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  #16  
Old 02 Dec 14, 12:00
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Originally Posted by Draco View Post
Verdun was attacked a year later when there were several times more 75 mm guns, a huge French army in Verdun, a huge British army in the Somme preparing to attack with massive artillery and munitions production had increased over 10 fold (16 million 75 mm rounds fired in the long battle of Verdun). In 1914 Verdun and the French army were a joke and as I said, the Germans did capture other French forts in 1914, closer to the path Luxemburg-Paris than Verdun.
Ummm, Verdun was attacked in 1916, Belgium in 1914. The fact that you said the French army "were a joke" means nothing to me, nor should it mean anything to anyone else. That same French army, after launching a disastrous offensive and suffering massive casualties, managed to hold the Germans while forces were withdrawn to extend the line against the German right wing advancing through Belgium. If the Germans had attacked directly into the French fortifications, it likely would have saved the French from launching their doomed attacks, forcing them even earlier onto the defensive. From there the French would have had much greater strength to stuff such a German attack, as they did historically with reduced forces.
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  #17  
Old 02 Dec 14, 12:12
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Say guys I just found that you can block this subforum. You go to your cp then edit options then at the bottom of that screen you can avoid ever seeing this nonsense ever again.
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  #18  
Old 02 Dec 14, 12:14
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The small Belgian and British forces inflicted far more losses on the Germans and delayed them more in the first weeks of the war than the French did. Despíte having spent much of the ammo and energy in Belgium, the French army was beaten back to the Marne.
Without time to deploy artillery, etc, and suffering large losses from day one under attack by fresh German forces with large stocks of ammo, etc, the French army could do nothig.

I never understood what the hell the French were thinking when they invaded Alsase-Lorraine, which just shows that they had no clue about defending Paris.

I never understood why after spending huge sums building massive fortifications they had removed the guns from several critical ones (including Verdun) and how the French expected to fight a huge army with ridiculous ammo stocks and production (which was also the case in Britain in 1914).
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Old 02 Dec 14, 12:27
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Although the thread refers to common German mistakes in the 2 wars. It's interesting that the French also made the same mistakes in the 2 wars.
They relied on fortifications and wasted huge resources in the navy, which was completely useless against the massive German army.
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  #20  
Old 02 Dec 14, 12:33
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Say guys I just found that you can block this subforum. You go to your cp then edit options then at the bottom of that screen you can avoid ever seeing this nonsense ever again.
Yes, I believe you have the right approach after all.
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  #21  
Old 02 Dec 14, 12:43
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How long did the exhausted Germans take to capture Reims in 1914?, directly in the route Luxemburg-Paris and after rapidly capturing the supposedly formidable fortifications in Maubeuge and Lille. The British, Belgians and Russians enabled France to win at the Marne in 1914 and the Americans and British to win at the Marne n 1918.

The initial time provided by the Belgians and British allowed the Russians to penetrate deep into German territory (while the German army withdrew) and produced thousands of complaints, which forced the Kaiser to send troops urgently needed in the west (owing to the losses and the occupation army in Belgium) to East Prussia. Without that initial time and losses, the German army would already have taken Reims, if not Paris before any troops assigned for the west were committed to the east.

A look at this map.
http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/ph...an-empire-1914
begs the question, why the hell fight in Liege, Haelen, Mons, Antwerp, Brussels, etc, against Belgians, British and Frenchmen, when one can rapidly advance to Reims and Sedan and then Paris, fighting only Frenchmen?

Last edited by Draco; 02 Dec 14 at 20:38..
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  #22  
Old 03 Dec 14, 20:14
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In both wars Germany used a bolt action rifle with fixed, low capacity magazine and submachine guns with low capacity magazines.

In contrast the British bolt action rifle held 10 rounds in both wars. The American BAR was fully automatic and had a detachable 10 round magazine in both wars and the American WW II M1 Garand was semiautomatic and had a higher capacity (although with a fixed magazine). The M1 carbine had a detachable, high capacity magazine and a more powerful round than the German submachine gun, but much less powerful than the 7.92 Mauser.

