Were the British soldiers lions led by donkeys? Essay

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The question “were the British troops ‘Lions led by Donkeys? ‘” continues to be an ongoing debate since the end of the war. A warfare which is dominated by images of weakling battles like the Somme and Passchendaele – futile frontal attacks resistant to the machine firearms. There is a wide range of evidence to suggest that the troops were ‘lions led by donkeys’. The definition which the soldiers had been ‘lions’ inside the war is never questioned – due to the horrific reports of their lives in the war.

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The soldiers had been just young men: young men coming from all over Britain thrown in to war. It had been hardly read about men neglecting to serve in the conflict – re-cruitment posters (source A) place pressure about men to participate, by playing on their notion. Boys had been recruited, young boys because young as 14 or 15!

Although the age was 18. When boys got joined, no matter what age, they were “in the army now” and so had to go and fight: to view horrific visuals they should do not have seen. (source D/E). The Soldiers had miserable hails from the trenches: the food was limited to Ansto? beef, cookies, tinned food etc . The soldiers constantly thought that they had half of the actual really should include.

The officers also appreciated better quality meals. Life in the trenches contained working at night time, and trying to find rest in daytime: as well as having to fight and fire pistols. The stand-to called in dawn and dusk consistently also observed the troops standing at times for hours awaiting enemy problems that rarely ever came.

Tedium was a significant problem in the trenches, so many military took to publishing poetry or perhaps letters by. Letters in which they were not really allowed to create of the full disasters they noticed. The trenches were just huge abandons, the low surface meaning that these were often water-logged, and very damp and muddy.

The grubby trench conditions attracted all types of distressing creatures – strange horned beetles (source C). These people were also infested with louse and rats and frogs. The dugouts where the guys had to sleep would be crawling with lice and they were driven untamed with itching. The rats also helped the distributed of conditions through the trenches and the males, feeding after dead individual flesh.

Adding to the atrocities of trench life, had been the horrible scents lingering there: (source E) the smell in the mud, man waste and decomposing bodies. The military lived in daily fear inside the trenches, in the smell of lingering gas. It was one of the most feared system. The foe would blast the gas into the sibling trenches – gases just like chlorine, mustard gas, and Napalm.

These kinds of gases had horrific results such as to help make the soldiers dish out their lung area, or to possibly rot surviving! The troops also experienced great deals in Battles like the Somme, and Ypres and so forth Events wherever they drowned in mud, were cut down by simply German equipment guns, and suffered great losses. All these pressures from the soldiers and the experience of the war, or maybe the stories the survivors had to tell present that they had been ‘lions’ through this war.

The situation mainly discussed though within the topic of the First World War is that of the officers being ‘donkeys’. The question becoming – the place that the soldiers of WW1 fearless men, provided for their fatalities by unskilled officers? Origin N firmly suggests that men were having slaughtered by enemy, due to the “stupidity…of individuals in charge”. This is immediate criticism up against the generals, and evidence which the soldiers had been ‘lions led by donkeys’.

The Commander-in-cheif Generals of the British Armed service during the Initial World Conflict were Sir John French (1915) and Sir Douglas Haig (! 915 onwards). French was seen as an overall bad head to the M. E. Farrenheit. Seen in this sort of examples since the Initial Battle of Ypres (1914).

The Uk and German troops co-incidentally met for Ypres, both equally with the intentions of out-flanking the level of resistance. However the British army are not only significantly less in quantities, but terribly led by French – who was described as ‘jumping by bursts of maximum confidence to gloom’. So therefore, the Uk suffered wonderful losses, with new troops being registered in day after day – more casualties contributing to the list.

As well in 1915, French taking place an assault at an area called Evenement Chapelle within the 10th Mar. The United kingdom had no shells, therefore there was simply no preliminary bombardment – therefore the attack for the Germans was obviously a complete amaze and primarily a success. On the other hand French continuing to fail from here as the British hesitated to load the gap they had produced in the The german language lines in a wait for re-inforcements: by which period the Germans had loaded the gap.

