Friday, 9 November 2012
20th November 1917- 7th December 1917
Strategy: was a battle designed to break the stalemate on the Western Front.
Due to failed military action at Ypres a decisive breakthrough General Haig under advice from Commander Julian Byng decided to concentrate 476 tanks along a 10km Front. The tanks were supported by 2 Calvary divisions, 6 infantry divisions and 14 divisions of the Royal Air Corps.
The battle: The attack was preceded by any artillery bombardment which helped to ensure complete surprise. The combination of aircraft, mobile units and infantry support with extreme momentum and surprise pierced the Hindenburg Line and the trenchers surrounding it. The attack managed to push the Germans to within 6km of Cambrai. The German Commander in Chief Erich Ludendorff considered a general retreat from the Cambrai area however reinforcements came just in time to save Germans from losing Cambrai.
The German "Hutier infiltration" (spontaneous and heavy bombardment to isolate weak point and to cut off reinforcements. Then fast and manoeuvrable troops attack the weakened points whilst heavier units assault the strong points.) successfully pushed the British back. The ignorance of the British to properly support their advancing forces led to them ultimately being pushed back to near, pre-battle lines.
The failure of the British to support their troops with reserves of men, whilst they still had the element of surprise led