German "East First" Plan in 1914?

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JAG13
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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by JAG13 » 29 Sep 2019 20:07

glenn239 wrote:
26 Sep 2019 18:17
JAG13 wrote:
25 Sep 2019 23:07
In any case, the KM will stay away from the RN to avoid complications.
The easiest way for the KM to avoid complications is to move the entire fleet, including the submarines, into the Baltic and keep it there. Even if the French navy attacks the German North Sea coasts. However, there is a serious downside to this procedure, and that is that the French navy can run down the German merchant marine and force it to seek shelter in neutral ports. The Germans would, of course, blame the British for this state of affairs. The other issue is, of course, Souchon and Spee, and the far seas cruisers; these cannot hide in the Baltic.
Nah,no need for that, it would be cruise warfare for both sides since the HSF is not going to risk going around the British isles to find its retreat cut by the RN, that might be just too tempting.

Small and large cruisers is a different thing.
Nope, you need positive identification of the warship, otherwise you risk an incident right on the Uks doorstep. No blockade no trade war.
Right, it is precisely because the U-boats were pretty bad at identification that if they were used in the Channel or Atlantic, they'd invariably start to sink British merchant and warships by accident. The British public, you would agree, would respond poorly to this? In terms of no blockade, how could a German navy couped up in the Baltic Sea prevents the French navy from doing that? Also, you seem to be assuming that the British will relieve Germany of its supply problems by direct trade. What if they don't?
The RN is a far larger, immediate and possible threat than the USN, the KM wont risk a war to sink a few ships.

The MN was so weak, its cruisers would be chased down and sunk in the North Sea, if they were suicidal enough to try.
Antwerp, a base that led to the channel and a bunch of minefields in time of war... the Germans never used anything bigger than a DD there IIRC.
The difficulty with Antwerp as a major HSF fleet base was that the approaches to it were by way of neutral Netherlands. But, if both Belgium and Netherlands were CP allies, then this area would make a fine fleet base. Add some heavy coastal batteries in the Pas de Calais area...
No, those are shallow and restricted waters, it would be suicidal to base a fleet there so exposed to enemy action, mines alone would be a nightmare, add fast torpedo boats to that... BAD IDEA.
With France defeated and crippled Belgium has no value for Germany, much less its army.
During the war Belgium was very valuable as a U-boat base against Britain, and its rail net was indispensable for operations in France, whether these be aimed at France or Britain.
For small subs and fast torpedo boats, nothing more, restricted waters are not for fleet ships, that is asking for be sunk.
Yeah, they were desperate and had already thrown all caution to the wind, it was make or break for them.
So the stronger Germany gets the more respectful of Dutch neutrality they become? I would have guessed the opposite, actually.
There is simply NO NEED NOR UPSIDE for antagonizing the Dutch, Willy knew that and acted accordingly.
Given that the convoy beat the Uboat, French bases would have made no difference.
Actually the U-boats sank 2.6 million tons of shipping in 8 months in 1918- they were not defeated, they were neutralized long enough for the Allies to win the 100 Days. Wolfpack tactics, (ie, massed submarine attacks on the surface at night) were inevitable, and the eventual anti-dote to these - radar - was not available for decades. The biggest operational hurdle by 1918 was the mined passage at Dover forcing very long trips around Scotland to patrol areas - a bit closer to reach these from Brest!
Most of them in the early months, then the sinkings dropped fast, and Uboats were used and built as a response to the blockade, no blockade in this case.
Which was Bertie's objection to Grey but, again, without the Russians the French are no threat by themselves, not even with the UK on tow. Germany did not want war, they knew the price to be paid in both blood and post-war social concessions that undermined the monarchy.
So when the Kaiser said to Moltke on 1 August when he thought France was out, that after dealing with Russia he'd 'take the measure' of the French, what are you suggesting he meant?
Exactly that! Willy LOVED to talk in the heat of the moment, then he would change his mind 5 minutes laterafter cooling off and, again, how could he justify such a war AFTER fighting one? He couldnt, he had enough trouble convincing the Reichstag as it was, and he would be VERY busy dealing with the political fallout of the war, the peace dividend with people demanding Prussia to be more democratic, expanding the franchise and other popular demands.
One war was enough, and there was no chance in hell of convincing the German people of attacking a France that had remained neutral during the war... they would have to be content with Brest-Litovks and no Versailles II.
That's what the Prussians thought in 1805 with Napoleon!
1805, not 1915... quite a ways...
Why would Belgium delay its request for assistance? It would come before any German move.
The Germans are not waiting for any request before moving. And what of Liege? The Germans will want to garrison it and will need the Belgians out. They will not risk operations in the direction of Brussels or Antwerp without their LOC being German controlled and garrisoned.
Yeah, they would be waiting, you can only gain from that, you offer help and prepare to move, move in once accepted while basking in the glow of the savior...

