Lets build the Battle of the Frontiers

Discussions on all aspects of the First World War not covered in the other sections. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
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xristar
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Re: Lets build the Battle of the Frontiers

Post by xristar » 28 Jan 2016 10:43

A very nice animated map of the fighting in August-September. The site also has situation maps up to 1916.
Here's the battle of frontiers segment.
http://www.carto1418.fr/anim-batfrontieres-mini.php

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tramonte
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Re: Lets build the Battle of the Frontiers

Post by tramonte » 28 Jan 2016 12:41

"About 465,000 German soldiers died each year of the war. German losses were worst in 1914, the first year of the war, and September 1914 was the bloodiest month of the whole war, when German units suffered losses of about 16.8 percent. In August and September 1914, according to the Sanitätsbericht, 54,064 German soldiers were killed, and an astonishing 81,193 went missing.[15] In 1914, losses on the Eastern Front were actually higher than on the Western Front, though very quickly the situation was reversed, and deaths in the west were regularly higher than in the east. "

http://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.ne ... es_germany

"Military death clock"

1914 142,502 (absolutely too low, real figures about 400 000)
1915 628,445 (more likely deaths of 1914-15 are still lagging behind)
1916 963,501 (likely more than one million)
1917 1,271,273 (less military deaths than in any other year)
1918 1,621,035 (likely more than 1 900 000)
Adjusted total as of 1933 1,900,876 ( there are studies suggesting that total deaths have been little bit over 2 million)

Until recently, the eastern theater of the First World War was what Winston Churchill called “the Unknown War.” It was not overlooked, as other fronts were, but unknown; while people knew of some battles (Tannenberg), the assumption was that the Eastern Front was simply a mirror of the Western Front. Instead of trench warfare and stalemate, however, the Eastern Front was the war everyone expected: it featured mass armies making sweeping movements, breakthroughs leading to tremendous advances, and innovation in both tactics and technology. Yet while the conflict proved decisive for both Russia and Austria-Hungary, the ultimate decision came elsewhere.
"Military history is nothing but a tissue of fictions and legends, only a form of literary invention; reality counts for very little in such affair."

- Gaston de Pawlowski, Dans les rides du front

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xristar
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Re: Lets build the Battle of the Frontiers

Post by xristar » 28 Jan 2016 17:14

tramonte wrote: In 1914, losses on the Eastern Front were actually higher than on the Western Front, though very quickly the situation was reversed, and deaths in the west were regularly higher than in the east.
For whom? Not Germany. In 1914 German commitment to the west and accordingly the casualties sustained were much bigger than the east. The claim that "in 1914, losses on the Eastern Front were actually higher than on the Western Front" is possibly true (I haven't checked) if you add the German to the Austrian dead.

ljadw
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Re: Lets build the Battle of the Frontiers

Post by ljadw » 28 Jan 2016 21:55

tramonte wrote:"About 465,000 German soldiers died each year of the war. German losses were worst in 1914, the first year of the war, and September 1914 was the bloodiest month of the whole war, when German units suffered losses of about 16.8 percent. In August and September 1914, according to the Sanitätsbericht, 54,064 German soldiers were killed, and an astonishing 81,193 went missing.[15] In 1914, losses on the Eastern Front were actually higher than on the Western Front, though very quickly the situation was reversed, and deaths in the west were regularly higher than in the east. "

http://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.ne ... es_germany

"Military death clock"

1914 142,502 (absolutely too low, real figures about 400 000)
1915 628,445 (more likely deaths of 1914-15 are still lagging behind)
1916 963,501 (likely more than one million)
1917 1,271,273 (less military deaths than in any other year)
1918 1,621,035 (likely more than 1 900 000)
Adjusted total as of 1933 1,900,876 ( there are studies suggesting that total deaths have been little bit over 2 million)

Until recently, the eastern theater of the First World War was what Winston Churchill called “the Unknown War.” It was not overlooked, as other fronts were, but unknown; while people knew of some battles (Tannenberg), the assumption was that the Eastern Front was simply a mirror of the Western Front. Instead of trench warfare and stalemate, however, the Eastern Front was the war everyone expected: it featured mass armies making sweeping movements, breakthroughs leading to tremendous advances, and innovation in both tactics and technology. Yet while the conflict proved decisive for both Russia and Austria-Hungary, the ultimate decision came elsewhere.
I like to see the proof for your claim that Germany lost 400000 deaths in 1914 = only 4 months .

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Re: Lets build the Battle of the Frontiers

Post by doogal » 21 Jan 2017 22:37

Rupprecht's and Heeringen's Armies had been temporarily subordinated to a single staff, headed by General Krafft von Delmensingen.
-From John Keegan's The First World War Pimlico edition, 1998, England.
If the above quote is representational of what actually occurred to the command structure of the 6th & 7th German Armies, why could this single staff solution not have been institued for Klucks 1st and Bulows 2nd Army as according to the original intention of Moltke (the younger) they were the real centre of gravity.

