A shortage of heavy weapons handicapped the British. Only their 60-pounders (four guns to a division) were powerful enough to shell enemy gun emplacements from the Aisne's south shore, and these guns were inferior to German artillery in calibre, range and numbers. Four artillery battery of 6-inch (150 mm) guns (a total of sixteen), were rushed from England. Although a poor match against the German 8-inch (200 mm) howitzers, they helped somewhat. Defensive firepower was limited to rifles and two machine guns allotted to each battalion. The British regulars were excellent marksmen but even their combined accuracy was no match for the German machine guns and grenades.
British aircraft were used to report troop movements, although few were equipped with wireless. Aviators were able to recognise the advantage of observing artillery fire. On 24 September, Lieutenants B.T. James and D.S. Lewis detected three well-concealed enemy gun batteries that were inflicting considerable damage on British positions. They radioed back the location of the batteries, then droned in a wide circle, waiting to spot their own gunners' exploding shells. Anti-aircraft fire was desultory and inaccurate. The German Army used only percussion shells, which, according to Canadian sources, "not one in several hundred ever hit its aerial target, and fell to earth frequently at some point in the British lines and there burst." For a three-week period following the unexpected development of trench warfare, both sides gave up frontal assaults and began trying to envelop each other's northern flank. The period is called "Race to the Sea". As the Germans aimed for the Allied left flank, the Allies sought the German right wing.
The western front thus became a continuous trench system of more than 400 miles (640 km). From the Belgian channel town of Nieuwpoort, the trench lines ran southward for many miles, turning southeast at Noyon, continuing past Reims, Verdun, Saint-Mihiel and Nancy; then cutting south again to the northern Swiss border twenty miles (32 km) east of Belfort.
Meanwhile, the Belgian Army became a growing threat to German communications as the battle shifted northward. The Germans made plans on 28 September to capture the port of Antwerp and crush the Belgian forces. This important maritime city was encircled by an obsolete fortress system that could not withstand even 6-inch shells. An outer ring of eighteen forts ranged from seven to nine miles from the city, an inner ring from one to two miles. Each fort had two machine guns, but lacked telephone communications and means for observing gunfire. One 6-inch gun poked out at each mile; none of these forts had high explosive projectiles or smokeless gunpowder and several thousand surrounding acres had been cleared to provide unobstructed fields of fire.

投稿日時 - 2019-06-01 15:20:02




>A shortage of heavy weapons ~ German machine guns and grenades.

>British aircraft were used ~ fire was desultory and inaccurate.

>The German Army used ~ sought the German right wing.

>The western front thus ~ twenty miles (32 km) east of Belfort.

>Meanwhile, the Belgian Army ~ unobstructed fields of fire.

投稿日時 - 2019-06-05 22:31:31



投稿日時 - 2019-06-06 18:43:35