A discussion forum for history enthusiasts everywhere
 
HomeHome  Recent ActivityRecent Activity  FAQFAQ  RegisterRegister  Log inLog in  

Share | 
 

 The Central Powers Strategy for 1916

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
Tim of Aclea
Consulatus
avatar

Posts : 327
Join date : 2011-12-31

PostSubject: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Tue 09 Feb 2016, 17:15

For France, Britain and Russia there was no realistic alternative about where they could deploy the majority of their army.  However, this was not the case for Germany or Austria-Hungary.  1915 had been overall a better year for the Central Powers than for the Entente.  The French and British attacks on the Western Front had failed to achieve a breakthrough; Italy had entered the war on the Entente side but their attacks against Austria-Hungarian had again failed to achieve anything significant.  On the other hand the Central Powers had inflicted a series of major defeats on Russia and overrun Poland, had advanced into the Baltic States and driven the Russians out of Galicia.  Also, with Bulgaria entering the war on the side of the Central Powers, Serbia had been overrun.  The landings at Gallipoli had failed and the small British offensive in Mesopotamia had been halted and driven back.  Despite the above, though, the Entente possessed a clear material advantage over the Central Powers that would increase with time.

The Entente strategy for 1916 was to launch near simultaneous attacks on the Western, Eastern and Italian fronts, however, before they were in a position to do this the Central Powers had an opportunity to launch an offensive of their own on any of those fronts.  The German commander Falkenhayn incorrectly concluded that the Russian army had been effectively defeated and that what Germany now needed to do was to defeat the French army which he planned to do through the attractional attack at Verdun which failed.  The Austrian commander Conrad wanted to attack Italy and requested German units to relieve his best Austrian units on the Eastern Front.  Falkenhayn refused but Conrad removed his best units for an offensive against Italy which also failed.  This weakening of the Austro-Hungarian army was to lead to the Russian General Brusilov achieving a major breakthrough in June 1916.  In July the British and French opened their offensive on the Somme.  In 1917 the Central Powers forces were not strong enough other than to launch local offensives, their 1916 strategy clearly failed.  Were they doomed to lose eventually anyway or could they instead have either carried on attacking Russia or attacked Italy, as Conrad wanted to, and forced one or other out of the war in 1916?

Tim
Back to top Go down
PaulRyckier
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1444
Join date : 2012-01-01
Location : Belgium

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Wed 10 Feb 2016, 21:37

Interesting question Tim but will need some time to elaborate and have yesterday just prepared a thread abou the hominids...

Kind regards, Paul.

PS: have still something to say about the Armada thread too in reply to your latest message...
Back to top Go down
Tim of Aclea
Consulatus
avatar

Posts : 327
Join date : 2011-12-31

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Thu 11 Feb 2016, 21:18

Hi Paul

The German General Hoffman in his book 'The War of Lost Opportunities' written after the war considered that the Germans should have supported Conrad's wish for an offensive against Italy but in exchange should have demanded that Germany took over the control of the entire Eastern Front.

regards

Tim
Back to top Go down
PaulRyckier
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1444
Join date : 2012-01-01
Location : Belgium

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Sat 13 Feb 2016, 21:31

@Tim of Aclea wrote:
Hi Paul

The German General Hoffman in his book 'The War of Lost Opportunities' written after the war considered that the Germans should have supported Conrad's wish for an offensive against Italy but in exchange should have demanded that Germany took over the control of the entire Eastern Front.

regards

Tim


Tim,

reacting on your first message and on this second one.

Yes, I think General Hoffman was right. The only thing to do for the Germans in the West was to maintain the stalemate as they had strong defensive positions too. No Verdun and together with the Austrians a push on the Eastern front to Odessa and the Black Sea. Making a connection with the Turks via Bulgaria and via Odessa, surrounding Romania. Making a Turkish-German "mare nostrum" of the Black Sea. Together with the Turks pushing via Bagdad to Basra. Securing the Egyptian front. Then trying to go to the North of Russia Sankt Petersburg and all, perhaps a Russian peace treaty and no Communist revolution...The Italian front was secondary and there too they could hold on defensive positions.
As there was an enduring stalemate in the West there could have been peace negociations to restore the status quo ante...but in the East you could have had a German-Austrian-Russian-Turkish powerbloc...and I am not sure if Britain and France could have allowed that...?