Liege is Belgian, they can kept it, no need to harass the ally and their rear would be covered by their own troops.
Germany is there at Belgium's request, on what legal grounds could the UK ask for that? On top of FAILING to uphold a treaty it signed?
The Germans would be in Belgium because the French were there. Whether Belgium had or had not requested anything was immaterial. They are not helping Belgium. Further, if the Belgians did not agree to surrender Liege to the Germans, they would bring up the Krupps and Skodas and that would be that, right?
No, the Germans would be there at Belgium's request, you gain PR points that way and get to shout it to the world.

Nope, no need to take Liege from the ally.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by glenn239 » 01 Oct 2019 20:04

MarkN wrote:
28 Sep 2019 18:58
glenn239 wrote:
28 Sep 2019 15:48
.... looks wrong ... Yadda yadda yadda
Of course it looks wrong. This is a what if thread where posters are making up various fantasy alternatives.

My intent was not to suggest a realistic alternative inviting others to knock it down but to highlight some of the inherent weaknesses of the London Treaty and how it is a dreadful start point for any serious debate about alternative narratives - especially ones desperate to paint Britain in a bad light.
I took your purpose to be satire, but answered your points systematically nonetheless as I found, even as satire, it was an interesting 10 minutes chopping them to bits and posting the wreckage. Feel free to make another go, but maybe this time aim higher and try to remember little details like Austria didn't declare war on France first?

In terms of the painting of Britain, perhaps a poster tied to fairy tales of British neutrality could even think along those lines. My take for decades has been that Grey and other key British statesmen were allies of France and had no intention but to enter the war if France did. You seem to think loyalty to friends is evidence of bad light? Explain please.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by glenn239 » 01 Oct 2019 20:50

JAG13 wrote:
29 Sep 2019 20:07
Nah,no need for that, it would be cruise warfare for both sides since the HSF is not going to risk going around the British isles to find its retreat cut by the RN, that might be just too tempting.
The British did not state that they might cut the retreat of the German navy as it passed into the Channel or Irish Sea. They said that they would engage and destroy German warships attempting to do so.
The RN is a far larger, immediate and possible threat than the USN, the KM wont risk a war to sink a few ships.
It is entirely conceivable that the Germans would keep their U-boats in port and their fleet bottled up in the Baltic. This, of course, because the best German strategy was to eliminate the Entente powers one by one, with Britain in the docket last. Doing nothing with the German fleet would no doubt be attempted at the start, but historically, you will recall that public pressure in Germany grew for the fleet to do something as the frustration of trench war set in. Now, this war is easier for Germany to win, but it's still not a walk in the park. There will be plenty of setbacks, plenty of bloody offensives, and plenty of public pressure to unleash the U-boats.
The MN was so weak, its cruisers would be chased down and sunk in the North Sea, if they were suicidal enough to try.
French cruisers plying the waters of the Atlantic and Channel running down and sinking German merchantmen by the hundreds would be committing 'suicide' because the German fleet was hiding in the Baltic hundreds or thousands of miles away? I think not. Also, as the French fleet drove the German merchant marine from the world's seas, you really suppose that the German public would blame anyone other than the British for that?

Actually, any German admiral worth his pay grade would fear, perhaps even assume, that if a French squadron was trailing its coat tails across the Bight, that the Grand Fleet was also skulking about. Why else would a weak French squadron appear in the Lion's den, if not to tweak the desired reaction, and Anglo-German naval battle?
No, those are shallow and restricted waters, it would be suicidal to base a fleet there so exposed to enemy action, mines alone would be a nightmare, add fast torpedo boats to that... BAD IDEA.
By "Antwerp", I mean not only the deepwater port itself, but the rail net connecting it to Germany that makes it a viable fleet base, and the roadstead/approaches to the port being in German hands all the way down to the sea, with minefields and coastal batteries at the entrance of the Scheldt. Dredging as necessary towards the entrance to accommodate a fleet.
For small subs and fast torpedo boats, nothing more, restricted waters are not for fleet ships, that is asking for be sunk.
If the German navy controls the south shore of the French Channel coast then the HSF can dominate those waters on account of coastal batteries and mine defenses that would see the German navy able to defeat the Grand Fleet in battle. Similarly, the British would dominate the north half the English Channel for the same reason.
There is simply NO NEED NOR UPSIDE for antagonizing the Dutch, Willy knew that and acted accordingly.
On the contrary. Once Germany defeated France and Russia, there seems no need to take account of anything the Dutch wanted. Having just defeated Powers with over 200 divisions in the field, The Netherlands and its 12 divisions (or whatever) are hardly going to count for much on the deterrence front, would you not agree?
Most of them in the early months, then the sinkings dropped fast, and Uboats were used and built as a response to the blockade, no blockade in this case.
As stated, the U-boats were not defeated in 1918. In fact they had the second most successful year of the war that year. In terms of losses, here,