Also Rupprechts decision to petition Moltke to counter attack the French seems vain glorious and not based on any real appreciation of the overall situation on the western front. Surely being drawn into a premature offensive against a heavily defended fortified region so soon after scoring a heavy defensive success was rash and ill considered.

A stiffer neck from Moltke and less glory hunting from a Prince combined with better co-ordination and direction on the main axis of advance would have yielded a more positive outcome........

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Re: Lets build the Battle of the Frontiers

Post by tigre » 27 May 2017 02:17

Hello to all :D; a little complement.............................

THE REPULSE AT SARREBOURG.

French public opinion was uneasy in mid-August 1914, for the Germans had been sweeping across eastern Belgium toward France for more than a week. News accounts carried no early hope for arresting the tide. The public disquiet, however, was not reflected in the high command of the French Army, where General Joseph Jacques Joffre had nearly completed concentration of his armies. To Joffre, Plan XVII still looked good, and he was ready to arm its offensive-minded philosophy with the steel and flesh to upset the Germans’ strategic plans and transfer the theater of war to the Rhine.

To General Auguste Dubail’s French First Army went the honor of Ieading the counteroffensive designed to throw the German left wing off balance. His four corps assembled in the region southeast of Luneville, Dubail received his final operational instructions on the evening of 13 August. Jumping off at dawn the next day, First Army would march rapidly into German eastern Lorraine and northern Alsace, into the area defended by Colonel General Josias von Heeringen’s German Seventh Army. Supported on his left by two corps of Second Army, Dubail was to clear the region around Sarrebourg and establish French control of several key river valleys in the Vosges Mountains southeast of Sarrebourg.

Joffre wrote:

I call only attention to the fact that your army may encounter strong defenses. Your attacks will have to be well coordinated and organized in depth. I am placing absolute dependence upon you to assure the success of this operation. You must succeed, and to do so you must throw all you have into it.

The First and Second Armies were marching toward a bloody checkmate of almost apocalyptic proportions in Lorraine. The Sarre (or Saar) River winds northward through a placid countryside where the average person speaks two languages, where family names like Schmidt and Schneider match easily with given names like Pierre and Emile. It is a land of winding roads, small wooded hills, and lake-reservoirs. Here, abound churches of the Roman CathoIic and Reformed faiths. Nearly every town has two names, one to please the German ear, another the French. In such an environment General von Heeringen was to fashion the repulse at Sarrebourg.

At 06:00 hours on 14 August the First Army marched .toward the German frontier on a front of 50 kilometers (see Figure 1). Against negligible German resistance the VIII and XIII Corps drew up just south of Sarrebourg at nightfall 17 August, while the XIV and XXI Corps were mastering the Alsatian highland valleys. Dubail began at once to plan the capture of Sarrebourg.

Fall of Sarrebourg.

At 0800 on 18 August General Dubail telegraphed Second Army Headquarters to make sure of its flanking support in the coming rush on Sarrebourg. Second Army, Dubail thought, could best help by shoving a detachment forward to Berthelming, on the left flank of VIII Corps’ line of march. Second Army’s chief, General the Vicomte Edouard de Curières de Castelnau, thereupon startled Dubail by questioning his need for flank support.

“GHQ learned last night that Sarrebourg was probably evacuated,” Castelnau telephoned back at 0945. However, faced with Dubail’s protests, he agreed to place a regiment of infantry at Diane-Capelle ( see Figure 1 ) by midafternoon to assure liaison between the two armies.

During this exchange of messages the VIII and XIII Corps were moving forward. While one regiment of VIII Corps was occupying deserted Sarrebourg at 1430, the main body of the corps drew up along a line extending eastward from Kerprich-aux-Bois to the Sarre at the north outskirts of Sarrebourg. Simultaneously, XIII Corps was taking up the line Schneckenbusch—Brouderdorff—Plain-de-Valsch.

During the day the cavalry corps, detailed from Second Army under General Louis-Napoleon Conneau, galloped across the region hoping to reconnoiter east of the Sarre River. Having passed through Langatte and Haut-Clocher, it found German resistance too strong to permit crossing the river between Sarraltroff and Oberstinzel. By evening the tired horsemen were back in bivouac at Gondrexange, mission unaccomplished.

Source: THE REPULSE AT SARREBOURG. Dr. Leslie Anders. Associate Professor of History, Central Missouri State College. Military Review March 1959.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Lets build the Battle of the Frontiers

Post by tigre » 03 Jun 2017 12:37

Hello to all :D; a little more.............................

THE REPULSE AT SARREBOURG.

Plans Amid Anxieties.

On the morning of the 18th Joffre had begun sending Dubail detailed instructions as to the operations that would follow the seizure of Sarrebourg. Joffre urged development of strong positions around the city and the pushing forward of strong elements toward Fénétrange and Berthelming, on the left, and toward Phalsbourg, on the right, in such a manner that effective enemy counterattacks might be frustrated. In this situation, Joffre thought, Dubail could do without the cavalry corps. Also, that evening Joffre called for reopening the railroad from Avricourt to Sarrebourg.

