Take the 2-minute tour ×
History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

If the Human Wave Attack wave tactic is in all the lights, a invitation to a carnage, why was it so largely used in battles in WWI? Weren't other tactical options available at the time that could have been used ?

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by DVK, Mark C. Wallace, American Luke, Steven Drennon Jan 29 '13 at 23:26

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2  
I suspect that any reference to "tactical options" requires that you make your question more specific. Each tactical situation requires evaluation of different factors to decide how to attack. –  Mark C. Wallace Jan 29 '13 at 15:42
1  
Welcome to SE. I'm refocusing your question to be specific to WWI, as I think that makes it a much better question. If that really isn't what you want, feel free to open it back up some (although that may risk more close votes). –  T.E.D. Jan 29 '13 at 16:46
1  
Preliminary Bombardment, Chlorine Gas, Flame-Throwers, Creeping barrage, Tanks, Tunnelling Mines and Infiltration. There was a lot of tactical development in the ww1 and the premise of the question is a little unfair. –  Nathan Cooper Jan 29 '13 at 21:42
add comment

1 Answer 1

up vote 10 down vote accepted

WWI was a pivotal time in military tactics due to the number of technological advances in warfare that had been relatively unused until that point in time. Machine guns had developed to a point that isn't much different from modern designs; field artillery had gotten a lot bigger, was capable of indirect fire, and had many different munition options; chemical weapons were available; airplanes were starting to become a valuable asset; and mainline infantry was now outfitted with very powerful and accurate repeating rifles. This combined to create a killing power that had previously been unimaginable.

Before this period massive charges were effective because it was possible to close on an enemy with a large force before the enemy could decimate it, allowing you to break their line and limit the effectiveness of their heavy weaponry. It was used so much, because that was the strategy taught to officers at the time, because that is what had historically worked for large armies. Other strategies had largely yet to be implemented, or were similarly useless against new technology.

There actually was a surprising amount of new strategies developed in WWI, some genius others less so. There was a lot of catch-up being played by officers on all sides to devise new strategies for the modern era.

share|improve this answer
1  
Another important technological breakthrough for WWI was the communication technology. The telephone enabled higher-ups to communicate with and command the field officers directly, while being physically distant from the action. It enabled insistence on the "tried and true" approaches in a changed world. –  SWeko Jan 30 '13 at 8:13
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.