German focus on Russia in 1914.

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princeliberty10311517
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German focus on Russia in 1914.

Post by princeliberty10311517 » 06 Jun 2009 02:18

What if there had been good strategic planning by the Germans before WWI allowing them to easily change
their plans based on the political situations.

Thus, in 1914 to keep the English netural, they stay on the defensive in the West, they should be able to easily hold off the French. In fact the French would attack no matter what and the Germans could get them in very one sided bleeding contest.

This also means no blockage, no stravation in Germany. On the other hand, the Russians still have a hard time getting aid.
Meanwhile, the Germans mass the bulk of the forces with the Austrians and go after the Russians.

What is the best attack plan? What kind of success in 1914?

Any drawbacks to this strategy. It seems to me to be a no-brainer almost nothing argues against it and for invading the low countries and bringing in the English.

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Re: German focus on Russia in 1914.

Post by Baltasar » 07 Jun 2009 12:48

princeliberty10311517 wrote:What if there had been good strategic planning by the Germans before WWI allowing them to easily change their plans based on the political situations.
The Schlieffen-Plan was actually a quite sound thing, the Kaiserreich 'just' lacked the neccessary troops to make it happen.
Thus, in 1914 to keep the English netural, they stay on the defensive in the West, they should be able to easily hold off the French. In fact the French would attack no matter what and the Germans could get them in very one sided bleeding contest.
Nobody knew how modern, industrialized weapons would affect a large scale war yet, hence both sides used tactics which were not suited for that kind of warfare. Even if the Germans decided to remain defensive in the west, the Army would probably not order defensive structures to be built like in our timeline. There would probably have been the odd trench some wires, but that'd be it. Initially, it would've been the same clash-battles as in our timeline.
This also means no blockage, no stravation in Germany. On the other hand, the Russians still have a hard time getting aid. Meanwhile, the Germans mass the bulk of the forces with the Austrians and go after the Russians.
There is no guarantee that Britain would remain neutral during that conflict even if Germany didn't attack neutral Belgium. The British had no interest in seeing either France or Germany winning, because it would disrupt the balance of power on the continent. If France managed to push the Germans back, Britain would be less likely to join on their side, but if the French bled themselves dry while trying to cross Alsace-Lorraine, the British would rather want to help France.
If Germany and Austria were successful against Russia, Britain would be even more inclined to help France.
What is the best attack plan? What kind of success in 1914?

Any drawbacks to this strategy. It seems to me to be a no-brainer almost nothing argues against it and for invading the low countries and bringing in the English.
Historically, the Austrian army wasn't in a very good state, to say the least. The quality of troops varied greatly and the units were generally deployed far away from the area where they were raised, so in case of uprisings they would be less likely to side with rebels.
They had a lot of different languages which made coordination something of a challange of it's own.

Then there was the railway system. The Austrians only could transport so many troops to any front at any given time, which led to initial setbacks even against the relatively small forces Servia fielded and were much more of a drawback against Russia (on the other hand it meant that they could leave a rearguard near Italy because their logistics were quite pressed already). Germany also only could transport so many troops to any front; after reaching the front they would have to rely on whatever the Russians had built there... which wasn't really too much. Of course, the same rails which carry troops transports also need to carry supplies. The more troops you have at the front and the further away they are from railheads, the more supplies are needed, even without any fights at all. Thus the limiting factor in the east was the railroad capacity, not to mention the Russian armies which would want a word with whoever tried to catch a ride on the way to St. Petersburg.

Historically, the Germans decided to knock France out first, because of 1870. France had been beaten quite quickly in living memory and the Germans intended to repeat that. Of course, they didn't bother to consider what the French had to say about that. Also, the French army, even when fully mobilised, was smaller than the Russians and the railroad network through western europe was a lot better, so transports would be less of a problem. The French would be able to transport their troops a lot faster than the Russians but (hopefully) would still be slower mobilising their armies. Once France was beaten, the German armies could again use the trains and move eastwards, where the Russians probably were still trying to mobilize their troops.

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Re: German focus on Russia in 1914.

Post by glenn239 » 07 Jun 2009 16:29

Thus, in 1914 to keep the English netural, they stay on the defensive in the West, they should be able to easily hold off the French.
Any plan that does not account for the worst-case possibility, (Britain declares war, France and Britain invade the Belgian Ardennes, Belgium allies with France), is worse than useless.
Any drawbacks to this strategy. It seems to me to be a no-brainer almost nothing argues against it and for invading the Low Countries and bringing in the English.
The drawback to the plan is threefold, (1) Britain would have declared war on Germany even if Germany had not invaded Belgium and (2) by remaining on the defensive in the west, Germany surrendered the vital iron-ore deposits west of Metz to the enemy coalition, that then could break Germany’s ability to resist by way of interdicting iron-ore shipments from Sweden and (3) the industrial power of France is undisrupted, and Belgium's will weigh in on the side of the Entente.

