I am currently in the middle of Robert Doughty's, "Pyrrhic Victory", which is a history of French infantry strategy and operations during WWI.
The book is a little dry considering that the author is a former US brigadier general in the US Army and taught history at West Point for 20 years. However, it does have its great moments and the information is fascinating.
It took me a while to get into the rhythm of the writing style but once I did the book's reading pace began to pick up.
Doughty outlines fairly well and somewhat clinically what most of us who study WWI already know; the French infantry soldier was incredibly brave but was terribly misused by highly incompetent senior leadership. To be sure, the French Army did have some very good field commanders but decision making for most strategy was handled at the very top levels.
Up through 1917 Josef Joffre was the chief of the French Army and he just about destroyed the entire capability of his forces by throwing them up in deadly frontal assaults against well-entrenched German positions. Joffre couldn't see anything other than the frontal assault since he was a complete believer in the French doctrine of "elan", which stipulated that you never defend, you always attack. Nivelle, who was a successor to Joffre or who at least led the disastrous "Nivelle Offensive" in 1917 continued this stupid doctrine until Petain, probably France's finest infantry general, took command in the same year and halted the useless loss of French life with such a ridiculous doctrine by making substantial changes in how the infantry was used.
One would think that after suffering some extremely serious setbacks early in the conflict one would devise a new strategy to deal with a highly modernized and advanced opponent as the Germans were.
Many have asked as to what the French could have done differently in this situation and after studying Doughty's work I believe I have come to a possible resolution to French Army impotence. Instead of wasting time on large scale attacks initially, devise the development of commando units that could have been inserted behind the German lines to disrupt their rear thereby forcing a semi two-front engagement. As the German positions were harassed from the rear, launch small but concerted attacks to their front.
French Commandos could have been transferred by ship on the Channel to edge their way behind German lines. Once a commando force had grown large enough by slowly feeding more such units behind the lines over time, larger attacks from the rear and front could have been performed.
The Germans had such units even in 1914 and were highly successful with them as they were used as forward disruptors and skirmishers during the initial major movements of the German Army at the start of the conflict in 1914. These commando units were the original incarnation of the "Storm Troopers" of later WWII fame.
John Tiller Software has a sophisticated strategy game available entitled, "France 1914", where this theory may be able to be tested out for those who may be interested.