https://uboat.net/wwi/fates/losses.html

I count 71 boats lost, not including scuttles near to the end. Of those 71 lost in 1918, 11 were unknown causes. Of the remaining 60, 24 (!) were lost to mines, a whopping 40%. A positional advantage, such as bases in France, would undercut the most effective ASW weapon in the Allied arsenal in WW1.
Exactly that! Willy LOVED to talk in the heat of the moment, then he would change his mind 5 minutes laterafter cooling off and, again, how could he justify such a war AFTER fighting one? He couldnt, he had enough trouble convincing the Reichstag as it was, and he would be VERY busy dealing with the political fallout of the war, the peace dividend with people demanding Prussia to be more democratic, expanding the franchise and other popular demands.
So, to repeat the question. When the Kaiser told Moltke on 1 August that after dealing with the Russians he would turn and take the measure of the French, what do you think he meant?
Yeah, they would be waiting, you can only gain from that, you offer help and prepare to move, move in once accepted while basking in the glow of the savior...
No, they are not waiting. The Battle of the Frontiers has not happened yet. The Germans, from their prewar exercises, think that the French stand a very good chance of beating them. They're going to help the French by cooling their heels for a Belgian request that may never come?
Liege is Belgian, they can kept it, no need to harass the ally and their rear would be covered by their own troops.
The Germans did not trust the Belgians. Liege was critical to German communications. If the Belgians ask for German assistance, in their answer the Germans are going to demand the evacuation of Liege and the control of all rail links and yards in Belgium. They might be more flexible on Brussels, at least to start.
No, the Germans would be there at Belgium's request, you gain PR points that way and get to shout it to the world.
No, the Germans would be there because the French army had invaded Belgium and the Germans were going to crush it and attack into France. To the level that Belgian diplomatic courtesy even mattered to them, it would be solely within the lens of keeping the British neutral by negotiating with the Belgians to some degree to get what they wanted. If the Belgians refused to turn Liege over to Germany, no German offensive into France was possible. Surely you cannot possibly believe the German army would accept that state of affairs?

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by BDV » 02 Oct 2019 15:12

glenn239 wrote: To the level that Belgian diplomatic courtesy even mattered to them, it would be solely within the lens of keeping the British neutral by negotiating with the Belgians to some degree to get what they wanted. If the Belgians refused to turn Liege over to Germany, no German offensive into France was possible. Surely you cannot possibly believe the German army would accept that state of affairs?
Why, if French Army's road into Ruhr is blocked by the Naumur and Liege fortifications, and German Army has its hands full in Courland and Poland, in addition to being under a lot of pressure (from the same French Army) in Lothringen? Hard to see how German army has more than 2 Armee-Korps to push into Belgium.
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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by glenn239 » 02 Oct 2019 17:36

BDV wrote:
02 Oct 2019 15:12
Why, if French Army's road into Ruhr is blocked by the Naumur and Liege fortifications, and German Army has its hands full in Courland and Poland, in addition to being under a lot of pressure (from the same French Army) in Lothringen? Hard to see how German army has more than 2 Armee-Korps to push into Belgium.
The French army's immediate objective was to roll up the Metz-Thionville fortified line, which was well south of Namur or Liege. The French would also want, naturally, to studiously avoid combat with Belgian troops. It was not well equipped in 1914 to storm the fortified positions along the Meuse. Happily, in one of those great coincidences of history, the Belgians just happened to deploy no forces south of the Meuse to speak of such that a French advance there would be into empty space where virtually no combat would occur. Further north, about all the French would require was 3rd rate troops screening Dunkirk, Lille, Maubeuge, etc.

If the German army has deployed en mass in the east after which the French moved into Belgium, then the Russians in response will have fallen back behind their fortified line. The German army can either entrain major forces for the west, or continue to advance into the open spaces of Russia with no particular reason to suppose a decisive engagement. Which advance will happen faster - the French army arriving at the German frontier, or the German army reaching Borodino or Moscow? Either way, in the Ardennes in the west the Germans would want to advance as far and as quickly as possible in order to establish the front line as far from the Ruhr and Germany as possible. The Belgians making a request would waste time and set the precedent that the Germans in Belgium are limited to the Belgian request. German options in the long term are more wideranging if they enter Belgium in response to a French move without first having responded to a Belgian request. Once major forces were assembled in the west, the fact that Liege was required for any offensive into France, and that Germany must be in full control of its vital LOC, would require that German troops occupy all the Belgian cities needed in the rail net - Liege, Namur, Brussels, etc.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by JAG13 » 03 Oct 2019 00:01

glenn239 wrote:
01 Oct 2019 20:50
JAG13 wrote:
29 Sep 2019 20:07
Nah,no need for that, it would be cruise warfare for both sides since the HSF is not going to risk going around the British isles to find its retreat cut by the RN, that might be just too tempting.
The British did not state that they might cut the retreat of the German navy as it passed into the Channel or Irish Sea. They said that they would engage and destroy German warships attempting to do so.
Channel, not Irish Sea, but the KM would have to consider such a move.
The RN is a far larger, immediate and possible threat than the USN, the KM wont risk a war to sink a few ships.
It is entirely conceivable that the Germans would keep their U-boats in port and their fleet bottled up in the Baltic. This, of course, because the best German strategy was to eliminate the Entente powers one by one, with Britain in the docket last. Doing nothing with the German fleet would no doubt be attempted at the start, but historically, you will recall that public pressure in Germany grew for the fleet to do something as the frustration of trench war set in. Now, this war is easier for Germany to win, but it's still not a walk in the park. There will be plenty of setbacks, plenty of bloody offensives, and plenty of public pressure to unleash the U-boats.
The 1914 KM had few Uboats, they are not a factor.

