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Published on October 26, 2007

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Slide1:  World War I THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918 Learning Objectives:  Learning Objectives Be familiar with the timeline and key events of the war. Describe the Schlieffen Plan. Describe how trench warfare evolved from the early part of the war through the German offensive in 1918. List the new equipment introduced during the war and how it was employed. Be familiar with the Battle of Belleua Wood. Background:  Background Numerous “limited wars”, but no dramatic developments between American Civil and First World Wars. 1870 Prussia defeats France Both sides (especially French) relearn the same lessons America learned in Civil War Rifles mandate a change in tactics Skirmishers seeking cover. Breach loaders facilitate fire and movement. Railway/Telegraph is key to victory. Troops still living off of land. Poor supply/logistics. French bitter over loss of territory. Overview:  Overview 65 million combatants from 30 countries representing every continent. 29 million become casualties. Naval battles around the world and land battles in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Triple Alliance = Germany, Austria, Italy +Turkey + Bulgaria - Italy = Central Powers Entente Cordiale = Britain, France + Russia + Italy + (later) US = Allied Powers Revolutionary technology, but evolutionary tactics(?) Road to War:  Road to War Germany, Italy, Russia, Austro-Hungary all fairly recently “unified” with significant internal unrest. Germany seeks new markets/prestige of colonies. Massive arms race. Multiple and extensive alliances. 1914:  1914 June 28, 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is assassinated in Sarajevo. July 28 Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia. August 1 Germany declares war on Russia. August 3 Germany declares war on France. August 4 Great Britain declares war on Germany. August 4 Germany invades neutral Belgium. August 26-30 German army, led by Erich Ludendorff and Paul von Hindenburg, achieves its greatest victory of the war on the Eastern front against Russia at the Battle of Tannenberg. September 5-10 First Battle of the Marne halts German invasion in France. September 15 First trenches of the Western front are dug. 1915:  1915 January 19, 1915 First German Zeppelin air raid on England. February 4 Germany declares a submarine blockade of Great Britain. Any boat approaching England is considered a legitimate target. April 22-May 5 Second Battle of Ypres marks first use of chemical weapons. April 25 Allies begin assault on Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey. May 7 Sinking of the passenger ship Lusitania. May 23 Italy declares war on Austria-Hungary. August 30 Germany responds to U.S. anger by ceasing to sink ships without warning. December 28 Allies begin withdrawal of troops from Gallipoli. 1916 - 1917:  1916 - 1917 February 21 - December 18, 1916 The longest battle of the war, the Battle of Verdun, is fought to a draw with an estimated one million casualties. May 31-June 1 The Battle of Jutland, the only major naval engagement of the war is fought with no clear winner. July 1-November 18 The Battle of the Somme results in an estimated one million casualties and no breakthrough for the Allies. November 7 Woodrow Wilson re-elected President of the United States. December 31 The self-avowed Russian holy man, Rasputin, is murdered by relatives of the Tsar. Slide12:  HMS Engadine First “aircraft carrier” to participate in a fleet action, Battle of Jutland 1917:  1917 February 1, 1917 Germany again declares unrestricted submarine warfare. April 6 The United States declares war on Germany. July 6 T.E. Lawrence and the Arabs capture Aquaba. July 16-November 10 Third Battles of Ypres, known as Passchendaele, results in minor gains, but still no breakthrough. November 7 Bolshevik socialists, led by Lenin, overthrow Kerensky's government. December 3 The new Russian government, represented by Leon Trotsky, signs an armistice with Germany. December 9 British capture Jerusalem. 1918:  1918 January 8, 1918 President Woodrow Wilson declares his 14 points as the path to world peace. March 21 Germans launch the first of five major offensives to win the war before American troops appear in the trenches. April 25 British and Australian troops stop the German advance near Amiens May 23 German shells land on Paris. August 8 Allied counteroffensives on the Somme push the German army back. September 29 Allied troops break through the German fortifications at the Hindenberg line. November 11 At eleven o'clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the war ends as Germany and Allies sign an Armistice. Schlieffen Plan:  Schlieffen Plan Germans want to finish off French before Russia is ready to fight. Germans believe French