred to keep men active and avert the danger of losing initiative .

They were, after all, the attackers in the grand sense of things, in so far as they were the invaders.

German defences were lethally sited on the best ground. They were elaborate and consolidated ; more than that, they were designed to make a statement ....we are here to stay, and what we have we hold.

Franco - British lines, OTOH, were only supposed to be temporary expedients, as if they were jumping off points from which to expel the invaders.

To construct with an in depth consolidation might send out the wrong message, as if the Allies were reconciled to the status quo.

Regards, Phil

---------------
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Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

OpanaPointer
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/26/2017 4:26:12 PM
Zeppelins, ocean-going submarines, bomb-carrying aircraft, mass troop movement by train. (Which ones did I get wrong?)

Phil andrade
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/27/2017 2:45:59 AM
The sheer scale of things has to be cited as the unique development that made this war transcend.

This is, of course, a statement of the bleeding obvious : the huge populations could be thoroughly mobilised and the commensurately huge armies transferred by mechanical means, and sustained in contact and combat for years, sustained by civilian efforts which were likewise harnessed and exploited.

If I had to select one feature that stands out, it would be the exponential growth in the quantity and quality of artillery, which ensured that roughly two thirds of all casualties were inflicted by shells and high explosive. This statistic was in itself a very major departure from previous experience.

To make the point, consider the battlefield record of the American Civil War, which has itself been portrayed as a kind of harbinger of the war that pulverised Europe's manpower half a century later.

The expenditure of small arms ammunition in battles such as Stones River and Chickamauga was staggering : in the former, two million rounds of musketry being expended by the Northern army over a three day period. The preponderance of bullet wounds among the casualties was correspondingly high : up to ninety per cent in some reckonings.

In battles in France and Flanders in WW1, the expenditure of artillery rounds rivalled that of small arms in some of the most intense battles of the ACW..sometimes one million shells being fired by one side in a single day on sectors of just a few miles. The implications of this are hard to exaggerate .

Editing : Here's something else that needs to be emphasised : the casualties of the Great War differed not only in their scale, but also in their nature.

Advances in medicine and hygiene practices changed the military experience. In earlier wars, despite the bloodiness of battle, squalor and hardship took many more lives than combat. Only one fifth of all soldiers who died in the Napoeonic wars were killed in battle : the rest perished from diseases and privation. A century later, this ratio was reversed : four fifths of all military deaths were attributable to combat...more so in the British, French and German armies. This does not mean that the squalor of warfare was absent ; it tells us that the lethal effects of that squalour were diminished . Millions of soldiers were afflicted with illnesses 1914-18 ; but they survived in all but a small proportion of cases. Their forefathers had not been so fortunate. But, and this is a difficult corollary to assess, we have to consider how far the arithmetic of the Great War - eight million soldiers killed in battle, compared with two million dying from disease etc - implies the relentlessness of battle rather than the advances in medicine and hygiene . To a degree, the one was a function of the other : the ability of armies to treat their wounded and cure their sick allowed those soldiers to be returned to the front lines, to face the ordeal of battle again and again. This was a privilege of a rather dubious nature.

Regards, Phil
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"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/27/2017 4:33:16 AM
Noted WW1 historian John Terraine said in his excellent White Heat – the new warfare 1914-18, “The war of 1914-18 was an artillery war: artillery was the battle-winner, artillery was what caused the greatest loss of life, the most dreadful wounds, and the deepest fear"

Artillery shells, particularly the fuze which is the device that ignites it, were a complex mechanism with precision parts. The need to greatly expand munitions production meant that new suppliers and new factories had to be in place in order to produce the quantities required.

Almost inevitably, the mass production processes struggled to produce the precision parts until machines and tooling had been refined, workers trained properly and quality control approaches installed. For a lengthy period in the war, the army found that its shells were unreliable: some would not explode at all (“duds”), some exploded at the wrong time (with disastrous effects if within the gun barrel or over your own soldiers).

It was only gradually that these issues were overcome and the shells could be fired with confidence.