Pressure mounted to respond to the UK blockade... there is no blockade in this case.

You can always send the GKs to harass French shipping in the Atlantic.
The MN was so weak, its cruisers would be chased down and sunk in the North Sea, if they were suicidal enough to try.
French cruisers plying the waters of the Atlantic and Channel running down and sinking German merchantmen by the hundreds would be committing 'suicide' because the German fleet was hiding in the Baltic hundreds or thousands of miles away? I think not. Also, as the French fleet drove the German merchant marine from the world's seas, you really suppose that the German public would blame anyone other than the British for that?

Actually, any German admiral worth his pay grade would fear, perhaps even assume, that if a French squadron was trailing its coat tails across the Bight, that the Grand Fleet was also skulking about. Why else would a weak French squadron appear in the Lion's den, if not to tweak the desired reaction, and Anglo-German naval battle?
You said in the Baltic, I didnt.

The GKs can play the same game and sink any French cruiser they run into, plenty of ships would make it through if and when needed.
No, those are shallow and restricted waters, it would be suicidal to base a fleet there so exposed to enemy action, mines alone would be a nightmare, add fast torpedo boats to that... BAD IDEA.
By "Antwerp", I mean not only the deepwater port itself, but the rail net connecting it to Germany that makes it a viable fleet base, and the roadstead/approaches to the port being in German hands all the way down to the sea, with minefields and coastal batteries at the entrance of the Scheldt. Dredging as necessary towards the entrance to accommodate a fleet.
No one operated heavy ships in the channel in eaither war, it was suicide, other than Cerberus, and the KM DID regard it as suicide.
For small subs and fast torpedo boats, nothing more, restricted waters are not for fleet ships, that is asking for be sunk.
If the German navy controls the south shore of the French Channel coast then the HSF can dominate those waters on account of coastal batteries and mine defenses that would see the German navy able to defeat the Grand Fleet in battle. Similarly, the British would dominate the north half the English Channel for the same reason.
A battle in what would be the most heavily mined water in the world... EVER? And just over a decade after the mines and torpedoes of the Russo-Japanese war?

No, just no.
There is simply NO NEED NOR UPSIDE for antagonizing the Dutch, Willy knew that and acted accordingly.
On the contrary. Once Germany defeated France and Russia, there seems no need to take account of anything the Dutch wanted. Having just defeated Powers with over 200 divisions in the field, The Netherlands and its 12 divisions (or whatever) are hardly going to count for much on the deterrence front, would you not agree?
No, as I said, while at war Willy envisioned what to get out of the war, he placed great care in not antagonizing the Dutch.
Most of them in the early months, then the sinkings dropped fast, and Uboats were used and built as a response to the blockade, no blockade in this case.
As stated, the U-boats were not defeated in 1918. In fact they had the second most successful year of the war that year. In terms of losses, here,

https://uboat.net/wwi/fates/losses.html

I count 71 boats lost, not including scuttles near to the end. Of those 71 lost in 1918, 11 were unknown causes. Of the remaining 60, 24 (!) were lost to mines, a whopping 40%. A positional advantage, such as bases in France, would undercut the most effective ASW weapon in the Allied arsenal in WW1.
It would reduce losses, but it would still do nothing about the convoys.

Year is irrelevant, look at the monthly losses and the drop after convoy introduction in June 1917:

Image
Exactly that! Willy LOVED to talk in the heat of the moment, then he would change his mind 5 minutes laterafter cooling off and, again, how could he justify such a war AFTER fighting one? He couldnt, he had enough trouble convincing the Reichstag as it was, and he would be VERY busy dealing with the political fallout of the war, the peace dividend with people demanding Prussia to be more democratic, expanding the franchise and other popular demands.
So, to repeat the question. When the Kaiser told Moltke on 1 August that after dealing with the Russians he would turn and take the measure of the French, what do you think he meant?
Just that, empty boasting, no chance the Reichstag or the people would do that in case the French stayed neutral.
Yeah, they would be waiting, you can only gain from that, you offer help and prepare to move, move in once accepted while basking in the glow of the savior...
No, they are not waiting. The Battle of the Frontiers has not happened yet. The Germans, from their prewar exercises, think that the French stand a very good chance of beating them. They're going to help the French by cooling their heels for a Belgian request that may never come?
The Germans knew the value of prepared defenses which is why they considered going through Belgium, if on the defensive they would be well dug in and ready for the French, with predictable consequences.

