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Forum LockedThe German Military 1871-1918

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deadkenny View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote deadkenny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The German Military 1871-1918
    Posted: 06-Feb-2008 at 21:05
Originally posted by Belisarius57

...French performance during the first phase of the war is nothing short of remarkable in comparison....
 
You seem a little too quick to absolve the French of their failings in trying to support your 'theory' about the German military being 'overrated'.  If the Schlieffen Plan was 'flawed', the French Plan XVII was disasterous and nearly cost the French the war right at the start.  Even given the problems with the Schlieffen Plan, it might have been enough to give Germany the victory given the disasterous French plan, if not for the failure of von Moltke (the younger), who 'missed the point' of the plan and repeatedly weakened the critical right wing and left the left wing too strong.
 
Originally posted by Belisarius57

...In the east, Tannenberg, although heralded as a stunning tactical triumph, was a strategic disaster for the Germans, and may even have cost them the war. Because of Tannenberg, almost a third of the forces allocated to the vital right wing of the Schlieffen plan were prematurely withdrawn from France...
  Are you sure about that figure of 'almost a third', because it sounds way too high to me.  Could you quote specifically the units, or the total number of men, that were transferred?
 
Originally posted by Belisarius57

...This is compounded in 1918, when infiltration tactics by “storm troops” was seen by many as evidence of tactical genius and heralded as a new and innovative war winner. Everyone seems to have overlooked that the French invented these tactics in early 1915, and they were widely used and developed by the British between 1915-17...
 
This is misleading, if not outright incorrect.  The Germans developed the infiltration tactics 'themselves', starting with smaller units as early as 1915, expanding through 1916 to all out efforts against Italy and Russia in 1917.  The fact that the Allies were also working along the same lines themselves during the same period is irrelevant.  The Germans did not  'copy' these tactics from the French or British.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Kapikulu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Feb-2008 at 22:51
Originally posted by Belisarius57

...In the east, Tannenberg, although heralded as a stunning tactical triumph, was a strategic disaster for the Germans, and may even have cost them the war. Because of Tannenberg, almost a third of the forces allocated to the vital right wing of the Schlieffen plan were prematurely withdrawn from France...
 
Originally posted by deadkenny

Are you sure about that figure of 'almost a third', because it sounds way too high to me.  Could you quote specifically the units, or the total number of men, that were transferred?
 
Tannenberg overall was somewhat a risky plan, that's true. However, I have some reservations there.
 
1) Without taking risks, you can not gain any solid gains..
2) Nearly twice outnumbered Germans actually needed such a risky plan to prevent Russian advance in Prussia
3) Despite the transfer of thousands of men in Eastern Part of the Prussian front, this was not something that would have cost Germany "the war". Germans had the intelligence of what Rennenkampf's 1st and Samsonov's 2nd army was doing, thanks to their successful intelligence in decoding Russian speaker codes...And they relied on it while transferring. Samsonov's 2nd army was annihilated before Rennenkampf's 1st can do a huge advance anyway.
 
Originally posted by Belisarius57

...This is compounded in 1918, when infiltration tactics by “storm troops” was seen by many as evidence of tactical genius and heralded as a new and innovative war winner. Everyone seems to have overlooked that the French invented these tactics in early 1915, and they were widely used and developed by the British between 1915-17...
Originally posted by deadkenny

This is misleading, if not outright incorrect.  The Germans developed the infiltration tactics 'themselves', starting with smaller units as early as 1915, expanding through 1916 to all out efforts against Italy and Russia in 1917.  The fact that the Allies were also working along the same lines themselves during the same period is irrelevant.  The Germans did not  'copy' these tactics from the French or British.
 
True, deadkenny...Oskar Von Hutier is the excel of the infiltration tactics...Which proved very well results in final phases in the East, Caporetto, and final Kaiserschlacht and Spring Offensives(indeed, Hutier's group was able to dig a hole in French lines in final offensives, though the rest of the success did not come)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Belisarius57 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Feb-2008 at 12:48

I’ve been informed someone had responded to my post, so I thought I’d best have a look. I rarely visit or post on this site any more so many apologies for my delayed reply.

 

Originally posted by deadkenny

You seem a little too quick to absolve the French of their failings in trying to support your 'theory' about the German military being 'overrated'. If the Schlieffen Plan was 'flawed', the French Plan XVII was disasterous and nearly cost the French the war right at the start. Even given the problems with the Schlieffen Plan, it might have been enough to give Germany the victory given the disasterous French plan, if not for the failure of von Moltke (the younger), who 'missed the point' of the plan and repeatedly weakened the critical right wing and left the left wing too strong.

