Reflections of war: changes in tactics and technology in the diaries and memoirs of Canadian soldiers 1916-1918




Randall, Mark

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The Great War was in many ways a conflict defined by technology. The rapid advancements in technology over the decades leading up to 1914 coupled with the outdated tactics employed by all sides created the stalemate of Trench Warfare. Improvements to the existing technology, the addition of new technology, as well as an evolution in tactics led to the breakout, and eventual Allied victory, of 1918. These changes in tactics and technology significantly affected the lives of frontline soldiers. This thesis asks if the tactical and technological changes, in the final two years of the war, were reflected in diaries and memoirs of Canadian soldiers serving at the front. The diaries and memoirs of the soldiers do reflect many of the changes found in the secondary sources. Surprisingly, however, the primary sources often provide more detail about how these weapons were employed by the Germans. Unless the soldier in question was directly involved in their use, or was witnessing a spectacular event, accounts of Canadian artillery, machine gun and poison gas use are often short and lacking in detail.



War, Tactics, Technology, Canadian Soldiers, 1916-1918, Artillery, Gas, Machine guns