The author has looked closely at the amazing technical advances made during WWI from the perspective of the land campaigns. Extensively illustrated, this is a very efficient review of the use and consequences of technology developed to achieve domination on land, including the part aircraft played in assisting land commanders.
NAME: Military Technology of the First World War, development, use and consequences FILE: R2484 AUTHOR: Wolfgang Fleischer PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: hard back PAGES: 222 PRICE: £25.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWI, World War One, World War 1, First World War, The Great War, aviation, tanks, artillery, trench warfare, explosives, machine guns, gas
IMAGE: B2484.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/n3q5fu9 LINKS: DESCRIPTION: The author has looked closely at the amazing technical advances made during WWI from the perspective of the land campaigns. Extensively illustrated, this is a very efficient review of the use and consequences of technology developed to achieve domination on land, including the part aircraft played in assisting land commanders. The Great War saw the culmination of a very wide range of technical developments in all aspects of war. The author has made this a digestible review by concentrating on the development of weapons intended to give an army advantage in the field. Therefore, the review of aviation is relatively brief in respect of its application to the objectives and needs of army commanders. The equally impressive developments in technology at sea and in signals intelligence are also absent. As a result, the review is focused and both concise and comprehensive in relation to land warfare. Most of the weapons appearing in the battles on the Western Front had never been deployed on anything like the scale of WWI, or at all. The opening stage of the conflict saw the German army advancing rapidly in a conventional manner with cavalry scouting ahead and attacking the enemy infantry. It was a war of movement and followed a careful plan that included surprise by advancing on the French via neutral Belgium. However it began to fall apart because the tiny British Expeditionary Force put up an outstanding defence, where it fought so fiercely that German Commanders thought they had encountered the main BEF when they were only attacking small units that fought, fell back in good order and fought again. The surprise was all the greater because the Germans had largely discounted the BEF as a 'contemptible little army'. A key part of the BEF achievement was down to a well- trained if small professional army that was equipped well and knew how to make best use of its weapons. The Lee Enfield rifle was one of the best bolt-action rifles available and could achieve much in the hands of well-trained soldiers. The BEF did not at that stage have many machine guns but it used them very effectively as part of the field artillery available in a fluid war. The other surprise that the Germans experienced was the level of co- ordination and co-operation between the British and French commanders. Considering that the two armies had no prior experience of serving closely together, it was outstanding and in part due to an extraordinary and relatively junior British officer who was responsible for liaising between commanders. The result was that as the British rearguard slowed the German armies down, the French saw a gap in the German lines and used the BEF to exploit it. By that point, the BEF was near exhaustion and although it fought magnificently alongside French formations, forcing the Germans back towards their own border, it lacked the strength to complete the task of routing the Germans. That gave the German commanders just enough time to dig in and the trench war started. Up to that point the war had not been significantly different from earlier wars between armies, manoeuvring and chosing battle grounds. From that point, it became a war of attrition that was shaped by the new technologies. The author has described the weapons and tactics that made WWI unique against all previous experience. The stalemate of the trenches forced both sides to try everything they could think of to break out and win, in the process making other theatres more important because the prospects for either side of achieving total victory on the Western Front looked very slim. The machine gun made frontal assault by infantry costly. Victory was frequently an advance of a few yards, only to be reversed by counter- attack. Artillery was used in huge numbers with ever heavier guns in an attempt to blast a path through the enemy trenches for the infantry to exploit. Mining and counter mining became routine. Poison gas was used to attempt a break through and often proved as deadly to the deployer as to the enemy. Then the British produced the tank, eventually producing tanks in enough numbers to deploy large formations, and breaches were made in the German lines. During this process, aircraft became a more important part of the land war. The Western Front was more comprehensively photographed from the air then any other location in history. As radio was introduced to aircraft, it became practical to use aircraft for gunnery direction, and they were also able to serve as aerial artillery, dropping bombs and machine gunning enemy trenches from above, where they were most vulnerable. The Great War saw the complete mobilization of nations and the Allies won by developing new weapons and producing them in very large numbers, while blockading Germany to reduce its capacity meet that production and distribution of resources. It saw the use of submarines to attempt a blockade on the British Isles and the use of aircraft by Britain to attempt strategic bombing, which became the justification for the formation of the RAF through the amalgamation of the RFC and the RNAS to form the first dedicated air force.