The British line of attack at the Battle of Loos was originally rejected by the British commanders as too exposed to the German artillery fire. They were overruled by the war minister, Viscount Kitchener, who suggested the use of poison gas for the first time to subdue the German defences. The gas proved to be of questionable value, with wind changes creating blow back. Although the British advance incurred heavy losses under sustained German bombardment, the capture of Loos-en-Gohelle promised a breakthrough, but poor communication between British High Command and the forces at Loos, meant that there were insufficient reinforcements to follow up. The British were compelled to cede virtually all the ground gained. In addition to the first use of gas the battle witnessed two further British innovations: the first mass deployment of the all-volunteer New Army and the first use of tactical bombing on a battlefield.
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