Key Battles in the Attempt to Break the Stalemate:
Verdun – 1916
Factors that brought about the battle
Falkenhayn had hoped to ‘weaken’ the French forces by attacking Verdun, as Falkenhayen knew that the French would come cap in hand to defend Verdun. The town of Verdun had to strategic value for both Germany, and French. However, Verdun had symbolic importance, due to the great wars in the past. Aims of battle (how was it designed to break the stalemate)? * The war in Verdun had become a war of attrition. This involved wearing down the enemy to a state of exhaustion. However, there were still attempts to break the stalemate. Examples of the attempts were: 1. On the Western Front both Allied and German generals still nursed visions of a dramatic breakthrough to end the deadlock. Between February 1916 and November 1918 a series of bloody campaigns was launched to achieve such a breakthrough. 2. There were attempts to break the deadlock on the Western Front by launching attacks in other theatres of war, in the hope of weakening the enemy’s overall war capability. 3. Germany attempted to break the deadlock by launching its unrestricted submarine campaign, which aimed to starve Britain into submission. Britain pursued the same aim with its blockade of Germany. 4. There were efforts from various quarters to bring hostilities to an end by promoting peace negotiations. However, these efforts were not succeed.
Preparations for battle
* German had 1400 heavy guns, with the hope to draw the French to defend Verdun. * French General rotated 259 of France’s 330 divisions.
Tactics or strategies used
Preparatory bombardment was when at the beginning of a battle an artillery barrage would take place for hours and sometimes days. The aim of this was to wipe out soldiers in enemy front line trenches as well as destroy those trenches. This would then be followed by waves of infantry attacking these trenches in case there were any enemy soldiers left. Infantry soldiers would then occupy the enemy trench and in this way, gain more land. However, this tactic was flawed as enemy soldiers, like German soldiers did in the Somme and at Passchendaele, could go in to bunkers or take cover for the duration of the artillery barrage and once this barrage stopped, they could prepare themselves for the suspected oncoming infantry waves so any hope of a surprise attack was lost and essentially all this preparatory bombardment was destroy the terrain both armies were fighting on. Outcomes/result of battle
* The town of Verdun was destroyed.
* The Germans fired twenty-three million shells at the French positions. * The losses to the armies were 350 000 French and 330 000 German soldiers. * The Germans did not break the French resistance.
What does the battle reveal about Allied or German military leadership? The battle of Verdun revealed both strategic ideas and ideas that didn’t work in their favor on both the French and German sides. For example the Germans had hoped to weaken the French forces by attacking Verdun. This was because they knew the French would defend Verdun because of its importance in history. This was a well thought out plan on the Germans behalf. However, even though the plan to attack Verdun was a well thought out plan and quite smart, the French still won against the Germans. Was this battle a German victory? An Allied Victory? None? Explain your answer. In the battle of Verdun, the German were not successful in what they set out to achieve. Instead the French won the battle with their smart thinking. The Germans had originally hope to weaken the French Army, with that they picked a small town that they knew was of great symbolic importance to the French. Verdun had no strategic value for Verdun. However, the Germans knew it was of great symbolic importance to the French. They knew the French would not give up Verdun. Key quotations/source support
* “If you surrender Verdun, you will be...
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