But now in reality...WWI seems more to have been a power struggle beween Germany and France. Even the battle of Verdun had a lot to do with honour....I saw the day before yesterday a new documentary on the battle of Verdun and a lot of the endurance during the long battle had to do with prestige and public opinion...at both sides...
And in Germany there wasn't perhaps such a general global thinking, except for some as with the Bagdad Railway, contrary to the "old" colonial coutries as Britain and France. The Germans were more focusing on the landlocked area as Poland, European Russia,Ukraine...and perhaps they still were so some 22 years later in WW2?

Kind regards, Paul.
Back to top Go down
PaulRyckier
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1444
Join date : 2012-01-01
Location : Belgium

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Sat 13 Feb 2016, 22:19

Tim and I forgot his link:

http://www.fsmitha.com/h2/ch05c.htm

Kind regards, Paul.
Back to top Go down
Tim of Aclea
Consulatus
avatar

Posts : 327
Join date : 2011-12-31

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Tue 16 Feb 2016, 16:23

Hi Paul

I read the link and was singularly unimpressed and consider some of the figures as extremely suspect both for the Somme and the Brusilov offensive - given that AH only had 40 divs on the Eastern Front the figures seem far far too high.  Accurate casualties figures for the Somme on the German side are virtually impossible to obtain, however, this is from Hoffmann. 'On the West fierce battles were raging at the Somme and Verdun that were producing great gaps in the effectiveness of the German army that could never be made good.'  It is often forgotten that the French attack on the 1st July 1916 was an almost total success and that the German army suffered from heavy losses carrying out fruitless counter attacks.  Also the British and French were building up a significant material advantage in terms of the number of guns and weight of shells.

regards

Tim
Back to top Go down
Tim of Aclea
Consulatus
avatar

Posts : 327
Join date : 2011-12-31

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Tue 16 Feb 2016, 16:27

Hi Paul

concerning your earlier post, I am not sure that the Central Powers could have succeeded quite as far east in 1916 as you suggest, there would have been huge logistic problems.  Also the Germans undoubtedly would have had divert more divisions to the Western Front just to meet the growing size of the British Army and the improved offensive capacity of the French army as shown on the Somme on 1st July.

regards

Tim
Back to top Go down
PaulRyckier
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1444
Join date : 2012-01-01
Location : Belgium

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Wed 17 Feb 2016, 21:00

@Tim of Aclea wrote:
Hi Paul

concerning your earlier post, I am not sure that the Central Powers could have succeeded quite as far east in 1916 as you suggest, there would have been huge logistic problems.  Also the Germans undoubtedly would have had divert more divisions to the Western Front just to meet the growing size of the British Army and the improved offensive capacity of the French army as shown on the Somme on 1st July.

regards

Tim



Tim,

"I am not sure that the Central Powers could have succeeded quite as far east in 1916 as you suggest, there would have been huge logistic problems"

You are quite right, when I was writing the message I had already my concerns about the logistic problems. In a recent discussions on a French forum I saw in detail why Rommel didn't succeed in North Africa. They reckoned how much supply he needed and showed with the actual figures that the material flow was far too less. It was in a discussion why the Germans hadn't taken Malta also as a supply hub...yes supplies and logistics are perhaps as important as the battles themselves...

And yes in your former message you said also: 
"Also the British and French were building up a significant material advantage in terms of the number of guns and weight of shells."
The British and the French with their empires had as in WWII a material advantage over the Germans...the size of the industry and the availabilty of raw materials were essential in a war of attrition...it was therefore that the U-bote were one of the most effective weapons in the war....and had to have been deployed earlier and more...in both the WWs....but perhaps then there would have been invented and implemented earlier anti-submarine equipment...?

