Cambrai 1917: The birth of armoured warfare (Campaign) by Alexander Turner

By Alexander Turner

This important new examine of 1 of the seminal occasions in army historical past dispells some of the myths surrounding Cambrai 1917. universal conception classifies it because the "world's first tank conflict" yet Alexander Turner indicates us that the true value of Cambrai was once that it observed the 1st use of armor as an operational surprise tactic. With the pre-eminence of armor, the behavior of battle used to be irrevocably replaced. The conflict additionally heralded the mixed use of plane, armor, and artillery, marking the start of recent combined-arms options. Written via an army historian and serving soldier, this can be a interesting research of a conflict which used to be a stalemate, but spawned a number of war-winning strategies.

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Dispositions were made easier because there was no requirement for flash-proof cover - by the time the guns opened up, it would be too late for German counter-battery effort. Ammunition logistics was also facilitated because daily expenditures in the weeks before Operation GYwere normal. 6 However, without the usual gradual intensification of 6 An absence of harassing fire would have aroused nearly as much suspicion as concerted bombardment. 29 ·30 effort, all the tasks associated with a preparatory bombardment (less wire crushing) would have to be achieved in a matter of hours rather than days and weeks.

Doctrine states clearly that 'in most cases it will not be advisable to allot more than one [assaulting] platoon to each tank'. I I I I I I " ~xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx lX \ , 1\ , t 100m ~ I I I'I I ~ 2. The Advance Guard tank (1) creates a path through the wire and swings left to suppress the front trench. The Main Body tank (2) drops a fascine and also swings left to support its Trench Cleaners (A) as they assault the objective. It then loops round to suppress the depth objective, support trench.

They agreed to keep pressing without any alteration to the plan. Attempts were made to rebalance tank allocations. II Brigade (remnants of A, Band H Battalions) switched over to IV Corps. Z-Hour for III Corps around Masnieres was 1100hrs. IV Corps would resume advance at 1000hrs, preceded by a preliminary dawn attack to secure Flesquieres. This looked elegant on map boards but execution was going to be problematic. Operations orders needed to cascade down to attacking battalions that were occupying forward positions.

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