The Experience of Warfare: The Western Front

Section 3 of the Experience of Warfare on the Western Front History AS Edexcel

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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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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 Triple Entente
b. Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy joined in Triple Alliance
c.…read more

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The course of the war…read more

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Trench warfare and the Western Front
Conditions in the trenches
A) Problems such as:
a. Rats
b. Trench foot
c. Lice
d.…read more

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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 destroying barbed wire and trench
system
E) 1st July, 1916, attack launched using creeping barrage
F) Worst day in British military history:
a. 57K causalities
b. 19K dead
G) Problems due to:
a.…read more

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The BEF 1917-1918
BEF by 1917
A) 1914 BEF = 80K
B) Oct 1917 BEF = 3.…read more

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G) In 1918 British took:
a. 188,700 German prisoners
b.…read more

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Discipline and morale in the British Army
Morale…read more

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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 for cowardice or desertion
iii. Some were probably suffering from Shell Shock such as Private Harry Farr
b. Field punishment number one
i. Designed to humiliate
ii.…read more

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