Kind regards and thanks for your reply, Paul.
Back to top Go down
Gilgamesh of Uruk
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1399
Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Thu 18 Feb 2016, 16:17

Anyone else hear the first part of the programme on Verdun? It's at least possible that the strategic rationale von Falkenhayn expounded post-war was an ex post facto construct, and he did not propose any such thing at Christmas 1915.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b070fdj5
Back to top Go down
Temperance
Virgo Vestalis Maxima
avatar

Posts : 5029
Join date : 2011-12-30

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Tue 27 Sep 2016, 19:30

I have been at the Appledore Book Festival this afternoon and heard a speaker, Allan Mallinson, talking about his new book, Too Important For the Generals. Mallinson is a military man and, although I am not usually interested in war, I listened with great interest to his comments about WW1, especially the strategies that led to the Battle of the Somme, which he declared was not a futile battle at all, simply an unnecessary one. The whole thing seemed pretty futile to me, but perhaps I have been reading too much war poetry?

I am very ignorant about this period of history and, although I was dying to ask a couple of questions after the talk, I was too afraid of making an idiot of myself in front of an obviously very knowledgeable group of people. Lots of blokes asking excited questions about tanks rather shut us ladies up. I wonder if I could ask them here?

1. The question of Belgium neutrality intrigued me: apparently, at the beginning of the war, the Germans simply ignored this and swept through Belgium, completely fooling the French who expected an attack much further south. How could a country's neutrality be so ignored? Did this often happen? The Swiss, during WW2, must have been very afraid that Germany would ignore their neutrality? Did the British ever ignore a country's neutrality?

2. The Italians reneging on the treaty they had signed with Germany and the Austro-Hungarians - apparently they joined forces with the British and French, something which Mallinson described as a great diplomatic coup for us. How come the Germans ever trusted the Italians again?

3. The sinking of HMS Audacious. Was she really sunk by a mine off the coast of Ireland? How did the Germans get to lay mines in the sea there? Was it true a converted banana boat   Shocked was used by the Germans for this - and was there no reporting of the sinking until 1918?

Did not know where to put this post - did not seem appropriate to start a new thread. I hope putting it here is OK and that these are not idiotic questions!
Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2654
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Tue 27 Sep 2016, 20:20

While more learned minds than mine consider the first two questions, I can at least comment on the sinking of HMS Audacious. Her loss was indeed kept a matter of utmost secrecy with all personel involved in the incident ordered never to mention it for the duration of the war. This is all the more bizarre since as well as her distress call being widely received both on land and by other vessels in the vicinity, and in addition to two other RN vessels being in attendance as she foundered, the large civillian liner RMS Olympic, on her way to the US, was also present and took on board many of the survivors. On the Olympic were a thousand or so civillians, including many Americans, of whom several photographed the sinking and at least one managed to record some film. All these witness statements, photographs and film were duly published once Olympic finally arrived in New York.

This photo, amongst many others, of Audacious sinking was taken by a passenger on the Olympic and was later published in the American press:



The German high command were fully aware of her loss by at least 19 November 1914 yet Audacious remained on the RN active list until just after the Armistice four years later. On 14 November 1918, a notice officially announcing the loss appeared in The Times:

"HMS Audacious sank after striking a mine off the North Irish coast on October 27, 1914. This was kept secret at the urgent request of the Commander-in-Chief, Grand Fleet, and the Press loyally refrained from giving it any publicity."

But she wasn't exactly sunk by a "banana boat", she was sunk by a mine laid by SS Berlin which was originally an express liner but had, because of her speed, been converted at outbreak of war to an auxilliary minelayer, able to nip in close to shore, lay her mines and then get away quickly without being detected.


Last edited by Meles meles on Tue 27 Sep 2016, 20:52; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
PaulRyckier
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1444
Join date : 2012-01-01
Location : Belgium

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Tue 27 Sep 2016, 20:50

I will try to answer these two questions in the near future Temperance.
"1. The question of Belgium neutrality intrigued me: apparently, at the beginning of the war, the Germans simply ignored this and swept through Belgium, completely fooling the French who expected an attack much further south. How could a country's neutrality be so ignored? Did this often happen? The Swiss, during WW2, must have been very afraid that Germany would ignore their neutrality? Did the British ever ignore a country's neutrality?
2. The Italians reneging on the treaty they had signed with Germany and the Austro-Hungarians - apparently they joined forces with the British and French, something which Mallinson described as a great diplomatic coup for us. How come the Germans ever trusted the Italians again?"


Kind regards, your friend Paul.
Back to top Go down
Temperance
Virgo Vestalis Maxima
avatar

Posts : 5029
Join date : 2011-12-30

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Tue 27 Sep 2016, 20:54

Thank you, MM and Paul.