The Americans, Finns and Soviets produced much better submachine guns in WW II with much higher capacity, drum magazines. The thompson also had much better stopping power, with its .45 cal round.
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  #23  
Old 03 Dec 14, 22:15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Draco View Post
Belgium was much more fortified that the French border with Belgium and Germany. It would have been extremely easy for Germany to advance along the French-Belgian border with its flank covered by Belgium and then take any route desired.
The day that Germany invaded Belgium France began to slowly deploy artillery, etc, by horse (as it did in WW II when Poland was invaded) and Britain began slowly to ship a small expeditionary force.
France had extremely outdated and scarce heavy artillery in its fotifications. The Germans had formidable artillery and did take French fortifications weeks after invading Belgium, when they were stronger.
The usual crock of...

Belgian forts in WW 1 were much weaker than their French cousins. The Belgians didn't use reinforced concrete and built to a lower standard of resistance. Their forts also tended to be smaller and more compact making them easy targets for German siege artillery.
Belgian forts using unreinforced concrete poured in successive layers were designed to withstand 21cm shells using black powder filler. Most were broken in a matter of hours often by artillery no bigger than 21cm. The Krupp 42cm "Big Berthas" were almost unnecessary.
A typical fort in the Belgian system at the time might be Fort Brialmont. It is typical of the Liege / Namur fortifications. Its main artillery battery consists of 2 turrets with a 21cm mortar, 2 with 21cm howitzers, 1 with a 15cm gun, 2 with 12 cm guns, and 2 with 12cm howitzers. In addition a number of 57 QF guns cover the approaches.

The French forts vary in resistance and firepower depending on when they were built. The latest ones for WW 1 were quite well constructed and had considerable resistance to fire. They typically had 2 to 4 batteries of guns up to 150mm in size placed in cast steel turrets 6 to 8" thick along with smaller guns and a number of machineguns.
None of the guns in French fortifications were field pieces either. They were all designed as fortress guns.
The fortified zones between Verdun and Toul and Epinal and Belfort were the strongest belt in the French system.

Kaiser William wrote Bismarck in 1879: "The French frontier is almost hermetically sealed from Switzerland to Belgium. Even if we succeed in penetrating an unbroken line of fortresses, they would prevent any reinforcements being sent up, and exercise an enormous influence on the strategical advance of our forces."
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Old 04 Dec 14, 01:17
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In 1870 the Germans took 27 French fortresses, with much inferior artillery than what was available in 1914. However, they could not have defeated the Belgians and British if they had also fought.
As I wrote, it is stupid to fight Belgians, British and Frenchmen as far away from Paris as Antwerp, Liege, Haelen, Nemur, Mons, Brugges, etc, and then in France when you can fight only Frenchmen with a limited number of heavy and 75 mm guns and ridiculous ammunition production and starting from Luxemburg, Metz, etc, and advancing toward Paris and toward Sedan along the Belgian-French border.
The whole purpose of invading Belgium was to subdue the Belgians in days and use their railroad system, they never conquered all of Belgium thanks to Britain and the RR system was completely wrecked and required invaluable time and enormous resources to repair.

In 1914 the Germans took several key French fortresses Maubeuge, Lille, Reims (the most important defense for Paris), etc, rather quickly, despite having wasted a lot of men, ammo and energy in Belgium for weeks.

Liege had a well designed system of fortresses supporting each other.

The guns in 1914 fortresses covered a short radius and can always be avoided if one does not want to asault them. Fortresses never stopped strong armies with good artillery since the advent of massive guns (Constantinople). The fortress in Verdun did not save the day in 1916, the troops fought magnificently in the forest and saved the day.

