Schlieffen Plan - Wikipedia
Wars seldom follow the blueprints set out by commanders who apply past experience to present dilemmas. In World War One, past experience was largely . The Schlieffen Plan was the name given, after the First World War, to German war plans and Planned, – to – Planned by, Alfred von Schlieffen · Helmuth von Moltke the Younger. Objective, disputed. Date, 7 August Executed by. The plan was heavily modified by Schlieffen's successor, Helmuth von Moltke, Schlieffen Plan. German military history. Schlieffen Plan. date. location.
The fragmented and antagonistic character of German state institutions made the development of a grand strategy most difficult, because there was no body to co-ordinate foreign, domestic and war policy. The General Staff planned in a political vacuum and Schlieffen's weak position was exacerbated by his narrow military view. The General Staff devised deployment plans and its chief became de facto Commander-in-Chief if war began but in peace, command was vested in the commanders of the twenty army corps districts.
These commanders were independent of the General Staff Chief and trained soldiers according to their own devices. The German system of government was federal and the ministries of war of the constituent states controlled the forming and equipping of units, command and promotions.
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The system was inherently competitive and became more so after the Waldersee period, when the possibility increased of another Volkskrieg, a war of the nation in arms, rather than the few European wars fought by small professional armies, that had occurred after A big army would create more choices about how to fight a war and better weapons would make the army more formidable.
Mobile heavy artillery could help make up for numerical inferiority against a Franco-Russian coalition and smash fortifications. Schlieffen tried to make the army more operationally capable so that it was better than its potential enemies and rapidly could win a decisive victory.
The new national armies were so huge that battles would be spread over a much greater space than in the past and Schlieffen expected that army corps would fight Teilschlachten battle segments equivalent to the tactical engagements of smaller dynastic armies. Teilschlachten could occur anywhere as corps and armies closed with the opposing army and become a Gesamtschlacht complete battlein which the significance of the battle segments would be determined by the plan of the commander in chief, who would give operational orders to the corps, The success of battle today depends more on conceptual coherence than on territorial proximity.
Thus, one battle might be fought in order to secure victory on another battlefield. War against Francethe memorandum later known as the "Schlieffen Plan", was a strategy for a war of extraordinarily big battles, in which corps commanders would be independent in how they fought, provided that it was according to the intent of the commander in chief.
The commander led the complete battle, in the manner of commanders of the Napoleonic Wars. The war plans of the commander in chief, were intended to organise haphazard encounter battlesso that "the sum of these battles was more than the sum of the parts". Forcing the French from their frontier fortifications would be a slow and costly process that Schlieffen preferred to avoid by a flanking movement through Luxembourg and Belgium. Inthis was judged impractical because of a lack of manpower and mobile heavy artillery.
InSchlieffen added the manoeuvre to German war plans as a possibility if the French pursued a defensive strategy, because the German army was more powerful and byafter the Russian defeat in Manchuria, Schlieffen judged the army to be formidable enough to make the northern flanking manoeuvre the basis of a war plan against France alone. Schlieffen could contemplate leaving only a small force in the east and inwrote War against France which was taken up by his successor, Moltke the Younger and became the concept of the main German war plan from — The great mass of the German army would assemble in the west and the main force would be on the right wing.
An offensive in the north through Belgium and the Netherlands would lead to an invasion of France and a decisive victory.
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Even with the windfall of the Russian defeat in the Far East in and belief in the superiority of German military thinking, Schlieffen had reservations about the strategy and research published by Gerhard RitterEnglish edition in showed that the memorandum went through six drafts. Schlieffen considered other possibilities inusing war games to model a Russian invasion of east Germany against a smaller German army.
At the end of the year, Schlieffen played a war game of a two-front war, in which the German army was evenly divided and defended against invasions by the French and Russians and where victory first occurred in the east. Schlieffen was open-minded about a defensive strategy and the political advantages of the Entente being the aggressor, not just the "military technician" portrayed by Ritter. The variety of the war games showed that Schlieffen took account of circumstances; if the French attacked Metz and Strasbourg, the decisive battle would be fought in Lorraine.
Ritter wrote that invasion was a means to an end not an end in itself, as did Terence Zuber in and the early s. In the strategic circumstances ofwith the Russian army and the Tsarist state in turmoil after the defeated in Manchuria, the French would not risk open warfare and the Germans would have to force them out of the border fortress zone.
The studies in demonstrated that this was best achieved by a big flanking manoeuvre through the Netherlands and Belgium. In Aufmarsch I, Germany would have to attack to win such a war, which entailed all of the German army being deployed on the German—Belgian border to invade France through Limburgthe southern province of the NetherlandsBelgium and Luxembourg.
French knowledge about German intentions might prompt them to retreat to evade an envelopment that could lead to Ermattungskrieg, a war of exhaustion and leave Germany exhausted, even if it did eventually win. A report on hypothetical French ripostes against an invasion, concluded that since the French army was six times larger than inthe survivors from a defeat on the frontier could make counter-outflanking moves from Paris and Lyon, against a pursuit by the German armies.Who Started World War I: Crash Course World History 210
Despite his doubts, Moltke the Younger retained the concept of a big enveloping manoeuvre, because of changes in the international balance of power. The Japanese victory in the Russo-Japanese War — weakened the Russian army and the Tsarist state and made an offensive strategy against France more realistic for a time.
ByRussian rearmament, army reforms and reorganisation, including the creation of a strategic reserve, made the army more formidable than before Railway building reduced the time needed for mobilisation and a "war preparation period" was introduced by the Russians, to provide for mobilisation to begin with a secret order, reducing mobilisation time further.
He decided that France was the enemy to be defeated first, with Russia held off until the French were annihilated. That northernmost force would consist of 5 cavalry divisions, 17 infantry corps, 6 Ersatzkorps replacement corpsand a number of Landwehr reserve and Landsturm men over the age of 45 brigades.
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Those forces were to wheel south and east after passing through neutral Belgiumturning into the flanks and rear of the hardened French defenses along the German border. The third group would concentrate on the most-southern right wing, with eight corps, five reserve corps, and Landwehr brigades, with the help of two mobile cavalry divisions. The last group consisted of three cavalry divisions, three infantry corps, two Ersatzkorps, and a reserve corps on the left wing.
That last group was to block any French attempt to counterattack, and it could be detached and transported to the extreme right if necessary. The manpower ratio was 7: Ideally, you want to eat as clean as possible; that is. Minho asked, Oh, this school is to big for me, I don t even know defniition my next class is I said, What class do you have next.
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