Reports on the enemy received in First and Second Army Headquarters during the day tended to confirm the precipitate retreat on Fénétrange by General the Ritter von Xylander’s Bavarian I Corps, the morale of which was represented as very poor. But the cavalry patrols of VIII Corps, slashing at German infantry around Gosselming and St. Jean-de-Bussel, reported that the bridge over the Sarre at Oberstinzel was barricaded and held in force. About sundown VIII Corps reported the presence of German infantry detachments on the left bank of the Sarre north of Dolving and of considerable other German forces, some digging in on a ridge overlooking the right bank at Sarraltroff, and others at Reding.

German positions were reported in VIII Corps as being well-organized between Sarrebourg and Phalsbourg, and facing southwestward. The enemy had heavy artillery emplaced just to the east of Sarrebourg between Eich and Reding. Moreover, according to other reports, the II and III Bavarian Corps had been detrained around Saverne on 17 August. These corps, however, actually were destined for the German Sixth Army front facing Castelnau. Also, during the 18th, aerial reconnaissance detected important enemy formations between Saverne and Sarrebourg, consisting of at least a brigade and possibly a division, with artillery, at Arschwiller, as well as several battalions and batteries around Haarberg.

In summary, as Dubail reported to Joffre at 20:30 PM the 18th, the enemy was holding the heights northeast of Sarrebourg, with infantry and heavy artillery; the region of Hommarting and Guntzwiller, together with the route from Phalsbourg, was bristling with trench lines protecting the routes that reinforcements from the east would most likely follow. Major formations of German forces were known to be moving toward Sarrebourg from the east. Remarkably accurate intelligence reports, simultaneously received, indicated that the German XIV Corps had passed the Rhine moving in the direction of Phalsbourg.

Confronted with this information and by reports of considerable German activity in the Vosges Mountains to the southeast, General Dubail concluded that his forces would be facing a strong enemy counterattack in a matter of hours not only on the flanks of the troops operating around Sarrebourg but also in the Alsatian highlands. He decided that with elements of the VIII Corps he would assault the heights to the northeast of Sarrebourg, with the purpose of pinning down enemy forces in that sector and drawing more of them there, whiIe the XIII Corps and the bulk of the XXI Corps awaited the enemy counteroffensive and held their counterpunches ready.

He resolved, therefore, that the VIII Corps would attack the heights along the right bank of the Sarre, between Reding and Sarraltroff, with one division, while covering itself toward Delving by use of a detachment from the XVI Corps (Second Army) sent to Diane-Capelleon the 18th. The remaining division of VIII Corps, at the moment in army reserve, would assure liaison with the XIII Corps. This latter corps would be required to take up positions along the line from Schneckenbusch to Plain-de-Valsch with advanced guards, while stationing the main body of its two divisions around Nitting and Voyer. XIII Corps was under strict instructions from Dubail to avoid battle until the army commander passed along the word. To the right, the XXI Corps, shorn of one division but reinforced by the Colonial Brigade, would occupy the line Plain-de-Valsch — Walscheid in division strength and hold a brigade toward Abreschwiller at the disposition of the army commander. Dubail instructed the XXI Corps to keep a strong flank guard out to its right.

Following receipt of Dubail’s telephoned estimate of enemy activity at 20:30 hours, Joffre promptly extended for another day First Army’s use of the cavalry corps and called on Second Army to hold itself in readiness to support the operations of the First Army should the enemy counterattack develop as anticipated there.

Source: THE REPULSE AT SARREBOURG. Dr. Leslie Anders. Associate Professor of History, Central Missouri State College. Military Review March 1959.
http://www.crdp-strasbourg.fr/data/hist ... ?parent=62

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Lets build the Battle of the Frontiers

Post by tigre » 10 Jun 2017 16:18

Hello to all :D; a little more.............................

THE REPULSE AT SARREBOURG.

Push From Sarrebourg.

The forward movement of the First Army between 14 and 18 August had brought it to grips with the main German force, including Xylander’s Bavarian I Corps, along-the Sarre, and the XIV and XV German Corps, also of Heeringen’s army, to the east and south. On 19 August, the first day of the Battle of Sarrebourg, the French advance hit its first serious obstacles.

In VIII Corps the 16th Infantry Division had the mission of seizing the heights on the right bank of the river, from Reding to Sarraltroff, with the support of the corps artillery and the Army’s heavy guns, and with its left flank secured by Castelnau’s reinforcements at Diane-Capelle. To effect better flank coverage in the changing situation, the commander of VIII Corps, General Marie-Joseph de Castelli, instructed the regiment at Diane-Capelle to move up to Delving. The 15th Division was standing in reserve just to the southwest of the outskirts of Sarrebourg.

