Was Allied Leadership Effective?
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World war one started in 1914 when the prince of Austria-Hungary was assassinated, supposedly by the Serbians, This led to Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia and causing all of the allying countries to join in, such as Russia, Britain, France and Germany. The ally between the Germans and the Austria-Hungarians was called the Axis while the ally between Russia, Britain, and France was called the Allied Leadership. Many historians believe that the Allied leadership was very effective, such as Gary Sheffield in his article “Lions led by Donkeys?” while many other historians believe that Allied Leadership was ineffective, such as Geoffrey Norman in his article “The Worst General”. The purpose of this essay is to discuss the effectiveness of the Allied Leadership. Allied Leadership was very effective because of three main reasons. There reasons are because of the effective use of technology, the creation of great tactics and the open-minded generals that were in the Allied Leadership.
Allied Leadership was effective during the First World War because of their great use of technology. The Allies applied both advances and standard technology in their defences, offences and their airborne methods. Many defences that the Allies used were first to use barbed wire to slow down the on-coming enemy and to have tranches so that it would be more difficult for the opponents to target them. Since the barbed wire would have slowed down the Germans and the Austria-Hungarians, the use of the machine gun was crucial to gun down the advancers before they could reach their destination. The use of mortars was also very effective to bombard the enemy’s trenches and to minimize their troop capacity. The Allies used multiple offences during their offences. Many defensive weapons could also be used to attack such as the trenches to provide shelter, the mortars to bomb the opponents’ trenches and machine guns to provide cover for the offensive troops.
The Mark 1 tank was in effect after the battle of the Somme because it provided great coverage for the advancing troops and it acted as a mobile mortar, which was protected. Another offensive weapon used was the poisonous gas. The gases were used at a time when the wind was blowing towards the enemy so that the opponents would die of poison gas. A final aspect that the Allies used very effectively was the plane. The planes were used near the beginning only for scouting missions and to locate where the enemy troops were placed. As the war progressed, the planes became fighter planes so that they could stop the enemy from scouting and eventually became bombers so that the enemy would have fewer troops during the on-land battles. Although many historians believe that Haig did not use the technology very effectively, many of the other commanders, such as commander Currie, effectively used the technology to their advantage. Evidently, Allied Leadership was very effective throughout the war, based on their constant use of technology.
The Allied Leadership was also very effective because of the great use of tactics. Some of these tactics included the Air support, diversions, and the Night raids. The planes served in many different ways during the war. At the beginning, Currie along with other commanders, used reconnaissance planes. Reconnaissance planes means that the planes were used as spy planes. These planes typically carried the pilot and a photographer. The planes were later developed so that the pilot would also carry a machine gun. This was added to stop the enemy from spying. Since the machine guns would hit the propeller of the plane, a synchronization gear was created so that the machine dun would not shoot when the propeller was in front of it. The plane further developed into bombers where the plane would become able to drop bombs on the enemy. This was used to bomb down spy planes, spy on the enemy, and to weaken the oncoming enemy.
Most of these bombing attacks were used during the night so that the enemy would have a difficult time shooting down the planes. Many diversions were used in the war so that the enemy would become less fortified in a particular area or to convey troops to a different place. Two main diversions happened during the war were used by different commanders. Haig served as a diversion when the French city of Verdun was about to be attacked by the Germans. Since the Germans thought that Haig would attack at a different spot, the Germans moved many troops away from Verdun and towards Haig’s army. Commander Arthur Currie used the other important diversion. Currie has split his army into two, a much smaller group and a larger group.
Since he sent the smaller group north, the Germans were spying on the small group while Currie transported the much larger group through the woods and at night so that he could attack at the Canal Du Nord under secrecy. A final prominent tactic used in the war was the Night raid. These were used so that when the enemy least expected an attack, the Allies would raid them. This was used for both scouting missions and actual attacks. Although many historians believe that the Creeping Barrage tactic, used by Haig, was very ineffective, many of the other tactics, as stated above, were very effective. Therefore, the Allied leadership was very effective throughout World War 1.
The Allied Leadership had very effective and adaptable generals. These brilliant generals included Haig and Currie. Some important points that you can take out of this is the preparation, the capture of many important places, and their open-mindedness. A quote that was spoken by commander Currie in “Currie’s Biography” was “Thorough preparation must lead to success, Neglect nothing.” This shows us the dedication that Currie put into each battle, including complete layouts of each battlefield and practicing how each attack would go. This also shows that the Allied Leadership would prepare abundantly before any battle to ensure that they would win. The capture of important places was also very crucial. This role was very evident in the Canadian crops. The Canadian corps captured many important places such as Vimy Ridge, Ypres, and the penetration of the Hindenburg Line.
All of these victories contributed to the victory of the First World War. Arthur Currie was very open-minded and listened carefully to each of the other people’s tactics before deciding which was the best. This helped improve the tactics for Currie because he would be able to learn many different ways to capture a target and become a more intelligent general for the next battle. Even though many historians disagree and believe that Haig was stubborn and led his troops to their demise for no good reason, other generals in the Allied Leadership were very open-minded and cared for their troops.
Clearly, the Allies were a very effective leadership because of their meticulous generals. Most definitely, the Allied Leadership was very effective because of their good use of technology, the many great tactics that were used, and the brilliant generals that served in the war. The significance of the effectiveness Allied Leadership was that first of all, it ended the war very quickly. Secondly, this leadership is a prime example of how leadership should be, open-minded, careful, and adaptable. For example, leadership should be as open-minded as Arthur Currie because, if leadership were open-minded, many more opportunities would arise.