Lsn 13 WWI

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World War I: 

World War I Lesson 13 Peripheral Operations, American Involvement, Cambrai, Interwar Years

Peripheral Operations: 

Peripheral Operations Gallipoli, April 1915

Widening war: 

Widening war Ottoman Empire enters war on the side of the Central Powers on 31 Oct 1914 Growing discontent, especially with the British, about the deadlock on the Western Front End result is a series of operations on the periphery of Europe “Strategy of the Indirect Approach” (Hart) “Strategy of Evasion” (Fuller) Doughty, 298-299


Operations British defend Egypt against a Turkish invasion and fighting gradually moves into Palestine Allenby and T. E. Lawrence Dardanelles Campaign Gallipoli Tigris River Salonika Doughty, 299

Dardanelles and Gallipoli: 

Dardanelles and Gallipoli

British Strategy: 

British Strategy Take advantage of superior seapower German High Seas Fleet contained in the North Sea so British had freedom of maneuver Churchill was the British First Lord of the Admiralty Proposed an assault on the Dardanelles -the nearly 50 kilometer-long strait separating the Aegean Sea from the Sea of Marmara, which at its narrowest point, the Narrows, was less than two kilometers wide. The object would be to pass a force into the Sea of Marmara and threaten Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire.

Regional Considerations: 

Regional Considerations With the Turks advancing northwards in the Caucasus, Russia appealed for action to relieve the pressure. The need was fleeting-Russian forces soon drove the Turks back-but impetus had been given to Churchill's concept of an attack on Turkey. The tempting idea of inducing the Balkan states to join the Allies and attack Austria-Hungary from the south-east, never more than an illusion, was also influential. A campaign in the Eastern Mediterranean might, moreover, encourage Italy to enter the war on the Allied side.

Economy of Force: 

Economy of Force Plan was designed to be limited in nature Would be predominantly a naval attack, requiring limited ground forces Older battleships would be used so as not to hinder British naval operations in the vital North Sea Despite the strong reservations of the commander of the Eastern Mediterranean Squadron (Vice-Admiral Sackville Carden), the War Council approved the proposal on 15 January 1915.


Gallipoli See similar map Doughty, 300

ANZAC Landing on Gallipoli: 

ANZAC Landing on Gallipoli


Failure Eventually a ground attack force was put together Half hearted effort to build the force resulted in too little too late Five divisions against a roughly comparable Turkish force which enjoyed the advantage of operating on interior lines and in defensible terrain

Gallipoli and Principles of War: 

Gallipoli and Principles of War Objective Deviation from decisive theater Economy of force versus mass Effort to do Gallipoli on the cheap meant not enough resources to accomplish the mission Maneuver Made possible by British sea power

American Involvement: 

American Involvement Pershing and the AEF

German Miscalculation: 

German Miscalculation Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare in early 1917 Notified US of decision 31 Jan Sunk several US ships in Feb and Mar US declared war on 6 April 1917 At the same time Russia was withdrawing from the war, the US was entering Germany failed to end war before the US entered it Doughty, 322-324, 334-335

Unity of Command and Objective: 

Unity of Command and Objective British and French wanted the Americans attached to armies of other nations (Amalgamation) Committing the Americans to combat in small units rather than waiting for them to organize and train as divisions and corps would get them into the fight more quickly Pershing resisted, arguing that national pride and a separate American contribution to victory overshadowed the logistical and preparation problems Doughty, 338-339

SGT Alvin York: 

SGT Alvin York Conscientious objector from Tennessee; drafted and assigned to the 82nd Bn cdr gives York two week’s leave to search his soul about serving York returns having decided to serve

SGT York: 

SGT York Wins Medal of Honor for heroism in the Argonne Forest 8 Oct 1918 York’s battalion receives fire from German machine guns and York’s 16-man platoon is sent to flank the enemy Nine Americans, to include the platoon leader and the other two corporals, are killed our wounded York is the only remaining unhurt leader

SGT York: 

SGT York York’s platoon is now trapped and under fire within 25 yards of the enemy’s machine guns York is an expert marksman. He begins shooting at the nearest position, knowing the enemy will expose themselves to return fire. One by one, he hits every enemy soldier who pops his head up

SGT York: 

SGT York After York kills over a dozen enemy, six Germans charge him with fixed bayonets. York shots the last man first, than the 5th, 4th, etc so the soldiers in front don’t see their comrades fall. Then he turned his attention to the machine guns.

SGT York: 

SGT York Between shots, York, by himself, calls for the Germans to surrender The German commander, seeing York had single-handedly killed over 20 Germans, offers to surrender. Now York, with seven friendly soldiers wounded, has dozens of enemy prisoners to evacuate from an isolated position behind enemy lines.

SGT York: 

SGT York As he begins moving these prisoners, other Germans start surrendering. By the time it’s over, York has taken a total of 132 prisoners and put 35 machine guns out of action. Highlighted in FM 22-100, Army Leadership, as an example of character, physical courage, technical competence, and leadership.

Introduction of Tanks: 

Introduction of Tanks Cambrai


Cambrai British had used small numbers of tanks on the Somme on 15 Sept 1916 but achieved little Cambrai (20 Nov 1917) marked the first large scale use of tanks (474)


Issues Terrain Hard ground around Cambrai would support tanks Coordination between tank and infantry Trench clearing techniques Obstacle breaching Each tank carried a fascine (rolled bundles of sticks to bridge trenches

Problem: Keeping the Momentum: 

Problem: Keeping the Momentum British gained initial surprise and advanced three miles by the end of the first day Deepest penetration into German lines on the Western Front since the beginning of trench warfare On the second day, the British continued to advance but the Germans brought up four more divisions On the third day, the British began losing what ground they had gained Doughty, 344-345


Cambrai See similar map in Doughty, 344

Other Technological Advances from WWI: 

Other Technological Advances from WWI Machine gun Rapid fire artillery Airplanes Internal combustion engine Tanks Gas Flamethrowers Doughty, 314

Interwar Years: 

Interwar Years Auftragstaktik

The End and the Interwar Years: 

The End and the Interwar Years Eventually the Allies overwhelmed the Germans with men and equipment “Americans and tanks” Germans begin working on a new doctrine Decentralized, mission-type orders Speed and exploitation of enemy weakness require the use of initiative Close integration and cooperation between branches Leadership from the front Doughty, 358, 373


Auftragstaktik Mission oriented tactics Commanders were expected to understand the intent of their leaders and to take initiative when necessary to accomplish the mission Germans preparing for a mobile battlefield Doughty, 374-375


Homework Read Auftragstaktik: Thoughts of a German Officer Read Auftragstaktik: Its Origin and Development

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