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"ChatGPT refights the Somme Offensive" Topic

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4th Cuirassier17 Mar 2023 9:35 a.m. PST

QUESTION:Is there any better way, in terms of reduced casualties and / or increased success, in which the Allies could have fought the battle of the Somme?

ChatGPT: The Battle of the Somme, fought during World War I between July and November 1916, was one of the bloodiest battles in history, with over one million casualties on both sides. It is often seen as a symbol of the futility of trench warfare and the high cost of human life in the face of modern technology.

In hindsight, there were several ways in which the Allies could have fought the battle of the Somme with reduced casualties and increased success. Here are a few possibilities:

Better artillery preparation: The Allies conducted a seven-day artillery bombardment of the German trenches before the infantry attack, but the bombardment was not as effective as it could have been. Many of the shells failed to destroy the barbed wire or the concrete bunkers that protected the German defenders. A longer and more intense bombardment, with more accurate artillery and better intelligence on enemy positions, could have weakened the German defenses and reduced the number of casualties among the attacking infantry.

Improved coordination and communication: The Battle of the Somme involved multiple armies from different countries, with different tactics and priorities. The lack of coordination and communication among the Allies meant that some units attacked without proper support or direction, while others were unable to exploit breakthroughs or advances. Better coordination among the different armies, as well as better communication and control of the troops on the ground, could have improved the effectiveness of the attack and reduced the number of casualties.

Better use of technology: The Battle of the Somme saw the first use of tanks in combat, but the tanks were relatively new and untested, and they suffered from technical problems and poor terrain conditions. A more effective use of tanks, with better maintenance and training, as well as better coordination with the infantry, could have helped to break through the German defenses and reduce the number of casualties.

Different tactics and strategies: The Allies relied heavily on infantry assaults during the Battle of the Somme, which was a very costly and ineffective tactic against entrenched defenders. Different strategies, such as diversionary attacks, surprise attacks, or flanking maneuvers, could have forced the Germans to shift their resources and expose their vulnerabilities, reducing the number of casualties among the attackers.

Overall, the Battle of the Somme was a complex and difficult battle, and there were no easy solutions or guaranteed successes. However, with better preparation, coordination, technology, and tactics, it is possible that the Allies could have fought the battle with reduced casualties and increased success.

Inch High Guy17 Mar 2023 1:40 p.m. PST

So if everything had been done better, it would have led to improved outcomes?

advocate18 Mar 2023 2:51 a.m. PST

They used the best artillery they had; tanks pretty much as soon as they had them (arguably too early, but they had an initial impact); 'flanking manoeuvres' would have involved a naval landing; I'm not sure that on occasion surprise and diversion weren't tried.
As I've come to expect from Chatgpt, initially seems good, but on examination rather meh. Less useful than Wikipedia as a first pass on a subject.

Nine pound round18 Mar 2023 6:49 a.m. PST

Had it talked about dud rates and fuze sensitivity, it would be impressive. As it is, it created something that looks like an exam response, but certainly not a bad one: it's a reasonable collection of conventional wisdom.

It would be interesting to know how it works: does it simply and rapidly troll the internet, filtering out contrarian or minority views, and spit out a response distilled from the center parts of the range, excluding the outliers?

steve dubgworth19 Mar 2023 6:34 a.m. PST

If this was presented in my class then it would have been give a C minus.

reasonable rehash of basic facts but no real appreciation of the facts.

The shortage of HE shells to break the barbed wire and the over reliance of shrapnel shells to cut the wire, a bit of a long shot hoping a bit of metal will cut a "thin" bit of wire was wishful thinking. the quality control of shells was also an issue due to lack of expertise.

tanks yes but how did they know they would work unless tested in battle conditions.

the psychological aspect was ignored. the new army units were largely untested and the british generals treated them as militia thus the long deadly walk across no mans land in nice straight lines as the only was they thought they could be controlled.

timing was also an issue as the offensive was to relieve pressure on the french at verdun so it was brought forward with all the problems that a rushed operation brings.

so nothing special rather a pedestrian summary of basic facts C-.

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