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What if a great commander were leading Early WWI forces?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post

    Therefore, having the right man to win a quick war would be next to impossible as the advantage passed to the defenders regardless of nation (eg due to barbed wire and mgs). They would have to understand tactics in 1914 that would take until 1918 to fully realise on both the Allied and Axis sides.

    The BBC site concerning some of the issues is here.

    Having said that, it was the French who were in charge of the land war in 1914-18, and I know little to nothing about the characters that they would employ at the higher echelons of power.
    But Nick would'nt a military genius have recognized the changes of military tech like they've allways done? Why not just fight defensive battles? Draw the enemy into a killzone of barb wire, MG.s, magizine rifles all interlocking? Avoid enemy arty fire by moving positions under cover of darkness? Just break the impossibilities down into possibilities. Cant advance under MG. fire? retreat and engage them in terrain of your own choice.
    Proud Christian.

    And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgement.
    Philippians 1:9

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    • #32
      Originally posted by david&joushua View Post
      But Nick would'nt a military genius have recognized the changes of military tech like they've allways done? Why not just fight defensive battles? Draw the enemy into a killzone of barb wire, MG.s, magizine rifles all interlocking? Avoid enemy arty fire by moving positions under cover of darkness? Just break the impossibilities down into possibilities. Cant advance under MG. fire? retreat and engage them in terrain of your own choice.
      My knowledge of WW1 is sketchy, but isn't that basically what the Germans did to the Allies in 1915?
      How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
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      • #33
        Originally posted by david&joushua View Post
        But Nick would'nt a military genius have recognized the changes of military tech like they've allways done? Why not just fight defensive battles? Draw the enemy into a killzone of barb wire, MG.s, magizine rifles all interlocking? Avoid enemy arty fire by moving positions under cover of darkness? Just break the impossibilities down into possibilities. Cant advance under MG. fire? retreat and engage them in terrain of your own choice.
        You'll find that both sides innovated and embraced new technology as it became available. The real problem, at least on the Western Front, was that the Germans managed to dig in and hold the high ground whilst already occupying vast swathes of prime French territory as well as most of Belgium. This dictated the Entente strategy and, more or less, the Germans. If you look at the careers of the 'Great Commanders' they nearly all struggled when faced with enemies occupying carefully chosen defensive positions and they felt that they had to give battle rather than wait or withdraw. The few commanders who get elevated to the status of 'possible great' from WW1 are those who were stationed in the peripheral theatres where they could manoeuvre and use different tactics (Lawrence and Lettow-Vorbeck spring to mind).
        Signing out.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
          "The key to a successful foreign policy is a really good defensive alliance with the Russians." (or words to that effect) Good old Otto. He was even kind to the Austrians. What a guy! (Just like Ace Rimmer)
          Anyone who can bring 'Red Dwarf'' into a discussion on WW1 gets my vote!

          Bismarck was the master statesman of the 19th Century. The only problem was that his system of alliances and treaties was so intricate that it required someone of his skill, or at least close to that, for it to work. Bismarck's corpse must have been spinning like a top when the agreements with the Russians were allowed to lapse and the Franco-Russian alliance emerged.
          Signing out.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Dashy View Post
            well, once british south africa fell there was nothing there to oppose him, hordes of africans flocked to his proverbial banner, some tribes (apparently) thought of him as a god. Think of what gwemany could have done with a unified africa under its belt.
            Good as Lettow-Vorbeck was I don't see him having the resources to make such a scenario happen, especially with the British Empire being able to call upon the full Indian Army when push came to shove. Lettow-Vorbeck was great when fighting a pseudo-guerilla war against superior numbers, whether he could have done a 'Lawrence' without having a regular army to call upon and the political clout the British and French had with the Arabs seems improbable to me.
            Signing out.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
              Anyone who can bring 'Red Dwarf'' into a discussion on WW1 gets my vote!

