The following are first hand quotes and diary extracts of the use of new tactics and weapons in the First World War. They are taken from Paul Allens book 'Neath a foreign sky.'
Extract:Dressed in white
Killed in action during Sunday the 30TH of December 1917 during a counter attack which had been made at dawn that day by Germans troops dressed in white camouflage suits to the north of the village of La Vacqueire which had almost resulted in the loss of 'Welsh Ridge', a recently captured position to the south of Cambrai, the action is once again described by Jerrold;
'Every effort was made to effect surprise, the enemy even going so far as to dress the leading wave in white to match the snow. Nevertheless, the measure of success which the attack met with was due rather to a stroke of singular misfortune than to any display of cunning by the enemy. Under cover of the barrage, the leading waves effected a lodgement in the front line of the 190TH Brigade and at the junction of the Hood and 7TH Royal Fusiliers and of the Drake and Howe Battalions. The right flank battalion, and most of the Hood and Drake Battalions, stood fast. Elsewhere on the right and in the centre, the enemy penetrated only to the front line'
Extract: Creeping barrage
By early May the men of a severely weakened Canadian Second Division [during the Vimy Ridge operations the Division had suffered over 2,000 casualties] had fought their way over Vimy Ridge into the vast Douai Plain beyond, where the Division, with 1ST Canadian, had been involved in the capture of the village of Fresnoy. Here the formation had been given the task of capturing a network of trenches near to the village. The two divisions had each used a brigade for the attack, the First [from First Division] and the 6TH from Second Division. The attack had been launched at 3-45 am on Thursday the third of May. Of 6TH Brigade's assault, the 'Official History' says;
'The 6TH Brigade [Brigadier General H.D.B. Ketchen], assaulting on a frontage of 900 yards, had a less straight forward task, as it was to form a strong left flank protection acing north east. With this object in view, it was to capture the network of trenches at the junction of the old Arleux Loop, with the main Oppy—Mericourt Line. To add to their difficulties, the assaulting battalions were enfiladed at the start by well-directed fire from German batteries near Avion, a feature of the German defensive barrage scheme. The resulting confusion was increased by the fact that the German wire had not been so well cut in this sector and, owing to the consequent delay, touch with the creeping barrage was lost'
Extract: Somme 1916
Rawlinson's Fourth Army had begun the Battle of the Transloy Ridges on Sunday the first of October with an attack by four divisions assisted by tanks on the heavily defended hamlet of Eaucourt L'Abbaye, which lies to the north west of the village of Martinpuich. Amongst the formations taking part in the assault had been the 50TH [Northumbrian] Division, which as we have seen in previous pages had consisted of Territorial soldiers drawn from the North East of England, many of whom had belonged to Scarborough. However on the day it had been the Durham men of 151ST Infantry Brigade who had stood in the limelight. A report made after the attack by an officer of the Royal Flying Corps had noted of the advance of the Division;
'At 3.15pm the steady bombardment changed into a most magnificent barrage. The timing of this was extremely good. Guns opened simultaneously and the effect was that of many machine guns opening fire on the same order. As seen from the air the barrage appeared to be the most perfect wall of fire in which it was inconceivable that any thing could live. The first troops to extend from the forming up places appeared to be the 50TH Division who were seen to spread out from the sap heads and forming up trenches and advance close up under the barrage, apparently some 50 yards away from it. They appeared to capture their objective very rapidly and with practically no losses while crossing the open'
The battle had been envisaged by the British High Command as the final and long awaited breakthrough of the German lines to the elusive town of Bapaume, which lay beyond and which should have been taken on the first day of the fighting way back in July. This was to be 'The Battle'. There were to be no half measures, Fourth Army's instructions, issued to the men on the 9th of September were explicit enough, and exhorted the men to even higher endeavours:
'The Attack will be pushed home with the utmost vigour all along the line till the most distant objectives have been reached. For the last two and a half months we have been gradually wearing the enemy down, his moral is shaken, he has few, if any fresh reserves available, and there is every probability that a combined effort will result in a decisive victory'
And so the new operation had got underway. Obviously the assembly of the large number of guns, tanks, ammunition, and stores required for the assault could not be hidden from the troops and a small notice headed 'Keep your mouths shut'! had been issued to each man of Fourth Army, the notice going on to say;
'The success of any operation we carry out depends chiefly on surprise. Do not talk—when you know that your unit is making preparations for an attack, don't talk about them to men in other units, or to strangers, and keep your mouth shut, especially in public places.
Don't be inquisitive about what other units are doing; if you see or hear anything, keep it to yourself'
Extract:Aisne 1918 - a creeping barrage
By the night of the 24TH of August the 58TH Division had been deep in the old Somme battlefield which had seen so much bitter fighting during the summer of 1916, in an area some eight kilometres south east of Albert, near to the piles of bricks that had once been the village of Bray sur Somme. That night, the men already weary by their exertions of the day had taken up their assembly positions ready for the continuation of Fourth Army's advance, which was to commence before dawn the following day. During the period before the start of the assault the men had been issued with rations whilst their officers had checked their compass bearings readying for the morrow. Then, with the exception of a few sentries and patrols, the huge mass of men had all taken what sleep they could until being roused a few minutes before Zero Hour. By which time
'The sky was clear and the moon bright at 2-30am [25TH] but half an hour later it became very cloudy and soon a dense fog came down in the Somme Valley. The excellent artillery barrage, however, served to guide the advance, which was carried out in extended lines. Only stragglers and deserters were encountered, as the enemy had withdrawn; so by 6-30am the Brigades had reached the objective, some two thousand yards from the enemy's new front line, and were consolidating'
 The Official History of the War; Military Operations France and Belgium 1918; Volume 4; Edmonds; Macmillan; 1947.