On the morning of the 19th the 16th Division struck (see Figure 2). Its right brigade (the 31st) marching from Bühl, moved on Eich and Reding; its left brigade (32d) moved toward Sarraltroff from positions on the left hank of the Sarre north of Sarrebourg. On the extreme left the XVI Corps detachment, having left Diane-Capelle at 0800, marched toward Langatte.

The onslaught of the 31st Brigade carried to the outskirts of Eich, before a hail of enemy artillery fire destroyed its momentum. The 32d Brigade, with great difficulty, attained positions in the woods along the left bank of the Sarre opposite Sarraltroff. Toward 1030 reports came in to corps headquarters of German infantry debauching from Delving and marching southward. This inspired General de Castelli to direct the 16th Division to divert its attack toward Delving with a view to seizing that place and the high ground to the north the better to protect the corps left flank. At the same time he restated bis order te the flank detachment, then near Langatte, to rush on toward Delving to assist in extricating the endangered left flank of the 16th Division. Up to 1030 no serious attack hy the enemy in the Delving sector had developed, except an occasional sortie easily chased back by the patrols of the 16th Division.

At 1000 the cavalry corps, which had moved in force into the region south of Langatte, directed its 2d Division toward Gosselming, hoping to score a breakthrough toward Fénétrange. But the cavalry found the line St. Jean-de-Baesel — Gosselming too strongly occupied by the Bavarian 2d Division to permit a breakthrough. Nevertheless, the support thus provided the 16th Division by the cavalry and by XVI Corps permitted the division to move its left flank up to Delving. In view of the terrible losses suffered by the right brigade, pinned down before Eich, the VIII Corps commander came to the conclusion that he could not proceed beyond the line thus far attained northeast of Sarrebourg, north of Hoff, and running through Delving and its adjoining woods.

Moreover, it soon was evident that the flank support to be expected of the XVI Corps detachment would be of little lasting value. At 1530 Dubail warned De Castelli that this force was about to leave his flank. Immediately thereafter, at 1600, Second Army Headquarters pulled the unit out of Langatte and across the Canal des Houilleres into Second Army territory, where Castelnau was fully engaged with Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria and his German Sixth Army.

Over in XIII Corps the situation was relatively quiet. At the close of the 19th it held, conforming to Dubail’s orders, the line running from Schneckenbusch to PIain-de-Valsch, its main force concentrated around Voyer and Nitting.

It now remained for XXI Corps to realize its prescribed objective by seizing Walscheid (see Figure 2). This mission fell upon the Colonial Brigade. Without difficulty the brigade took Walscheid during the morning hours of the 19th and even won a foothold on the heights to the east, but its attempts to advance on to Hommert and Haarberg bogged down in the face of stern resistance from the German XV Corps. By sundown, so far as the rest of the Corps front was concerned, the 43d Infantry Division was holding a line between Vallerysthal and Plain-de-Valsch with one brigade, which assured contact with XIII Corps. Its other brigade was in army reserve at Abreschwiller.

Source: THE REPULSE AT SARREBOURG. Dr. Leslie Anders. Associate Professor of History, Central Missouri State College. Military Review March 1959.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Lets build the Battle of the Frontiers

Post by tigre » 17 Jun 2017 14:18

Hello to all :D; a little more.............................

THE REPULSE AT SARREBOURG.

Bold New Plans.

Dubail still regarded an enemy assault of menacing proportions a very distinct possibility to the east of Sarrebourg. Reconnaissance reports indicated that elements of the German XIV Corps were appearing in the Walscheid area with the mission of covering the approach of a second corps (XV German ). Both German corps, it should be noted, thus were accurately identified by French intelligence almost within hours of their appearance on the First Army front. Dubail was, furthermore, determined to draw the enemy forces on the XIII Corps front westward from their wooded entrenchments into the open ground. Additionally, in his dispatch to Joffre at 1600 Dubail proposed to use the 15th Division in a surprise night attack to seize the Sarre bridges at Oberstinzel and Gosselming to permit the cavalry to cross and resume its northward forays by daybreak the 20th.

Dubail immediately began making the necessary dispositions for the impending operations. To assure his troops the necessary rest, he instructed each corps to organize stabilized positions for the night properly protected by advanced guards. He also notified the commander of VIII Corps of the proposed employment of the hitherto uncommitted 15th Division, slated to rush the Sarre crossings around 0300 the 20th.

De Castelli took the necessary measures to establish his troops in bivouacs covered by outposts ranging from northeast of Sarrebourg on the right to Delving and Haut-Clocher on his left. He planned also to maintain liaison with the cavalry which had for the most part reassembled in the prescribed zone around Kerprich-aux-Bois, Diane-Capelle, and Gondrexange.

Toward 1700 on the 19th the Germans set in motion an offensive against Delving, and some of their elements charged out of Gosselming upon the Bergwald. In the face of this threat the commander of the 16th Division instructed his forces to quit Delving, agreeing that if necessary, the affected troops could fall back as far as the Haut-Clocher—Sarraltroff line. Reporting the situation to corps headquarters the division commander voiced opposition to further advances untiI he could unscramble the units of his sorely tried division.

