joefromchicago
 
  6  
Reply Tue 9 Sep, 2014 06:17 pm
9 AUGUST 1914

WESTERN FRONT: Helmuth von Moltke, the chief of the German general staff, has been out of communication with the 1st and 2nd armies for several days. Finally, a staff officer, Lt. Col. Richard Hentsch, is sent to the front on 8 September and discovers that the Allies have broken through the gap between the two armies and that the German troops, weary after weeks of marching and fighting, are in danger of being surrounded. Acting on Moltke's instructions, Hentsch, on 9 September, orders the armies to withdraw.



Moltke was not only out of touch with the lead units of German right wing (a consequence of the rapid advance through Belgium and France), but reports suggest that he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. No doubt the news of the horrific casualty figures from the battle didn't help the general's condition. Each side suffered approximately 250,000 casualties in about a week of fighting, a total larger than the all of casualties incurred in the entire Franco-German War.

http://p3.storage.canalblog.com/38/94/41681/78892598_o.jpg
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  5  
Reply Sun 14 Sep, 2014 08:35 pm
14 SEPTEMBER 1914

WESTERN FRONT: As German forces withdraw from the Marne, behind the lines there is a shakeup of the German high command. Helmuth von Moltke, who bears the blame for the failure of the Schlieffen Plan, is quietly replaced as chief of the general staff by the Prussian minister of war, Erich von Falkenhayn. The Germans do not bother to inform their allies, the Austro-Hungarians, of this switch.



With the Germans in retreat, this is a good time to evaluate the possibility of success for the Schlieffen Plan. It is the general consensus of the historical community that the plan could not have succeeded, even as originally envisioned, and there's a good deal of merit in that conclusion. The march through Belgium and northern France turned out to be a logistical nightmare, as the right wing soon found itself out of supply and far from its railheads. Communication with the front also proved daunting, as was seen at the Battle of the Marne, where the 1st and 2nd armies were out of touch with the general headquarters for several crucial days. These logistical challenges would have, if anything, been even greater if the Germans had adhered to the Schlieffen Plan as it had originally been drafted.

In addition, the plan rested on the assumption that France would surrender if the Germans occupied Paris. That had been the case in 1871, but in that war France fought alone. Forty-three years later, in contrast, the French had allies, and there is no reason to suppose that France would have simply given up once Paris had fallen. The Schlieffen Plan, however, made no allowance for the possibility that the French wouldn't surrender. There was, in short, no post-Schlieffen Plan. As such, the Germans uncharacteristically ignored the lesson of Clausewitz, who taught that the enemy's "center of gravity" is always its army, not any geographical point.

On the other hand, the German advance came remarkably close to succeeding, at least in its immediate aim of capturing Paris, and credit goes to Joffre, whose strict adherence to the French Plan XVII proved disastrous in the opening phases of the campaign, for eventually transferring forces from the frontiers to the Paris sector and then switching to the offensive. Indeed, had the Germans been less successful in Lorraine, it might have been impossible for the French to disengage and send the necessary reinforcements to cover Paris. The Schlieffen Plan, in fact, envisioned that the German left would retreat in order to draw the French further into their lost provinces, but that proved to be politically impossible for Moltke.

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02583/Kaiser-Wilhelm_ii_2583688b.jpg
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  5  
Reply Mon 15 Sep, 2014 06:41 pm
15 SEPTEMBER 1914

WESTERN FRONT: British attacks along the Aisne River fail to dislodge the retreating German 1st Army as both sides begin to dig trenches. The German 7th Army, transferred from the now quiet Alsatian front, is rushed into the line and plugs the gap between the 1st and 2nd armies in time to stop an assault by Franchet d'Espèrey's 5th Army.



The open-field fighting in the opening months of the war had led to casualties on a hitherto unimaginable scale. After the Battle of the Marne, both sides, bloodied and exhausted, began to dig in - the beginnings of the continuous trench line that stretched from the English Channel to the Swiss border. It wasn't easy, though, as neither side had adequately equipped its forces with entrenching tools, and most had to manage with shovels, pickaxes, and other implements "borrowed" from the local inhabitants.

http://cdn.historyextra.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/800px_530px/gallery/Pendant%20la%20bataille%20de%20l%27Aisne,%201914,%20Colour%20lithograph,%20no.%2010%20in%20the%20series%20La%20Grande%20Guerre,%20Photo%20copyright%20Fitzwilliam%20Museum,%20Cambridge.jpg
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  6  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2014 07:59 pm
17 SEPTEMBER 1914

WESTERN FRONT: As the Allied attacks along the Aisne come to an inconclusive end, the rival armies begin to extend their lines northward in an attempt to flank their opponents. This series of moves and counter-moves becomes known as the Race to the Sea, which will only end when the front line reaches the Channel.


http://www.historyofwar.org/Maps/race_to_sea.gif
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  6  
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2014 11:43 am
22 SEPTEMBER 1914

