What would have happened next.....

Discussion in 'World War I' started by Lucky13, Apr 25, 2014.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    ....if WWI hadn't turned into a trench war?
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Whenever Germany conducted major offensive operations the front was just as mobile during WWI as it was during WWII. That held true during August 1914 and it was still true during August 1918.
     
  3. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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  4. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Well, if the powers that be didn't want it to turn into trench warfare, they'd have to get rid of Joffre, Haig, French, Ludendorf, Hindenburg, Nivelle, Kitchener etc and de-centralise command. All sides came up with means of breaking the stalemate, but some real stupid decisions were made with equally stupid opposition to those decisions, the attack at the fortress at Verdun, the Third Battle of Ypres et al; all sides favoured attack and going forward as the only means of war and at least the Germans saw the advantage of fortifying to the rear as a fall-back on occasion, but the stalemate situation bred among the men on both sides, so for those recruited once the war began, that's all they knew. It didn't help that the commanders, like Joffre thought that the best way to defeat the Germans was to wear them down, at the cost of the French and British armies engaged against them - MAD in 1916.

    Cambrai was an example of what could be done with a bit of forethought and the use of modern technology, but fell down because of the lack of initiative by cavalry commanders. Opportunities arose on both sides to end the stalemate, but a lack of imagination saw these fall down as quick as they arose. Churchill's idea of sending British troops in at Antwerp to stem the German advance could and should have been able to cut off the German supply line from the rear, thus trapping the Germans against the French advancing from the South, but none of the British commanders could see what Churchill could and the venture failed with the marines sent to Antwerp uselessly falling into enemy hands.

    To answer the question, I guess it depends on what measures could have been taken to stem the advance of the German army through Belgium to begin with and wrap the whole thing up early, but then, what about the Russian front? Tannenburg brought about defeat for the Russians. If the German army is defeated in the west, does France and Britain then head in to Germany? To prevent the events from happening would have required a complete change of mindset, but on the battlefield and on the generals' maps, this begat itself with every turn of the tide.
     
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