As can be seen, the moving up of the 15th Division would extend the front held in force by the VIII, Corps almost as far as Gosselming. The 15th Division’s mission was to open the way for a cavalry crossing of the Sarre, draw the attention of the enemy upon its positions, and assure the successful return of the cavalry. In pursuit of these aims, it was to seek at 0300, 20 August to overpower the German defenders of the barricaded bridges at Gosselming and Oberstinzel (see Figure 3). First Army then hoped that its general offensive could be resumed, pivoting on the Sarrebourg position and driving the enemy toward Phalsbourg. In any case, VIII Corps was to hold Sarrebourg and the hills to the immediate south. The cavalry was to tie its operations in closely with those of VIII Corps, to operate on the flanks and rear of the enemy and scout to the north of Sarraltroff. Dispositions for the XIII and XXI Corps remained as they had been for the previous day, the 19th. However, XIII Corps was to release to VIII Corps all its heavy artillery, which would concentrate in the latter corps all the heavy guns in First Army.

Dubail established his command post on the Rhine-Marne Canal near Xouaxange for the coming day of battle. The forward boundary of the communications zone, established as of 16 August at the Meurthe River, was now advanced northward to Avricourt, Cirey, and Badonviller.

The afternoon of the 19th Joffre made inquiry as to whether Dubail really expected the cavalry to be able to carry out its daring missions beyond the Sarre. He had been entertaining the idea of returning two of Conneau’s divisions to the hardpressed Second Army, but upon Dubail’s protestations he decided to leave them in First Army a day longer. And so he advised Castelnau.

Second Army, in explaining its situation to Dubail the afternoon of 19 August, added that it could do no more than hold the Canal des Houllieres, much less send units eastward across it to the support of First Army.

Source: THE REPULSE AT SARREBOURG. Dr. Leslie Anders. Associate Professor of History, Central Missouri State College. Military Review March 1959.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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tigre
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Re: Lets build the Battle of the Frontiers

Post by tigre » 24 Jun 2017 14:03

Hello to all :D; a little more.............................

THE REPULSE AT SARREBOURG.

Thrust at the River .

Calling up its regiments from around Xouaxange, the 15th Division during the night struck at the bridges of Oberstinzel and Gosselming, which Dubail wanted taken before daybreak. The 29th Brigade, moving by way of Langatte, was directed on the Gosselming bridge, while the 30th Brigade went by way of Dolving and Haut-Clocher toward Oberstinzel.

The troops arrived, much fatigued, on the high ground around Haut-Clocher and Langatte. Here they halted and prepared to charge their initial objectives at Dolving and Gosselming, which they believed to be enemy-held. It was not until almost 0400 that they resumed their forward movement. By this time the first rays of dawn were visible beyond the Sarre, and the chances of a surprise attack were virtually gone.

On the left the 29th Brigade rushed Gosselming with a bayonet charge, By 0500, master of the place, the brigade began deploying for an attack on St. Jean-de-Bassel, to keep German resistance off balance. On the right the 30th Brigade had the good luck to find elements of the 16th Division in possession of Dolving and holding entrenchments extending down to the bank of the Sarre.

The 30th Brigade, penetrating the Kuhschwanz Woods and the Sarrewald, charged on toward the river. Then, at 0525, Xylander opened up a systematic barrage from the concentrated artillery of the Bavarian I Corps against the French front from the Kuhschwanz to near Eich. The French advance stopped in the smoking woods along the river, forfeiting any remaining chances that the Oberstinzel bridge might be carried.

By 0700 the 15th Division’s offensive was clearly over, and some elements were beginning to fall back from the Sarre. On the one side the 29th Brigade, facing a devastating storm of German artillery and machinegun tire, fell back into the woodlands south of Gosselming. The 30th Brigade, its ranks disorganized by enemy firepower, began falling back on Dolving. Still, as these retreats were in progress, the division commander was disposed to believe that the “situation is not serious.” Unaware of the magnitude of the 30th Brigade’s setback, the division commander was more impressed by the Germans’ apparent lack of enthusiasm for advancing outward from Gosselming and St. Jean-de-Bassel. Although this officer had to admit that the German artillery was “somewhat troublesome,” he expected momentarily to resume his advance before the morning sun stood much higher.

At Dolving tbe 15th Division was in liaison with the 32d Brigade, of the 16th Division which was holding positions facing Sarraltroff along the skirts of the Sarrewald and Etzelwald.