A useless battle which will lasted just three days. Other alleged battles like these took place whilst Joffre was adamant on ‘one more attack’. This triggered 50, 500 French getting lost in February (advancing only 500 yards) in Champagne. 62, 000 had been lost at St Mihiel, and one hundred twenty, 000 had been lost in May near Aval.

The Uk tried new offensives in Festubert and Aubers Ridge, which simply resulted in a larger scale of casualties. Certainly this is facts enough to exhibit that the Officers were not producing the right decisions on either part of the Of that ilk armies, that is certainly was basically causing even more men to die: actually at this early on stage with the war. The next action that Sir John French had taken proved setting an example to all or any Generals and officers throughout the war: United kingdom generals who have prolonged the slaughter held their articles and won promotions, Whereas those who protested to the decisions were at risk to dismissal. This kind of warning was performed during the attack at Ypres, where the Germans used the new weapon if poison gas on the Uk.

French reacted by insisting on counter-attacks, but simply proved to increases the injury list. When the army leader, General Smith-Dorrien argued against French’s decision, he was speedily dismissed. However , the General in whose decisions built most affect on the warfare was that of Douglas Haig, who for the majority of the battle was the British Commander-in-chief.

Various people rebuked, and still perform criticise him for how he went the army. Many believe that Haig was too remote from the soldiers, and that he had no understanding of their comes from the ditches. As he did not visit these people even once – one of many worst scenarios being throughout the Battle with the Somme, (source L): in which he dined 40 miles aside in a secure chateau. And remained uninformed to the horrors he was sending his men into.

Haig also did not communicate very well with the various other generals. We were holding afraid of him, and so they under no circumstances conversed regarding the war, and so a large number of views had been never advised or fixed. Such as seen in Haig (eg: during the Somme) where his tendency to monitor the missions, however not correct officers who were doing a negative job, expense the lives of many more men. The Battle from the Somme is also a topic wherever Haig could be criticised strongly. The ideas given by Foch and Haig (sources G-H) which were used in the battle plan for the Somme had been highly incorrect and unrealistic.

It was the large underestimation of the machine gun that price so many lives. Haig and Foch presumed that ‘grit and determination’ could conquer the firepower and death of the equipment gun. There is also huge speculation more than how the bombardment would be successful.

There was a whole lot assumption that the barbed wire would be lower, and that (as Haig quoted) not “even a rat” would be left alive. It is come to be obvious in evaluation from the events of the battle that no programs for basic safety were made (source M). Only the one possibility of success was thought of, which usually again turned out fatal for the United kingdom soldiers because they were ploughed down by the German machine guns, because they marched unshielded, at risk across no-mans land: the Germans had nearly all made it in the solid fortifications of their underground bunkers.

A number of problems can be chosen from the plan for the battle of the Somme. Source K suggests that ‘any Tommy’ would have known the concept of cutting the barbed cable would not have worked. This does not give good evidence for the Generals. There were two aspires set to visibly achieve inside the Somme.

These were to get rid of as many Germans as possible, and also to destroy the barbed line fortifying the German ditches. The artillery did not be successful to do their jobs very well, and therefore these two aims failed. The The german language bunkers were deep, and there was not really enough cannon.

The area decided to attack about was also too wide-spread, and had very little effect on the German ditches. Haig having criticised French strongly for some of his offensives during his amount of time in command, once in command himself started to think that they will could operate. He had a favourite strategical program which was to attack Flanders and then ‘roll up’ the Germans from your North. It was his first idea intended for the Somme. However , Joffre did not like this idea and in turn pointed out the Somme as being a point, (which tactically will turn out to be better for the Germans) yet Haig did not defend his own idea.

It absolutely was a very lost plan, acquiring 57, 1000 casualties for the first day alone. A horrific physique. But yet Haig pressed about, and the Struggle waged intended for 4½ months.

