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  • #16
    Originally posted by Wolery View Post
    Well, before we talk about the invincibility of Russia, we should first note that there was indeed a flourishing Ukrainian Independence movement by WWI, made more powerful by Russification and general unrest with the land distribution. Had the Germans been smart, they would have offered the peasants control over their own land, which is the single policy that won the Civil War for Lenin.

    Whether or not the Tannenberg happens (and it probably would as a change in mobilization would delay the Germans for several weeks, long enough for the cream of the Russian Army to storm into East Prussia), the fact is that the Russian Army has the same weaknesses as the Austrian one. That is, not enough machine guns, not nearly enough artillery, limited loyalty of large minority groups and most importantly, a very good and utterly irreplaceable Officer Corps. Historically the Russians lost theirs at Tannenberg and the Austrians lost theirs in Serbia. Both were crippled after that.

    Remember too that Brest Litovsk was signed by Lenin ONLY because the Germans were days away from reaching St. Petersburg. Talk all you wish of Russian patriotism, this is a clear case the Motherland needing defending and the army disintegrated nonetheless. In fact it was when the Germans started to reach out of Belarusian the Russian Army heaved and died.

    One should not underestimate the beneficial effects of going on the defensive in France. One, the Germans had excellent fortifications in the Asance. More importantly, strictly being on the defensive would not reduce the manpower needs by half, it would reduce it by at least two thirds. I say this because the most casualties taken on both sides in France was on the offensive. The trenches were very, VERY good at protecting troops, and besides, the French didn't have the heavy artillery in numbers needed to pound the trenches. Their 75 light field artillery was masterful for open battle, for trench warfare, totally ineffective.

    And then we need to look at the all important blockade. Germany had to spend a lot of money to develop synthetic nitrates and build the facilities, they also had no way to import food. I could be wrong but Germany as this point was not a food importer in peace, but with all the farm hands gone, it makes for a desperate situation. UNLESS of course the US can sell food to them, which they will.

    Going East exclusively is a good strategy only in that it's the only thing to do without attack Belgium. And if the Germans want to win, they need to either not provoke Britain, or win the Continental war before the blockade crushes them. This is without the hindsight of America coming in too.

    Although I will say that while Germany could very well have won WWI (and too WWII), letting Austria die would have been better, because they could have Anschlussed the Austrian part, or most of it and re-oriented it's policies towards Russia. In the 19th century the Three Kings League was made to patch over the tensions between Russia and Austria over the Balkans and ultimately the Germans sided with Austria. But a well played rapprochement with Russia would have completely isolated France. The British would have to think very long and very hard about their commitment to the French. But this is a lot of speculation of happier days.
    I don't think Britain would get involved immediately if Germany wasn't even attacking France. If Germany declared her neutral attitude for Britain they might be able to keep them out of the war. In fact, Germany could offer Britain the opportunity to sell food to them. I'm sure Britain wouldn't mind the extra income.

    Also, If Germany was not at war with Britain I doubt the Ottomans would risk war with them either, because Britain would be free to use it's full force against them. Instead, the Ottomans might decide to focus on Russia more.

    Then there's Italy and Spain, with GB not in the war, they might see this as an opportunity to increase their Mediterranean influence by attacking France and French NA.
    A wild liberal appears! Conservative uses logical reasoning and empirical evidence! It's super effective! Wild liberal faints.

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    • #17
      Speaking of partiotism of 1918 is absurd - after the Imperial family had discredited itself beyond relief and two revolutions which changed where the country was heading in completely opposite directions, what loyalty to what country and what regime could there remain? And even if someone earnestly wanted to defend the country, who did he have to follow - the Reds, the Whites or maybe the deposed Emperor?

      It's like speaking of what direction to drive in when the car is completely wrecked and the road map is torn. Now starting a war of defense would've been a completely different story.
      Last edited by ShAA; 26 Sep 10, 07:05. Reason: style editing
      www.histours.ru

      Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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      • #18
        Originally posted by ShAA View Post
        It's like speaking of what direction to drive in when the car is completely wrecked and the road map is torn. Now starting a war of defense would've been a completely different story.
        In America, we call this moving the goal posts. And it's not even relevant to the discussion. The Russians spent all of a month on the offensive in Prussia, German forces entered Poland in September or October of 1914, and from then on the Russians were on the defensive conducting a very bad fighting defense, whose every limited success was because of the problems of Germany and particularly Austria-Hungary. But this doesn't matter, what caused the Russian Army to die was not a feeling of outrage at being invaded, that wasn't a factor in 1812 or 1941 either. The fall of the Russian Army was due to horrific casualties coupled with a bad supply train, where one fourth of the rifles were supplied and the food was becoming ever scarcer. The collapse of the Russian Army as an effective fighting force occurred in the last few months of 1916, when the Czar was still very much in control of the Empire. Only a badly frayed army and people would have launched the February Revolution.

