The breakdown of logistics was not the only reason World War I armies had so much trouble exploiting offensive success.

Another factor was communication. Military Historian John Keegan in his one-volume history of World War I, argues that military technology outstripped communications development so that after an attack was begun, the generals commanding were often in the dark. The armies were too large for one man to see developments for himself.

Artillery barrages invariably cut telephone and telegraph lines, carrier pigeons and runners might or might not get through and even if they did, often took a long time.

What radios there were transmitted in Morse code and batteries were too heavy and bulky for portable communications. As a result artillery, machine guns, barbed wire and poison gas were making life miserable for the infantry, with most of the advantages going to the defense.

The one person who could see what was going on was a pilot, but they had no good way to communicate with the ground.

On April 12, the Daily Banner published a letter from a former local man, Curtis Kinney, who had failed to get into the American aviation corps, so he went to Canada and enlisted in the British Royal Flying Corps.

 

Chuck Martin: 740-397-5333 or cmartin@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews

 

 

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