NORTH SEA: A British squadron composed of the armored cruisers Aboukir, Cressy, and Hogue, is spotted off the Dutch coast by the commander of the German submarine U-9, Lt. Otto Weddigen. At 6:20 a.m., the U-9 fires a single torpedo which strikes the Aboukir amidships, flooding the engine room and leaving her adrift and listing. The Aboukir's captain, thinking his ship has hit a mine, calls for the rest of the squadron to come to the Aboukir's aid. Weddigen, meanwhile, has lined up his next target, and fires two torpedoes at the Hogue at a range of 300 yards. Both torpedoes find their target, and the Hogue capsized and sank in ten minutes. The U-9 turns and fires her aft tubes at the Cressy, which had spotted the sub and had tried to ram it. One of the torpedoes hits but does not seriously damage the Cressy, and the cruiser's captain, thinking that he had sunk the U-9, returns to retrieve survivors. Weddigen then fires his last remaining torpedo, which strikes the Cressy and causes it to sink within 15 minutes. In all, Weddigen sinks three cruisers in about 1.5 hours, resulting in the loss of 1,459 officers and seamen.



The action of 22 September 1914 was perhaps the greatest single setback suffered by the British navy since the Battle of Beachy Head in 1690. It was caused by a number of factors, not least of which was a cavalier attitude among the officer corps toward the submarine threat, even after the sinking of the HMS Pathfinder on 5 September. The loss of three cruisers to a single sub was a huge blow to the royal navy's prestige.

Weddigen, on the other hand, was feted as a hero when he returned home. He received the Iron Cross, first class from the kaiser himself, and a medal was struck in his honor.

In an odd twist, a 15-year-old midshipman aboard the Aboukir, Wenman Wykeham-Musgrave, earned the possibly unique distinction of surviving the sinking of three ships on the same day. Rescued from the wreckage of the Aboukir, he transferred to the Hogue just as it was torpedoed. He then was hauled aboard the Cressy before it too sank. Ultimately, he was rescued by Dutch fishermen. Wykeham-Musgrave not only survived the war, but went on to serve in the Second World War as well. He died in 1989.

https://padresteve.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/livebait_pc_weddigen1.jpg

http://ahoy.tk-jk.net/MoreImages7/MedalOttoWeddingen.jpg
panzade
 
  4  
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2014 12:54 pm
@joefromchicago,
Wonderful post on a stellar thread.
Strengthens my resolve to stay 0n A2K despite the garbage posted daily.
Thanks Joe
Walter Hinteler
 
  4  
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2014 01:18 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
Weddigen, on the other hand, was feted as a hero when he returned home. He received the Iron Cross, first class from the kaiser himself, and a medal was struck in his honor.
Weddingen later got a new U-boat (U 29) was killed on 18 March 1915 when U 29 sank after being rammed by the British mammoth HMS Dreadnought.
http://i60.tinypic.com/2w6xs1l.jpg
(The Dreadnought is the only battleship ever to sink a submarine.)
Walter Hinteler
 
  3  
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2014 01:26 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
The house where Weddingen was born, was formerly known as "Weddingenhaus". Since it's now owned by the Protestant Church, it got back its medieval original name.
Wikipedia (There's still a memorial plate for him, see photo down on the wiki page)
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2014 01:28 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:
Weddingen later got a new U-boat (U 29) was killed on 18 March 1915 when U 29 sank after being rammed by the British mammoth HMS Dreadnought.

That's a story for another day Wink
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2014 01:54 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
It was caused by a number of factors, not least of which was a cavalier attitude among the officer corps toward the submarine threat, even after the sinking of the HMS Pathfinder on 5 September.

I wrote this thinking that I had mentioned the Pathfinder in my entry for 5 September. I didn't. Anyway, the Pathfinder, a scout cruiser (a sort of cruiser-lite rather than a light cruiser) was torpedoed off the coast of Scotland by the U-21, commanded by Otto Hersing, resulting in the loss of all but a handful of the ship's 268-man complement. It was the first time that a ship had been sunk in wartime by a motorized torpedo (the USS Housatonic was sunk by a torpedo in the Civil War, but that was a non-motorized spar torpedo). The site of the Pathfinder has recently been explored, where a memorial wreath was placed on the centenary of its sinking.

http://i.imgur.com/enjWkvk.jpg
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  4  
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2014 02:00 pm
@panzade,
panzade wrote:

Wonderful post on a stellar thread.
Strengthens my resolve to stay 0n A2K despite the garbage posted daily.
Thanks Joe

Thanks. It's going to be a long slog through the trenches. I appreciate the company.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  5  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2014 06:41 am
29 SEPTEMBER 1914

EASTERN FRONT: Four days after being named commander of all German troops on the Eastern Front, Hindenburg, assisted by his top aide, Ludendorff, orders the 9th Army, in coordination with the Austro-Hungarian 1st Army, to advance from Silesia into Russian Poland. The offensive is designed to relieve pressure on the Austro-Hungarians and to forestall a feared Russian thrust into Silesia.



