Reasons Behind the Breaking of the Stalemate on the Western Front
At the start of the war artillery was heavily used, its accuracy wand
effectiveness were poor. There were no radios at the start, so they
had to operate to a pre arranged plan. In early years of the war
shortages of shells was a problem. But by the end of the war things
had been improved; the shell shortage had been solved by the ministry
of munitions b- also the accuracy was increased - the development of
the 'Creeping Barrage'. And radios were now in use - although
But this alone was not the single factor that broke the Germans. The
biggest problems with artillery remained, the mobility of the guns.
Also the introduction of tanks did not beat the Germans.
At the time tanks were sold to the public as British propaganda - as
their actual effectiveness was exaggerated. Tanks were of limited use;
for one thing they were slow, the first tanks used at the Somme could
only travel at 5km/h. And their mechanical reliability was a problem,
also they were poorly armoured. There were too few available to make a
difference. However at the battle of Cambrai (1917) they did prove
very effective. But they were not a war winning weapon. There had also
been developments in 1918. The Anglo - American new Mark 8 Tanks could
carry a total of 208 shells, and 13,000 bullets.
Also Aircraft had been improved. By the end of the war the RFC, The
Royal Flying Corps - before the RAF, had developed long range bombers.
They had also invented the interrupter mechanism - which allowed
bullets to be fired in-between propellers. And the top speeds of
aircraft had been doubled. But even so aircraft had performed a
largely supporting role, like reconnaissance, and bombing behind enemy
There was also poison gas, and the machine guns became lighter and
faster. But none of these were significant enough to bring about a
breakthrough in their own right; as rapid mobility was not possible at
THE USENTRY INTO THE WAR:
The United States entered the war comparatively late on 1st April
1917. The US armies impact was limited. For one thing the United
States had a comparatively small standing army. And it was not until
1918 that US troops rived in significant numbers on the Western Front.
Also the high commander in chief, General Pershing, was very in
experienced - his last major assignment was the hunting down of a
Mexican bandit leader. Similarly he was too excessive with his men, be
liked using large amounts of man power. He also refused to allow his
troops to fight under French or British control.
However the overall impact of the US army entering the war was very
significant indeed. For example the economic impact; in the 1st years
of the war the allies and the Germans produced...