In this essay the success and effectiveness of allied leadership during WWW through the challenges they faced such as inexperience in modern warfare and lack of technologically advanced weaponry, war of attrition, the huge numbers of human casualties and the criticism that came with it, armies made up of inexperienced civilians and how they overcame these challenges to win the war. The British and their allies had never experienced trench warfare before. Throughout the war the British and the allies learned how to fight a modern war against a tough opponent.
As opposed to having dealt with small forces n colonial warfare, in WWW, besides fighting a powerful enemy, the generals had to learn a new type of warfare. Therefore the British and their allies had a number of setbacks during the war. Since the allied generals had to learn a new type of warfare they had a continuous task of approaching the war with new tactics and experimenting with new weapons. The allies were fighting a war of attrition, where they had to continually attack the Germans to wear them down, as it was the only formidable and reasonable strategy at the time.
The generals used attrition because they were fighting a powerful enemy who was on defense wrought the war and the allied generals had new experienced this warfare. The armies of the allied forces were also made up of civilians that lacked proper training and experience, which posed another challenge for the allied leaders. Before 1914 the British army was a small effective police force and by 1916 it expanded allowing inexperienced civilians to join the army.
The generals had to work with an inexperienced civil force rather than a professional trained army. However by 1 918 the allied leaders had transformed this army of inexperienced civilians into an intimidating fighting force that was second to none. At certain times the British forces working under French command caused some unease with Hag. Hag also did not get full support from his civilian leaders. Another unavoidable factor was that France was the country directing the war even though the British Commander-in-Chief was independent.
Despite his reluctance in having British forces placed under foreign command, he worked well with Foci in 1918 and held on throughout the worst of Germans assault. On certain occasions Hag and other commanders did not receive full support from the government. The Prime Minister, David Lloyd George wrote that he moieties wondered whether he should have resigned on more than one occasion rather than permit Hag to continue with his strategy. The British were asked to relieve the pressure on French from German attacks at Verdure by opening up a front at Some.
The Allies, like in Some, were forced into certain battles they would not have gone at that point in time. They would have preferred to attack later. The Battles of Some in July 1916 and Packsaddle later in October 1917 were regarded as huge defeats as the human death toll was very high. Hag was heavily criticized for the death toll and for his outdated static. The allied leaders were called butchers as they were accused of sending men to their deaths in pointless battles.
But in the overall picture they were successful in preventing the Germans advancement. During these battles the allies caused huge amount of damage on the Germans and wore them down. Although the human toll was high in Some, not helping out the French at that time would have been costly with potential turn of events in favor of the enemy. With large numbers of divisions under one general’s command and the delay in communication, hindered the leadership ability to make quick changes.
From 914-1917 the combination of weapons like quick-firing artillery and defenses like trenches and barbed wire, made the attackers job difficult. Even if the artillery was able to break into the German defenses the communications facilities were poor and the generals were commanding large armies that were spread out and were unable to communicate with their armies and exploit the situations. This was a tactical dilemma faced by many allied generals. Hag had to control 60 divisions at the Some; he had to continually wear down the Germans at the costs of his men.
From the start of his command he had to fight with this tragedy, as he could not see any other option. With the introduction of modern technology and new war tactics the war started to turn in favor of the allies. There is always room to criticize. People were of opinion that the British Generals were unable to think of imaginative tactics and new approaches rather than repeat outdated, failed formula. The war tactics in 1914 had not caught up with modern artillery and machine guns. By 1918, this had all changed.
At the Battle of Amines on 8 August 1918, the British Expeditionary Force put into practice the lessons learned over the previous four ears and took advantage of the modern weaponry (tanks which debut in Some in September 1916), heavy artillery, rare planes) that had became available to them, The RAE carried out ground attack, artillery spotting, interdiction of enemy lines of communication, strategic bombing. This air-land ‘weapon system’ was bound together by wireless (radio) communications.
There were other great generals who served the allies during WWW besides Douglas Hag. One person worth mentioning is a highly respected strategist named General Arthur Currie. General Currie was commanding the Canadian Corps during WWW. When General Currie was asked to capture Vim Ridge he ensured that his division was thoroughly prepared for the battle. He did not want to go unprepared for a battle and he often spoken against plans not well thought out. He saw the many casualties at Some and learned from it.
He built full- scale model of battle area, flew reconnaissance missions, built light railway to move artillery and dug tunnels to move troops and supplies safely. His plan was to have troops follow behind the heavy artillery fire. Vim Ridge was the first significant victory for the allies and it was a turning point of the war. Considering the many obstacles the allied forces had to overcome, which were escalating as the war progressed also in the face of criticism the troops were not disheartened.
To recapitulate they started with a small army, joined by civilians, who had not fought in trench warfare. As their numbers increased the generals had to manage large armies and divisions and there was delay in communication with troops to making quick adjustments. The allied forces were bidding for time- a continuous process to wear down the Germans at the cost of their men’s lives. The mass waste of human life was horror filled, shocking, and unpleasant and cannot be over emphasized.
Incompetence on the part of the allied forces contributed to some of the losses, as well as the decisions made by soldiers who were not infallible and likely to make mistakes. The British and their allies were slow to grasp the modern technologies. Hag learned from experience and adapted new tactics; he encouraged the development of advanced weaponry such as machine guns, aircraft and tanks. The allied leadership turned a civilian army into force that was second to none.