If you consider yourself inferior then you do not abandon the advantage of prepared defenses on known terrain to risk a battle of maneuver against a tough enemy over unknown terrain...
Liege is Belgian, they can kept it, no need to harass the ally and their rear would be covered by their own troops.
The Germans did not trust the Belgians. Liege was critical to German communications. If the Belgians ask for German assistance, in their answer the Germans are going to demand the evacuation of Liege and the control of all rail links and yards in Belgium. They might be more flexible on Brussels, at least to start.
I have no idea why you are coming up with such an scenario, it makes no sense. Liege is not vital to the Germans, not in the defensive, they wont be sending troops far away, they cant afford that, nothing beyond Ardennes-Liege-Namur, they dont have the troops for it.
No, the Germans would be there at Belgium's request, you gain PR points that way and get to shout it to the world.
No, the Germans would be there because the French army had invaded Belgium and the Germans were going to crush it and attack into France. To the level that Belgian diplomatic courtesy even mattered to them, it would be solely within the lens of keeping the British neutral by negotiating with the Belgians to some degree to get what they wanted. If the Belgians refused to turn Liege over to Germany, no German offensive into France was possible. Surely you cannot possibly believe the German army would accept that state of affairs?
Nope, the Germans are in the defensive, other than securing better defensive positions anchored on the Belgian forts they lack the men to press far into Belgium, much less into France.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by glenn239 » 04 Oct 2019 17:40

JAG13 wrote:
03 Oct 2019 00:01
Channel, not Irish Sea, but the KM would have to consider such a move.
French Yellow Book -

No. 143.
M. Paul Cambon, French Ambassador at London, to M. René‚ Viviani, President of the Council, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
London, August 3, 1914.

Sir Edward Grey has authorised me to inform you that you could state to Parliament that he was making explanations to the Commons as to the present attitude of the British Government, and that the chief of these declarations would be as follows: --

" In case the German fleet came into the Channel or entered the North Sea in order to go round l the British Isles with the object of attacking the French coasts or the French navy and of harassing French merchant shipping, the British fleet would intervene in order to give to French.shipping its complete protection, in such a way that from that moment Great Britain and Germany would be in a state of war."
Sir Edward Grey explained to me that the notion of` an operation by way of the North Sea implied protection against a demonstration in the Atlantic Ocean.

The declaration concerning the intervention of the British fleet must be considered as binding the British Government. Sir Edward Grey has assured me of this and has added that the French Government were thereby authorised to inform the Chambers of this.

On my return to the Embassy I received your telephonic communication relating to the German ultimatum addressed to Belgium. I immediately communicated it to Sir Edward Grey.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by glenn239 » 04 Oct 2019 18:17

JAG13 wrote:
03 Oct 2019 00:01
The 1914 KM had few Uboats, they are not a factor.
I agree that the U-boats are not going to be a factor to start with. But even with Britain neutral this is going to be a long hard slog for Germany to win it. As time goes on and more U-boats are commissioned, the call in Germany to demand their use would increase. The United States attempted a policy of non-intervention but the war at sea eventually dragged them in. Britain, far closer, far more sympathetic to France, and with a far larger navy and merchant marine, would be in more difficult position to remain outside the fighting.
Pressure mounted to respond to the UK blockade... there is no blockade in this case.

You can always send the GKs to harass French shipping in the Atlantic.
No the Germans cannot send the GK's into the Atlantic to harass the French because they would be attacked and sunk by the Royal Navy as they attempted to leave the North Sea, as per the British naval pledge. To further the catastrophe to Germany, the British would then be at war with Germany from that moment. Meanwhile, assuming the German fleet stays in port, the French navy will have completed its transfer of the North African corps to France by the start of September and its fleet will move into the Atlantic and overseas seeking to destroy every German merchant ship that can be run down. Because the German fleet cannot leave Germany without risking war with Britain, the French fleet will run the German merchant marine off the high seas in a number of months.
No one operated heavy ships in the channel in either war, it was suicide, other than Cerberus, and the KM DID regard it as suicide.
The British Channel Squadron of 1914 consisted of two pre-dreadnought battle squadrons (16 battleships?) with numerous cruiser squadrons in support. It's job was to protect the English Channel from raids by the High Seas Fleet.
A battle in what would be the most heavily mined water in the world... EVER? And just over a decade after the mines and torpedoes of the Russo-Japanese war?
"Sauce for the goose, Mr. Savik. The odds will be even"

Spock.


No, as I said, while at war Willy envisioned what to get out of the war, he placed great care in not antagonizing the Dutch.
Yes, and I said that as Germany became ascendant over France and Russia, what the Dutch wanted would be of less and less consequences - the Dutch would do as they were told. For who is to help them? The defeated Russians? The exhausted French wobbly on their last legs? The neutral British?
It would reduce losses, but it would still do nothing about the convoys.
The antidote to convoys was Wolfpack tactics and heavy surface raiding forces. The former tactics were not yet in use as the war was ending, the latter could only be done with German bases in France.