Any country which relies heavily on fortresses or defensive lines was doomed in the 20th century, including Finland, which benefitted the most from a defensive line in difficult territory and supported by heavy naval guns, much heavier than the guns in any French fortress in 1914. The French fortress system was as ineffective in 1870 as it was in 1914 and in 1940 (the Maginot line).

Having quickly defeated the French in 1870, only an idiot would conclude that it is better to force into a war against the large French and huge Russian armies the well equipped Belgian and endless British Empire divisions and the Royal navy to blockade Germany.

By 1914 the fortification line extended almost to the Atlantic, so invading Belgium did not help to go around them. They had to take Maubeuge and Lille anyway after taking all the Belgian fortifications, so might as well start with the French fortifications from day 1 and save all those men, time and munitions and most importantly, avoid having to fight the Belgians and British in France even after Belgium falls.

It is interesting that in WW I the allied navy prevented the fall of a small area in the Belgian-French coast by shelling German troops, while in 1940, German tanks were not shelled.

Last edited by Draco; 04 Dec 14 at 01:32..
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  #25  
Old 04 Dec 14, 01:37
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One of the bis German mistakes common to both wars was wasting large resources building defensive lines when the war was expected to be decided offensively.
The Kaiser wasted a lot of money, manpower and steel fortifying Alsace Lorraine, the Rhineland, etc, which would have been much more uselful producing fieldguns, MGs, mortars, ammo, etc,

Hitler wasted even more resources on the west and Atlantic walls, etc, which would have been much more useful building planes, armour, 88mm guns, submarines, etc,
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  #26  
Old 04 Dec 14, 02:21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Draco View Post
In 1870 the Germans took 27 French fortresses, with much inferior artillery than what was available in 1914. However, they could not have defeated the Belgians and British if they had also fought.
Argument from ignorance. You offer zero proof of your claim. The British Army of 1870 was primarily a colonial force for controlling their Empire. It was poorly equipped and of small size. The British were not prepared for a major war on the continent and expected the Royal Navy to protect Britain.
You also offer a weak analogy with what the Germans did in 1870 and what they could do over forty years later in 1914. Fortifications had improved substantially due to great advances in engineering and metallurgy.
I pointed out in my last post that the Germans, starting with the Kaiser, believed that French fortifications along the border with Germany were too powerful to take head on. Hence why the Schliefen plan was adopted.

Quote:
As I wrote, it is stupid to fight Belgians, British and Frenchmen as far away from Paris as Antwerp, Liege, Haelen, Nemur, Mons, Brugges, etc, and then in France when you can fight only Frenchmen with a limited number of heavy and 75 mm guns and ridiculous ammunition production and starting from Luxemburg, Metz, etc, and advancing toward Paris and toward Sedan along the Belgian-French border.
Except you ignore the French fortifications from Verdun to Belfort that rivaled the Magniot line in scope using extant WW 1 technology. By breeching the Belgian front versus their inferior fortifications and then sweeping in on the flank of the French the Germans faced only isolated fortifications and little of the French army.
Their major obstacle was opening the rail lines in Belgium to support their advance.

Quote:
The whole purpose of invading Belgium was to subdue the Belgians in days and use their railroad system, they never conquered all of Belgium thanks to Britain and the RR system was completely wrecked and required invaluable time and enormous resources to repair.
Nonsense. The whole purpose of invading Belgium was to outflank French fortifications just as it was in WW 2. The Germans didn't conqueror all of Belgium simply because it wasn't worth their effort to reduce the remaining Belgian army holding Antwerp.
The rail system wasn't totally wrecked and the biggest obstacle the Germans had in opening lines was simply a lack of sufficient eisenbahn troops just as it was in WW 2.
I refer you to Van Creveld's Supplying War.

Also, the British had zero to do with demolition efforts in Belgium.

Quote:
In 1914 the Germans took several key French fortresses Maubeuge, Lille, Reims (the most important defense for Paris), etc, rather quickly, despite having wasted a lot of men, ammo and energy in Belgium for weeks.
Those fortresses are isolated ones not part of a system. They also mostly consisted of older fortifications as the French put most of their post 1870 effort into the line along the German border just as they did between WW 1 and 2.