Mallinson had that picture up on his power point screen. He said the "incident" (the sinking of a Dreadnaught an incident!?) was particularly humiliating for the British because the mine had been laid by a former banana boat. Was this is military/naval joke, perhaps, lost on me? I thought he meant it was a real banana boat. Embarassed
Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2654
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Tue 27 Sep 2016, 21:17

Incidentally, after laying the mines that sank Audacious (and could well have sunk the Olympic too if she'd happened to have struck one) SS Berlin headed back to Germany but sustained storm damage on the way and so put into Trondheim in Norway. She was given 24 hours leave to remain in port, but after that time was unfit to leave and so was interned by the Norwegian authorities on 18 November 1914. And there she stayed until 1919 when she was transferred to Britain as war reparations. She was modernised and fitted out at Portsmouth and then in 1920 entered service with the White Star Line as the liner SS Arabic. She was finally decommisioned and sold for scrap in 1931.

Here she is while interned in Lotfjord, Trondheim during WW1:



Last edited by Meles meles on Tue 27 Sep 2016, 21:22; edited 4 times in total
Back to top Go down
Gilgamesh of Uruk
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1399
Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Tue 27 Sep 2016, 21:17

The Italians didn't actually "renege on the treaty" initially. It required them to assist Germany only if attacked by France, and to remain neutral in a Russia- Austria/Hungary war. They had a parallel agreement with France which meant that  if either were attacked the other would remain neutral. Any study of the A-H and Italian fleets would lead, in my view, to the conclusion that they fully expected a war. The Irredentists in Italy were never likely to pass up an opportunity to "liberate" the lost lands.
Did Britain ignore the neutrality of any countries? Well they definitely planned to in WWII, planning to seize the ore-exporting ports (Narvik in particular) in Norway which took the place of Lulea when the Baltic was frozen in winter, but were forestalled. I suppose the seizure of Madagascar, Iceland and the Faroes and operation Torch might qualify - but there again, the British recognised the "governments in exile"
Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2810
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Wed 28 Sep 2016, 12:57

@Temperance wrote:
I have been at the Appledore Book Festival this afternoon and heard a speaker, Allan Mallinson, talking about his new book, Too Important For the Generals.

3. The sinking of HMS Audacious. Was she really sunk by a mine off the coast of Ireland? How did the Germans get to lay mines in the sea there? Was it true a converted banana boat   Shocked was used by the Germans for this - and was there no reporting of the sinking until 1918?


I think he has mixed up the sinking of the Audacious with the sinking of King Edward VII, which was sunk by a mine laid by a former banana boat.

SMS Mowe (Seagull) previously the freighter Pungo

Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2810
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Wed 28 Sep 2016, 13:01

HMS King Edward VII sinking off Cape Wrath on the afternoon of the 6th January 1916 after striking one of Mowe's mines;

Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2810
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Wed 28 Sep 2016, 13:18

Reading this at the moment;



According to Sheffield's account, Haig would have preferred to attack in Flanders rather than the Somme, so as to clear the Germans from the Belgian coast and eliminate any threat to the (French) Channel ports. How this would have worked out, we'll never know, though Sheffield says that the Germans were not as well dug in in Flanders as they were a year later. However, it was a Coalition decision and the Somme was where the British and French Armies linked up, so the Somme it was.
The Western Allies had to launch an offensive that summer to support the Brusilov Offensive by the Russians and the Italian Offensive on the Isonzo, and there was no other way of driving the Germans out of France.

Edit: from wiki;
2nd Chantilly Conference December 6–8, 1915, was an Allied military planning conference involving military representatives from all Allied powers—French, British, Italian, and Russian—to formulate a coordinated strategy for the upcoming year against the Central Powers in World War I.

The conference was held at the headquarters of the French army commander, General Joseph Joffre in Chantilly. The British representatives were the commander-in-chief Sir John French and Sir Archibald Murray. General Carlo Porro (it) represented Italy.

