The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the interplay between the technology, tactics and organisation of the First AIF.


Warfare in the twentieth warfare is characterised by the presence of certain technologies that give it a distinctive nature and which first appeared in the Great War. It was in the Great War that the highly dispersed form of tactics that we know today emerged. Thus, it is a natural starting point not only for the examination of warfare in the era of technology but for considering the nature of technological change itself. My Australian perspective enabled issues to be looked at to a depth that would not be possible in a work of this length with a broader view.


I have argued that the Great War was characterised by the problem of trench warfare, and I have traced the progress of tactical, technological and organisational developments that ultimately supplied the solutions. I have also shown how the Great War was not only a war of technology in which new technologies were introduced and developed, but also one which saw the spread of new ways of thinking about military technology.


In preparing this thesis, I have inspected the actual battlefields in France, Belgium and Turkey. I have drawn on a broad range of published material, but the thesis is largely based upon the primary documents found in the Australian War Memorial and Australian National Archives.





A number of people deserve special mention for their help in the preparation of this thesis.


First and foremost among them is my supervisor, Professor Jeffrey Grey, whose assistance have been beyond price. He was instrumental in getting this thesis underway, in keeping it on track, and in ensuring that it eventually got completed. His comments at every stage have been constructive, insightful and valuable.


Lindley Walter-Smith served as a sounding board for many of the ideas contained herein. A wonderful person and a brilliant intellect, she has been my inspiration throughout. Major Garry Thompson and Captain Noel Mungovan have been immense sources of information. Noel can not only explain the pros and cons of various forms of barbed wire, but he arranged for me to attend an "Executive Stretch" at Ingleburn, NSW, where I was able to discuss various ideas with a number of officers and soldiers of the Regular Army and Army Reserve.


Various people have taken the time to explain various aspects of the thesis with me. Professor S. F. Wise spoke to me about the Western Front from a Canadian perspective. Peter Burness of the Australian War Memorial helped with the weapons and equipment of the Army in 1914. Dirk Bockman explained the intricacies of signals before the invention of transistors. My father, Ron Mallett, besides providing a great deal of encouragement,   went into the details of old time mechanical transport for me. Jessica Eckhardt contributed to my knowledge of the care and upkeep of horses. Adam Begley proofread most of the drafts for me.


I must also thank Professor Peter Dennis, for his encouragement, especially of the Order of Battle, which he found disk space for. I am also indebted to Ross Glare for his help with JavaScript for the web pages.


Preface | Introduction | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Conclusion | Abbreviations | Bibliography

Page created by Ross Mallett
Last update 07 August 1999