Plans and the army of the Central Powers

Each majestic power that was involved in the First World War, had their military plans. These plans were formed on the basis of the ability of armies since: they are at the time, about 70% consisted of infantry, the rest is accounted for by artillery, cavalry, engineering units and other forces. Armored vehicles and aircraft have not yet become separate species of troops, able to make a radical change in the war.

Airplanes were used as the main means of communication and intelligence. First experiments in the bombing occurred during Tripoli and the Balkan wars. Until a strong bomber force was still far away.

A huge role, from the time of antiquity and the Middle Ages, played defensive structures of the fortress. Border states were covered with more insecure areas of strong fortresses, bound in the defense zone. French from the east covered the interior of the country fortresses Maubeuge, Vouziers, Verdun, Toul, Epinal, Belfort. In Belgium were powerful fortresses of Liege, Namur. For example, the strengthening of Liege were built in the 1880s under the control engineer Henri Brialmonda. They consisted of 12 main and 12 auxiliary forts. Each fort itself was a fortress for himself with concrete fortifications and underground dungeons. The main part of the fortifications was under the ground and on the surface of the mound was only with the towers, was conducted from artillery and machine-gun fire. At the armed fortress was up 400 guns, including heavy 200-210-mm.

Germany's westernmost border fortresses covered Cologne, Mainz, Metz (a part of Germany after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871), Strasbourg (also obtained by the Germans in 1871). Eastern borders of the German Empire covered fortress Konigsberg, Letzy, Danzig, Thorn (Polish Torun), Posen (Polish Poznań), Breslau (Polish Wroclaw). The Austro-Hungarian Empire covered its eastern border fortresses Krakow, Przemysl, stry, Stanislav. Russian western border was closed fortress of Kovno, Osovets, Modlin, Brest-Litovsk fortress was built in Grodno.

One of the forts of Liege.

The German plan for the war and the army

Technical equipment, the level of training the best army in Europe were considered the German armed forces. Army Second Reich after mobilization consisted of 2,500,000 infantry and cavalry. Overall life consisted of 24.5 years: 2 years on active service, 4.5 years in the reserve, 5 years in the territorial troops of the 1st call (Landwehr), 8 years in the Landwehr of the 2nd call, then reckoned to the People's Militia ( Landsturm). In the militia also credited pre-conscription youth 17-20 years of age and people who are not suitable for health for active duty. Need to see that if in most other countries in the service of supplies was a formality in the Reich on being treated seriously. Most training exercises, workshops, because the reserve troops could swiftly enough to catch up with the divisions of the "first line".

The German army corps consisted of 45 thousand and consisted of a 2-infantry divisions and other units (battalion of light infantry — Huntsman, a division of corps artillery — 16-Th 150-mm guns, an engineer battalion, a telegraph and railway battalion battalion, etc.) . In the division there were 17 thousand people, it consisted of a 2-infantry brigade, the brigade had two regiments, 3 battalions in the regiment. In the division also came cavalry brigade of 2 regiments and an artillery brigade of 2 regiments. In the Cavalry Corps Cavalry Division was 2-3 to 4200 people.

By the beginning of the war in Germany was 21 Army Corps, 3 Bavarian army corps (a legacy from the former fragmentation of Germany). There was also a separate Guards Corps (it consisted of three divisions — two Guards Infantry Division and the Guards Cavalry Division). Each building was fixed for a specific geographic area. During the war the Army housing become a mobile operational-tactical formation, and the area became a rear area of the body for it. The rear area was responsible for training new recruits, replenishment body had other responsibilities. In 1914, before the war in Berlin was more than 40 divisions by the end of the war the Germans had 251 division. During the mobilization of 1914 had formed the new, replacement housing.

The German military science has paid great attention to the interaction of the infantry and artillery. Preparation of the officer corps among the very highest. Encourages initiative, independence fighter and commander. Great attention was paid to the ideological preparation, soldiers and officers trained in line with the Pan-mind, "special mission" of the German people, racism.

