Crown Prince Wilhelm, "Sieger von Longwy"

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sylvieK4
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Crown Prince Wilhelm, "Sieger von Longwy"

Post by sylvieK4 » 09 Dec 2002 20:10

In the card below, and other places, Crown Prince Wilhelm was referred to as "Sieger von Longwy". Why does he bear that? Where exactly is Longwy, and did the Crown Prince actually play as pivotal role as the title implies? The card is said to be from 1916. Is that when he acquired the designation?

From: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... =745772271
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prj453
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Post by prj453 » 10 Dec 2002 20:55

Hello-

I believe that the Longwy that is being referred to is in Northern France near the Luxembourg border. This is the town's official site:

http://www.mairie-longwy.fr

As for why the Crown Prince has that nickname, I'm not sure. I believe there was a siege there during the Franco-German War, so it may have been heavily fortified in WWI.

-Patrick

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sylvieK4
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Post by sylvieK4 » 11 Dec 2002 14:49

Thanks, Patrick. :)

Damian Andrews
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Post by Damian Andrews » 03 Jan 2003 02:14

The Battle of Longwy was one of the early battles on the Western Front.The Crown Prince commanded the German forces in this battle,making him "Der Sieger von Longwy"

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sylvieK4
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Post by sylvieK4 » 03 Jan 2003 16:10

Thanks for your reply, Damian.

Was the Crown Prince actually a skilled commander, or merely a figurehead? Was it his genuine competence as a military leader that won the day at Longwy, or did he just have a talented staff that made the right decisions for him - and in his name - on the battlefield?

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Galahad
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Post by Galahad » 04 Jan 2003 01:52

The Crown Prince was the titular Commanding General of the German Fifth Army; the real commander was the army's Chief of Staff. The Crown Prince was a career army officer but got a bump in status when the war broke out, to make sure the dynasty was well-represented in the headlines. When he was made CG Fifth Army, the Kaiser told him to obey his Chief of Staff in everything and "do as he tells you".

His army was instrumental in defeating the attacks of the French Third and Fourth Armies, which were trying to carry out the dictates of the infamous French plan of battle, Plan 17, which called for attacks into Alsace and Lorraine. The Kaiser was most thrilled about this, and on the 23rd of August, as a result of those attacks being stopped with great loss to the French, awarded Wilhelm the Iron Cross, First Class AND Second Class.

Wilhelm developed into a very competent commander, one with a good grasp of strategic realities, but at this stage of the war he was basically just a figurehead, and the medals were given because he was the Heir to the Throne, more so than anything he actually did. If anyone was the Victor or Hero of Longwy, it would have been his Chief of Staff, the man who did the planning and issued the operational orders for the army.

There's not much about this on the Net, but Barbara Tuchman's wonderful book on the opening of WW I, The Guns of August, has quite a few comments concerning the Crown Prince, in particular about him and the Battle of Longwy.

The Kaiser was so enthused and eager to grab publicity, that he ordered a commemorative coin issued to honor the Crown Prince. Here are the particulars of it--and the Hindenburg commemorative that was issued at the same time, just to give an idea of scale. Longwy was a victory, but nothing on the order of Tannenberg. But notice the Crown Prince's coin has more silver?

GERMANY. Empire. Crown Prince Wilhelm, Victor of Longwy Gedenkthaler, 1914. .990 Silver, 33.5mm. About Uncirculated. Obv. Head r. Rev. Sword in victor's crown; Hindenburg Victor of Tannenberg Gedenkthaler, 1914. .800 Silver, 33.5mm. Choice Very Fine. Obv. Uniformed bust ;3/4 l. Rev. Knight wielding two-handed sword. 2 pieces.

I hope this helps. There's not much on it because, in reality, it was a propaganda "tempest in a teacup". If the CG Fifth Army hadn't been the Crown Prince, very little would have been said about it at all.
Last edited by Galahad on 04 Jan 2003 20:06, edited 1 time in total.

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sylvieK4
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Post by sylvieK4 » 04 Jan 2003 16:27

Thanks, Galahad. As always, an interesting and informative reply. :)

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Galahad
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Post by Galahad » 04 Jan 2003 20:11

My pleasure, Sylvie, again. :) I'm sorry I didn't notice the topic sooner, in order to answer your question sooner.

And why is it a Law of Nature that one always sees misspellings in one's posts AFTER someone replies and the things can no longer be corrected in secret? <g>

Karl da Kraut
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Post by Karl da Kraut » 09 Jan 2003 00:48

Galahad is right stating that Crown Prince Wilhelm developed into an able commander. I'd like to add that he obviously had more sense of responsibility than many of his fellow generals. It was Wilhelm's army that did the main fighting at Verdun, and he strongly opposed Falkenhayn's "blood-pump"-strategy - unfortunately to no avail.

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sylvieK4
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Post by sylvieK4 » 16 Jan 2003 17:20

Thanks, Karl. Do you, or does anyone else, know of any good reference material that focuses on the Crown Prince, and more specifically, his military career and ability as a military leader?

Thanks again. :D

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