The 31st Brigade (16th Division), holding the railway line from Sarrebourg to Petit-Eich, was preparing to attack Reding and Eich, supported by the division’s artillery. Then, toward 0900 major enemy formations began appearing around Reding, marching on Petit-Eich. The VIII Corps commander hurriedly instructed the involved regiments not to attempt their assault on the hilly ground between Reding and Sarraltroff until such time as the 15th Division should firmly establish itself at the Oberstinzel and Gosselming crossings. At the same time, General de Castelli appealed to Dubail to assure more vigorous action to the right by XIII Corps. Until 1000 enemy infantry showed little activity. While the 16th Division was only under the threat of attack, the 15th Division, recoiling from its early morning positions, was slowly pursued by an enemy disposed to rely mainly on his artillery.

Before long, however, enemy activity began to rise in fury along the entire VIII Corps front. At approximately 1100 General de Castelli, certain that he could not recover his “equilibrium” short of the Rhine-Marne Canal, ordered the digging in of rearguard positions at Kerprich and along the north skirts of the Rinting Woods to cover the retreat of the 15th Division. Castelli further envisaged that this movement would entail the retreat of the 16th Division, ultimately on Xouaxange.

Just after noon the 16th Division commenced its retreat, pulling its 31st Brigade back on Sarrebourg. After a stout rearguard action, the brigade was obliged to relinquish the city to the Bavarian 1st Division at about 1500 and withdraw to high ground two kilometers to the southwest. It was not until about 2000, incidentally, that the Bavarians were sure that French resistance had ended inside the streets of Sarrebourg. The 32d Brigade attacked frontally, but laboring under unrealistic orders to retreat no farther than the line from Hoff to Haut-Clocher, was carried along in the retreat of the 15th Division.

After conferences with the 15th Division staff, Castelli decided at about 1800 that it was impossible to hold the Kerprich—Rinting Woods line. He then decided that the entire VIII Corps would have to fall back behind the Rhine-Marne Canal, whose crossings it presumably could hold. The 15th Division would take up the new line from Gondrexange to Xouxange, and the 16th would hold the canal line from that latter point to a mill four kilometers farther east.

Source: THE REPULSE AT SARREBOURG. Dr. Leslie Anders. Associate Professor of History, Central Missouri State College. Military Review March 1959.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Lets build the Battle of the Frontiers

Post by tigre » 01 Jul 2017 12:33

Hello to all :D; a little more.............................

THE REPULSE AT SARREBOURG.

Trouble From the Right.

In the course of the day’s fighting the commander of the 16th Division repeatedly had demanded the stepping-up of XIII Corps activity on his right. On the morning of 20 August this corps had its 25th Division holding outposts along the line from Hesse to Schneckenbusch and just south of Brouderdorff, its 26th Division concentrated around Brouderdorff and Plain-de-Valsch. Dubail’s instructions were that this unit should not move against the enemy except at his specific order. He was expecting, it should be recalled, to employ these troops in a sudden attack against Germans passing along the open terrain in front of them—if the German maneuver should develop. Actually, these units were to find themselves increasingly involved, partly in behalf of the VIII Corps and partly in behalf of the XXI Corps.

Around 0800 General César-Gaston Alix of XIII Corps called for strengthening the outposts of the 25th Division, with a view to supporting the attack of VIII Corps around Reding, and, “in any case, to sustain the right and rear of [VIII] Corps”. The 25th was to push a battalion forward to Bühl, already held by elements of the VIII Corps, and it would maintain one brigade east of Xouaxange at the disposal of the corps commander.

About 1000 those forces holding Brouderdorff and Plain-de-Valsch were attacked by the Germans and forced into a grudging withdrawal from those places. Moreover, news coming in from XXI Corps gave rise to fears that the enemy would not stop at outflanking the right of XIII Corps. In the hope of preventing this calamity, General Alix just before 1300 called upon the 26th Division to advance with one of its brigades through Petit-
Hartzwiller in the direction of Plain-de-Valsch.

About this same time Dubail, realizing the likely consequences of the 15th Division’s setback, instructed XIII Corps to reassemble its troops and move them through Lorquin to hold a line along the south bank of the Rhine-Marne Canal. This was to facilitate the fallback of the VIII Corps. Executing these movements, Alix instructed the 25th Division to place its 49th Brigade at the disposal of VIII Corps.

However, at the moment the order reached it, at 1410, the 25th Division had put this brigade into the struggle being waged at Schneckenbusch by the 50th Brigade against heavy odds. Notwithstanding the fact that Alix canceled the order and left the 49th in the fray at Sehneckenbusch, the 25th Division abandoned that place to the enemy within half an hour, at 1440.

Meanwhile, Alix received fresh news concerning the situation on the right in XXI Corps, reports indicating an infiltration movement by the Germans toward Walscheid. After ordering the 26th Division at 1355 to suspend its offensive movement and set up a watch on the Biberkirch neighborhood, the XII Corps commander renewed his own offensive order at 1415. The 51st Brigade, charged with this advance, moved forward easily and by 1800 was at the northern corner of Brouderdorff Wood.