Just that, empty boasting, no chance the Reichstag or the people would do that in case the French stayed neutral.
If those are the only things in the way, then nothing at all will protect France from attack except the good will of the Kaiser. The British and French will have to see which can throw the other under the bus in Berlin?
The Germans knew the value of prepared defenses which is why they considered going through Belgium, if on the defensive they would be well dug in and ready for the French, with predictable consequences.
See Zuber's books on German military doctrine in regards to war with France. Assuming sufficient density of German formations in the west, (5 armes?), I think I agree with you that the Germans would believe they could dig in and hold the French. But to defeat the French and win the war, they would need to occupy Belgium (allied or not) and invade France from Belgium to capture Paris and defeat the French armies and occupy their production base.
I have no idea why you are coming up with such an scenario, it makes no sense. Liege is not vital to the Germans, not in the defensive, they wont be sending troops far away, they cant afford that, nothing beyond Ardennes-Liege-Namur, they dont have the troops for it.
The Germans are going to eject the French from Belgium as quickly as possible, and they will need to occupy Liege in order first to protect the Ruhr from direct invasion and second to secure the lines of communication for the offensive into France. Belgian friendliness to Germany would be valuable in the latter context - it would be quite the coup to acquire the entire Belgian rail net. In fact, it might actually even be decisive to the war. But either way, Germany needs to occupy Liege.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by JAG13 » 07 Oct 2019 01:34

glenn239 wrote:
04 Oct 2019 17:40
JAG13 wrote:
03 Oct 2019 00:01
Channel, not Irish Sea, but the KM would have to consider such a move.
French Yellow Book -

No. 143.
M. Paul Cambon, French Ambassador at London, to M. René‚ Viviani, President of the Council, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
London, August 3, 1914.

Sir Edward Grey has authorised me to inform you that you could state to Parliament that he was making explanations to the Commons as to the present attitude of the British Government, and that the chief of these declarations would be as follows: --

" In case the German fleet came into the Channel or entered the North Sea in order to go round l the British Isles with the object of attacking the French coasts or the French navy and of harassing French merchant shipping, the British fleet would intervene in order to give to French.shipping its complete protection, in such a way that from that moment Great Britain and Germany would be in a state of war."
Sir Edward Grey explained to me that the notion of` an operation by way of the North Sea implied protection against a demonstration in the Atlantic Ocean.

The declaration concerning the intervention of the British fleet must be considered as binding the British Government. Sir Edward Grey has assured me of this and has added that the French Government were thereby authorised to inform the Chambers of this.

On my return to the Embassy I received your telephonic communication relating to the German ultimatum addressed to Belgium. I immediately communicated it to Sir Edward Grey.
Yeah, and my point was that the KM wouldnt go through the channel, way too tempting for the RN plus, didnt Grey made a PUBLIC speech indicating it would attack the KM if they raided the channel coast? Why would the KM attempt to do it then?

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by JAG13 » 07 Oct 2019 02:04

glenn239 wrote:
04 Oct 2019 18:17
JAG13 wrote:
03 Oct 2019 00:01
The 1914 KM had few Uboats, they are not a factor.
I agree that the U-boats are not going to be a factor to start with. But even with Britain neutral this is going to be a long hard slog for Germany to win it. As time goes on and more U-boats are commissioned, the call in Germany to demand their use would increase. The United States attempted a policy of non-intervention but the war at sea eventually dragged them in. Britain, far closer, far more sympathetic to France, and with a far larger navy and merchant marine, would be in more difficult position to remain outside the fighting.
No, the war didnt drag them in nor were they non-interventionists, Wilson had a clear bias and was certainly not neutral.

It depends, the Russians would be in far worse shape and far quicker, which would put more pressure on the French to do SOMETHING to relieve pressure off the Russians, if they invade Belgium, good luck moving UK public opinion in France's favor.
Pressure mounted to respond to the UK blockade... there is no blockade in this case.

You can always send the GKs to harass French shipping in the Atlantic.
No the Germans cannot send the GK's into the Atlantic to harass the French because they would be attacked and sunk by the Royal Navy as they attempted to leave the North Sea, as per the British naval pledge. To further the catastrophe to Germany, the British would then be at war with Germany from that moment. Meanwhile, assuming the German fleet stays in port, the French navy will have completed its transfer of the North African corps to France by the start of September and its fleet will move into the Atlantic and overseas seeking to destroy every German merchant ship that can be run down. Because the German fleet cannot leave Germany without risking war with Britain, the French fleet will run the German merchant marine off the high seas in a number of months.
Nope, the naval pledge was about the French channel coast, they could enter the Atlantic unopposed, not even Grey managed to demand or obtain that.
No one operated heavy ships in the channel in either war, it was suicide, other than Cerberus, and the KM DID regard it as suicide.
The British Channel Squadron of 1914 consisted of two pre-dreadnought battle squadrons (16 battleships?) with numerous cruiser squadrons in support. It's job was to protect the English Channel from raids by the High Seas Fleet.
Yep, and they were not in the Channel.
A battle in what would be the most heavily mined water in the world... EVER? And just over a decade after the mines and torpedoes of the Russo-Japanese war?
"Sauce for the goose, Mr. Savik. The odds will be even"

Spock.
Sorry, they werent suicidal.

