Onwards The Western Front Of Early 1915 THE GREAT WAR Week 25


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Nearly, Six Months Of War Have Gone, And With

them have gone casualties In the millions. Huge offensives have not produced The breakthrough victories that were expected and optimism has given way to reality in every warring nation, and that reality is that the current concepts and tactics of war do not work, and each leader must come up with completely new ideas if victory is ever to be had. I m Indy Neidell; welcome to the Great War. When we left off the Russians were bulling their way through the Carpathians toward the Hungarian Plain, the Champagne Offensive was still in full force on the Western Front, and the Ottoman Third Army was in retreat from the Caucasus after having been crushed by the Russians.

As We

ve seen, This war was, for the first time ever, a war that was not confined to the land and Sea. The New Year. was bringing with it many new developments in the war in the skies. Although.

The German Strategic Bombing Campaign Against Britain That

begins this month involved airships, as far back as the second of January four German airplanes had bombed Dunkirk, killing and wounding nearly 50 people, so you can see that we were slowly entering the age of the Flying Ace. But High Commands placed more faith in the giant airships. Proposals were actually made to bomb England from Zeppelins as far back as August 1914,, but it wasn t till January 7, 1915 that the Kaiser gave the green light, though first he forbade bombing London because he didn t want any of his relatives hurt.


s what German Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz had to say about the program, UK measure of the success will lie not only in the injury which will be caused to the enemy, but also in the significant effect it will have in diminishing the enemy s determination to prosecute the war . And.

Indeed The German Raids On The British Over

the next few years would be more psychological than anything. They certainly brought death and destruction, but on a fairly small scale in the grand scheme of things, the point being that it had never happened before and no Brit should feel safe at home. And think of how it was for the French and Belgians at home. We ve spoken a lot the past few weeks of the small battles of the huge and seemingly endless continuing offensives on the western front, and the almost monotonous back and forth for little or no gain, and today I thought I

D Look At One Action In A Little More

depth, so you can see how they played out. This week saw the battle of Soissons come to its end; it had run from early in the month to the 14th. Now, before the battle, opposing trenches were near each other on a wooded height overlooking Crouy. The French were also dug in in quarries at the western spurs of the Vregny Plateau. .

French Artillery Was Posted At The

edge of the plateau.. Some German machine guns were buried by French artillery fire on the 7th. The French then charged and occupied the German Trenches, where hand-to-hand fighting would continue until the 11th when the Germans, instead of attacking the heights, stormed the French observation posts. The French fire stopped and the French trenches were captured.


The French then took new positions halfway down the heights, expecting more attacks from the German right and bringing up reinforcements, but the Germans, in a surprise move. , attacked the French at Vregny on the 13th, taking the trenches in minutes and then taking the whole plateau in a few hours. . So.

Now The French Troops Facing The Germans

right were in a desperate position, and they surrendered on the 14th, and the whole French attack, along a 15 km front, was driven back several kilometers from the Aisne River. The Germans captured 5,000 French prisoners during this battle, at which the Kaiser himself was present, and he presented German General. Lochow with the order of merit for his victory. But Why did the French attack from a disadvantage in the first place? Well, if you look at the situation on the Western front in January 1915, you get a better understanding of the attitude of French General Joseph Joffre. See, much of French industrial production was now controlled by the Germans, so Joffre did not favor the construction of an


line of defenses-he needed to be on the offensive as a moral imperative to free his country s Soil, and he saw his positions as a base for decisive offensive adventures across no-mans land. Joffre thought of the Western front in active and passive sectors, where the passive ones gave troops to the active ones for offensives. .

These Were Basically Determined By Geography.

Places that Places that were wet and hilly, Flanders in the North, and the Vosges in the south. He figured should be passive and the active sections should be the huge German salient in the middle, like at the Somme and in Champagne. The Champagne offensive was now nearly a month old and had produced nothing except bodies, so. By this time, Joffre was re-thinking things, since the German defenses were just too strong.

So He Issued New Instructions This Month.

. In. The first, he said that the active sections of the front were to be made up of strongpoints that could cover the ground both to the front and the sides with fire, while the passive zones in between only would have lookouts. .

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They Would Be Heavily Covered With

barbed wire, but they would be held by fire from the active zones. And all the way across the entire front, there. be two belts of barbed wire, around 25 meters apart. . The second instruction was that a second line was to be dug two miles behind the front line.