Regards

Jim
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Phil andrade
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/27/2017 5:53:12 AM
There is something horribly grotesque about the Great War and its massive artillery trains....it combined elements of siege warfare redolent of medieval times with the modernity of twentieth century industry : a combination made in Hell.

Regards, Phil
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"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

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anemone
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/27/2017 6:59:09 AM
Illustration of German barrage fire on a sector of the Ypres front



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Quote:
The barrage was developed by the British in the Second Boer War. It came to prominence in World War I, notably its use by the British Expeditionary force and particularly from late 1915 onwards when the British realised that the neutralising effects of artillery to provide covering fire were the key to breaking into defensive positions.

By late 1916 the creeping barrage was the standard means of applying artillery fire to support an infantry attack, with the infantry following the advancing barrage as closely as possible. Its employment in this way recognised the importance of artillery fire in neutralizing (or suppressing), rather than destroying, the enemy.

It was found that a moving barrage immediately followed by the infantry assault could be far more effective than weeks of preliminary bombardment.


Regards

Jim

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Lightning
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/27/2017 8:16:14 AM
The British army was well aware that the next war (before 1914) would require the use of entrenchments, to the extent where all infantrymen were required to carry entrenchment tools when in the field. Trenches were used extensively in the fighting in South Africa from 1899 - 1902 and the adaptive use of creeping barrages, open order attacks and suppressive fire were born there also.

The idea that the major armies went to war in 1914 completely oblivious to the benefits of cover has been repeatedly debunked. It was the development of the war into a static stalemate that (virtually) nobody saw coming.

Cheers,

Colin
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Phil andrade
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/27/2017 8:51:30 AM
There is a tendency among historians and commentators to insist that the generals who embarked on major wars were caught unawares, unprepared for the impact of the technologies they faced, and consequently overwhelmed and out of their depth.

We read, for example, that the American Civil War was conducted by soldiers who completely failed to appreciate the power of the rifled musket : worse still, they assumed that the war would be ended quickly and cheaply.

Likewise, the generals who commanded in 1914 are depicted as blinkered and complacent, unable to countenance the impact of machine guns and rapid firing artillery, and equally conditioned by the belief that brave soldiers charging forward could overcome the material forces arrayed against them.

To put it bluntly, the soldiers are portrayed as ignorant, or arrogant, or - God forbid - a combination of both !

I don't buy this.

There were prescient soldiers and politicians - both in America in 1860, and in Europe fifty years later - who predicted horrendous, protracted warfare of high intensity. They knew their craft, and appreciated what firepower does to human flesh.

A mere ten years before the outbreak of WW1 the deadly impasse of trench warfare had been apparent at Port Arthur : although, in that conflict , the Japanese infantry did exhibit - at bloody cost - what resolute offensive action could achieve even against entrenched and powerful defensive firepower .

The armies that clashed in 1914 were very closely matched in terms of numbers, weaponry and resolve. The commanding officers were likewise matched.

When such forces engage, it's to be expected that an equilibrium develops with fatal or bloody results : for hundreds of thousands in the American Civil War, for tens of millions in the Great War.

Such an impasse does not necessarily attest stupidity or callousness on the part of a military caste : it might be evidence of the contrary - highly skilled and determined professionals, evenly matched and backed up by civilian populations determined to wage the hardest war possible.

That's how I perceive 1914-18....and I know that plenty of people will be in profound disagreement !

Regards , Phil

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"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/27/2017 9:20:01 AM
Lt Gen Smith-Dorrien was given command of II Corps of Sir John French's British Expeditionary Force (BEF). He was praised for his conduct during the Battles of Mons and Le Cateau in August 1914, and was given command of Second Army from December 1914 to April 1915.

Smith-Dorrien however fell foul of Sir John French, whom he little respected, during the Second Battle of Ypres, when he recommended a strategic withdrawal closer to Ypres, feeling that nothing short of a major counter-offensive was likely to regain the ground taken by the Germans during their offensive.

