Encyclopedia - Chinese Attack

German trenches at La Boiselle under British artillery bombardment on 1 July 1916 A 'Chinese Attack' was the term given to a faked attack upon enemy trenches.

A preliminary artillery bombardment would first rain down upon the opposing trenches for a period.  This invariably signalled to the enemy that an an infantry assault was probable once the bombardment lifted - as routinely occurred, most notoriously perhaps at the start of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916 (resulting in some 60,000 British casualties).

However in a Chinese Attack no infantry attack followed the lifting of the bombardment; instead, after allowing sufficient time for enemy defenders to return to their trenches, the artillery bombardment would recommence, the intention being to catch large numbers of men while they were effectively out in the open.

Chinese Attacks were also used to test the probable reaction of the enemy to a more seriously intended raid.

Chinese Attacks were a common (and effective) tactic deployed by all sides throughout the war.

Stormtroopers comprised specially trained German assault troops used in 1918.

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