The Development of a Stalemate on the Western Front
The main reason trenches developed on the western front is due to the
failure of the Schlieffen plan, if it had not been for this elaborate
quick way to win the war by Germany, trench warfare may never have
developed in WWI. As the Germans were being pushed back from Marne
they had to dig trenches to protect themselves from the advancing
allies, and the allies mirrored them and did the same.
The conventional explanation offered by historians for the stalemate
on the western front (an area stretching from Belgium all the way down
to the Alps) is that by 1914 technology and industrialism had
overtaken military strategy and tactics, making them obsolete.
Supposedly machine guns and rapid-fire artillery had made the
traditional tactics worthless; linear tactics and cavalry charges were
things of the past by 1914, and also bad choices were made by
It makes one wonder had the British commanders really been clued up to
the art of modern warfare maybe the war might not have been so
disastrous in terms of casualties. Even theorists from previous
warfare had far more reason on their side.
On the first day of the Battle of the Somme 60,000 British soldiers
died due mostly to ignorance but also to the fact that the commanders
tended to attack the most strongly defended positions (which were
supposed to have been destroyed by a barrage of artillery lasting a
week), destroyed by shelling or not, this was still not a wise idea.
The British seemed to have, not only an enormous amount of faith in
their own ability but also the skill of hugely underestimating the
enemies. Possibly -"[The leader with] fewer mistakes will win." as
quite frankly mistakes were as common as men falling in "No man's
land". Maybe i am stacking too much blame upon them, maybe they were
just mediocre men thrust into a situation that overwhelmed them and
after all they were only human.
Machine guns, the staple weapon for any modern army, had been
surprisingly dismissed by both the French and the British - classed by
them as unlikely to have any effect. The Germans had, however, stuck
by this new technology and were duly rewarded, a single one was known
to be able to kill hundreds of oncoming troops. this alone is
damaging, enough to tip the balance of warfare, but with the Germans
setting up a crossfire and the fact that the British were simply
walking over "No man's land" - it was all too easy.
Some may say that the lack of aerial reconnaissance, the fact that
Germany was prepared (through their own aerial reconnaissance) or the
ineffectiveness of the shelling to...