        The issue is food. With all those men at the front, the Russians good agricultural land was not being utilized to it's fullest and food shortages abounded. It was the same in Germany, and it would be the lack of food that would bring down the Kaiser as assuredly as it brought down the Czar. No amount of defensive posturing was going prevent the collapse of Russia, in fact it would probably have hastened it, if indeed it had any effect at all. In the end the Russian state was completely unprepared to fight a modern war, perhaps more so than Austria. They could not win, and a change in leadership would not help this, a retention of the old leadership would not either. What Russia needed was a military industrial complex, a large and competent officer corps, both of which it would have in WWII, and then the most important factor was the clearly genocidal regime of Adolf Hitler.

        Russia was outclassed in a way that no amount of elan and manufactured outrage could overcome. The Russians lost as soon as WWI began, unless Nikki would have had the good sense to back out in mid 1916, and then it would have probably entitled the loss of Poland (no loss for any rational Russian). Elan counts, morale counts, luck counts, but Russia was outclassed in this engagement.
        How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
        275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

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        • #19
          this is 1914, not 1944!

          I bed to differ with all what's written here.

          1. russia was a HUGE power in 1914, it was massively industrializing (something that scared the Brits.. and probably that's what pushed them push and lobby like crazy for war). Russia was caught unprepared and lacked a good officer corps at the times.... the revolution was by no means a "given"... certainly not the bolchevik one which was, shall we remind it again? funded by US/british bank interests... but let's not digress.

          2. Indeed, German plans were to kick France out of the war fast to then turn on Russia. could the reverse be done? no. so the plans had to be different - i.e. crush the Russian armies in Poland/baltics to force a political defeat. this is NOT total war. so, what would, say 5 German armies, instead of one do on the Russians- my take is that they would make a pincer movent to encircle Russian 2nd army and the forces in Poland. that would be a massive defeat for russia, and the Austro-Hungarian forces, with help of germans might defend better in Galicia.... with that done in the opening weeks of 1914, a strike on Riga and a fleet operations in the gulf of finland might well push the Russian government to "stop bleed for France" and accept a negotiated peace, perhaps as early as late 1914. if that works, then the war is over.

          3. the big advantage of not taking france, is that Belgium stays unmolested and so Britain and later the anti-german fake propaganda showing Germany beeing the bad guys would not work on the USA - or at least not that easyly. with no Britain in the Game and France's armies immolating themselves on the Metz defenses, perhaps France would agree for a generous German peace, negotiated on the defeat of Russia and Serbia.


          let's face it. the strategy germany historically took ended up (sadly) in a disaster for Germany, and thus a disaster for the western world (the west is now dead, to be soon replaced by the (far)East, and genetically and financially diluted and *******ized by the South, because of 1914...)

          any other strategy might end up better.

          germany wins 1914.. no US involvement, no Communism, no ww2, no destruction of the West, western morals reign supreme and undisputed. the southern world models the north and becomes civilized and developed in a rational way, no mass poverty and southern massive population growth. German management and ideas rule!

          sadly those who pull the strings of wars do not want the Western values to rule. they want chaos instead.
          "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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          • #20
            My point was related to morale problems, not the issue of preparedness for the war where I'm not in disagreement with you. As for the food problems, this issue was overblown in scale by many historians, as the only real effect it had in February 1917 when the railroad workers' union sabotaged food deliveries to St. Petersburg being in control of the people who would later lead the Provisional Goverment. A week of breadlines was enough to be a spark in the fuse in the country that was a gunpoweder barrel since 1900s but this issue was still not that bad in Russia as it was in Germany.

            In an article I've read recently an interesting idea was put forth that NII was brought down mainly for the reason that he, unlike practically all belligerent powers, did not want to share a fraction of his power and responsibility with a "popular leader" like Hindenburg, Lloyd George or Clemenceau.
            www.histours.ru

            Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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            • #21
              the collapse of the Russian army as a fighting force did NOT occur at the end of 1916:after the fall of the czar,there was .....the Brusilov offensive,with big results .

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              • #22
                Originally posted by piero1971 View Post
                sadly those who pull the strings of wars do not want the Western values to rule. they want chaos instead.
                indeed

                couldn't help myself.

                sorry, next post will be on topic
                Task Force Regenbogen- Support and Paras

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by piero1971 View Post
                  this is 1914, not 1944!

                  I bed to differ with all what's written here.

                  1. russia was a HUGE power in 1914, it was massively industrializing (something that scared the Brits.. and probably that's what pushed them push and lobby like crazy for war). Russia was caught unprepared and lacked a good officer corps at the times.... the revolution was by no means a "given"... certainly not the bolchevik one which was, shall we remind it again? funded by US/british bank interests... but let's not digress.

                  2. Indeed, German plans were to kick France out of the war fast to then turn on Russia. could the reverse be done? no. so the plans had to be different - i.e. crush the Russian armies in Poland/baltics to force a political defeat. this is NOT total war. so, what would, say 5 German armies, instead of one do on the Russians- my take is that they would make a pincer movent to encircle Russian 2nd army and the forces in Poland. that would be a massive defeat for russia, and the Austro-Hungarian forces, with help of germans might defend better in Galicia.... with that done in the opening weeks of 1914, a strike on Riga and a fleet operations in the gulf of finland might well push the Russian government to "stop bleed for France" and accept a negotiated peace, perhaps as early as late 1914. if that works, then the war is over.

