“Lions led by donkeys” How valid is this interpretation of the conduct of British soldiers and generals on the western front, 1914-18? Free essay! Download now
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“Lions led by donkeys” How valid is this interpretation of the conduct of British soldiers and generals on the western front, 1914-18?
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| Words: 650 | Submitted: 06-Jun-2010
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Description“Lions led by donkeys” How valid is this interpretation of the conduct of British soldiers and generals on the western front, 1914-18?
The soldier’s on the front line faced many challenges in the war such as, Hunger and exhaustion.
The weapons used in the trenches were machine guns; they took 4-6 men to make it work and it had to be on a flat surface, they had the firepower of 100 guns. The German armies were the first to use chlorine gas in the war. Chlorine gas caused a burning sensation in the throat along with chest pains, in the end they would have suffocated. Mustard gas was the most deadly gas used. It was fired into the trenches by shells and would cause blistering skin, vomiting, sore eyes and then internal and external bleeding. Death could take up to 5 weeks.
Many people had criticised the leadership of the British generals and in particular, that of the Commander in Chief, Sir Douglas Haig.
Some people hold the view that the British soldiers of the First World War were “Lions Led by Donkeys”.
This next paragraph below is a description about a typical battle on the western front by a war hero names Captain A. O. Pollard, He won the Victoria Cross.
Both sides conducted their battles on similar lines. Artillery blazed away at the enemy’s barbed wire and trenches for weeks on end. Then over the heavy, blown up ground, we stumbled into attack. Usually we ran up against large patches of uncut wire. Many men were often mown down by machine-gun fire. The element of surprise was always missing. In order to collect the huge mass of guns and shells needed, railway lines were built to the back of the lines. Enemy aeroplanes and spies soon knew what was going on.
Even if we overcame those obstacles, we could not possibly advance more than 4,000 yards or so. We carried packs with three days’ rations and entrenching tools, 180 rounds of ammunition and grenades, each weighing 5 lbs (2.2 kg). Burdened like packhorses, we were expected to fight for our lives with the bayonet if we had to.
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