Marshal Joseph Joffre proposed and his Allied counterparts concurred that the offensives of the allied armies on the Western Front  should be delivered simultaneously or close enough in time so that the enemy would be unable to transport reserves from one front to another.". Coordinated attacks such as this meant that they should come within a month of each other. These offensives were planned to commence as soon as possible, with local, limited attacks taking place in between them to further enervate the enemy as weather permitted.
Back to top Go down
Temperance
Virgo Vestalis Maxima
avatar

Posts : 5029
Join date : 2011-12-30

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Wed 28 Sep 2016, 16:19

Glad you are back, Trike - you have been missed recently. Thank you for the banana boat confirmation!

I'm amazed that an expert like Mallinson could make such an error - getting the ship wrong! Odd that no one picked him up on it.

His talk has left me strangely angry today. He had one picture on his big screen showing a group of laughing, happy British soldiers, and he remarked that the war wasn't all bad to them. Anglo-Saxons, he said, enjoy being given the chance to have a go at the enemy. True, maybe, but I wanted to ask if that was the general opinion after they had served at the front. But, as I said above, perhaps I've read too much war poetry and do not understand the military male's point of view. Mallinson probably thinks Wilfred Owen was a big girl's blouse.

I wish now I'd had the guts to question him; but would probably have got short shrift. But I really did feel too ignorant of military matters and strategies to say anything. Still baffled about the neutrality thing. It seems to have been such a dishonourable thing for the Germans to have done, but such a remark no doubt betrays my naivety and utter ignorance of war.


Last edited by Temperance on Wed 28 Sep 2016, 17:13; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2654
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Wed 28 Sep 2016, 16:52

I can understand how you might be angry.

Here's a chirpy British Tommy in the trenches just after seeing some action: he's laughing and grinning and joking with his mates ..... although somewhat manically. He is of course suffering from what would later be called shell-shock (or is nowadays known as combat stress reaction) although whether this was recognised when the photo was taken is another matter.




PS : And well sleuthed Trike, I see from wiki that the Pungo (SMS Mowe) really, really was a banana boat ... her principal use, before being requisitioned, was in transporting bananas and not much else, from German Cameroon to Germany.
Back to top Go down
Temperance
Virgo Vestalis Maxima
avatar

Posts : 5029
Join date : 2011-12-30

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Wed 28 Sep 2016, 17:33

@Meles meles wrote:
I can understand how you might be angry.

Here's a chirpy British Tommy in the trenches just after seeing some action: he's laughing and grinning and joking with his mates ..... although somewhat manically. He is of course suffering from what would later be called shell-shock (or is nowadays known as combat stress reaction) although whether this was recognised when the photo was taken is another matter.





Isn't that photo a good example of how the viewer creates meaning? A hundred years on, I immediately see what you see: the eyes of a man who has experienced what no human can live through and stay completely sane. In 1916, however, his image no doubt registered as as an example of a triumphantly courageous Anglo-Saxon, a man who laughs at death. When Death smiles at us, all we can do is smile back - or should that be laugh like a maniac?
Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2654
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Wed 28 Sep 2016, 18:02

Indeed ... but I think we have to be careful not to project our modern emotions and experience onto figures in the past. I can't find the provenance of that photo, but I did especially post that one because I had recently read an article, written by a modern specialist in the field of the psychological effects of war, who said, specifically of that 1916 photo, that the body language and contracted pupils all seemed to indicate severe shell-shock. However I don't know if the 1916 man in the trench was ever medically examined at the time (I would guess he's unknown, just another anonymous face) so we in the 21st century can only draw our own conclusions from what we see and from our own viewpoint. It is therefore possible that we are all wrong - sensitive observers and professionals alike. The man may actually have just been genuinely exulting in the thrill of battle. That said, for what they are worth, my own feelings are to go along with the modern psychologist and say that the man was severely traumatised.

But I also wonder what happed next. Was he sent back over the top the next day ... maybe leading his colleagues to death and glory .. or maybe forced out of his terrified state huddled in the corner of the trench ... or maybe so traumatised that he was accused of cowardice and subsequently shot by his own side?

It's all rather depressing whatever conclusion one comes to.


Last edited by Meles meles on Wed 28 Sep 2016, 18:21; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : changed my wording a bit)
Back to top Go down
Temperance
Virgo Vestalis Maxima
avatar

Posts : 5029
Join date : 2011-12-30

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Wed 28 Sep 2016, 18:24

MM wrote:
 

I understand what you are saying but I'm not sure it is that simple and we have to be careful not to project our emotions onto figures in the past.