                  3. the big advantage of not taking france, is that Belgium stays unmolested and so Britain and later the anti-german fake propaganda showing Germany beeing the bad guys would not work on the USA - or at least not that easyly. with no Britain in the Game and France's armies immolating themselves on the Metz defenses, perhaps France would agree for a generous German peace, negotiated on the defeat of Russia and Serbia.


                  let's face it. the strategy germany historically took ended up (sadly) in a disaster for Germany, and thus a disaster for the western world (the west is now dead, to be soon replaced by the (far)East, and genetically and financially diluted and *******ized by the South, because of 1914...)

                  any other strategy might end up better.

                  germany wins 1914.. no US involvement, no Communism, no ww2, no destruction of the West, western morals reign supreme and undisputed. the southern world models the north and becomes civilized and developed in a rational way, no mass poverty and southern massive population growth. German management and ideas rule!

                  sadly those who pull the strings of wars do not want the Western values to rule. they want chaos instead.
                  I agree. Germany doesn't need to go charging head on into Russia. They just need to take Poland, and some other strategic territory in Ukraine, Belorus, the Baltics, etc, and then hold it. Not a difficult task with the western front being defensive. Then just let the Russians bleed themselves white. Once the people and soldiers start uprising, offer peace in return for some territory here and there, he Russians have no other option here.
                  A wild liberal appears! Conservative uses logical reasoning and empirical evidence! It's super effective! Wild liberal faints.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by ljadw View Post
                    the collapse of the Russian army as a fighting force did NOT occur at the end of 1916:after the fall of the czar,there was .....the Brusilov offensive,with big results .
                    Well, that's kinda my point. The Russian Army ceased to be a functional offensive machine in late 1916, and the Brusilov took a teetering army and totally destroyed it. The Army was already heaving numbers of deserters and this became a tidal wave, so much so the Germans went on the offensive for the rest of the war in the east. Morale was shot, ammunition sparse, rifles only for a quarter of the infantry. This is a war Russia should not have fought.
                    How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
                    275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

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                    • #25
                      Didn't the B. offensive work? or was that his earlier one?
                      Task Force Regenbogen- Support and Paras

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Dashy View Post
                        Didn't the B. offensive work? or was that his earlier one?
                        If I recall, this was the 1917 offensive everyone hoped would dislodge the Germans. Instead it was a massive cluster that blew the army wide open and sealed the fate of the Kerensky government. It was the only thing that made the October Coup possible because only the Bolsheviks had continously advocated peace over war. And in the end they delivered, after nearly losing the capital to the unstoppable (by the Russians) German advance. I do not think any change in morale could have solved this, even if a change in morale for the better was possible.
                        How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
                        275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          oh, i remember now, his earlier offensive was a huge success, simply because he didn't have enough Arty to announce his presence, so the Tsar, convinced B was a military genius on par with napoleon, pooled all his resources with him, resulting in a huge failure.
                          Task Force Regenbogen- Support and Paras

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Dashy View Post
                            oh, i remember now, his earlier offensive was a huge success, simply because he didn't have enough Arty to announce his presence, so the Tsar, convinced B was a military genius on par with napoleon, pooled all his resources with him, resulting in a huge failure.
                            Yes I believe he launched an offensive in 1915 that was highly successful.
                            A wild liberal appears! Conservative uses logical reasoning and empirical evidence! It's super effective! Wild liberal faints.

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                            • #29


                              This is the first time on the forums I see 3 (tree) posters getting their facts entirely wrong. You could at least call Captain Wiki.

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

                              On June 4, the Russians opened the offensive with a massive, accurate, but brief artillery barrage against the Austro-Hungarian lines. The key point of this was the brevity and accuracy of the bombardment, in marked contrast to the customary protracted barrages of the day which gave the defenders time to bring up reserves and evacuate forward trenches, and damaged the battlefield so badly that it was hard for the attackers to advance. The initial attack was successful and the Austro-Hungarian lines were broken, enabling three of Brusilov's four armies to advance on a wide front (see: Battle of Kostiuchnówka). The success of the breakthrough was helped in large part by Brusilov's innovation of shock troops to attack weak points along the Austrian lines to effect a breakthrough which the main Russian Army could then exploit. Brusilov's tactical innovations laid the foundation for the German infiltration tactics (also called Hutier tactics) used later in the Western Front.
                              And Dashy, it was exactly the innovative tactics that made the operation so successful. Territory gains-wise, this was the most successful operation of the war. As for the transfer of troops, this is quite absurd, I'll quite the same wiki article again (can't quickly find the original sources where I've read the same thing)

                              The Russian high command started transferring troops from Evert's front to reinforce Brusilov, a transfer Brusilov strongly opposed because more troops only served to clutter Brusilov's front.
                              I'm rather curious where you're read such interpretation of the battle?
                              www.histours.ru

                              Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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                              • #30
                                I'll admit, it was a trivial source 100 massive military mistakes one of those blatantly American anthologies that steers away from Vietnam as if it were a plague.
                                Task Force Regenbogen- Support and Paras

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