 

What a strange remark. Can you point out just where in my post I absolve the French from anything? I merely stated that French performance in recovering the situation in 1914 was truly remarkable in comparison to the Germans failures to remedy their breakdowns in supply, command and communications. Are you saying the Germans had no such breakdowns? If so, then the French achievement is all the more impressive.

 

The Schlieffen plan is generally considered to have been unworkable from the beginning regardless of what von Moltke tinkered with. Schlieffen overestimated the abilities of the German armies marching capacity and underestimated the likely resistance they would encounter. He also failed to adequately factor in the destruction to communications such as roads, railways, etc, in modern warfare which caused a breakdown in the rudimentary German logistic system. It should come as no surprise to learn that the over rated German General Staff never provided for a logistics or communications department in their organisation until after the war, still I suppose they had to learn that lesson the hard way.

 

Originally posted by deadkenny

Are you sure about that figure of 'almost a third', because it sounds way too high to me. Could you quote specifically the units, or the total number of men, that were transferred?

 

Specific numbers are largely irrelevant here. If you’re that interested, look up the actual figures, I’m sure you can work it out for yourself. As I recall off the top of my head it was two Corps transferred during the battle and either 4 or 6 more during the battle of the Marne; I’d have to look it up. What is important, and the point I was making is, that a critical number of German forces that might have proved decisive in the West, spent their time travelling between fronts to no purpose, rather like d’Erlon’s Corps during Ligny and Quatre Bras.

 

Originally posted by deadkenny

This is misleading, if not outright incorrect. The Germans developed the infiltration tactics 'themselves', starting with smaller units as early as 1915, expanding through 1916 to all out efforts against Italy and Russia in 1917.  The fact that the Allies were also working along the same lines themselves during the same period is irrelevant.  The Germans did not 'copy' these tactics from the French or British.

 

My comments are in no way misleading nor in error. I’m afraid you appear to be misinformed about the origins of German so called “Hutier Tactics”. Hutier had nothing to do with inventing German infiltration tactics; this is better attributed to, amongst others, one Captain Rohr, who first encountered French infiltration tactics on the Western Front in 1915. Most WW1 historians including Keegan, Strachan, inter alia. now agree the Germans probably got hold of French training pamphlets and translated them for their own use. Hutier did however appreciate their usefulness and eventually developed Rohr’s ideas into a cohesive system at Corps/Divisional level, in conjunction with Bruchmueller’s artillery tactics, which incidentally, were also based on and developed from methods pioneered by the British and French. This is the system that is correctly termed “Hutier Tactics” as distinct from infiltration tactics used in general. The Germans first used these tactics at Riga in 1917, a year or more after the French and the British were using infiltration tactics extensively up to brigade level. The Allies never bothered to create specific storm troop units, recognizing the limitations and disadvantages such units entailed. This is something Hutier failed to do and the resultant concentration of the best, fittest men into irreplaceable specialist “elite” units dragged down the overall quality of the remaining army. Their heavy losses accelerated the army’s final collapse in 1918. German Storm troop tactics have been given greater prominence due to the initial successes of the Kaiserschlacht than they truly deserve; they were not as successful as many uninformed people think they were. Allied infiltration tactics, on the other hand, in conjunction with air and armoured assets, were far more successful when they were used to break the Hindenburg line and during the 100 days; and these rather than later German ideas formed the basis of modern combined arms operations. The Germans, of course, subsequently copied and developed their “Blitzkrieg” from these allied tactics, for the next war.

 

I’ve scanned many of your posts on this forum and you do appear to hold intensely pro-German views. This is fine with me; I have no problems with patriotism so long as you don’t allow it to close your mind to ideas or historical truths that don’t fit your world view. I hope I’ve clarified my original post to your satisfaction. Until next time. B.Smile

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Mar-2008 at 21:13
actually blitzkrieg had nothing to do with anything seen in ww1 except for the battle of megiddo 1918 in palestine. the tanks in ww1 were neither capable nor used in a way Blitzkrieg tactics would demand from them. and considdering the huge assets of cavalry, the Schlieffen plan could have very well worked in ww1 already if it was not for a completely idiotic doctrine and drill that dumbed them down to complete unimportance and waste of ressources.
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