10 July 1910. Introduction of triangular army divisions.

Discussion in 'World War I' started by davebender, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    #1 davebender, Nov 16, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011
    From mid 1909 to mid 1910 the German military mission to the Ottoman Empire conducted a series of operational exercises to determine optimum structure for army divisions and army corps. During July 1910 they settled on a triangular organization with three infantry regiments per division and three divisions per army corps. An organizational structure so efficient that most nations use it right up to the present day.

    Reorganization of the Ottoman Army began during January 1911. This turned out to be a bad idea as Balkan wars of 1911 to 1913 caught the Ottoman Army in a state of turmoil. However it paid off during 1915 when the reorganized Ottoman Army defeated the Anglo-French invasion of Gallipoli and again during 1919 - 1922 when the Ottoman Army defeated the Anglo-French attempt to carve up Asia Minor.

    Oddly enough the German Army did not adopt their own reorganization recommendations until early 1915. During August 1914 the Heer marched to war with the older square division and army corps structure. If the Heer had adopted their reorganization recommendations during 1911 they would have had one third more infantry divisions at the start of WWI.
     
  2. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Is that a good thing dave?
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Modern day American and British army divisions still employ a triangular structure. So I'd say the German army reorganization plan of 1910 has stood the test of time.
     
  4. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    The German's could not have been that good dave.
    Triangular structure or not.
    History shows us that :lol:
    John
     
  5. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    John, I don't think that was the point of his thread. I think you are looking to much into it and quite possibly just fishing...;)
     
  6. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Not fishing (I can't be arsed with that), just an observation Chris.
    If the German Army knew that the triangular system was superior then why not use it?
    For such a military nation I'm surprised...
    John
     
  7. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Triangular formations for modern armies have been in place since the time of Napoleon. They work on the basic principal of fire and movement. In theory you have a three to one advantage over your opponent when on the attack, whatever the size of the engagement. Moreover a triangular formation is an inherently flexible organization. It allows one element to make the assault, one element to provide fire support, and one element to be held ready for exploitation. It works in the defence or when retrreating.

    If we wind back the clock a little to musket and ball era, the concept of triangular formations can be traced back to the three ranks of the Infantry formation. Whether falling back, or advancing, the front rank is firing, the middle rank is sighting up, and the rear rank is reloading....this is where the concept comes from.

    Without a doubt, a triangular organization is a far more efficient formation, on one proviso. It assumes some degree of manouvre is available. During the advance on the marne in 1914, this was certainly the case, and the efficient triangular divisional organizations in the french army at that time is probably what saved it in that first offensive. However during WWI generally, the triangular TOE theories did not work complatrely as planned, because for most of the conflict there was very little manouvre, and a lot of close in hand to hand fighting. There was also a lot of casualties suffered so ready access to larger battalions, with large reserves of men, and a large fpf (final protective fire) advantage was found more important than inherent flexibility and mobility. This is why the US Army and many allied armies retained a quasi square formation at both divisional and corps level. Firepower and reserve were more important for most of the war than mobility. Whilst the turkish army had indeed resolved to reorganize its army in 1910, this was far from complete AFAIK, and in fact the turks fought Gallipoli and most of their campaigns in Palestine, anatolia and Iraq with a fairly immobile square formation TOE. In th relatively mobile operations of Palestine, this definately worked against the turks....time and again they found they could not react nearly quickly enough to manouvre operations initiated by the allies. Dont know what happened on the Anatolian front, in Gallipoli if the Turks did use a triangular structure it certainly is not mentioned in any of the accounts that i know of (but square formations are mentioned), and it makes sense that for a front like Gallipoli a TOE that favours firepower would be of greater advantage over a TOE tailored for manouvre. The germans might have been trying to give the turks bad advice, but the turks knew better (thats a bit tongue in cheek guys....Sanders was a definite asset to the turks in that campaign....)

    A link for some reading up on the theory and history perhaps

    Sixty Years of Reorganizing for ... - Google Books
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That's what I would like to know. I suspect the answer lies buried in pre-WWI German General Staff discussions.
     
  9. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    It will be interesting to find out dave.
    John
     
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