On the left the 25th Division responded to the urgings of VIII Corps and passed to the offensive toward Bühl. Schneckenbusch was regained with what must have been highly effective artillery support, for the German 29th Division reported conducting its withdrawal "unter dem geftigen granatfeuer". The 25th pushed one regiment to within two kilometers of Bühl and, although the German official history confutes the claim, one regiment of the division apparently reoccupied Brouderdorff to hold it through the night of 20-21 August (see Figure 4).

Source: THE REPULSE AT SARREBOURG. Dr. Leslie Anders. Associate Professor of History, Central Missouri State College. Military Review March 1959.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Lets build the Battle of the Frontiers

Post by tigre » 08 Jul 2017 13:39

Hello to all :D; a little more.............................

THE REPULSE AT SARREBOURG.

Loss of Walscheid.

On the right of XIII Corps, the XXI Corps’ Colonial Brigade on the morning of 20 August held the heights to the east of Walscheid. The 86th Brigade, held in Army reserve, was concentrated at Abreschwiller. The right flank of the XXI Corps was covered two kilometers southwest of Walscheid by a battalion of the 17th Chasseurs.

The same morning the Colonial Brigade, resuming its attacks of the 19th, advanced on Haarberg, but after 0800 it began encountering more and more serious resistance until the enemy, passing to the attack, repulsed the colonials and drove them back through Walscheid. Unable to hang on at Walscheid, the colonials fell back on Voyer under the protection of elements of the 86th Brigade. A counterattack by chasseurs succeeded momentarily in baking the progress of the enemy in the woods west of Walscheid.

Toward 1500 General Dubail placed the 85th Brigade at the disposal of XXI Corps. This unit then promptly undertook a counterattack with one of its regiments. Taken unawares by the onset of the 85th Brigade’s Chasseurs, the Germans beat a hasty retreat. This development enabled General Emile-Edmond Legrand, XXI Corps commander, to reestablish his lines around St. Léon, one and a half kilometers south of Walscheid.

During this action the 86th Brigade, its right uncovered by the retreat of the colonials, its left affected by the recoil of XIII Corps from Plain-de-Valsch and Brouderdorff late in the morning, retired to the edge of the Voyer Woods about a kilometer south of Biberkirch. About 1800 one regiment of the 85th Brigade moved up to reinforce the 86th.

At the close of the day’s action the XXI Corps held a line running from St. Léon and skirting the east side of the Voyer Woods where it joined the XIII Corps front ( see Figure 4). The 85th Brigade reinforced by a chasseur battalion from corps reserve, had relieved the 86th and the colonials in the frontline of XXI Corps.

Source: THE REPULSE AT SARREBOURG. Dr. Leslie Anders. Associate Professor of History, Central Missouri State College. Military Review March 1959.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Lets build the Battle of the Frontiers

Post by tigre » 15 Jul 2017 12:57

Hello to all :D; a little more.............................

THE REPULSE AT SARREBOURG.

Ominous News From the Left.

During the course of the 20th Joffre had been closely f ollowing the developments on the First Army front. At about 0600 he had telephoned Dubail to ask if the predawn offensive undertaken by VIII Corps had succeeded, and he also had questioned Dubail carefully as to the use of the cavalry corps. Dubail answered after an hours investigation that the planned surprise attacks were notsuccessful, and that the cavaIry corps could not be freed to operate in open country, as originality hoped, until VIII Corps could somehow secure the Sarre crossings. He added that if this objective were realized, the cavalry was ready to go immediately into action notwithstanding its fatigue; but in case the crossings remained untaken, General Conneau was desirous of a 48-hour respite for his horsemen of the 2d, 6th, and 10th Cavalry Divisions. Joffre, on the other hand, was looking at a sheaf of highly optimistic reports concerning Castelnau’s assault farther west in Lorraine, and in view of the possibility that Castelnau’s success might enable him to make more profitable use of the cavalry, Joffre forthwith decided to move Conneau back to Second Army to exploit the breaches that Castelnau was presumably opening up in the German lines. After some argument, Joffre agreed to take only the2d and 10th Divisions away from Dubail.

Toward 0900, before Joffre’s decision regarding the cavalry could be made known to him, Dubail ordered Conneau to redeploy his force south of the Rhine-Marne Canal. Consequently. it was not until the 21st that the cavalry corps returned to Second Army control.

During the fighting of the 20th, Dubail was slowly making up his mind that if the present day’s fighting did not attain the objectives prescribed the evening before, he would take up the fight anew on the morning of the 21st. If only he could carry the high ground north of Sarrebourg, he could then move his center corps forward to the east of that city. He could very well anticipate that he would have to invest a formidable German strongpoint in the area around Hommarting and Guntzwiller. In advising Joffre of his intentions and assumptions, Dubail drew the chief’s attention to the fact that he was contemplating something akin to a siege, that his army had been engaged without rest since 14 August, and that the precariousness of his right flank in tbe Vosgos Mountains did not allow him the necessary liberty to undertake operations clearly offensive in the strategic sense.

