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Creeping barrage

From Academic Kids

Rolling barrage is a military tactic in which massed artillery support an infantry advance by firing continuously at positions just in front of the advancing troops. The shellfire keeps enemy troops in their bunkers and trenches, and creates a pall of smoke and dirt in the air in order to obscure the advance

The technique was first used by Bulgarians during the Siege of Adrianople in March 1913. The technique was forgotten, but then re-discovered during World War I and first deployed by Sir Henry Horne for the Battle of the Somme in August 1916. Eventually the technique become a standard feature of almost all battles of the war.

The rolling barrage required careful planning and co-ordination. In the battlefield conditions of trench warfare during World War I, once an infantry attack was launched, there could be little or no communication between the advancing troops and the artillery, which remained behind the start line. It was possible for a poorly-timed barrage to creep forward too slowly — either hitting the troops it was supposed to support, or else holding up the advance — or too quickly — leaving too large a gap in front of the advancing troops and allowing the enemy to reoccupy their positions after the barrage passed over.

Poor infantry-artillery coordination was one of the causes of the failure of the Second Battle of the Aisne in April 1917. However the technique was used successfully by the Canadian Corps that same month in the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

The rolling barrage was rendered obsolete by technology — the miniaturization of radios to the point where they could be carried by infantry enabled troops to request artillery support — and the changing nature of warfare from static trench warfare to mobile armoured operations.de:Feuerwalze

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