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How new technology affected war on the Western Front

            New technology had a significant impact on how the war was fought on the western front. Technological innovation was relatively slow to occur on the Western Front. Armies and their commanders were too used to outdated, pre-war doctrines, and when change did occur, the attack was generally still inferior to the defence. Only the allies managed to introduce a weapon: as shown in source A- the tank- which was first used by the British against the Germans at the battle of the Somme on 15 September 1916. Haig had great doubts about its capability while Kitchener, described it as a pretty neat toy. Initially tanks had several mechanical problems and broke down regularly. They were also hell to work in. Tank crews reported that conditions were hot, claustrophobic and incredibly noisy. The tank was able to break through the dead lock. Even then, it took more than two years for it to be used effectively enough to consistently penetrate through German lines of defence; Tanks broke the stalemate of trench ware fare in 1918 and resorted to the war of movement. Source A, is a photograph of a British Mark IV tank smashing through barbed wire. The photograph shows how powerful and destructive the tank is as it penetrates a path through the barbed wire. Source A, features another common type of weapon: barbed wire which provided barriers to the trenches. Therefore technological innovations were crucial to either side if they were to win the war.
             Source A (ii), is a table, a secondary source showing the statistics of AIF (Australian Imperial Force) casualties caused by different weapons, between April 1916- March 1919. This source shows the most destructive weapon which caused the greatest battle casualties among the AIF, it was shell fragments and shrapnel pellets which killed 72 513 (50.93%). This type of artillery was fired from upgraded versions of cannons, they were used to soften up enemy trenches and attack heavily fortified positions.

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