The front should be held as thinly as possible, to save on manpower, which could be used for offensives. For. This reason, as well, outposts shouldn t be too close to the enemy, because it wasted lives.


This was completely the opposite of the British Trench plans, which were to try to dominate no mans land by digging trenches closer to the enemy and launching trench raids, and keeping an eye on the enemy from up close. In either case, the trenches did their job, and though thousands upon thousands of men were dying each week on the Western Front, many more would have died without digging in. On Another front, though, we come to the end of an operation that claimed lives. On an enormous scale, as this week the Ottoman retreat from Sarikamis is complete.


The Ottoman Third Army had been almost completely destroyed, partly by the Russian enemy, partly freezing to death in summer uniforms in the winter temperatures below-30 on the way to and from battle. Ottoman, Minister of War Enver Pasha s campaign was a disaster on an almost unimaginable scale, with some estimates claiming that only 10% of the army made it back to their starting positions of three weeks ago. .

Pasha Never Commanded In The Field Again.

Upon his return to Istanbul, he blamed the Armenians for his failures, specifically three units of Armenian volunteers in the Russian army that included men who had deserted from the Ottoman side. . There was a great deal of tension already between the Turks and the Armenians, especially after the mid-1890s when Armenian revolutionary activity had resulted in massacres. of Armenians, but after Sarikamis there had been some small scale massacres of Turks by the Russian Armenian soldiers, and this, Pasha

S Laying Of Blame For The Defeat, And The

fact that there were around 150,000 Armenians living in Russia serving in the Tsars Army were part of the groundwork for the Armenian genocide that was soon to begin. French that they were losing in the Caucasus and they needed a diversion, so on January 13th, 1915, the British government approved Winston Churchill s plan to try and break through the Dardanelles. Now, that invasion is for the future, but one invasion did happen this week when South African troops conquer Swakopmund, January 14th.

And Though We

ve seen several battles and skirmishes in Africa so far in the war, this one is a little different. This was South African troops, not British or Indian, invading German Southwest Africa, what is now. Namibia. Since the Boer War ended in defeat at the hands of the British 1902,.

There Were Many South Africans,-Particularly Prime Minister Louis

Botha-, who wished to show their loyalty to the Crown,. Hence, the invasion, which would also enlarge South Africa s sphere of influence. But this wasn t without controversy; there was a big chunk of the Afrikaner population who were still very resentful of the British and their conduct during the Boer War, which included concentration camps, introduced by Lord Herbert Kitchener,, who was now British secretary of State for War.

Also, Germany Had Been Uk In

that war and many people had a problem going to war with their former ally and several major military leaders even resigned over it. But The invasion happened, and this was the beginning of the attempted conquest of German Southwest Africa by the 50,000 troops of the South African Defense Force. And. The end of the week, South Africans were in German territory, the French had been pushed back from the Aisne where they d held since September, and the Ottomans were finding a scapegoat.

We Haven

t spoken of the Eastern Front. This week, partly because of time constraints, but partly because there was a re-thinking going on there. Just now. UK Army Chief of Staff Conrad von Hotzendorf, desperately seeking a new way to win, was about to launch a winter offensive high in the mountains against the Russians.


Indeed, everyone was making new plans. . Joffre was revising his concept of trench warfare. , Churchill was planning an end around in the Mediterranean, Pasha was soon to come up with a new idea for Turkish conquest, and the Kaiser was taking to the skies.


These ideas were designed to finally gain an advantage,, but all of these ideas would have the same. ##NK] millions of men would die. A few months ago, the generals had to rethink their old strategies for the first time already. Check out our episode about August 21st 1914 right here to see how new challenges for old generals lead to carnage on the Western Front.

If You Want To Get Into

some in depth discussion on our episodes, check out our own subreddit and dont forget to subscribe. See you next week. .


The German strategic bombing campaign against Britain that begins this month involved airships, as far back as the second of January four German airplanes had bombed Dunkirk, killing and wounding nearly 50 people . The German raids on the British over the next few years would be more psychological than anything. The measure of the success will lie in the injury which will be caused to the enemy, but also in the significant effect it will have in diminishing the enemy&s determination to prosecute the war&. And. Indeed the success of the attacks will lie not only in the . amount of injury . it will be . in diminishing . the enemy’s determination to . prosecute the . war&s war, but it will not be a war that was not confined to the land and Sea. For the first time ever, this war was . a war . This war was, for the first reason ever, a war not . to the . first time, it was not a war in the land or Sea. It was…. Click here to read more and watch the full video