Absolutely. Like you, though, I wonder who that soldier was and what happened to him. And what he would say to us about it all. And what his mother or his wife thought of the picture - if they ever saw it.

But I (or we) digress...
Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5598
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Thu 29 Sep 2016, 07:54

Temp wrote:
It seems to have been such a dishonourable thing for the Germans to have done, but such a remark no doubt betrays my naivety and utter ignorance of war.

Churchill's remark relayed to Irish taoiseach Eamon deValera (probably delivered with a derisory snort - the only snort worth making in my view) summed up realpolitik and the concept of national neutrality. "Neutrality is never honoured; merely accommodated, and rarely tolerated".
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
Temperance
Virgo Vestalis Maxima
avatar

Posts : 5029
Join date : 2011-12-30

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Thu 29 Sep 2016, 11:50

@nordmann wrote:
Temp wrote:
It seems to have been such a dishonourable thing for the Germans to have done, but such a remark no doubt betrays my naivety and utter ignorance of war.

Churchill's remark relayed to Irish taoiseach Eamon deValera (probably delivered with a derisory snort - the only snort worth making in my view) summed up realpolitik and the concept of national neutrality. "Neutrality is never honoured; merely accommodated, and rarely tolerated".



Ah, excellent reply.

Yes, snorts should always be derisory: one is always afraid there are a fair few such  made after one has posted something here - but at least one never actually hears a virtual snort, unlike in real life. A snort is such an effective put-down.
Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2810
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Thu 29 Sep 2016, 12:00

Better than a banana boat. SMS Seeadler, which must have been one of the last sailing ships to be used in warfare;



In late 1916, Seeadler slipped through the British blockade disguised as a Norwegian wood carrier. Her sailplan ( though she did carry a pair of well hidden auxiliary engines ) enabled her to remain at sea far longer than a coal burning ship could have. In her voyage lasting 225 days she sank or captured 15 Allied ships before running aground on a reef in French Polynesia.

Back to top Go down
Gilgamesh of Uruk
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1399
Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Thu 29 Sep 2016, 20:37

Seeadler - originally Pass of Balmaha - as a Dumbarton-built ship under the US flag, she was probably better able to pass as a neutral than a German-built ship would have been.

Take a look, too, at this example of the "thousand-yard stare" from WWII. https://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/98/Tom_Lea_-_2000_Yard_Stare.jpg&imgrefurl=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thousand-yard_stare&h=1288&w=1000&tbnid=T-P19mQpRUmadM:&tbnh=160&tbnw=124&docid=s8T5VGMzXHd01M&client=firefox-b-ab&usg=__76rBjQg4UCP4IuLio0JhdK9QPG0=&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiNlOO7qbXPAhXqAcAKHSW-B-gQ9QEIKTAA
Back to top Go down
PaulRyckier
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1444
Join date : 2012-01-01
Location : Belgium

PostSubject: A   Sun 02 Oct 2016, 21:48

@PaulRyckier wrote:
I will try to answer these two questions in the near future Temperance.
"1. The question of Belgium neutrality intrigued me: apparently, at the beginning of the war, the Germans simply ignored this and swept through Belgium, completely fooling the French who expected an attack much further south. How could a country's neutrality be so ignored? Did this often happen? The Swiss, during WW2, must have been very afraid that Germany would ignore their neutrality? Did the British ever ignore a country's neutrality?
2. The Italians reneging on the treaty they had signed with Germany and the Austro-Hungarians - apparently they joined forces with the British and French, something which Mallinson described as a great diplomatic coup for us. How come the Germans ever trusted the Italians again?"


Kind regards, your friend Paul.


Temperance,

"the question of Belgium's neutrality"

 The small countries were traditionally neutral. Belgium was also neutral in the class of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. (Prussia the leading power of the future new German Empire (das zweites Reich (the second empire)) against the second French empire of Napoléon III. In fact it was Napoléon III who was lurred by Bismarck into agressing Prussia. And in 1905 the time of the von Schlieffen plan there were still a lot of politicians and ordinary people who remembered the clash of 1870 between their two big neighbours.