Many are unable to understand why Haig chose to try this, and believe that it was a great act strictly resulting in legal neglegance. Different Battles where Haig is remembered to be an unsuccessful leader is within that of the 3rd battle of Ypres – Passchendaele. Passchendaele was at a similar time to the Somme together similar results as well.

Which emphasised Haig’s failure to learn by his faults. A more powerful point against him like a bad standard. Haig released the Battle with an target on the German-occupied ports on the Belgian coastline. It gone ahead for the 7th June 1917, and on its initially day cost 24, 000 guys.

The main assault was about low surface, over water sources. Shelling had churned the clay-based soil and smashed the drainage devices beneath. So that it is the most severe scenario to get a battle feasible – with men, their horses and pack mules simply drowning in the dirt. All the covering holes submitted with water, and the just other solid objects in the desolation had been the German born strong items – exactly where they operated their machine guns to scyth over the attackers. In spite of all this, Haig let the struggle continue – where it eventually resulted in November of this year.

That which was supposed to be a “thrusting break through” got turned into a battle of attrition. The British got made a total advance of just five miles – at the expense of ¼ , 000, 000 casualties! The only consolation the British generals took using this battle is that the Germans had also suffered grievously. The question which remains unanswered to many is the reason why Haig let a struggle, fought in such horrible conditions, to stay; especially for such a high price and quantity of casualties, where there was the Somme also to demonstrate the error of battles like these.

Lloyd George (Prime minister) as well asked the opinion of the two out-of-work generals – French and Wilson, whom both opposed Haig’s decision to keep the battle going; in the thought that the ‘Germans will collapse’. Haig moved his army deeper in a battle, that lots of called the Slough of Despond. Reflected in poems such as regarding Siegfried Sassoon’s – “I died in hell – They named it Passchendaele. ” Yet , contrary to this kind of evidence which the WW1 generals were every ‘donkeys’ there is evidence to prove otherwise. The myth of popular belief that all the generals had been uncaring, and reamained separated from their troops at the frontline can be disagreed with.

Less widely known is the fact that that 80 British and Dominion representatives of the ranking Brigadier Standard or previously mentioned died on active duty in WW1. And there was an overall total of one other 146 wounded. These characters provide proof, that contrary to public opinion, generals frequently went close enough towards the battle front to place themselves in significant danger.

There were also pressure applied on the generals due to politicians. At the outset of the conflict, to keep the British general public happy the politicians were promising the war would ‘be more than by Christmas’ and that it will only be a ‘quick war’. This put tremendous pressure on the generals who believed they had to comply to promises that had been being made. However it is extremely hard to secure how much time a conflict will last intended for, and what military strategies at this kind of early stage in the war would end the whole thing! In 1917, when ever Lloyd George became Priminister, he put the British army within the control of the French.

So therefore the British armed service had to stick to the French programs, and not their own, due to the interferance of politicians; who had not any military expertise. And once again, politicians interupted with armed service plans, including Joffre requiring in 1916 that a challenge plan Haig had invented should be fought against at the Somme. A place which will worked out tactically due to the geography of the site, to be in the advantage of the Enemy troops!

It therefore like a location that Haig would have never picked himself. Authorities also pushed on that during the Initial World War the officers were planning to the past; which has been not entirely true. These people were interested in new technology, as in 1916 having developed the reservoir, and being the very first army to use them in warfare, by simply introducing them at the Somme. Anyone who wants to criticise the generals of WW1 can immediately make reference to battles including the Somme or Passchendaele – the most horrific, and where British experienced most damage.

Despite the fact the British suffered great casualties in the Somme, there were decent aims at the rear of the battle (source F). And contradicting sources including K (suggesting that the program failed, and it had always been doubted) Resource O shows that the strike was well planned and this soldiers felt confident and thoroughly informed.

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