No, as I said, while at war Willy envisioned what to get out of the war, he placed great care in not antagonizing the Dutch.
Yes, and I said that as Germany became ascendant over France and Russia, what the Dutch wanted would be of less and less consequences - the Dutch would do as they were told. For who is to help them? The defeated Russians? The exhausted French wobbly on their last legs? The neutral British?
That was Willy's vision for a victorious Germany, not during the war, but for what he intended to do after, he understood that you attract more flies with honey.
It would reduce losses, but it would still do nothing about the convoys.
The antidote to convoys was Wolfpack tactics and heavy surface raiding forces. The former tactics were not yet in use as the war was ending, the latter could only be done with German bases in France.
They werent even developed yet...
Just that, empty boasting, no chance the Reichstag or the people would do that in case the French stayed neutral.
If those are the only things in the way, then nothing at all will protect France from attack except the good will of the Kaiser. The British and French will have to see which can throw the other under the bus in Berlin?
That is all most countries have, France would have proven to be no threat by letting Russia be cut to pieces, no reason whatsoever for the Germans to attack, not even a pretext... so no, Germany would leave France alone, the Reichstag is not going to fund a NEW war just after fighting one and with the people and parties demanding more rights and compensation for the war.
The Germans knew the value of prepared defenses which is why they considered going through Belgium, if on the defensive they would be well dug in and ready for the French, with predictable consequences.
See Zuber's books on German military doctrine in regards to war with France. Assuming sufficient density of German formations in the west, (5 armes?), I think I agree with you that the Germans would believe they could dig in and hold the French. But to defeat the French and win the war, they would need to occupy Belgium (allied or not) and invade France from Belgium to capture Paris and defeat the French armies and occupy their production base.
Yeah, but were are using a PoD here, Grosser Ostaufmarsch II, about 30+ divisions (3 armies) to dig in and defend in the west while the other half of the army plus the KuK deal with the Russians, it means dropping the "France first" policy.
I have no idea why you are coming up with such an scenario, it makes no sense. Liege is not vital to the Germans, not in the defensive, they wont be sending troops far away, they cant afford that, nothing beyond Ardennes-Liege-Namur, they dont have the troops for it.
The Germans are going to eject the French from Belgium as quickly as possible, and they will need to occupy Liege in order first to protect the Ruhr from direct invasion and second to secure the lines of communication for the offensive into France. Belgian friendliness to Germany would be valuable in the latter context - it would be quite the coup to acquire the entire Belgian rail net. In fact, it might actually even be decisive to the war. But either way, Germany needs to occupy Liege.
They dont have the troops for that, most would be in Russia, a forward defense position anchored on the Belgian forts and the rough Ardennes would certainly be useful, but trying for more than that would be risky and pointless, they dont have the troops and reserves to engage on offensives against a numerically superior enemy.

If they stick to that, the Ardennes fall into passive warfare like in Alsace, leaving only the flat terrain between Liege and Namur as an option which is a REALLY bad idea... unless they go and invade the Netherlands too.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by glenn239 » 07 Oct 2019 18:47

JAG13 wrote:
07 Oct 2019 01:34
Yeah, and my point was that the KM wouldnt go through the channel, way too tempting for the RN plus, didnt Grey made a PUBLIC speech indicating it would attack the KM if they raided the channel coast? Why would the KM attempt to do it then?
The statement says that any move by Germany towards French coasts or ships would be met by the RN and war. If the British are intending to remain neutral, but are also intending to follow such a pro-French policy at sea, do you not think that all they are doing is delaying the day of reckoning with Germany to a point of Germany's choosing?

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by glenn239 » 07 Oct 2019 19:20

JAG13 wrote:
07 Oct 2019 02:04
It depends, the Russians would be in far worse shape and far quicker, which would put more pressure on the French to do SOMETHING to relieve pressure off the Russians, if they invade Belgium, good luck moving UK public opinion in France's favor.
If the British remain neutral and Belgium remains neutral the 1914 fighting will be inconclusive. The Russians could exchange ground for time, and reach the winter season when campaigning in the east would be minimal.
Nope, the naval pledge was about the French channel coast, they could enter the Atlantic unopposed, not even Grey managed to demand or obtain that.
The German navy could not enter the Atlantic in any direction and would be bottled up in Germany. The French would control the Atlantic against the German merchant marine. The Germans would, naturally, blame the British for this state of affairs.
Sorry, they werent suicidal.
We'll agree to disagree on whether a HSF with major Channel bases such as Antwerp and Brest could form a threat to the British in the Channel.

