Learning Curve, The Great War
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Transcript: Source2
Extract from a British Army report on the military situation in France, July 1918
(Catalogue ref: WO 158/105)

To return to the question of the Western front recent events make it unnecessary to discuss Section A of your paper and appear here to have opened up a greatly improved prospect of victory. By victory is meant the defeat of the enemy's armed forces to a degree that will render them incapable of offering further effective resistance.

The two great factors that have caused this confidence to spring up are the arrival of the Americans and the changed tactical methods adopted this year.

It is not necessary to enlarge on the subject of the Americans, as there is no difference of opinion as regards the value of the American Army.

The changed tactical methods date from CAMBRAI and Von HUTIER'S RIGA attack. Many were sceptical of these methods succeeding on the Western front. We had become accustomed to trench warfare, costly attacks with limited objectives, and the prospect of a break through seemed remote. The new methods favour the attack and give a new and much more decisive character to the operations. Their effectiveness has now been demonstrated over and over again. And why? Because they are based on sound principles – concentration of superior force and its sudden and violent application by surprise. Moreover the means of attack have been perfected to a degree that enables them to overcome those means of defence that formerly proved so formidable, the trench system, barbed wire and the machine gun. We know ourselves how near these new methods of attack brought us to defeat.

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