Troy Soldiers Charge
Suggested Teaching Instructions
Although the industrial revolution and advances in firearms allowed countries to field huge armies, the ways these armies were used varied over time. Before World War I, it was common for armies to be arranged in highly organized battle lines. After exchanging gunfire, one or both sides would typically command their soldiers to charge toward the enemy and use bayonets and other hand-to-hand fighting weapons to finish the battle.
In World War I, the machine gun played a major role in phasing out bayonet charges. Since strategically placed machine guns could allow a small number of troops to inflict heavy damage on the enemy (especially a large, close group of soldiers), traditional bayonet charges often resulted in a disastrous loss of life. One of the largest losses occurred on July 1, 1916 when nearly 60,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers were killed or wounded on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. While commanders did not completely do away with massive charges (as seen in the photograph of soldiers from Troy, New York), they were considered an outdated tactic and used less and less frequently both in the closing years of World War I and in later conflicts.
How do communities view their role in national events?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and discuss the impact of this photograph on the community back home.
The bayonet charge was only one of many tactics that changed during World War I. Find and explain why another tactic was introduced or discontinued during World War I.
Math: After repeated charges, British and Commonwealth soldiers suffered 60,000 casualties in one day of battle on July 1, 1916. If about 20,000 of the casualties were wounded and not killed, what percent (to the nearest percent) did not return from the battle?
English: Write a journal entry as if you are soldier who knows he will be taking place in a charge the next morning.