The Military Dimension of the First World War Part II

The Military Dimension of the First World War Part II

The fighting in the west and east 1915: Tried in the winter battle in Champagne (16.2. – 19.3.), The spring battle in Artois (9.5. – 18.6.) And the autumn battle in Artois and Champagne (22.9. – 14.10.) the French and British, with increasing use of forces and materials, in vain to break through the German defensive front in the west. A German attack to cut off the Ypres arch (April 22nd – May 24th) did not get beyond the initial successes (on April 22nd near Ypres by the Germans, the first major gas attack in the history of the war).

In the east, where poison gas had been used for the first time by the German side (9th Army) at Bolymow (around 50 km west of Warsaw) in the fighting on January 31, 1915, but which was not very effective due to the low temperatures, Hindenburg struck the Russian north wing devastating in the winter battle in Masuria (7-27 February).

The German Southern Army deployed on the Austro-Hungarian Carpathian Front in January threw back the Russians who had advanced into Hungary. After the capitulation of the Austrian fortress Przemyśl (March 22nd), Russian troops again advanced into the Carpathian Mountains. The German 11th Army under Mackensen intervened to relieve the ally on 2.5. at Gorlice-Tarnów and broke through the Russian front in Galicia. The San was crossed in mid-May, on 3.6. Przemyśl, on June 22nd Lviv captured. Then the allies pushed north between the Bug and the Vistula. In mid-July, the German armies attacked Poland and Lithuania. Ivangorod, Warsaw, Kovno, Brest-Litovsk, Grodno and Vilna fell in quick succession in August and September. At the end of September the offensive was stopped in a line running from Bukovina via Pinsk to Daugavpils and along the Daugava to the Riga Bay.

The events on the secondary fronts in 1915: Italy joined the Entente after unsuccessful negotiations with Vienna about territorial compensation (Trentino). Austria-Hungary the war (the German Empire only on August 28, 1916). Chief of Staff General L. Cadorna deployed the bulk of the army on the Isonzo to break through on Laibach; In the first four Isonzo battles (June – November) the weak Austro-Hungarian forces could only be pushed back to their main position.

The Ottoman Empire formed an alliance with Germany in August 1914 and entered the war in November. The main forces led by War Minister Enver Pasha gathered around Constantinople.

A Turkish attack on Russian troops in the Caucasus in January 1915 resulted in a severe setback. An advance against the Suez Canal also failed. After an unsuccessful British-French naval attack on the Dardanelles (March 18), the Allies landed on April 25. on the Gallipoli peninsula, but could not break through the Turkish defensive front and had to withdraw at the end of 1915. British troops advancing from the Persian Gulf to Baghdad were defeated by the Turks on November 22nd at Ctesiphon and trapped in Kut al-Amara, where they surrendered on April 29th, 1916.

In order to maintain land connections with Turkey, the German and Austro-Hungarian army command decided to attack Serbia in the late summer of 1915. Bulgaria committed itself to participate in a military convention (September 6th). Under Mackensen In October the German 11th and Austro-Hungarian 3rd Armies forced the crossing over the Danube and the Sava. The Serbs were defeated in heavy fighting in October and November. To support them, landed on October 5th. British-French troops (“Orient Army”) near Thessaloniki. They advanced into Macedonia in November and were thrown back across the Greek border by the Bulgarians in December. With the conquest of Montenegro and Albania by Austro-Hungarian forces in January / February 1916, the Balkan campaign of the Central Powers ended.

The fighting on the western and eastern fronts and against Italy in 1916: At the beginning of 1916, Falkenhayn decided to attack Verdun. began with a deep fall (Dead Man, height 304, forts Douaumont and Vaux).

According to, the Battle of Verdun (February – December), with which the enemy was supposed to be “bled to death”, developed into a battle of materials and attrition for every inch of ground, in which both sides suffered heavy losses (more than 700,000 men in total). A on May 15. The Austro-Hungarian attack that began in Tyrol to relieve the Isonzo front had to be stopped again when on 4.6. the Russian Brusilov offensive against the south of the Eastern Front began. It could not be brought to a stop until August. An on June 24th The British-French attack on the Somme that had begun was repulsed in a five-month battle. The failure at Verdun, the summer crisis and the Romanian declaration of war on Austria-Hungary (August 27th) resulted in August 29th. to replace Falkenhayn as chief of staff by Hindenburg, whom Ludendorff was assigned as first quartermaster general.

The new Supreme Army Command stopped the attack on Verdun and decided to launch an offensive against Romania. A Bulgarian foray into Dobruja (early September) ended in October with the occupation of Constance and Cernavoda. The German 9th Army under Falkenhayn defeated the Romanians who had advanced to Transylvania at Sibiu (26-29 September) and Kronstadt (7/8 October). In November she fought for the transition over the Southern Carpathians (Transylvanian Alps) and pushed the enemy together with the on November 23rd. At Swishtow across the Danube, the Danube Army returned to the east. After a heavy defeat on the Argeş (1. – 3.12.) The Romanians evacuated Wallachia. On December 6th, the allies occupied Bucharest. – On the Macedonian front, German-Bulgarian forces repelled a major attack by the Thessaloniki army in autumn. On the Isonzo, the Italians tried five more battles (June – November) unsuccessfully to break through the Austro-Hungarian positions. A Russian offensive in Armenia threw the Turks far back.

Military Dimension of the First World War 2

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