And even after WWI, Belgium returned to its neutrality in 1936. I was on a French language forum of a French sollicitor summoned to explain the return to neutrality in 1936 because he said that it was the fault of the Belgians that the French lost in the battle of France in 1940


The Belgian neutrality before WWI was not of great importance in the big timetable of the German generals, who had a huge impact on Wilhelm II preparing for the future conflict between Germany and France. And also in France there was a constant patriotic revengeful attitude even in the general population because of the annexation of the Alsace-Lorraine after 1870 by Germany. And as such there were proponents of a preemptive strike against France from the beginning of the 20th century in Germany.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schlieffen_Plan#Activation_and_subsequent_failure


About the start of the German invasion in Belgium some primary sources:
http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/belgianreportongermanultimatum.htm
http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/belgium_germanrequest.htm


The Germans asked the Belgians for free passage of their armies on their way to invade France. All costs of the passing would be paid to the Belgian government and there would be in the future friendly links between the two governments...if the Belgians didn't agree there would be an armed invasion into Belgium.

And as known the Belgians refused, claiming the neutrality position of Belgium that was garanteed by the UK and among others also by Germany.

Kind regards, Paul.
Back to top Go down
PaulRyckier
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1444
Join date : 2012-01-01
Location : Belgium

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Sun 02 Oct 2016, 22:14

@Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
The Italians didn't actually "renege on the treaty" initially. It required them to assist Germany only if attacked by France, and to remain neutral in a Russia- Austria/Hungary war. They had a parallel agreement with France which meant that  if either were attacked the other would remain neutral. Any study of the A-H and Italian fleets would lead, in my view, to the conclusion that they fully expected a war. The Irredentists in Italy were never likely to pass up an opportunity to "liberate" the lost lands.
Did Britain ignore the neutrality of any countries? Well they definitely planned to in WWII, planning to seize the ore-exporting ports (Narvik in particular) in Norway which took the place of Lulea when the Baltic was frozen in winter, but were forestalled. I suppose the seizure of Madagascar, Iceland and the Faroes and operation Torch might qualify - but there again, the British recognised the "governments in exile"

 Gil, you are completely right and this is at the same time an answer to Temperance on her "Italian" question...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_history_of_Italy_during_World_War_I
And yes the small compensations that the Italians received for their big effort in WWI at the side of the Allies was one of the reasons for the ascendance of Benito Mussolini...
From wiki:
"Italy's representative in the Paris Peace Conference which led to the Versailles Treaty was Premier Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, considered one of the "Big Four" with President Woodrow Wilson of the United States, Prime Minister David Lloyd-George of the United Kingdom, and Premier Georges Clemenceau of the French Republic. After being stymied several times in pressing his nation's claims on Dalmatia and part of German colonies conquered by the Allies, he finally left the Conference in a boycott. The territorial gains were small in comparison to the cost of the war for Italy. The debt contracted to pay for the war's expenses was finally paid back only in the 1970s. The uncertain socio-economic situation caused heavy social strife which led to the Biennio rosso and later the rise of Fascism and its leader Benito Mussolini."

And you can perhaps say the same after the Versailles treaty, seen by most Germans rightly or wrongly as an unfair treaty, which gave later a great impetus to a certain Adolf Hitler.

But at the same time the Belgians got back to their neutrality in 1936 because they had seen by the occupation of the Ruhr together with France that it didn't paid off and that even their big French ally couldn't prevent that compensation for their sacrifices and the damage done to the Belgian infrastructure was not backed by the other former allies as for the application of the Versailles treaty.

Kind regards, Paul.
Back to top Go down
Vizzer
Decemviratus Legibus Scribundis
avatar

Posts : 753
Join date : 2012-05-12

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Sun 02 Oct 2016, 22:59

@Temperance wrote:
Did the British ever ignore a country's neutrality?

More so during the Second World War than during the First World War.

During the Second World War, the neutral countries Iceland, Denmark (Faroe Islands), southern Ireland, Egypt, Iraq and Iran had their neutrality violated by the UK to greater or lesser extents. The invasions of Iran and Iceland were probably the most explicit examples. In the case of Iran, it's quite incredible to think that the UK and the Soviet Union invaded and partitioned that country between themselves only 1 year and 11 months after Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union had invaded and partitioned Poland between themselves. The UK navy also interdicted the shipping of various other neutral countries during that war as it had done in other wars. For example it had been British interference of neutral American shipping during the Napoleonic War which was one of the triggers of the War of 1812.