The Austro-Hungarian army had been thrown into disarray in the aftermath of the Battle of Rava Ruska, with a contingent of over 100,000 men invested by the Russians in the fortress-city of Przemysl.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x241/Alanp_photo/WWI/Niko-Lausrussiantsarwithlouseonback.jpg
Walter Hinteler
 
  3  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2014 08:09 am
@joefromchicago,
"Laus in den Pelz setzen" is a play on words with "Nikolaus" (Niko-Laus), and means something similar to "I've landed in the soup". ("Laus" = 'louse')
joefromchicago
 
  5  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2014 08:32 am
@Walter Hinteler,
The "louse" here is clearly Serbia, with Tsar Nicholas lamenting that, by backing Serbia, he has roused the enmity of Germany and Austria-Hungary, so the meaning is probably something along the lines of "I've really caused a lot of trouble for myself" (lit: "I've placed a nice louse in my hide").

(in case the link disappears, the image is of a German postcard showing German and Austro-Hungarian soldiers chasing after Tsar Nicholas (Niko-laus), whose fur robe carries a very prominent louse labelled "Serbia," with the card bearing the caption "Da habe ich mir ja eine nette Laus in den Pelz gesetzen")
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2014 09:11 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
the meaning is probably something along the lines of "I've really caused a lot of trouble for myself" (lit: "I've placed a nice louse in my hide").
Not just probably, but that seems to be totally correct.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2014 07:23 pm
9 OCTOBER 1914

WESTERN FRONT: After a siege lasting nearly two weeks, the Belgian city of Antwerp surrenders to the Germans.



The Belgian army, outmanned and outgunned by the invading Germans, did little else but retreat during the opening month of the war. Belgium, however, was still officially neutral and not allied with France and the UK. That left few options for the army, which ended up retreating to Antwerp, near the Dutch border. To invest the city, Germany assigned mostly second-line units, but those troops still might have tipped the balance at the Marne. The Germans began shelling the city at the end of September, and despite being reinforced by a British division, the decision was made to evacuate the bulk of the troops to the west along the Channel coast. About 30,000 Belgian troops surrendered to the Germans on 10 October, a day after the city's civilian authorities capitulated.

http://mentalfloss.com/sites/default/files/styles/insert_main_wide_image/public/gun_transport.jpg

0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2014 07:52 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
From page one:

Walter Hinteler wrote:

...
...it brought gains for other regions - from the rise of the United States...


What were the mechanics of this?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2014 07:04 pm
12 OCTOBER 1914

WESTERN FRONT: The contending armies, after weeks of continuous fighting as they attempted to outflank each other, run out of room and into the English Channel. The front line now stretches unbroken from the Channel to the Swiss border, and there is no other strategy left but the frontal assault. The BEF, situated on the northern end of the Allied line, launch an offensive in the area of the Messines Ridge in an attempt to punch through what General French thinks is a weak point in the German position.



The British occupied the same real estate in northeastern France for the duration of the war, which meant that they would fight over the same territory multiple times. The offensive in 1914 prominently featured names such as Ypres, Messines, and the Yser River for the first time, but it wouldn't be the last. The BEF continued the offensive for the better part of the month, with little to show for it but a large casualty list. That also wouldn't be the last time that happened in the war.

http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/lookandlearn-preview/XD/XD134/XD134835.jpg
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2014 11:18 am
29 OCTOBER 1914

EASTERN FRONT: In the early morning hours of 29 October, Admiral Wilhelm Souchon, late of the German Imperial Navy and now commander of the Turkish fleet, leads a raid against Odessa and other Russian Black Sea ports. The former German ships Goeben and Breslau play a prominent role as the Turks sink several Russian ships and cause considerable damage to Odessa.



In the run-up to the war, the Turks attempted to forge an alliance with the western powers, which included an unlikely rapprochement with traditional rival Russia. Constantinople, however, was rebuffed, and so turned immediately to Germany. Berlin had made inroads into the Middle East with the Baghdad railway, but had not been enthusiastic about entering into a military alliance with the "Sick Man of Europe." Germany's calculations, however, changed in July 1914, and an alliance was quickly sealed at the beginning of August.

http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4794/396/1600/S.M.S.%20Goeben%20und%20Breslau%20Constantinopel.jpg
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2014 11:41 am
One of the things which i have enjoyed about this thread is the graphic component. Heroic stereotypes of the patriotic soldier. Illustrated news layouts with cameo portraits of the major players. Idealized lithos of the irresistible advance of our beloved soldiers. It certainly was a different world in many ways that may not be immediately obvious to people of our times. I recall one photograph of a mounted Russian officer displaying a portrait of the Tsar, and the soldiers, uncovered, on their knees before the mere portrait of their ruler, as ordained by god. It was a very different world in 1914.
 

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