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Page 1

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3. The Western Front
3.1. The causes and course of the war
3.2. Trench warfare and the Western Front
3.3. The Battle of the Somme, July-November 1916
3.4. The BEF 1917-1918
3.5. Discipline and morale in the British Army
3.6. Medical and surgical developments

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3.1. The causes and course of the war
Context:



VS.




Causes:
A) Long-term rivalry between the Great Powers of Europe

a. Rivalry developing between Germany and Britain with size of their navies

b. Germany, France and Russia over army sizes

B) The alliance system

a. France, Britain and Russia formed…

Page 3

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The course of the war

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3.2. Trench warfare and the Western Front
Conditions in the trenches
A) Problems such as:
a. Rats

b. Trench foot

c. Lice

d. Trench fever

B) 31% wounded

C) 3-4% of wounded in navy or air force


Tactics of trench warfare
A) Over the top to no man's land

B)…

Page 5

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3.3. The Battle of the Somme, July-November 1916

The plan and 1st day
A) Britain, France and Russia co-ordinated attack to break stalemate

B) BA = 2.5M strong

C) The German attack on French at Verdun meant only British attack

D) German trenches bombarded for 1 week in hope of…

Page 6

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3.4. The BEF 1917-1918
BEF by 1917
A) 1914 BEF = 80K

B) Oct 1917 BEF = 3.9M

C) Germans concentrated on use of unrestricted submarine warfare

D) British launched major strike on Germans in Belgian Flanders near Ypres

Passchendaele/Third Ypres, June-December 1917
A) main attack launched July 1917 using…

Page 7

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G) In 1918 British took:
a. 188,700 German prisoners

b. 2,840 German guns

H) According to Gary Sheffield: "by far the greatest military victory in British history"

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Page 9

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3.5. Discipline and morale in the British Army
Morale

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Discipline
A) Varied between units and divisions

B) 5,952 officers court martialled

C) 298,310 other ranks court martialled

D) 89% convicted

E) Most common offense was being absent without leave

F) Punishments included:
a. Execution
i. Controversial, in 2006 all soldiers executed for cowardice or desertion
pardoned
ii. 306/5.7M executed…

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