But we should not overestimate the military idea of the Second Reich. Missing attention was paid to the defensive strategy. With the coming of the preserved an old techniques, such as the attack in a full-length, thick chains or even columns. With all of this was to keep the chain alignment, with a certain number of steps stop — volley, and then again march. In other words, taking into account the gain firepower of the defending some guns are worth, it was archaic. Well rehearsed and cavalry attacks in close formation.

The emblem of the German army.

The German war strategy was also flawed. In the experience of the 19th century wars: the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871 — the German army was preparing for war, the 1st of the "decisive battle." Moreover, such a strategy was defined drawback Resources of Germany, Austria-Hungary, in comparison with Russia, France and Britain. Berlin was planning to throw into battle and defeat the troops immediately.

The German plan was based on the work of the German Chief of the General Staff from 1891 to 1905 Alfred von Schlieffen. Schlieffen developed the idea of encirclement and destruction of enemy troops by a crushing blow to his wings (or one of them) with the following output in its rear. He developed a plan for the war with France and Russia. According to him, about to crush France in about 40 days, throwing her against 90% power. And then redeploy troops to the east and Russia to the world prinevolit. The essence of the Schlieffen Plan — is a big detour German troops, the so-called "Set the right flank." The Germans had to make a half-encircled French army through Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Picardy, with the entry into the valley of the Seine and the seizure by way of the French capital. German troops, so Makarov, went to the rear of the bulk of the French forces, and then smashing pinned to the German border the French troops. French command had to be absolutely stunned by the power of impact and does not have time to make countermeasures. To implement this amazing, very bold Schlieffen Plan was ready to sacrifice itself the German defense area, go to the complete loss of East Prussia, which could capture the Russian troops. In addition, the French could discourage Lorraine, which was defended by the smallest forces.

After the defeat of France — "Cannes", and want to repeat in the East. The Germans stabbed from the north. Austro-Hungarian army — from the area of Krakow. So Makarov, the army 2-empires converged in the Warsaw area and surrounded by Russian troops, who fell into a huge "pot". After that Petersburg had to sue for peace.

The plan was based on the belief in the power of the German army (7 armies wanted to concentrate for the attack on France, the Russian Federation against the initial plan, the Schlieffen, leaving only par
t of the Landwehr), which will sweep the Belgian army and standing on the left side of the front French troops. Also on the difference in time to mobilize, in Germany — 10 days in Russia — 20-30. French army were going to break before the coming of the active Russian troops.

Chief of the German General Staff, succeeding — Helmuth von Moltke — considered plan is very adventurous and raised a variety of configurations. He was supported by Kaiser Wilhelm II, who insisted on strengthening the East Prussian direction, not going to give in East Prussia Russian. Moltke strengthened the German troops in Lorraine, now there was no one army, and two. On the Russian border left another army (8th Army Maximilian PRITVITS), which consisted of 4 buildings and parts of the Landwehr. In the end, the strike group on the right wing was weakened, the width of the coverage enemy has been narrowed. Also decided not to thrash through Holland.

Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltke.

Some researchers believe that this was a fatal mistake. Once the initial Schlieffen Plan gave Germany the chances of success in the war against the superior second Reich in human, material resources of the Empire. Others say that the Germans were losing anyway. When the initial plan had some serious "if." "If" the Germans will be able to keep the schedule coming (12th mobilization day — to take Liege, 19th — Brussels, 22 th — total invasion of France, 39th — the fall of Paris). "If the" Russian hesitated and did not take over East Prussia, while under attack is Berlin — the capital of the empire. "If," the French do not break through for the Rhine … "If" will rapidly take Paris (in the 1870 siege of Paris lasted a few months) … "If the 'Italy enters the war and draw it out on some of the French Army … etc.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire

The army of Austria-Hungary was identical in structure and main principles of acquisition with the German. The Army consisted of of imperial army, the Landwehr (it was divided into Austrian and Hungarian), militia-Landsturm. The army was a conscript in the army called in '21. Service life was: a) 3 years of imperial armies, 7 years in the army reserve, 2 years in the reserve of the territorial army, b) for recruits in the Landwehr 2 years of service and 10 years in the reserve. In peacetime army was more than 400 million people (1909). In August 1914, the empire began the war with a total of 68.5 Division 1.5 million (with approximately 78% of the forces directed against Russia, the other against Serbia).

