The war at sea and the western front

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The war at sea was more important than the Western Front

Vivyanne Soo 10A

Is the war at sea more important or was the war at the Western Front more important? To support or contradict this view, we need to considerate the importance of the following things: the U-boat threat to Britain, Britain's supply line, the British Blockade and the connections between the war at sea and the Western Front. In this essay, I'm going to write down the points that are for and against this view. In conclusion, I will give my own opinions and say why I had chosen to support, or to contradict this view.

There is a big connection between the war at sea and the Western Front. The reason why the war at sea had begun is because there was almost no progress on the Western Front. Both sides kept attacking each other and got massive injuries in their own army.

They want a breakthrough, so they tried to think of some other way to get their enemies, and they came up with the idea of war at sea.

The key objective of the war at sea, was to control the seas and stop supplies getting to the enemy. The British blockade of German ports which stopped supplies reaching Germany was one of the main factors that lead to the Allies' victory over Germany. The war at sea, was just as important as any military battle on land. It is very important because once you have taken control of the seas, you can stop your enemy from getting any sort of supplies, and they would soon run out of weapons, shells and all sorts of equipments. Most important of all, their enemies' resources of ration would be cut off, because supplies couldn't get to them. Not only the soldiers in the army but everyone in the country will have to suffer, to starve and die. This is the reason why both side because very cautious in the war at sea. There were some battles at sea. In August 1914, the Royal Navy won the battle in the North Sea at Heligoland, although the German navy managed to remain in its own ports. The other significant sea battle of the war is the battle at Jutland in 1916. The German sank 14 British ships and lost 11 themselves but never left their harbours again. German caused more damage than they received. Both sides claimed they won the battle. To give the British more damages and to cut off their resources supply, German started their U-boat campaign.

U-boats played a huge role in the war at sea. In the early stages of the war, German U-boats concentrated their attacks on Allied warships, but when later on, the Allies learned to protect their warships, the U-boats started attacking Allied merchant ships. In February 1915, the German began an unrestricted campaign where they would torpedo all Allied ships at anytime without warning. U-boats were a great threat to Britain, the British simply had no way to defend them. The German's aim was to stop all the supplies for Britain. They almost succeeded. By June 1917, British had lost 500,000 tons of shipping to the U-boats. At one point, it was estimated that London only had six weeks' supply of food remained. The U-boats campaign was finally called off when the British had built so many ships and the German simply did not have the resources to sustain the campaign. Also, the British blockade was a key factor in the defeat of Germany. The German army was weakened because they are starved of supplies. This led to German people lost their will to support the war. The war at sea was therefore arguably as decisive as the war on land.

Britain's naval blockade has great effect on Germany. During 1914-18, there were 300,000 deaths related to malnutrition among civilian population. In 1916, the adult meat ration for one week was the equivalent of two burgers in a modern fast-food restaurant. In Germany, the government was forced to slaughter one-third of all pigs in 1915 because the naval blockade had cut off imports of fodder to feed them. The blockade also cut off the supplies of nitrates to Germany which is vital for explosives for the army and fertilizers for the farmer. As this point, Britain seems to be winning the war. Also, new tactics were invented during the war at sea, Q-ships, mines, depth charges, convoys and long-range aircraft. If it weren't for the war at sea, these new tactics wouldn't be invented or developed to defend merchant ships against submarine.

On the Western Front, the sound of bombardment could be heard all the time, and the soldiers were being showered with bullets and shells. Blood everywhere, corpses lying around, tension between the two armies. The Battle of Somme is one of the most significant events in the war. It was a massive massacre, the casualties were horrifying. It was known as the bloodiest battle in history and it started on July 1st, 1916, with a British attack. It involved British, French and German army. The key objectives were to kill as many Germans soldiers as possible - war of attrition, to draw the German away from Verdun and to gain territories. General Haig and his deputy General Rawlinson thought this plan was going to work out perfectly. They expected the huge artillery bombardment to destroy the German's barbed wire, trenched and dug-outs, so that the British soldiers would be able to walk across no man's land with heavy packs on their backs, containing ration, weapons and trench repairing equipments so that they could rebuild and defend the German trenches, to stop them from retaking their lost territories. They have overestimated the power of their artilleries and they have underestimated the experienced and skilled German soldiers. The German had ten feet deep dugouts with concrete so the soldiers remained alive. The barbed wire were only lifted and then turned into greater mess after being bombarded. Most of the artillery shells were of bad quality so they failed to go off. The result of this gruesome slaughter is that the British had lost around 420,000 men, the French around 200,000 and the German 500,000. The British managed to kill most of German's most well-trained soldiers during this battle, which is one of the reasons for Allies' victory in 1918. The Battle of Somme is a victory with terrible consequences to Britain, since all the objectives were achieved.

The war at sea and the Western Front were both crucial. The war at sea strongly affected the supplies for both sides. It is a cautious war because if any of them took a wrong step, the whole country would be in danger, it was related to the citizens. The Western Front had caused massive casualties, although it was a brutal battle with terrible cost, but the British still managed to achieve most of its objectives. The German even lost more men than they did.

To conclude, I think the war at sea is more important than the Western Front, because it's a matter of life and death as the supplies could be cut off at anytime for both sides. The soldiers, not only had to worry about their own death, they also had to think about their country. Everyone's lives were depending on the army, unlike the Western Front, where new soldiers could be trained in the country as soldiers got killed on the frontline. Also, compare to the Western Front, there were less casualties but more progress in the war at sea. More new successful tactics were being invented and developed.