French disagreed, dismissing Smith-Dorrien home to England upon the pretext of ill-health, and replacing him with Herbert Plumer, who ironically also recommended a withdrawal upon taking up his position; French accepted Plumer's advice.

The brave and talented Sir Horace Lockwood Smith-Dorrien was thus lost to the BEF via the sheer skullduggery of a lying buffoon of a Field Marshal with Haig looking on in silence.

Regards

Jim

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jahenders
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/27/2017 9:31:49 AM
Thanks for the good read. It was enlightening, though I'm not sure I completely agree with all of his conclusions.

War, in general, drives innovation and a horrific war tends to drive it faster.

I remember years ago reading "From Sumer to Rome" talking about ancient military technology (great book BTW). For some periods the Egyptians were relatively primitive compared to the powers in the Levant, etc. This was because they were (at that time) relatively isolated and their main opponent was technologically inferior to them. Therefore, they didn't innovate in military technology. But, when someone's back is to the wall, they'll get creative.

Jim

anemone
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/27/2017 10:25:34 AM

Quote:
Therefore, they didn't innovate in military technology. But, when someone's back is to the wall, they'll get creative.


And innovate they did -the standard field gun in 1914 was the Mk1 QF 18 pdr firld gun-this gun was uprated every year of the war to Mk IV QF on a MkIII carriage-this gun saw the end of the war and into the next and by then obsolete



[Read More]

Other BEF Artillery pieces


BL 7.2-inch Howitzer Mk.I
BL 8-inch Howitzer - siege gun
BL 60-pounder gun - 5 inch gun from First World War era, replaced by 4.5 inch gun during war



Regards

Jim
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BWilson

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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/27/2017 12:10:27 PM
 Those 'other BEF Artillery pieces' are mostly from the BEF of the Second War.

Cheers

BW
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anemone
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/27/2017 12:55:03 PM
Thanks Bill have edited


Below is another British heavy gun


[Read More]


Regards

Jim
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Jim Cameron
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/27/2017 3:37:08 PM
European and American observation of the Japanese at Port Arthur very probably contributed to the "cult of the offensive" on the Western Front. Determined infantry and the bayonet could overcome any defenses.
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/27/2017 3:49:35 PM
Some of the most significant advances involved the increasing employment of lighter, bypod mounted machine guns, and automatic rifles such as BAR. These provided mobile automatic firepower the earlier heavy machine guns could match only with extreme difficulty.
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OpanaPointer
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/27/2017 3:52:48 PM
I thought the BAR wasn't deployed for fear the Germans would get a copy and reproduce it?

George
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/27/2017 4:45:45 PM

Quote:
I thought the BAR wasn't deployed for fear the Germans would get a copy and reproduce it?
--OpanaPointer


How much did the integration of French weapons into the AEF have to do with the late introduction of the BAR? I think that the US was also manufacturing Chauchat under licence even as a rush was put on to get the BAR from the planning tables to the assembly lines.

Not a good reason to keep a weapon that overheated but maybe it had something to do with the late entry of the BAR.

OP I had also read that with the war approaching a climax, the US did not want to introduce this new weapons if it was not needed.

That doesn't make sense to me if the US had a better weapon to fight with but I did read the same thing. I am probably naive to think that the procurement process would be more important than getting the best weapon to the troops

However, the French wanted the BAR too. They had ordered 15,000 of them so there was a market. It was a very good weapon.


I believe that US troops who arrived in France with the BAR actually had them taken away and replaced by Chauchat. I am not sure why but it may have had something to do with Pershing.


Quote:
American divisions deployed to France after July 1, 1918 (including the 6th, 7th, 8th, 29th, 36th and 79th) carried the BAR with them. Incredibly, upon their arrival in France, most of these divisions had their BARs replaced with .30-cal. M1918 Chauchats, by order of Gen. John J. “Blackjack” Pershing. The first recorded use of the BAR was with the 79th Infantry Division, and that was not until Sept. 22, 1918, during the beginning of the Meuse-Argonne offensive. Just three other divisions would carry the BAR before the end of World War I.


