Reasons for the stalemate on the Western Front

The main reasons for stalemate on the western frount were new defensive wepons and trench warfare, Geography, Bad comunications and the failure of the schliefen plan and the abandonment of plan 17.

Defensive wepons and trench systems prevented the victory of either side. The main wepons used in World War One were artilery and machine guns which were boths brilliant defensive wepons but bad offensivly. The machine gun could rapidly fire bullets and kill many attackingenemies in a short amount of time, which made it much harder to launch an offensive. They were also able to fire very long distances which ment that trenches were further apart and the distance that soldiers had to run through no-mans-land was greater causing greater casualties. Artilery was also able to kill a large amount of troops quickly but it wasn't acurate and therfore was unable to attack trench systems with any great precision. Trench systems also prevented the killing of defensive batallions. Whithout acurate weponry the people in trenches could only be picked off. they were also in a great position to shoot at atackers without being fired at in retern. Further precautinary measures were taken including at least 30m of barbed wireing which slowed down men in no-mans-land giving extra fireing time to the defenders.

The geography of the western frount also made it dificult to successfully atack the oposing side. Towards the end of 191 the western frount began to develop. This involved the 'race to the sea' in which each side tried to outflank the other to gain an offensive advantage. Neither side could put flank the other and this prevented all further outflanking manouvers and ment each side must go over the other to break stalemate. The germans also used used geography to advantage in some areas by retreating to the mountains. This gave them a tactical advantage as there positions were harder to attack and they gained a greater fireing range.

Bad comunication prevented either side from takeing advantage of successful atacks and makeing further ground. the technolagy available did not alow for cominication between soldiers, and those in charge. This ment that if an attack was successful there was no way of giving further instrustions to the soldiers and the land gained was then often lost. it also ment if there was an unexpected advantage the troops could not be informed quickly and the advantage was lost.

The Schlieffen plan was the offensive plan by germany in wich they would devide their forces into several arms and encircle Paris and the north of Fance quickly obtaining the west. This plan failed for severel reasons which stalled germanies attack and forcing stalemate. This is mainly due to altercations to the plan which were put in place by Molke. These included reducing the hammer swing and increasing the hinge which put germany more on the defensive when what they needed was a quick victory. This involved makesing less 'arma' which made the attack easier to stop and reducing the invasion force. The plan also relied on France repeating old mistakes, continuing their attack while being invaded. The french comander of the time, Joffre, did not persure his attack however, p[ulling men back from his own plan, plan 17, and pouring them inbto defense of the North. Molke also decided not to pass through Netherlands as well as belguim so as tyo keep trade options open. This ment there atack on france was less wide spred and the belguims were able to defend more easilly as well. While germany expected the Schlieffen plan to pass straight through Belguim they were unable to and at one point were completely staled which aklowed france to take up a defensive position. Supply lines were also a problem for the attacking Germans. As the french retretted and the germans pursued they travelled away from there suppies which were unable to keep up. this ment they were staved and unable to advance at a fast rate. It was only because they attacked during the harvest that they travele as quickly as they did.



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