Impact of the war on the Western Front (WW1)

What was phase one known as when was it?
The initial war of movement in 1914 leading to stalemate and it was the race for the sea to control nearby Northern coastline (Ypres)
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What was phase two known as?
Stalemate in trench warfare --> a war of attrition which involved wearing down the enemy at the Battle of Somme, Passchendale,
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What was phase three known as?
Ludendorff offensive (21st March 1918) --> a war of movement again and there were German defeats after initial successes.
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When was the Battle of the Somme?
July 1916
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When was the Hundred Days Offensive?
The Allied Counter-Offensive was in July-Nov 1918 and was known as the Battle of Amiens
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How did the British and French try and dislodge Germans?
By using the technique of going over the top, creeping barrage, mining, tanks, chemical warfare and weapons
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What weapons were the British army well supplied with in phase two?
Lee Enfield rifles, Vickers Machine guns (450 rounds a minute), Lewis gun; Stokes Mortar could fire 22 shells per minute and grenades and shells became available in 1916-1917
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What did the Germans use at the Battle of Ypres?
Chlorine gas
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What was then introduced in 1917 and what did it result in?
Mustard gas was introduced in 1917 and it resulted in the burning and blistering of the skin
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How many deaths did gas cause though and due to what precaution why was this?
Only 3% of deaths were caused by gas as there were effective gas masks available.
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When was phase two?
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What was established in phase two?
A front line was established running through Belgium and northern France, the two sides established trench systems.
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When did the German high command decide to laugh a final push against the Allies on the Western Front?
Spring of 1918
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By when had the Allies defeated the German army on the Western Front?
By Nov 1918
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What are four causes of the First World War?
Long-term rivalry between the Great Powers of Europe, the alliance system, problems in the Balkans, the murder of Franz Ferdinand in June 1914
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When did the war draw in all of the European powers?
After Germany enacted the Schlieffen Plan
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When did Germany invade France?
Through the flat, and accessible terrain of Belgium on 1st August 1914.
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What were the British then keen to ensure?
That Germany did not get hold of French and Belgian ports and they were wishing to protect Belgian neutrality and then declared war on Germany.
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Where did the front line develop to?
The front line developed running from north-west Belgium down through France and became the Western Front
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Where were trenches built?
Builty by both sides along the front line and over time these became better constructed.
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What were the problems associated with trench warfare?
Rats, trench foot, lice which caused trench fever.
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What were the trench conditions like?
They were very dangerous as 31% of those who served in the army were wounded compared with only 3 or 4% of those in the navy or the air force.
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How did the British begin to mount attacks on the opposing force?
By using infantry and then making sure that was advancing as they were going over the top through no man's land or by bombarding opposing forces with shells and shrapnel.
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What did other tactics involve?
Creeping barrage whereby advancing infantry would be protected by an arc of artillery fire landing in front of them.
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What technique was used by the British at Messines Ridge near Ypres in 1917?
Their tactic was to dig underground towards German lines and detonate mines underneath them
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When did tanks come into use?
In the Battle of the Somme in July 1916 but they were very clumsy and vulnerable as they were too hot inside and frequently broke down
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When were tanks first put into effective use though?
In the Battle of Cambrai in 1917 and they also played an important part in the final stages of the war.
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What did they enable?
Movement across difficult terrain, but were seen as an innovative technological development during the war.
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By what years were the British army equipped and well-supplied with lots of weapons?
By 1916-1917
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What was the Lee Enfield rifle?
It was a very efficient rifle which was issued to infantry soldiers
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What was a Lewis gun?
It was a light machine gun that was also highly effective in trench warfare and initially the Germans had no similar gun
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What were the Grenades and shells used for?
There were initial shortages of grenades and bigger shells like the howitzer but by 1916-1917 these were widely available.
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What was the Vickers Machine gun?
These were machine guns that could fire 450-550 rounds a minute and had a range of 3,000 yards and they were issued to prove very valuable in trench combat
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What did soldiers receive to prevent them from injury?
Steel hats,
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When did Britain declare war on Germany?
4th August 1914
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What had happened by August?
By the 20th August the 80,000 men of the British Expeditionary Force were concentrated around the French town of Maubeuge near Mons to protect the French left flank
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When did the 'war of movement' end for the BEF?
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When was Lord Kitchener appointed War Minister?
August 1914
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What was the BEF confined to?
A supporting role but steadily expanded in size
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What did Kitchener refuse?
To allow new recruits simply to make up losses in existing units and he refused to send them into the existing Territorial Force and the volunteer reserve units had already existed at the outbreak of war.
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What did he insist on?
The new forces having their own identity and forming complete battalions but they would not be ready to fight until 1916
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But when did these troops first arrive?
In France in May 1915
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What was used in the meantime and how many were there of these?
The Territorial Forces were used in the run-up and six divisions were utilised as well as a Canadian division that arrived in March-April 1915
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How many casualties had the French suffered by 1915?
1.5 million and more were fighting in Verdun in the first half of 1916
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By when were there 38 infantry divisions?
January 1916 and there were also five calvalry divisions
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How many were there by the summer?
A further 19 divisions
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How many armies was the BEF divided into?
Five armies
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Who replaced Sir John French as commander in chief?
Sir Douglas Haig
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When did the BEF play a large part in a joint attack with the French on the German lines near the Somme
Between July and November 1916
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In 1914 how many numbered the BEF?
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But by October 1917 what had this totalled at?
3.9 million men
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What had the BEF begun as?
Two corps, each of two divisions
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In 1917 what had it comprised of?
Five armies
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Even though this was an impressive increase why were the numbers slightly misleading?
The increase was offset by a reduction in numbers in each army
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In 1914 an infantry division at full strength had how many men?
19,000 men
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How many were infantry themselves
18,000 were infantry themselves and the rest artillery, medical, office staff
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What had happened by 1918?
Division strength was down to nearer 16,000
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Positional warfare was characterised by what?
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What was the BEF divided into?
Cavalry and infantry
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What did the cavalry have the role of?
The role of the elite offensive force
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What did the armies do?
They halted and the two sides fought for positions that would give some tactical advantage, this type of warfare was unprecendented on this scale.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


What was phase two known as?


Stalemate in trench warfare --> a war of attrition which involved wearing down the enemy at the Battle of Somme, Passchendale,

Card 3


What was phase three known as?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


When was the Battle of the Somme?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


When was the Hundred Days Offensive?


Preview of the front of card 5
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