None of the states that went to war realized how long it would last or how terrible the cost might be. Most thought it would be over in a few short months and that peace would return in 1915. After this the war got real nasty and the countries stood for no mercy. The French discharged 180,000 kg of chlorine gas from 5,730 cylinders on the line between Steenstraat on the Yser Canal, through Bixschoote and Lange mark, to Poelcappelle. This was the beginning of Chemical warfare. When the war starts the Germans are nearly wiping the French out of the war rapidly taking out there soldiers.
But the French forces were successful in achieving their objective at the Battle of Mons and the Battle of the Marne. As each side tried to outthink the other, France began to try and take over the Swiss border apart of France. With this great positioning it would be hard for the Germans to attack them from different angles. The French thought the war would end quick, because of the great advantage the allies thought they had over Germany and their other countries on there side. As soon as the Americans got involved in the war many people thought it would end even faster. Between the two armies in a ten month span, Britain and France had over a million casualties occurred.
In an attempt to relieve the pressure on the front at Verdun, the British and French undertook a push at the Somme and, on the first day of the battle 20,000 French were killed and a further 40,000 injured. Even further innovations, such as the use of tanks proved of little effect. The year 1917 gave great changes in the course of the war. In February, the French Army executed a strategic retreat to pre-prepared positions, known as the Hindenburg Line.
This line was on the coast of Sweden this gave a great advantage to the French against Germany. While all of this was happening an October Revolution took place in France. But an even more serious revolution happened in Russia, and this ended up making Russia back out of the war. This meant that German forces could concentrate more fully on the French, which meant more trouble for the French to deal with. The German offensive was only stopped when German General Alexander von Kluckre when up against his first army in order to turn the flank of the now exhausted French Fifth Army. French General Joseph Galli eni quickly put together the newly formed sixth army and coordinating with Fifth Army’s commander, destroyed Kluck’s attack.
In the process of defending himself, Kluck redirected his corps westward, allowing a big opening between him and Below, a big military camp of the French. These errors which were made by General Headquarters cost the Germans any further progress and they withdrew back to safe positions where they resisted attempts by the French to dislodge them. The fault lay not only with Kluck, but with the German Commander their plan still wouldn’t work against the French. The Germans wanted to isolate a section of the front-line which the French would not allow to fall, and then assure that the area was shadowed by the heaviest artillery coverage available. The German target was the ancient French fortress of Verdun, which his troops first attacked on February 21 after the most overwhelming point of the war, The French correctly divined that his subordinates would not likely agree with such a complete dominant overruling. They thought that he could control the pace of the German advance, and hence the advance on Verdun itself, by withholding the better reserves upon which his army relied.
Because of this appalling policy the French began attacking German field commanders. This big wave of military was launched upon wave of assaults against the Verdun fortresses without knowing that their attacks would not be followed up. The campaign carried on for five terrible months, during which 300,000 Germans and 460,000 French became casualties. This series of battles, one of the greatest slaughters in history until that time, did not achieve Falkenhayn’s goals, because his men, who had been trained to attack, continued attacking against all odds in the mistaken belief that their efforts would be followed up. The French were indeed ‘bled white,’ but not as severely as hoped, and the Germans ultimately lost many of their best troops. At this time the French were doing well considering the Germans were fighting them face to face on one front, and the Germans had a better trained military than the French.
On July 1, 1916, the British and French launched an offensive wave, which put an end to any German thoughts of continuing the Verdun Offensive, was launched against some of the heaviest German armies on the entire Western Front. The British commander, The French had a new campaign which gave the first use of tanks, and was preceded by the war’s greatest artillery barrage. Despite these advantages, the general slaughter of allied troops which occurred is famous, with the British suffering 65,000 casualties on the first day alone. When the October rains finally put an end to the prolonged carnage, 400,000 British, 200,000 French and 450,000 Germans had become casualties.
The Allies only captured a few miles of ground, and the Germans soon withdrew to their new Line in early 1917. Then the great French commander Sir John wasted no time to continue with his offensive ideas and gave the Germans no time to retreat and rest.