This is an apolitical forum for discussions on the Axis nations, as well as the First and Second World Wars in general hosted by Marcus Wendel's Axis History Factbook in cooperation with Michael Miller's Axis Biographical Research and Christoph Awender's WW2 day by day.
Did Fay or Albertini have much to say on the military planning & preparations which mandated this inappropriate response to squabble over Serbia between the three absolutist monarchs?
Terry Duncan wrote:The only things "intended in advance" were to keep the right wing as strong as possible and the left wing on the defensive.
Really? So far we have seen no convincing evidence to support this view, only assertions that a dead general said this some eight years earlier. If this is true, why were the left wing armies still retaining their full compliment of cavalry and heavy artillery when these units would have been so much more valuable on the right wing? Why did Schlieffen instruct the Bavarian Army to prepare for an offensive from their position on the left wing during his last year in office? At the very least the information we have is contradictory.If the withdrawal of a modest number of troops from the western armies was intended in advance, isn't this classic warfare on interior lines? If so isn't the pursuit of the French the point where the strategy went wrong, rather than the Marne where it went into reverse?
This is the latest conclusion reached by Terrence Zuber, who notes that the French could have retired to their internal lines even if they did not stand at the Marne and this would lead the Germans off on a wild goose chase where their supply lines were increasingly fragile. He believes Schlieffen intended to shuttle troops east rather than pursue to the Marne, to fight on interior lines as you say, and that it was by following Moltke the Elder's practice of improvising and launching into a pursuit of the French that Moltke the Younger made his mistakes.
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