Home Before the Leaves Fall by Ian Senior

By Ian Senior

Германское вторжение во Францию и Бельгию в августе 1914 года могло привести к победе над французской армий, захвату Парижа и окончанию Первой Мировой войны до листопада. Но... история не знает сослагательного наклонения. Книга написана по материалам немецких и французских архивов

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If the French attempted to penetrate the Vosges into Alsace they were to fall back as far as the line Fortress Kaiser Wilhelm II–Strasbourg, taking with them anything that might be of use to the enemy, including stocks of food, rolling stock etc. Alternatively, if the French remained on the defensive opposite Alsace this force would be transferred by train to Lorraine where they would take part in the operations of 7th Army. The preamble to the deployment plan referred to this as a fundamental alteration.

An advance with several columns is possible without their being observed from the forts. Once our troops have entered the town I believe that the forts will not bombard it but will probably capitulate. The enterprise is only possible if the attack is made at once, before the areas between the forts are fortified. 28 The 1908 Deployment Plan was the first one to avoid violating Dutch territory though this was retained as an option in case the attack on Liège was unsuccessful. In order to take the Belgians by surprise and capture the city and its fortifications before 1st Army arrived, five reinforced infantry brigades (later increased to six) were to be kept on permanent standby near Aachen, ready to cross the border immediately war was declared and to capture the forts by the 10th or 11th mobilization day at the latest.

Although a proficient engineer and well-versed in logistics, including the use of railways, his limited command experience (he had spent only a short time in charge of a corps) was hardly adequate preparation for the role of Commander-in-Chief. In addition, unlike the great majority of his fellow generals he had not attended the Ecole Supérieure de Guerre, and so his knowledge of strategy, operations and staff work was unusually deficient in someone who would be responsible for devising the nation’s war plans.

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