By Egon Friedell
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Additional info for A CULTURAL HISTORY OF THE MODERN AGE : THE CRISIS OF THE EUROPEAN SOUL FROM THE BLACK DEATH TO THE WORLD WAR (VOLUME I ONLY)
The Western Front in 1914 Almost from the start of the fighting, pre-war ideas stressing mobility and direct fire for artillery were shattered. The battle of Le Cateau (26 August 1914) is a marvelous case study: two British divisions were engaged defending a ridge. 5 The guns in direct fire effectively engaged the Germans, but were themselves easily targeted, with the result that 27 (35%) were lost. None of the guns behind the ridge were lost 3 See S. Marble, British Artillery on the Western Front, chapter 2.
Introduction II 29 Projectiles The vast majority of the projectiles built for use with artillery pieces were of two basic types. The first was a simple shell filled with an explosive of some sort. The second was shrapnel, a more complicated device designed to open in flight, thereby showering its target with a hail of bullets. In addition to these, there were specialized projectiles of various sorts, to include incendiary shells, armor piercing shells, and canister. As a rule, however, these specialized projectiles were designed for use with artillery pieces operated by siege, fortress, and coastal defense units.
12 Several other campaigns began in 1914, mainly small invasions of German colonies in Africa. None would have substantial effects on the artillery. The Western Front in 1915 Adapting to trench warfare dominated the year, with a mindset of looking for a solution to the new problem that would ‘solve’ it and restore mobile warfare. Artillery’s role would be to break the enemy’s defenses, and the infantry and cavalry would then break through. There was thus a focus on the defenses (trenches and barbed wire) with less attention paid to the defenders, although that would change over time.
A CULTURAL HISTORY OF THE MODERN AGE : THE CRISIS OF THE EUROPEAN SOUL FROM THE BLACK DEATH TO THE WORLD WAR (VOLUME I ONLY) by Egon Friedell