Doctrine and Dogma: German and British Infantry Tactics in the First World War

Doctrine and Dogma: German and British Infantry Tactics in the First World War

Doctrine and Dogma: German and British Infantry Tactics in the First World War

Doctrine and Dogma: German and British Infantry Tactics in the First World War

Synopsis

This is the first in-depth comparison of German and British infantry tactics, training, and leadership techniques during World War I. Samuels' study undercuts some traditional views about the reasons for German successes and British failures during the Great War and points to how different value systems in the two countries affected their military prowess. This historical study of the doctrines underlying the British and German strategies and their implementation holds important lessons for students of military history and contemporary military strategy.

Excerpt

RACE: It often seems to me that's all detective work is, wiping out your false starts and beginning again.

POIROT: Yes, it is very true, that. And it is just what some people will not do. They conceive a certain theory, and everything has to fit into that theory. If one little fact will not fit it, they throw it aside. But it is always the facts that will not fit in that are significant.

At 4:40 A.M. on 21 March 1918, the sudden fire of 6,473 guns heralded the commencement of Operation Michael, the long-awaited German offensive in the West. Only two weeks earlier, Field Marshal Douglas Haig, the British commander in France, had stated: 'I [am] only afraid that the enemy [will] find our front so very strong that he will hesitate to commit his army to the attack.' Haig need not have worried. By the time the Germans called an end to the battle, on 5 April, they had advanced over forty miles and had seized over one thousand square miles of territory. In addition, they had inflicted almost a quarter of a million casualties.

Nor was Operation Michael the only German offensive in the spring of 1918. The German Army . . .

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