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WW1 War Tactics

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Nikkita A.

on 7 February 2014

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Transcript of WW1 War Tactics

Joseph Joffre took a little attention of a possible German invasion of France through Belgium until war was declared
So then he modified the plan
He Deployed troops to meet such an eventuality, actual French activity to meet an invasion via Belgium was lacklustre at best in August 1914
Joffre and His advisers believed that the threat of British involvement would keep Germany from attacking via Belgium
Within 2 weeks the war had started The French attacked Alsace and Lorraine
The French were thrown very much on the defensive
Machine-Gun Pillboxes
Pillboxes (blockhouses) were small forts made by the Germans
it was used to give their trench lines some more strength

Pillboxes were generally 30 ft. along the front and were about 10 ft. wide.
The word pillbox was used by British soldiers because the concrete was the same shape as the boxes in which doctors put tablets in
German machine-gunners stayed inside pillboxes
They had thick walls, so it was hard to blow up with artillery barrages
the machine gunner inside used little slots inside the pillboxes
the machine guns placed either on the top, or at the side of the pillbox
On the Western Front the military employed specialist miners to dig tunnels under No Man's Land (both sides)
The main objective was to place mines beneath enemy defensive positions
When the bomb blew up, the explosion would destroy that section of the trench
The soldiers would then advance towards the enemy front-line hoping to take advantage of the confusion that come from the explosion of an underground mine.

Soldiers in the trenches developed different strategies to discover enemy tunneling.
One way was to drive a stick into the ground and hold the other end between your teeth and feel any vibrations
Another way was to put a water-filled oil container into the floor of the trench, the soldiers then took it in turns to lower an ear into the water to listen for any noise being made by tunnelers
After chlorine gas came the use of phosgene
Phosgene was stronger weapon than chlorine, chlorine was potentially deadly while phosgene caused the victim to violently cough and choke
Phosgene often had a delayed effect; apparently healthy soldiers were taken down with phosgene gas poisoning up to 48 hours after inhalation
The British phosgene bomb caused much less coughing

The so-called "white star" mixture of phosgene and chlorine was commonly used on the Somme:
the chlorine gave the vapor which was able to carry the phosgene
Plan 17

Devised by Ferdinand Foch
Created because they were defeated in the Franco-Prussian war
Taken up by French Commander-in-Chief Joseph Joffre in 1913
The plan believed in the Mystical élan vital
Assumed to be into every Frenchman
The plan was advanced by 4 French armies
They planned to attack Alsace-Lorraine (areas ocupied by The German)
The Southern wing would capture Alsace and Lorraine
The Northern wing depending in what the German would do, would advance to Germany by the Forests in the North, or else Move North-East into Luxembourg and Belgium
The British built very few machine-gun pillboxes
They said that the pillboxes were not worth the labor or the cost

Britain and Germany also used smaller machine-gun posts
The British used Bergmann machine-gun rather than Maxims in the pillboxes
Germans built machine-gun posts in large numbers all along the line at Ypres and Messines

Machine-gunners were deeply hated by soldiers on the front lines and they were more likely to be killed when captured than other soldiers
Gas Attacks
The first use of gas attacks as by the germans in the capture of Neuve Chapelle on October 1914
The German army fired shells at the French which contained chemicals that made people violently have a fit of sneezing
Three months later, on 31 January 1915, tear gas was used by the Germans for the first time on the Eastern Front
Tear gas failed because the tear gas liquid failed to vaporize in the freezing temperatures
The Germans then tried again with an improved tear gas at Nieuport against the French on March 1915
By: Nikkita A. & Stellavich
WW1 War Tactics
It could take as long as a year to dig a tunnel and place a mine
The miners also had to listen out for enemy tunnelers
Sometimes miners accidentally dug into the opposing side's tunnel and an
underground fight took place
When an enemy's tunnel was found it was usually destroyed by placing an
explosive inside

When the British attacked at Somme, they set off two mines that
contained 24 tons of explosives
Another mine at Spanbroekmolen created a hole that had a diameter of 430 ft
It is large enough to house a 40 ft. deep lake