Quote:
Liege had a well designed system of fortresses supporting each other.
Historians say otherwise. The Belgian forts were weak and also had a second serious flaw: They were not designed with long term occupation by their crews under fire. Ventilation was poor, facilities like toilets and cooking were non-existent.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Brialmont_forts

Even Wiki has extensive information on them that completely and thoroughly contradicts your claims.

Quote:
The guns in 1914 fortresses covered a short radius and can always be avoided if one does not want to asault them. Fortresses never stopped strong armies with good artillery since the advent of massive guns (Constantinople). The fortress in Verdun did not save the day in 1916, the troops fought magnificently in the forest and saved the day.
The first part is contradicted by historical evidence. Both French and Belgian forts included both heavy guns to 21cm + in size and long range ones up to 15cm in size.
The Verdun forts did in part save Verdun. It is nothing short of ignorance to say they played little or no role in the German offensives of 1916.

Quote:
Any country which relies heavily on fortresses or defensive lines was doomed in the 20th century, including Finland, which benefitted the most from a defensive line in difficult territory and supported by heavy naval guns, much heavier than the guns in any French fortress in 1914. The French fortress system was as ineffective in 1870 as it was in 1914 and in 1940 (the Maginot line).
Appeal to consequences. You make no valid argument about the usefulness of fortifications. For example, the Maginot line did force the Germans to devise a strategy to get around it knowing full well they couldn't go through it.

Quote:
Having quickly defeated the French in 1870, only an idiot would conclude that it is better to force into a war against the large French and huge Russian armies the well equipped Belgian and endless British Empire divisions and the Royal navy to blockade Germany.
An irrelevant moralistic fallacy. You make a claim of how things ought to be then apply it to how things are. The Germans in two wars used a strategy of outflanking French fortifications by invading poorly prepared neighboring countries they could easily defeat.
They forewent the value of leaving those nations neutral (note: In WW 1 Germany carefully avoided bringing the Netherlands into the war) in favor of using their territory for a larger strategic result. In WW 1 they nearly succeeded and in WW 2 they did succeed with that strategy.

Quote:
By 1914 the fortification line extended almost to the Atlantic, so invading Belgium did not help to go around them. They had to take Maubeuge and Lille anyway after taking all the Belgian fortifications, so might as well start with the French fortifications from day 1 and save all those men, time and munitions and most importantly, avoid having to fight the Belgians and British in France even after Belgium falls.
Up goes the BS flag. That is completely fallacious. French fortifications didn't extend much beyond Verdun and the French were relying on Belgian and Luxembourg neutrality to cover their flank. They had only isolated fortifications around a few key cities covering their border from Verdun to the North Sea.

Quote:
It is interesting that in WW I the allied navy prevented the fall of a small area in the Belgian-French coast by shelling German troops, while in 1940, German tanks were not shelled.
No it isn't. The Germans didn't take Antwerp because it was a strategic and tactical irrelevance. They were focused on defeating France. Had that actually happened as it did in 1870 and in 1940, they could have then forced a Belgian surrender afterwards.
They knew that, you are oblivious to it.
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Old 04 Dec 14, 11:57
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The British army you describe in 1870 sounds just like the British army which burnt Washington in 1812 or which fought in August 1914 or those which thwarted Napoleon in Spain and Russia in Crimea or won in Blenheim.

I pointed out that the Schlieffen plan was doomed, wasted invaluable time and the westernmost offensive achieved much less (not even capturing all of Belgium or arriving in Amiens) than the central offensive that captured Reims and arrived in the Marne 2 weeks after it would have, had the Germans not invaded Belgium and forced Belgium and Britain into the war.

In 1870 the Prussians did not take Metz only because the French had 130,000 urgently needed troops hiding there, instead of fighting (the fortress became a liability for France, just like the divisions in 1940 in the Maginot). In August 1914 France had large forces in isolated fortresses which could not support each other, while the Germans had a huge, mobile assault force.

