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Artillery Preparatory Bombardments


IrishGunner
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I would like to try something here... I've accepted a "deal" to write an article on the effectiveness of artillery preparatory bombardments in the First World War. There are a lot of technical and historical references. But I'd like to see if we can turn a thread into an article. I would like your thoughts. What do you think? What have you read? What anecdotes can you share from your own research - especially personal comments from individual diaries or commentary from unit histories?

Here's the thesis: "Given the amount of artillery ammunition expended on both sides of no-man’s land, was the use of artillery in preparatory bombardments really all that effective? At what point were artillery bombardments an advantage and in what ways did bombardments hinder an attack?"

And here's a little video to light the fuse... Get you thinking...

Edited by IrishGunner
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That's a book, not an article. Really depends how deeply you want to go into the subject and -- because it is apparently both sides of the proverbial hill -- you must have knowledge of German language to get at that army's preparatory bombardments and the evolution (or devolution, as it might well turn out to be) of their effectiveness 1914-18. I certainly wouldn't write it from British sources alone; they assume an entirely different doctrinal template from the outset and frequently and falsely frame assessments of the German army against that. Does sound a really interesting article, though.

Bests, and thanks for reading my maiden post.

Mac

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Mac, it indeed could be a book or two. And you are right about the differences between German and British employment. I might break it into two pieces because of the differences, as well as the natural evolution of the outline should take me to creeping barrages and Bruchmueller's work on the German side. Fortunately, I read German almost fluently; so, that's not a problem. If you have any German language references to recommend, that would be great!

Bruce Gudmundsson and David Zabecki also have a couple books that I believe will be useful.

And now that you've got that "maiden post" out of the way, keep rockin' on! :rock on: There's lots to comment upon across GMIC.

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  • 2 weeks later...

" Bruchmueller's work on the German side. Fortunately, I read German almost fluently; so, that's not a problem. If you have any German language references to recommend, that would be great!"

Bruchmuller is available in English translation and can be downloaded free, via the on-line Combined Arms Research Digital Library of military related papers from Leavenworth, West Point and elsewhere:

https://server16040.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p15040coll1&CISOPTR=629&CISOBOX=1&REC=1

There are many other papers and publications from the same site that are worth looking over.

Edited by Les
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I have not been able to find a source in English YET but it seems that the French, essentially invented the rolling barrage, not Sir Arthur Currie as we Canadians prefer to believe. I also understand - again, looking for detailed sources en anglais that they were able to take the majority of their objectives on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, advancing behind rolling barrages. If true, a significant datum.

Clearly, at Vimy, the barrage had an effect. One source I recently read suggests that the 15 minute trip from the German cooking areas to the forward positions had become a 6 hour trip by the end of the pre-assault barrage! Clearly, along with the effect on morale of lack of food, the supplies of ammo and reinforcements, and the evacuation of the wounded must have been similarly complicated by the shelling in the lead up to the Canadian assault.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My grasp of English may not be serviceable... :P

I was asking for your French resources for myself... :whistle: My French language ability is practically non-existent; I can only navigate a French bistro menu. So, I have to use an automated online translator. But I've found one that isn't too bad.

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