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Re: German focus on Russia in 1914.

Post by Dave Bender » 07 Jun 2009 20:00

What if there had been good strategic planning by the Germans before WWI allowing them to easily change
their plans
There was. The Gross Ostaufmarsch plan was sitting in the file cabinet right next to the plan that Gen Moltke used historically. If Kaiser Bill had a bit more backbone as CiC he would have ordered Gen. Moltke to use the Gross Ostaufmarsch plan rather then leaving the choice up to Gen. Moltke.

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Re: German focus on Russia in 1914.

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 07 Jun 2009 22:00

Any good English language descriptions of the Gross Ostaufmarsch plan? Recomended reading? and, an you describe it a bit? :D

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Re: German focus on Russia in 1914.

Post by PeterOT » 08 Jun 2009 03:18

princeliberty10311517 wrote:What if there had been good strategic planning by the Germans before WWI allowing them to easily change
their plans based on the political situations.

Thus, in 1914 to keep the English netural, they stay on the defensive in the West, they should be able to easily hold off the French. In fact the French would attack no matter what and the Germans could get them in very one sided bleeding contest.

This also means no blockage, no stravation in Germany. On the other hand, the Russians still have a hard time getting aid.
Meanwhile, the Germans mass the bulk of the forces with the Austrians and go after the Russians.

What is the best attack plan? What kind of success in 1914?

Any drawbacks to this strategy. It seems to me to be a no-brainer almost nothing argues against it and for invading the low countries and bringing in the English.
Prince,

As others have explained, there are good reasons why the Germans went west in 1914. It offered the quickest path to victory - here's why:

While Russia had the bigger army, France was the greater threat (more modern, better logistics etc.). France was always going to mobilize more quickly & attack more quickly & effectively than the Russians. No matter whether Germany chose attack or defence on its western border it would have to devote a large force to the task. If they chose defence it would mean breaking one of the cardinal rules of war - dividing your force before superior numbers (yes, it works sometimes, but it is dangerous).

A Russian offensive would be slower & wasn't going to get anywhere near Germany's vital industrial centres. Thus, an offensive against France offered the best opportunity to concentrate force. Further, if France were knocked out of the war early (and it almost happened) there was a good chance that Britain & even Russia would come to terms. if not, Britain's blockade would take a while to bite, if at all (I can't imagine an armistice allowing France to be part of it). In the meantime Russia could be taken out of the war without Germany having to leave half its army in the west.

It also seems wildly unlikely that Italy would have joined the Allies had France been knocked out in 1914. Britain might have continued fighting the Turks & even attempting to send forces to southern Europe, but it was not going to be in a position to seriously influence ground combat on the continent. Depending on German terms a negotiated peace seems more likely.

As it turned out the German attack in France was not quite powerful enough & the Russians proved much better at mobilizing but much worse at fighting than expected. No one thought they would lose so catastrophically so early in the war. In retrospect is seems obvious that Russia could have been knocked out early, but that was far from clear at the time.

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Re: German focus on Russia in 1914.

Post by princeliberty10311517 » 08 Jun 2009 14:26

Dave Bender wrote:
What if there had been good strategic planning by the Germans before WWI allowing them to easily change
their plans
There was. The Gross Ostaufmarsch plan was sitting in the file cabinet right next to the plan that Gen Moltke used historically. If Kaiser Bill had a bit more backbone as CiC he would have ordered Gen. Moltke to use the Gross Ostaufmarsch plan rather then leaving the choice up to Gen. Moltke.
The British told the Germans in 1914 as the war was expanding to not invade the low countries. In fact, that say they would not go into the war if the Germans did not invade the low countries.

We know this from the back channel communications that are now public. At one point the Kaiser was ready to switch to an Eastern offensive game plan, Moltke even cried after the Kaiser told him to change plans (Moltke was so pathetic),

Moltke eventually whined enough so the Kaiser agreed to invade Belgium and bring Britian down on England.

Speed was mentioned as a reason for going after France. With no Britian in the war, time is on Germany's side instead of enemy. In fact, the smart thing to do is attack Russia before it has completed its slow moblization.

If Austria can only move so many forces do to the rail limitations, its much more the case with Russia.

Yes, there would be some danger that prehaps England changes it mind and joins in the war latter on.

But Germany probably gets one year at least of hammering Russia down.


How far does everybody think Germany with Austria could have gotten in 1914 both in territory conquered and losses inflicted on Russia?

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Re: German focus on Russia in 1914.

Post by glenn239 » 08 Jun 2009 17:24

In fact, that say they would not go into the war if the Germans did not invade the low countries.
False. Great Britain not only said nothing of the sort, but in fact specifically refused to assure Germany of Britain’s neutrality should Germany not invade Belgium.
How far does everybody think Germany with Austria could have gotten in 1914 both in territory conquered and losses inflicted on Russia?
A little better than historical. Nowhere near to victory. Now, your out of iron ore and your munitions minister is saying either Germany must seek peace or figure out how to make cannons out of concrete.