16 million 75 mm shells and several hundred thousand men dying over several months in the forest saved Verdun. The fighting was similar to that in the Somme, craters and trenches. Except that the French had less heavy artillery than the British and Germans and were saved only by large numbers of 75mm cannon and shells, which they didn't have in 1914. It is difficult to exagerate the incredible help provided by the small Belgian and British armies at the critical time. Exactly the same invaluable help that the Serbians provided the Russians by forcing the A-H to weaken their already weak defensive line.

in 1870 the French had a few Gattling guns but inferior field artillery. In 1914 they had ridiculous heavy artillery, small numbers of field guns and shells and an obsolete fortress mentality. They were steamrolled to the Marne, despite the British and Belgians. The French alone would have been steamrolled to Paris in the same time.

Last edited by Draco; 04 Dec 14 at 12:27..
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Old 04 Dec 14, 13:04
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Quote:
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Verdun was attacked much later when there were several times more 75 mm guns, a huge French army in Verdun, a huge British army in the Somme preparing to attack with massive artillery and munitions production had increased over 10 fold (16 million 75 mm rounds fired in the long battle of Verdun). In 1914 Verdun and the French army were a joke and as I said, the Germans did capture other French forts in 1914, closer to the path Luxemburg-Paris than Verdun.
Even in 1914 Verdun was no joke as a fortified zone. It had a ring of over 20 fortresses surrounding it in several successive layers. These included older fortifications as well as new ones.




That is why it, and the fortified belt that extended Southeast from that city to Toul wasn't attacked in 1914. The Germans knew how strong the fortress belt was.

By the by, you are completely wrong on the terrain as well.

The French always expected to supplement the forts with field forces just as they did with the Maginot Line in WW 2. The forts were an anchor to strengthen the front not the front on their own.

The most exposed fort, Douaumont, became a major point of fighting. It was only French short sightedness since the war began that left the Verdun forts from being truly effective.





http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Douaumont

In fact, von Falkenhayen's strategy of attrition against one of the strongest French positions was an utter failure resulting in his resignation of command of the German army.
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Old 04 Dec 14, 21:19
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Falkenhayn knew that the strategic value of Verdun was zero. He chose Verdun because he knew that the French would defend it at any cost and bleed to death.

Falkenhayn did not want to capture Verdun, he only wanted to continue attacking it, minimizing German losses and maximizing French losses so that 5 Frenchmen would die for every 2 Germans.

However, prince Willi initially thought that he could capture the fortress and ordered his troops to do so (undermining Falkenhayn's startegy). This resulted in heavy German losses.

It is interesting that you mention Douaumont, which fell without firing a shot. Most of its big guns had been stripped and the remaining guns were manned by 53 old territorials. It was captured by 90 men of the Brandeburger batallion, who were surprised that nobody shot at them while they approached and decided to check it out.
The extremely expensive fort was managed extremely incompetently and was a big help for the Germans, who could really use a large building in the highest point for miles.
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Old 07 Dec 14, 20:24
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Among the biggest German mistakes in both wars was fighting Russia and the US. At least in WW I the US played a mayor role mainly during the last years, when Russia was out of the war. However, in WW II Germany had to fight both countries for over 2 years.

Russia was involved in WW I from the beginning, but in WW II Germany was in excellent terms with the USSR, which even applied to join the acis in late 1940, but Hitler never replied top Stalin's demands for the Bosphorus, etc,
Had Hitler agrred to Stalin's demands and admitted the USSR into the axis, Stalin would have probably invaded Persia, Irak and Turkey (creating enemies, like he did with Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Romania) and deprived the British from that oil. China was much too big for Japan, so splitting it with the USSR after defeating jointly Chiang made a lot of sense for both.

With Russia in the axis Britain would have had to sue for peace and the US would not have joined the war.
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