That was Willy's vision for a victorious Germany, not during the war, but for what he intended to do after, he understood that you attract more flies with honey.
Once Germany defeated the French and Russians, the Dutch could be ordered into an alliance with Germany.
They werent even developed yet...
I conclude that with proper basing along the Channel and in France, and the correct coordination and tactics between surface, subsurface and air forces, a victorious Germany could probably have defeated the British in a naval war. The High Seas Fleet in the Jade was one thing. The HSF with bases in the Atlantic was quite another. Once the war with France was won, the next natural alliance for Germany would be with Spain, in order to gain bases there too.
That is all most countries have, France would have proven to be no threat by letting Russia be cut to pieces, no reason whatsoever for the Germans to attack, not even a pretext... so no, Germany would leave France alone, the Reichstag is not going to fund a NEW war just after fighting one and with the people and parties demanding more rights and compensation for the war.
If France were to abandon Russia then Russia would have no choice but to denounce its support of Serbia and join the Central Powers. Whether Germany did or did not become aggressive towards France after that would be entirely Germany's choice.
Yeah, but were are using a PoD here, Grosser Ostaufmarsch II, about 30+ divisions (3 armies) to dig in and defend in the west while the other half of the army plus the KuK deal with the Russians, it means dropping the "France first" policy.
Even if accepting the defensive initially with the 30 divisions you outline, the Germans must have Liege for their base of operations and will launch a major offensive in the West as soon as forces in the East were transferred.
If they stick to that, the Ardennes fall into passive warfare like in Alsace, leaving only the flat terrain between Liege and Namur as an option which is a REALLY bad idea... unless they go and invade the Netherlands too.
If the French are able to anchor their left on Liege and maintain a strong position in the Ardennes, then when Britain enters the war against Germany, the Entente will be in good shape to push the offensive in the direction of the Ruhr.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by SpicyJuan » 21 Oct 2019 06:19

Regarding convoy tactics (I don't know too much about this subject), weren't they made possible/effective by the U.S. joining the war and greatly contributing/freeing the RN to supply convoys with escorts? Assuming the U.S. doesn't join in, are the convoys even possible without additional escorts and ship production?

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by maltesefalcon » 21 Oct 2019 16:50

glenn239 wrote:
02 Oct 2019 17:36
BDV wrote:
02 Oct 2019 15:12
Why, if French Army's road into Ruhr is blocked by the Naumur and Liege fortifications, and German Army has its hands full in Courland and Poland, in addition to being under a lot of pressure (from the same French Army) in Lothringen? Hard to see how German army has more than 2 Armee-Korps to push into Belgium.
The French army's immediate objective was to roll up the Metz-Thionville fortified line, which was well south of Namur or Liege. The French would also want, naturally, to studiously avoid combat with Belgian troops. It was not well equipped in 1914 to storm the fortified positions along the Meuse. Happily, in one of those great coincidences of history, the Belgians just happened to deploy no forces south of the Meuse to speak of such that a French advance there would be into empty space where virtually no combat would occur. Further north, about all the French would require was 3rd rate troops screening Dunkirk, Lille, Maubeuge, etc.

If the German army has deployed en mass in the east after which the French moved into Belgium, then the Russians in response will have fallen back behind their fortified line. The German army can either entrain major forces for the west, or continue to advance into the open spaces of Russia with no particular reason to suppose a decisive engagement. Which advance will happen faster - the French army arriving at the German frontier, or the German army reaching Borodino or Moscow? Either way, in the Ardennes in the west the Germans would want to advance as far and as quickly as possible in order to establish the front line as far from the Ruhr and Germany as possible. The Belgians making a request would waste time and set the precedent that the Germans in Belgium are limited to the Belgian request. German options in the long term are more wideranging if they enter Belgium in response to a French move without first having responded to a Belgian request. Once major forces were assembled in the west, the fact that Liege was required for any offensive into France, and that Germany must be in full control of its vital LOC, would require that German troops occupy all the Belgian cities needed in the rail net - Liege, Namur, Brussels, etc.
Perhaps a minor point, but why assume Germany would push towards Moscow? The capital of Russia in 1914 was St. Petersburg, after all.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by Terry Duncan » 21 Oct 2019 17:09

SpicyJuan wrote:
21 Oct 2019 06:19
Regarding convoy tactics (I don't know too much about this subject), weren't they made possible/effective by the U.S. joining the war and greatly contributing/freeing the RN to supply convoys with escorts? Assuming the U.S. doesn't join in, are the convoys even possible without additional escorts and ship production?
Convoys were possible, the problem was maintaining the Grand Fleet, BCF, Dover Patrol, Harwich Force etc at battle efficiency and providing what was deemed a suitable convoy escorts. There were talks of forming convoys with no escorts in extreme circumstances, the idea was deemed as possible although the same 'merchant captains will not be able to maintain formation' objection was applied to this just as much to normal convoys. The idea was rejected due to what was deemed the effect on morale for the convoy crews who would feel abandoned and exposts with no escort at all. There were escorts in the pipeline however, such as the Kil class, and manpower in itself was not a problem. If there is no risk of a major fleet encounter then there will be sufficient destroyers to cover convoys.

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