will immediately try to retake Alsace-Lorraine. Original plan called for economy of force on the left while heavily weighting the right flank Von Moltke revised and distributed forces more evenly across the front. Plan failed when Germans were held up by Belgians, then stopped by French and British at the Battle of the Marne. Russians also mobilized more quickly than expected. Stalemate :  Stalemate Allies halt Central Powers; both sides dig in. No flanks for either side to attack. Barbed wire entanglements up to 150’ deep. Neither side gains more than 10 miles in over 2 years. Mass is supreme principle. Massed assaults Massed fires Trench Warfare:  Trench Warfare Machine gun and artillery make it difficult to attack a trench. Huge artillery preps make “No Man’s Land” virtually impassable. E-tool most important “weapon”? Huge casualties for attackers Gas used (Chlorine, “mustard”) First used against French in 1915 Germans not prepared to exploit/maneuver NOT combined arms Trench Warfare Evolves:  Trench Warfare Evolves Laffargue writes pamphlet; French publish, but otherwise ignore it; Germans acquire copy and implement. Three group (squad) infiltration: Squad one finds and fixes enemy. Squad two finds and exploits weak spots. Squad three supports two and exploits breaches. Strong points reduced later from rear/flanks. Combined arms: grenades, machine guns, flame throwers in infantry squads Arty fires smoke, gas, HE to keep defenders’ heads down. Maneuver warfare at the tactical level. Tanks:  Tanks Brits introduce in Sept 1916 Means to cross No Man’s Land with protection from machine guns. Initially employed piecemeal and in too small numbers to be decisive. Unreliable and slow. Tanks:  Tanks Battle of Somme, Sept 1916 36 of 60 tanks make it into battle Scattered across 3 mile front Weighting main effort? Cambria, Nov 1917 Used in mass (300 tanks) Opened 12x6 mile front Amiens, August 1918 500 tanks, 13 infantry divisions, 2 cavalry divisions, 2000 artillery pieces, 800 aircraft First modern “combined-arms” battle. Submarines:  Submarines New aspect of “Total War” Targeting “neutral merchant” ships. Germans announce submarine blockade. Part physical, part psychological weapon. Draws Allied resources away from offensive operations. Civilian control of production. Surface = surface navy, gap = merchant ships? Sinking of ships with US passengers is major (but not only) factor in US’s eventual entry into the war. Aviation:  Aviation Used initially for reconnaissance/spotting Wireless communication critical development in spotting. Arial combat originally a counter-reconnaissance function. Troops on the ground don’t like the planes overhead…. By the end of the war, planes were being used to drop bombs on railways, intersections, factories, etc. Next step in “Total War”. Von Richtofen “Red Baron” Slide33:  “Jenny” JN-4 Slide34:  Jaeger Slide35:  I believe they are soldiers from Montezuma. At least when they advanced this morning they were all singing “From the Halls of Montezuma, to the Shores of Tripoli.” French soldier describing the unit fighting on his regiment’s right during WWI. In view of the brilliant conduct of the 4th Marine Brigade… which in a spirited fight captured… Belleau Wood, fiercely defended by the enemy in force, the Commanding General, VI Army, decrees that henceforth in all official papers, Belleau Wood shall bear the name, Bois De La Brigade De Marine.” French citation dated 30 June 1918 Battle for Belleau Wood:  Battle for Belleau Wood 4 June 1918 Germans reach their “high water mark”, but are turned back by 5th Marines at Les Mares Farms, 50 miles from Paris. 5 June 1918, 4th Marine Brigade (5th and 6th Regiments, 6th Machine Gun Battalion) enters Belleau Wood to stop German advance. French are retreating as Marines arrive. One Frenchman advises Marines to join the retreat, Capt Lloyd Williams replies “Retreat, hell. We just got here.” Marines begin picking off Germans at 800 yards (200 yds considered far to Germans) Belleau Wood:  Belleau Wood June 6 1/5 charges twice. Sustains 410 and 1087 casualties, respectively. Marines gain toe hold on woods. Dan Daly: “Come on you sons of bitches. Do you want to live forever?” Marines fight until 16 June when an Army unit relieves them 22 June Marines reenter fight. 26 June Maj Shearer sends signal, “Woods are now entirely US Marine Corps.” Victory was not the product of sound tactics, but of the discipline and determination of the Brigade. Teufel Hunden:  Teufel Hunden Devil Dog title given Marines by Germans “Teufel Hunden” “The 2nd American Division must be considered a very good one, and may perhaps even be reckoned as storm troops. The different attacks on Belleau Wood were carried out with bravery and dash. The moral effect of our gunfire cannot seriously impede the advance of the American riflemen.” German intel dispatch

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