Having recently read Martin Samuels Doctrine and Dogma: German and British Infantry Tactics in the First world War and due to the demands of this, I have been reading up on infantry training. Yesterday I was reading about the tactics Samuels believes almost won the Germans the war. Namely, intelligent use of firepower, moving past areas of resistance, junior leaders- leading etc. The problem is this was in a British Army pamphlet issued in February 1917- SS143 Instructions for the Training of Platoons for Offensive Actions 1917.
Ideas from analysis of the fighting on the Somme are codified, issued and adopted in time for the attack at Arras in April 1917- not bad for a bunch of donkeys. OK, there were some problems. At least one battalion had developed its own system in early February and struggled to convert itself to the new system, but it was a system based in reality. The reality of casualties, of lack of communication once the offensive started, of the need for a platoon to be able to stand on its own feet.
In February 1918 the advice offered in SS143 was updated. The German's defensive tactics did not stand still, just read any of Jack Sheldon's work, but then neither did the British systems. The February 1918 edition places futher emphasis on the need for devolved command, down to section commander level, due to the difficulies in communication on the battlefield. Could this allow units to continue fighting after its leaders became casualties and/or they were surrounded? Only time would tell.