As well Pershing felt that until the BAR could be supplied to more divisions and spare parts were available, that it would be better to stick with the Chauchat until that time arrived. Then the war ended.


Cheers,

George

Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/27/2017 4:51:18 PM
It was deployed late in the war, although in limited numbers. John Browning's son, Val, first fired it in combat on September 13, 1918, during the St. Mihiel offensive, and it equipped a number of units during the Meuse-Argonne.
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Jim Cameron

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OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/27/2017 5:10:25 PM
So it was deployed, but so late that captured copies wouldn't be likely to have been reproduced...

Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/27/2017 7:48:29 PM
The BAR began to arrive in France during July, 1918. Pershing preferred to wait for adequate stocks to be accumulated, to avoid introducing it into combat in dribs and draps, and to avoid examples being captured. There was also a need for training and familiarization prior to employment at the front.
The British, French, and Belgians all wanted it, but even after the Armistice it would be well into 1919 before production was ramped up and enough available to supply the Allies and not risk a shortage in the event of a resumption of hostilities.
The U.S. .30 version of the Chauchat wasn't very reliable, due to a combination of manufacturing problems and, excessive stress on the action from the powerful U.S. cartridge. The French 8mm Lebel version, while no prize, wasn't quite as bad as it's reputation suggests, and gave reasonably good service. The .30 version may have contributed to the Chauchat's poor reputation.
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Jim Cameron

Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.

anemone
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/28/2017 3:39:01 AM
Artillery Fire Control

The first problem of inaccurate gunfire was solved fairly quickly, a Russian officer had worked it about in about 1880. Nevertheless it took a while for the necessary sighting instruments and methods of using them to appear. This is described in more detail in Laying & Orienting the Guns. If there was an observer to watch the fall of shot and report his observations or order corrections then the gunnery processes for producing firing data were fairly straightforward.

However, World War 1 (WW1) quickly introduced the need for 'map shooting', where the target was in the enemy's depth (or at night) and could not been seen and ranged by an observer.

By late 1917, notably the battle of Cambrai, the benefits of map shooting as a means of achieving surprise were fully recognised although its use had started two years earlier for counter-battery fire by heavy artillery. Map shooting meant that corrections for non-standard conditions had to be calculated.

Regards

Jim
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Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/28/2017 4:18:40 PM
The development and deployment of large numbers of long ranged, quick firing artillery, capable of engaging well beyond visual range, combined with defenses that made the enemy rear areas essentially inaccessible to reconnaissance, lead to the rapid development of air power. It also resulted in the development of one of the war's most important tools, airial photography and mapping. The British produced some 10.5 million photographic maps during the war, over 6 million in 1918 alone.
Especially in open areas, the trenches were very vulnerable to airial photography, and as they gained experience photo interpreters could develop enormous amount of intelligence from such photos. Predicted artillery fire was dependant on these detailed maps, and once augmented by airborne radio sets capable of real time observation and fire correction, artillery reached ever higher levels of effectiveness.
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Jim Cameron

Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.

anemone
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Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/29/2017 3:35:04 AM
Many thanks Jim for your valued comments on the progressive advancement of artillery efficiency which owed much to the RFC and RAF using aerial photography.

The first RFC squadrons began to arrive in France in August 1914 and were immediately utilised in observation and reconnaissance duties for ‘target acquisition’.

In the field, the inadequacy of the issued mapping, which largely comprised of French maps of Napoleonic origin, was soon apparent. Despite initial resistance from Maps GHQ, vertical aerial photographs, from which direct tracings could be made, quickly proved their worth.

They became essential, not only for accurate map making, but also for broader intelligence gathering and tactical briefing.

Regards

Jim
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Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
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Posts: 673

Re: Military Developments during the Great War
Posted on: 9/29/2017 6:39:42 PM
Despite all the attention given the fighters, and dogfighting, observation and reconnaissance was the most important function of WW1 aviation.
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Jim Cameron

Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.

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