When, toward noon, Dubail learned that the 15th Division was falling hack, he advised Castelnau of this fact and further informed him that the cavalry corps had been moved back into the area between Blâmont and Avricourt.

It was about 1430 when there came the dread news from Castelnau that his offensive in Lorraine had collapsed. The offensive à outrance had withered under the fire of massed German artillery and machineguns, and the battered Second Army was facing an extensive withdrawal. By 1600 the magnitude of the disaster was confirmed in a telegram from Castelnau.

Source: THE REPULSE AT SARREBOURG. Dr. Leslie Anders. Associate Professor of History, Central Missouri State College. Military Review March 1959.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Lets build the Battle of the Frontiers

Post by tigre » 29 Jul 2017 14:31

Hello to all :D; the end.............................

THE REPULSE AT SARREBOURG.

Offensive Washes Out.

When at 1700 on the 20th Dubail began preparing orders for the operations of the next day, he assumed that the right of Second Army was around Maizières and Azoudange. So far as his own situation was concerned, it was, as he understood it, reported to Joffre as follows: A line from Kerprich-aux-Bois north of the Rinting Woods and the Woods of Hesse and Voyer to a point three kilometers south of Walscheid. While he hoped to be able to hold this line indefinitely, his troops were exhausted and their ranks thinning. One liaison officer declared that First Army could not even “dream” of resuming the offensive. Sifting the intelligence reports in his possession, Dubail surmised that between the Canal des Houilleres and the Vosges his army was facing all or part of three German army corps. He was right.

Dubail established his command post at Blâmont on the evening of 20 August. He so little envisaged the eventuality of further retreat that his operational order of 1800 prescribed no change in the forward limits of the communications zone.

During the evening of 20 August the developments already mentioned as befalling the Army’s front caused certain modifications in the dispositions ordered by Dubail. If Castelli felt compelled to withdraw his entire VIII Corps to the south bank of the canal, the local successes of XIII Corps around Walscheid opened up the possibility of attaining positions well in advance of those prescribed in the operational order. At 1930, therefore, Dubail amended the order, saying that “if the corps are holding at nightfall positions more advanced than those indicated in the operations order of this evening, they must hold on to them while keeping in mind the necessity of maintaining contact with neighboring units.”

It was about 1830 that Joffre’s attention was called by one of his liaison officers with First Army to the need for improved liaison between First and Second Army. At 1950 Joffre telegraphed Castelnau and Dubail that it was “indispensable” for the two armies to organize positions sufficiently strong to arrest the progress of the Germans advancing out of Alsace-Lorraine. He literally scolded his two major subordinates in the east for giving way before a combined force that he estimated to include less than seven corps, while at the same time French forces between Metz and Belfort included the equivalent of at least nine corps. In reality, the German Sixth and Seventh Armies on this front contained the equivalent of eight full corps—none of which had been decimated by heedless assaults on massed artillery and machinegun positions.

At 2100 a new telegram from Joffre informed Dubail that the right corps of Second Army had fallen back, shattered by the German Sixth Army, to a line uncertainly held by its rear guard extending from Maizières westward. Drastic measures were in Order to secure the left flank of First Army.

It was about 0030 on the 21st that Joffre’s liaison officer with Second Army telegraphed Dubail’s command post to warn of the serious situation developing because of Second Army’s bloody repulse. It was very much in order, said the liaison officer, for Dubail to move his rear echelons without delay to the south of the River Meurthe.

At 0340 Dubail instructed Castelli, Alix, and Legrand to get the VIII, XIII, and XXI Corps' supporting units behind the Meurthe “in the least possible time.” At 0400 he canceled the operations order of the evening before, announcing that "because of the recoil of the right wing of Second Army, the left wing of the First Army will today repair to the heights of Blâmont.” (See Figure 1.) Before dawn the 6th Cavalry rode out from Avricourt seeking to reestablish contact with Second Army’s flank.

At 0800 on the 21st Dubail outlined his decision to Joffre with the following remarks: “In order to conform my position to your instructions, and because of the retirement of Second Army, I am going to fall back on the Vezouse River. This I do with great regret, because I would have been able to hold my lines.”

Source: THE REPULSE AT SARREBOURG. Dr. Leslie Anders. Associate Professor of History, Central Missouri State College. Military Review March 1959.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

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Re: Lets build the Battle of the Frontiers

Post by MarkN » 25 Feb 2018 16:55

Gwynn Compton, 05 Jan 2003 wrote:Well here you go. I'll leave this thread open for a week or so while we compile information, then I'll go and write an article on it.
Gwynn Compton, 19 Jan 2003 wrote:I'll begin writting the article on Tuesday. I'll be breaking the Battle of the Frontiers up into 4 parts: 1) The French attack - Plan 17, 2) The Battle of the Sambre, 3) The Battle of Mons, 4) The Great Retreat.

I feel that these 4 sections will help best to show the slide from a war of movement, to a static war on the Western Front.
How's the article coming along? Only been 14 years in gestation so far. :roll:

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