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Here is the next What if/Could it? thread, and in honor of the Centennial of the start of WWI, this one is WWI themed.
Although this war was fought globally and in many types of terrain, the Western Front in France and Belgium has become the icon of this war, particularly the high attrition battles such as Passchendaele, the Four Ypres, and of course The Somme and Verdun.
The First Day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916 has become one of the iconic moments of this war, when over 57,000 British Soldiers became casualties after climbing 'over the top' and into German machine gun fire after a mostly ineffective week long artillery barrage.
Today, when most people think of WWI, they think of that, helpless infantrymen being ordered out of their trenches to certain death.
In 1916, the Tank was the first major breakthrough in countering this problem, but the war had already gone on for two years when it was introduced.
So the question I put forth this time is:
"In the First World War battles of attrition, between late 1914 and 1916, could the opposing armies have done a more effective job in their offensive tactics? Particularly with major reductions in casualty rates?"
Basically this is to factor out the advances made by 1917, just looking at the situation at the latest of the end of the Battle of Verdun in December 1916. The tank had not been fully deployed yet so it can easily be factored out.
Could the high casualty rates have been avoided while still being able to conduct some form of offensive operations (as in not just sitting in the trenches and not attacking)?
"we have officially entered into pre-whinning about our games."- Cogre
I will always respect differing opinions on here, so long as they are presented maturely and in a civil manner
"No Battleplan ever survives contact with the enemy"- Helmuth Von Moltke the Elder