General Monash

General Monash

In the trenches of France of World War 1, General Monash was given with the unenviable task of punching through the German line to claim the French town of Le Hamel. The way that Monash went about doing this was both revolutionary, and sneaky. German forces were well equipped, well-fortified, reinforced with heavy artillery and machine guns, and the troops were well trained. Faced by these odds, Monash began to “condition” the German forces. Every day at dawn, he would let loose a barrage of smoke bombs followed by mustard gas canisters. The Germans, following their training, would equip themselves with gas masks which protected them. Monash kept up this bombardment for two weeks, and soon the Germans became accustomed to the pattern of attack, and would immediately don their gas masks and hunker down at the first sign of smoke, but on the dawn of the 4th of July, the smoke bombs were not followed by gas, but by the Australians. The German gasmasks protected them from mustard gas and smoke, but they also vastly impeded their vision, hearing, and ability to communicate, with the noise of the battle, and the obscuring smoke, they were deaf and blind on the battlefield, and to make things worse, this was not an unprotected infantry massed-attack, but a creeping barrage supported by a division of tanks, heavy artillery, and aircraft. The tanks protected the vulnerable infantry, and the artillery and aircraft prevented the Germans from effectively deploying anti-tank measures. The battle was over in just 90 minutes and marked the rise of mixed-arms warfare.

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