January, 1917, General Sir Herbert Plumer, gave orders for 20 mines to be placed under German lines at Messines
Over the next five months more than 8,000 meters of tunnels were dug and 600 tons of explosives were placed
Simultaneous explosions of both these mines took place at 3.10 on 7th June
The blast killed about 10,000 soldiers and was so loud it was heard in London
Chlorine, came on 22 April 1915, at the start of the Second Battle of Ypres
The French thought that the cloud was covering German soldiers
The cloud did not mask an infantry attack- it was the first use of chlorine gas on the battlefield
This was supposed to not be a surprise because captured German soldiers had warned the Allied but nobody listened to them
The effects of chlorine gas were horrible:
Within seconds of inhaling its vapor it destroyed your lungs, bringing on choking attacks.
The British made Special Gas Companies to prepare for a gas attack at Loos in September 1915.
The men who comprised the British Special Gas Companies were not allowed to use the word "gas"
They referred to their gas canisters as "accessories" or they would be punished

On the evening of 24 September 1915, about 400 chlorine gas emplacements were put on the British front lines around Loos
Mustard Gas
Germany used mustard gas in artillery shells against the Russians at Riga in September 1917
Mustard gas, an almost odorless chemical, was distinguished by the serious blisters it caused both inside and outside
Protection against mustard gas was more difficult than either chlorine or phosgene gas

It seriously injured the enemy but the chemical stayed in soil for weeks after which made capturing the trenches very dangerous
By 1918 the use of use of poison gases had become widespread, particularly on the Western Front
However three forms of gas remained the most widely used: chlorine, phosgene and mustard
The German army ended the war as the heaviest user of gas
The types of protection initially handed out to the troops around Ypres after the first use of chlorine in April 1915 were 100,000 wads of cotton pads
Soldiers were also advised that holding a urine drenched cloth over their face would be good in an emergency to protect against chlorine
There are filter respirators (using charcoal or antidote chemicals) were the norm and proved highly effective

Gas Attacks were then ban and still are since 1925
The Schliefflen Plan
The plan created by the
Alfred von Schliefflen
in 1905.
Created because of the Rivalry between Germany and France

Schliefflen also planned to go through Belgium and Luxemburg

The plan had many weaknesses:
Germany thought they would defeat France in
40 days
General Schlieffen believed that Russia would take
6 weeks
to mobilize her forces
Not all the in Germany’s High Command agreed with the plan
They thought it was provocative and a waste of resources
France was Germany’s enemies

France, Britain and Russia had an alliance (The triple entente)
Germany, Austria and Italy had an alliance also ( The Triple Alliance)

He also believed that was impossible for Russia to defeat Germany
He thought that a successful surprise attack against France would be enough to put off Britain becoming involved in a continental war

General Shliefflen was replaced
Von Moltke took command in 1906 and made changes in the
He reduced the troops and took Netherlands out of the war

In 1914 the the German troops arrived in Belgium
They started the strategy in Belgium

Then everything went down hill:
Germany planned to defeat Belgium in 2 weeks
Instead Belgium held up Germans for 4 weeks
The speed of the German advance placed great strain on its troops
(most were traveling on foot)
In less than a month Germany had already arrived to the
Marne Rive
They were so tired
There was also considerable strain on long German supply lines
(routes they received their needs and Reinforcement)
Russians launched an offensive faster than anticipated
The French were able to move their troops very fast

WW1 started in
and ended in
There were two alliances:
- The triple Entente (France, Britain and Russia)
-The triple Alliance (Germany, Italy and Austria-Hungary)
it was mostly fought in
(trench warfare)
The most famous tactic was the
Gas Attacks
Most of the technology and ideas- once used on another country were then adapted and used by everyone else
We are going to be talking about:
Machine Gun Pill Boxes
Gas Attacks
The Schliefflen Plan
Plan 17
Gas Attack Clip from the 'Movie All Quiet on the Western Front' (1979)
Casualties From Gas Attacks:

British Empire

Number of deaths:

British Empire
German used 68,000 tons pf gas; the French utilized 36,000 tons and the British 25,000
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