The issue of neutral shipping and the international law of the sea during the First World War saw the neutrality of the Dutch East Indies also infringed even though the Netherlands (in Europe) remained untouched. The German light cruiser SMS Emden 'the most hunted ship in the world' was able to hide in the vast seas of the Indian and Pacific Oceans and along the sprawling coastline of the Indonesian archipelago to avoid detection. Emden is known to have intercepted uncoded Dutch messages relating to the movement and positions of UK naval ships in those waters and even disguise herself as a UK warship to confuse coastal spotters and even British merchantmen. As the UK navy was also regularly in breach of Dutch neutrality and territorial waters in the East Indies then this was easy enough for Emden to do.
Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2810
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Thu 06 Oct 2016, 13:40

Liege Forts, built in the 1890s to guard against a German invasion. In 1914, The forts were outclassed by new super-heavy artillery:



2009 aerial view of Fort d'Evegnee, shell craters still visible:

Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2810
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Thu 06 Oct 2016, 13:54

The original  "Big Bertha" ( the name was also used for the Paris Gun in 1918 ) was the 420mm siege howitzer used against the Liege Forts;

Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2810
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Thu 06 Oct 2016, 13:59

The effect of this firepower:

Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2810
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Thu 06 Oct 2016, 16:00

The debate started by Terence Zuber that the Schlieffen Plan was a 1920s invention to put the blame for the 1914 failures of the German Army on Moltke Jnr;

Schlieffen Plan Debate
Back to top Go down
PaulRyckier
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1444
Join date : 2012-01-01
Location : Belgium

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Thu 06 Oct 2016, 22:15

@Triceratops wrote:
The debate started by Terence Zuber that the Schlieffen Plan was a 1920s invention to put the blame for the 1914 failures of the German Army on Moltke Jnr;

Schlieffen Plan Debate


Thank you very much for this article Triceratops. I started to read it, but it seems endless Wink ...At least, without reading further, I searched for the controversy and found it here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terence_Zuber

 And it seems to be a discussion between history insiders, a bit too complex to make any judgements about it? I suppose?

Kind regards, Paul.
Back to top Go down
Vizzer
Decemviratus Legibus Scribundis
avatar

Posts : 753
Join date : 2012-05-12

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Sun 09 Oct 2016, 13:09

It's not really that complex a proposal Paul. What Zuber was saying was that the received narrative regarding the Schlieffen Plan and 'inflexible German militarism' was one which suited the needs of some of the victors (and also some of the vanquished) for several decades following the First World War.

If anything the Central Powers (and Germany in particular) were perhaps too flexible in terms of military strategy for much of that war. The self-defeating Battle of Verdun being a case in point. The subsequent Battle of the Somme, nevertheless, saw the German high command able to make root-and-branch and front-wide re-evaluations and tactical adjustments (even down to detailed unit level) to suit changing circumstances and even as the battle was taking place. This was highlighted in Peter Barton's excellent The Somme 1916 - From Both Sides of the Wire broadcast by the BBC a couple of months ago:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07lst9b

If anything the care and attention displayed by the German commanders towards their troops during the Somme contrasted markedly with the profligacy exhibited by their Allied counterparts. Of course, with 100 years' hindsight, it's very easy for us to say that the best strategy for the Central Powers in 1916 would have been to defensively stabilise the Western and Italian fronts and go all out against Russia. But then, war with Russia is a scary proposition for anyone. Bismarck had issued dire warnings against it. The instinct of the rulers and military planners in Berlin and Vienna in 1916 would, therefore, still have been to somehow seek to contain the Bear while settling with the Cockerel.
Back to top Go down
PaulRyckier
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1444
Join date : 2012-01-01
Location : Belgium

PostSubject: Re: The Central Powers Strategy for 1916   Sun 09 Oct 2016, 22:09

Thanks for the interesting reply Vizzer. I learned from your remarks on the defensive German thoughts.
About Zuber in the wiki they said that a lot of historians didn't agree with him. And I am not competent enough to discuss this controversy.

Kind regards from your friend Paul.
Back to top Go down
 

The Central Powers Strategy for 1916

View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Res Historica History Forum :: The history of people ... :: War and Conflict-