Commissioned officers and enlisted personnel (especially in the vaults) was prepared worse than the German. The officers were exposed to the joys of urban life — balls, sprees, theaters, etc., military service was not in the first place. A weak side of the Austro-Hungarian army was its multi-ethnic composition. In the Austro-Hungarian army was not monolithic German army. Excellent fought the Germans, Hungarians, good fighters in the war showed themselves Croats and Bosnians, but the Poles, Ruthenians, Slovaks and Romanians in particular, the Czechs fought wars bad differed poor discipline and military spirit. Even the shelves were formed along ethnic lines. The empire was divided into 105 districts replenishment replenished every one regiment of the Imperial Army. More feeble than that of Germany, was the artillery.

The Austro-Hungarian infantry.

Austro-Hungarian war plan was a variation of the Schlieffen Plan. The forces were divided into three groups. Army Group "A" against the Russian Empire — 3 army, army group and 1 case (about half of all the forces). Army Group "B" ("minimum group of the Balkans") of 2-armies against Serbia. Group 'C' — one army reserve, to reinforce the group "A" or "B". Head of the Austrian General Staff, General Franz Conrad von Gettsendorf planned, using a break in the mobilization of Russian troops and Austro-Hungary, about 15 days to defeat Serbia, for this army of "C" were sent to the Balkans. After the defeat of the Serbian army to transfer to Galicia for sharing with the Germans coming into the area of Warsaw (planned to defeat the Russian forces in the Kingdom of Poland).

At this time, troops "A" group were to lead active actions against Russian forces who have not yet completed the mobilization. Stepping out of the line of Galicia Lublin-Hill.

In Vienna, the resistance did not consider the Serbs, who had experience of 2-Balkan wars and fought for survival. Well, the Germans have brought them, the joint impact of Warsaw, was not scheduled to work out.

The Ottoman Empire

The Turkish army was the most feeble force axis of the Central Powers. In 1912, their number was about 350 thousand people. The Empire was divided into six military districts, each was an army corps. The army recruited by conscription, taking young people 20-25 years of age. Served 5 years in the army, and 7 years in the reserve. In addition, there were irregular troops of volunteers spent their collection governors-general.

The Turkish army was defeated in the 2-wars — against Italy (Tripoli war Of 1911-1912), and in the First Balkan War. The relative order of the armed forces were able to bring back the Germans. Istanbul to war was able to form the 13 cases and 2 separate divisions. The case consisted of 45 thousand people. It consisted of 3 infantry divisions, cavalry brigade, battalion, and other compounds. In Division 3 Regiment was trehbatalonnogo composition, machine-gun company, a cavalry squadron, a division of heavy and light artillery battalion (two batteries).

Istanbul could sell up to 750 thousand people, with up to 1 million reserve and 150-200 thousand irregulars (in the main Kurdish, Arab cavalry).

Need to see that the Germans were able to strengthen the officer corps of Turks who, more than 100 senior officers of the Ottoman army completed the Berlin Academy, many have had the experience of service in the German army. The Turkish army has been strengthened and a few dozen German officers. Turkish soldiers in World War I showed resistance, good enough discipline. The ideology of Pan-Turkism, Islamism has had a role in building morale.

A weak spot of the Turks was adopted, there was no artillery. While here, the Germans did almost everything. Fighter units that operated in the main areas, rearmed with new German rifles — "Mauser", hull and division German heavy batteries armed with 105-mm guns.

Turkish commanders (chief was Enver Pasha) planned to deliver two major hit. The first stroke were going to seize the Russian South Caucasus and to break into the North Caucasus, there were going to lift the Highlanders. Second attack was directed against the British — to Egypt, Suez, that block the way to the UK to India. Were going to bring on the Russian Turkestan Muslims (Central Asia), against the Europeans — the Muslims of North Africa. In this case, if on the side of the Central Powers acted Romania, going along with it to strike the side of Odessa.

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