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Flashcards in The Western Front Deck (31):

What was the Western front of fighting?

The fighting that took place on the French and Belgian border between German and French/British troops.


Why were the tactics of Trench Warfare used on the Western Front?

Armies were strong and it would take a long side for any side to break the other down.


What were the fire trenches?

The fighting positions.


What were communication trenches?

Trenches that connected the frontline trenches to the support and reserve trenches.


Why were trenches dug in an angular formation and not straight lines?

The design meant a bomb or an enemy entering a section of the trench would affect only that section, not the whole trench line.


What was the typical depth of a trench?



Why did trenches sometimes have to be built up above ground?

Water could easily leak in in some places more easily than others.


How big was the British army at the start of WW1?

150,000 men (by contrast , Germany had 900,000 men).


What was Lord Kitchener able to persuade the government to do once it became clear WW1 would be fought using trench warfare?

Expand the army to 500,000 men.


How close did the British government get to meeting the target of expanding the army to 500,000 men?

The target was smashed. By the end of 1915, 2,466,719 men had volunteered to join the “new armies” known as “Kitchener’s Armies”.


What were the quality of the new recruits?

i.Some were very good.
ii.Some were younger than they should have been (at least 18).
iii.Some passed a medical examination when they really should have failed it.


What was the Military Service Act (law) of 1916?

It introduced conscription (forced service) in Britain.


What were conscientious objectors?

Men who who refused conscription on moral or ethical grounds (they disagreed with the war).


What jobs did soldiers in the Army Service Corps have?

Non-combat. He either worked in a factory close to the French coast or had to travel to the frontline avoiding the heavy German guns to deliver supplies or bring back wounded soldiers.


What jobs did soldiers in the Army Ordnance Corps have?

Non-combat. They had to deal with supply and storage of weaponry. They had to provide maintenance both behind and in front of the frontline. They were often in harm’s way.


What jobs did soldiers in the Royal Artillery Gunners have?

They had to operate mortars that would fire heavy shells from the very back of the trench formation.


What jobs did Signallers have?

They had to lay field telephone cables across shell-ploughed battlefields.


What jobs did the infantry have?

They had to try and secure the enemy’s trenches.


What were the jobs of Special Companies?

To conduct poison gas attacks.


What jobs did sappers have?

To tunnel out into no-man’s land and plant mines.


What was the jobs of the RAMC?

They were medical workers within the army.


What was the job of the FANY?

They were nurses. At first, the British would not let them tend to soldiers but gradually they took over jobs such as driving ambulances.


What would heavy rain turn a trench into?

A mud pit.


What were the main illnesses soldiers contracted?

Trench foot, trench fever and shellshock.


What were the main injuries soldiers suffered?

Shrapnel wounds that would lead to infections, blindness caused by gas attacks, gangrene infections caused by the fertiliser in the ground.


When did poison gas attacks become a threat?

Chlorine gas was first used in 1915, Phosgene at the end of 1915 and Mustard Gas in 1917.


What happened to the quality of helmets between 1914 and 1918?

Brodie Helmets were introduced in 1915, before that men only wore flat caps.


What happened to the quality of gas masks between 1914 and 1918?

At first they were just cotton wool pads, but they became more sophisticated as time went on.


How were injured soldiers evacuated from the frontline?

Aid posts were close to the front line, more serious injuries were taken to casualty clearing stations further away and specialist doctors were based at Base Hospitals near the coast of France and far away from the fighting.


What were the estimated casualties from the Battle of the Somme in 1916?

Over a million on all sides.


What were the estimated casualties from the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917?

487.000 on all sides.