              Bismarck was the master statesman of the 19th Century. The only problem was that his system of alliances and treaties was so intricate that it required someone of his skill, or at least close to that, for it to work. Bismarck's corpse must have been spinning like a top when the agreements with the Russians were allowed to lapse and the Franco-Russian alliance emerged.
              Well Wilhelm II hated Bismrck if memory served and wouldn't listen to the mans wisdom. Hence the eventual outcome.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                My knowledge of WW1 is sketchy, but isn't that basically what the Germans did to the Allies in 1915?
                Strictly speaking it's 'Entente' not 'Allies' and then it's only the Western Front where the fighting bogged down into the trench warfare we're only too familiar with. The Germans had every advantage possible once the lines atrophied. Not only did they hold the high ground but they had developed heavy artillery to a degree that neither the British nor the French had even considered prior to 1914. They also led the World in chemical research and production which not only meant they could employ chemical warfare but it caused a crisis in British munitions production when it was realised that certain essential elements could only be sourced from German owned companies! The only thing that puzzles me about German strategy up to The Somme in 1916 is why they launched any offensives on the Western Front at all. But that's going so far off topic that I only mention that as an aside.
                Signing out.

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                • #38
                  U.S. Grant because during the American Civil war the north was loseing until he took command. So I would have him fight in Europe just the way he fought here. Keep up the attack until you wear your emeny out . Also he was good at useing artillary and he would use it to pound his enemy .Also I would apoint Lord Nelson to be in command of the navy for the entire war .

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Yankee View Post
                    Keep up the attack until you wear your emeny out. Also he was good at useing artillary and he would use it to pound his enemy.
                    Isn't what you suggest that Grant would do a rude description of how the greater part of WW1 was being fought at the Western front?
                    BoRG

                    You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Yankee View Post
                      U.S. Grant because during the American Civil war the north was loseing until he took command. So I would have him fight in Europe just the way he fought here. Keep up the attack until you wear your emeny out . Also he was good at useing artillary and he would use it to pound his enemy .Also I would apoint Lord Nelson to be in command of the navy for the entire war .
                      I dont mean to start a argument but thats not how Grant faught. Read Grant and Lee a study in personality and Generalship by J.F.C. Fuller. And like Major Sennef said what was needed was inginuity not driving force.
                      Proud Christian.

                      And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgement.
                      Philippians 1:9

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                      • #41
                        I think some of the Maori Generals from the Land Wars could have given the germans a good copping every now and then, Its amazing what "Uneducated" savages could accomplish.
                        Task Force Regenbogen- Support and Paras

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Dashy View Post
                          I think some of the Maori Generals from the Land Wars could have given the germans a good copping every now and then, Its amazing what "Uneducated" savages could accomplish.
                          Amen to that. Reminds me of a quote. I dont remember who it's by but it goes :When we think it's called strategy, when the indians think it's called treachery. (or somthing like that)
                          Proud Christian.

                          And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgement.
                          Philippians 1:9

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                          • #43
                            In the light of the above, I was thinking of putting Confederate general James Longstreet in charge of the école militaire supérieure from 1905 till 1910 in order to teach French officers to be strategically on the offense and tactically on the defense.
                            Historically Foch held this position but he stressed the offensive à l’outrance too much, without taking the effects of barbed wire and machine guns into enough account.

                            Going further with the ‘what if’:
                            After 1910 his career would bring Longstreet at the GHQ in charge of the French Army where he could put his theory of combining strategic offensive and tactically defensive teachings into practice. Consequently: in all opening encounters of WW1 in the first weeks of the Battle of the Frontiers, France would suffer considerable fewer losses than the German invader executing the Schlieffen Plan.

                            What this in turn would result in re Battle of the Marne or a successful Plan XVII I find difficult to forecast, but I think consequences would be considerable.
                            Ideas anyone?
                            BoRG

                            You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

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                            • #44
                              Although I have not figured out what he would but but I suggest Bellisarius for the Ottoman Empire.

                              He usually outmanuvred and got way more out of his troops tha should of been possible. Which we all know is needed with the Turks

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