Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Failure of the Schlieffen Plan Essay -- Papers
Failure of the Schlieffen Plan In just over a month of fighting, two deeply disturbing features of the war were evident even to the generals who had unleashed the first campaigns: a quick victory was impossible, and the human and material losses incurred as a result of the industrialization of war preparation were on a scale never before seen. The Schlieffen plan had at first seemed to go according to schedule. Although the Belgians had declared war rather than allow the Germans passage across their borders, their great fortresses had not proved a big obstacle. The right wing had swung along the Channel coast to enter France on August 27, and at one time were within forty miles of Paris. But the British had supplied an unexpectedly large expeditionary force, which helped strengthen the French center; the Russians penetrated into East Prussia and thus compelled the Germans to detach part of their forces from the western to the eastern front; and the poor leadership of Von Moltke had allowed his two armies on the Belgian front to lose contact. The French commander Joffre seized his opportunity to counterattack, and threw in his reserve against the dangerously extended German line to the east of Paris. In the first Battle of the Marne, the Germans were forced to retreat to the line of the river Aisne, where they were able to establish a strong defense line. By November, when the winter rains began and operations literally bogged down, the war of rapid movement originally planned by the generals had turned into a slogging match between entrenched armies, disposed in double lines of ditches behind barbed wire barriers along a front that ... ...ternate fire-bays and traverses. Duck-boards were also placed at the bottom of the trenches to protect soldiers from problems such as trench foot. Soldiers also made dugouts and funk holes in the side of the trenches to give them some protection from the weather and enemy fire. The front-line trenches were also protected by barbed-wire entanglements and machine-gun posts. Short trenches called saps were dug from the front-trench into No-Man's Land. The sap-head, usually about 30 yards forward of the front-line, were then used as listening posts. Behind the front-line trenches were support and reserve trenches. The three rows of trenches covered between 200 and 500 yards of ground. Communication trenches, were dug at an angle to the frontline trench and was used to transport men, equipment and food supplies.