What do you do now?

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Re: German focus on Russia in 1914.

Post by maltesefalcon » 08 Jun 2009 17:35

If France is knocked out early ie by fall 1914 per the original game plan, it is likely Russia would sue for peace.

Without other support she would have to fight Austria and Germany for sure and perhaps Turkey in the south.

However knocking out Russia does not necessarily mean France and Britain would seek terms. In fact they did not in 1917 when Russia was out. (I know the situation was different in 1917, but each side had suffered losses)

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Re: German focus on Russia in 1914.

Post by princeliberty10311517 » 08 Jun 2009 17:45

glenn239 wrote:
In fact, that say they would not go into the war if the Germans did not invade the low countries.
False. Great Britain not only said nothing of the sort, but in fact specifically refused to assure Germany of Britain’s neutrality should Germany not invade Belgium.
How far does everybody think Germany with Austria could have gotten in 1914 both in territory conquered and losses inflicted on Russia?
A little better than historical. Nowhere near to victory. Now, your out of iron ore and your munitions minister is saying either Germany must seek peace or figure out how to make cannons out of concrete.

What do you do now?
Check out "Dreadnought and the coming of the great war" and the sections near the end on Germany and England going to war. England was VERY reluctant to go to war. If Germany plays defense in the West and does not invade the Low Countries - England back channel and internal discussions indicate England does not go to war.

Even the public record, England demanded Germany withdraw from Belgium and when they refused, England declares war.

Germany would not run out of anything if their is no blockage. The blockage probably did more harm to Germany that any other signal factor in their defeat.

Germany can win enough in 1914 to ensure that Russia can't go on the offensive, so that if England does come in 1915 in reaction to big German victories in the East. Then Germany could launch its big offensive in West with France already bleeding badly from a year of France banging is head against Alsace Lorraine and getting nowhere.

Germany would they start out with more resources at the beginning of the blockage. Plus, it will get a chance in 1914 to build a backload of imports in preparation for an English blockage.

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Re: German focus on Russia in 1914.

Post by princeliberty10311517 » 08 Jun 2009 17:47

maltesefalcon wrote:If France is knocked out early ie by fall 1914 per the original game plan, it is likely Russia would sue for peace.

Without other support she would have to fight Austria and Germany for sure and perhaps Turkey in the south.

However knocking out Russia does not necessarily mean France and Britain would seek terms. In fact they did not in 1917 when Russia was out. (I know the situation was different in 1917, but each side had suffered losses)
Obviously, its great and wonderful for Germany if France falls quickly in 1914.

I trying to explore what the 1914 German offensive in the East would look like.

As well considering English reaction to the different German moves.

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English description of Gross Ostaufmarsch

Post by Dave Bender » 08 Jun 2009 19:08

The guy who wrote this SPW game scenerio used to have a German language copy of the Gross Ostaufmarsch plan posted on his Yahoo web site. So I assume his OOB is pretty accurate.
http://www.spwgame.com/WWI/Files/Rules/ ... marsch.PDF

In a nutshell...
Five German armies attack into Poland (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 8th.)
Three German armies plus an army detachment defend in the west (5th, 6th, 7th plus 9th Army det).

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Re: German focus on Russia in 1914.

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 08 Jun 2009 19:42

Dave...thanks for the link. I'd always been curious about he other German plans, but never searched for them.

Did try a 'Ost' plan using the Guns of August game. It worked ok tho I dont think the game properly modeled the morale effect on the Russians of a series of constant defeats in 1914-15.

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Re: German focus on Russia in 1914.

Post by Dave Bender » 08 Jun 2009 21:56

morale effect on the Russians of a series of constant defeats in 1914-15
http://books.google.com/books?id=NLXu3w ... t#PPA50,M1
We can take a good guess as we have historical data for industrial worker strikes in St. Petersburg during 1914 to 1917. Large scale unrest started during September 1915 in the aftermath of the Gorlice-Tarnow disaster. Gross Ostaufmarsch is likely to be at least as damaging to Russia as Gorlice-Tarnow was. So there will be 100,000 or so St. Petersburg workers on strike during September 1914. Which may be a moot point if the Gross Ostaufmarsch steam roller drives all the way to St. Petersburg by following the main rail line from Vilna.

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Re: German focus on Russia in 1914.

Post by princeliberty10311517 » 09 Jun 2009 00:37

Carl Schwamberger wrote:Dave...thanks for the link. I'd always been curious about he other German plans, but never searched for them.

Did try a 'Ost' plan using the Guns of August game. It worked ok tho I dont think the game properly modeled the morale effect on the Russians of a series of constant defeats in 1914-15.

For the Russians it was not just how many men they lost in 1914-15. On paper, they all could be replaced.

But Russia lost most of their good troops and lost equipment that could not be replaced.

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