Question of the Week: 4/24/-4/30/17

In April 1917, the United States officially entered World War I.

What Civil War era tactics, innovations, and ideas were used during World War I – successfully or unsuccessfully?

8 Responses to Question of the Week: 4/24/-4/30/17

  1. Generals are supposed to study previous wars to learn about tactics and strategy. European generals studied the Civil War. Strange that they never learned that attacking entrenched positions, manned by troops with weapons of increased range and firepower, results in horrendous casualties.

    1. Good point Bill. It amazes me that offensive technology & firepower seemed to increase so dramatically without a corresponding increase in defensive tactics. Incredible from a technology standpoint but sad from the human standpoint due to losses you mention.

  2. The development of ironclads and of course, the submarine….also tunneling and the use of explosives to breach trench lines….the Crater….and the British attacks on the first day of the Somme battle in 1916.

  3. Industrial age mass production and railroads allowed the armies to be maintained in place, resulting in “battles” that could last months instead of days. Good bye Waterloo and hello Petersburg and Verdun. Were these innovations successful? More casualties for sure.

  4. Much of the problem in the European failure to learn lessons from the American Civil War was the Franco-Prussian War. Coming just over 5 years after the Civil War, the rapid decisiveness of the war convinced the Prussians (as well as the rest of Europe) that there was little to be learned from non-professional American mobs stumbling around for 4 indecisive years before exhausting the weaker side.

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