Panama Red
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Warplans ???

Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:24 pm

Is there any good books or internet sites where I can find a good description of the various nations pre-warplans. It's a little hard to discern everything with what is just included in the game.

felipye
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Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:52 pm

Although i have no recommendations for a detailed and thorough warplan analysis, if you haven't yet picked up Barbara W. Tuchman's "The Guns of August", you should give it a try. Even if it doesn't answer all of your questions, it is a really good read.

It was that book that got me searching for WW1 themed games in the first place, and I have her to thank for finding La Grande Guerre, so I'm a little bit biased p'haps.

Panama Red
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Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:06 pm

I am currently reading and enjoying "The Guns of August" :D , but it still does not give me the background on all the other various warplans that are included in the game.

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Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:53 pm

With due respect to Barbara Tuchmann, The Guns of August is very superficial and badly dated even though it has been an easy to read introduction to the Great War for millions including your's truly.

For details of the Schlieffen Plan and its subsequent modifications by Moltke the Younger see:

The Schlieffen Plan. Critique of a Myth by Gerhard Ritter:

"http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=1677436962&searchurl=sts%3Dt%26tn%3DThe%2BSchlieffen%2BPlan%2BCritique%2Bof%2Ba%2BMyth%26x%3D45%26y%3D10"

If you cannot find Ritter (who is expensive to buy, difficult to find and harder to read) see The Myth of the Great War by John Mosier contains much discussion about why the commonly held view of Schlieffen's famous plan may largely be incorrect. (However some readers have issues with Prof. Mosier and consider that a music and arts professor cannot write history at the same time praising ex farmer Martin Middlebrook for his seminal volumes on WW1, and rightly so.)

For British war plans including discussions on military options for the Anglo French entente for military action against Belgium in the event the Germans did not invade see:

The Pity of War by Niall Ferguson

"http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=1580044983&searchurl=sts%3Dt%26tn%3DThe%2BPity%2Bof%2BWar%26x%3D70%26y%3D11"

For discussions on the Eastern Front war plans see:

The Eastern Front 1914-17 by Norman Stone.

[url="http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=2685462242&searchurl=an%3DNorman%2BStone%26bi%3D0%26bsi%3D90%26bx%3Doff%26ds%3D30%26recentlyadded%3Dall%26sortby%3D17%26x%3D48%26y%3D14"]"http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=2685462242&searchurl=an%3DNorman%2BStone%26bi%3D0%26bsi%3D90%26bx%3Doff%26ds%3D30%26recentlyadded%3Dall%26sortby%3D17%26x%3D48%26y%3D14"[/url]

For a far more comprehensive look than provided by Tuchman for event leading to the start of the war see:

Europe's Last Summer by David Fromkin

[url="http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=2741498752&searchurl=bi%3D0%26bx%3Doff%26ds%3D30%26recentlyadded%3Dall%26sortby%3D17%26sts%3Dt%26tn%3DEurope%2527s%2BLast%2BSummer%26x%3D71%26y%3D16"]"http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=2741498752&searchurl=bi%3D0%26bx%3Doff%26ds%3D30%26recentlyadded%3Dall%26sortby%3D17%26sts%3Dt%26tn%3DEurope%2527s%2BLast%2BSummer%26x%3D71%26y%3D16"[/url]

As with all Great War references, keep an open mind and consider that all might not have actually unfolded as packaged up in many English language books or web sites.

Good Reading

Panama Red
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Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:55 pm

Thank you. I will give them a try. :)

Jestre
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Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:01 pm

I found "The Myth of the Great War by John Mosier" fascinating. Mosier uses German documentation and graves registries in addition to the normal western sources to support his claims of Anglo-French distortions as to casualties and effectiveness and does a good job of supporting his theory that the US intervention saved the Entente. Great read.

StephenT
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Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:09 pm

Jestre wrote:I found "The Myth of the Great War by John Mosier" fascinating. Mosier uses German documentation and graves registries in addition to the normal western sources to support his claims of Anglo-French distortions as to casualties and effectiveness and does a good job of supporting his theory that the US intervention saved the Entente. Great read.
Most reviews by professional historians criticise the book heavily, though. 'Military Review' for Jan-Feb 2003 called the book "a disappointment" with "intemperate and unbalanced interpretations" and "a poorly conceived argument" whose "use of sources is sometimes curious and often irritating". :bonk:

In particular, Mosier is accused of misunderstanding those sources he drew on. The German casualty records he used only list those soldiers actually killed on the battlefield, while the British and French casualty records also include soldiers who died in hospital of their wounds or were listed as "missing" rather than "killed". It's no wonder that he came to the conclusion the Germans did much better than the Allies...

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Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:05 pm

StephenT wrote:Most reviews by professional historians criticise the book heavily, though. 'Military Review' for Jan-Feb 2003 called the book "a disappointment" with "intemperate and unbalanced interpretations" and "a poorly conceived argument" whose "use of sources is sometimes curious and often irritating". :bonk:

In particular, Mosier is accused of misunderstanding those sources he drew on. The German casualty records he used only list those soldiers actually killed on the battlefield, while the British and French casualty records also include soldiers who died in hospital of their wounds or were listed as "missing" rather than "killed". It's no wonder that he came to the conclusion the Germans did much better than the Allies...

Mosier rubs European, particularly British, historians the wrong way since most automatically reject his contention that the AEF's appearance en mass on the Western Front provided the trigger for Germany's leaders to seek a cease-fire based on Wilson's 14-Points. They see the American victories in the Ardennes as coincidental to the Armistice rather than causal and that the decisive campaign was the BEF's "Hundred-Days" offensive in western Belgium. That point is certainly debatable but shooting the messenger hardly encourages rational discussion.

Myth of the Great War suffers because it is poorly edited and the maps are appalling but attacking his exclusive use of dead (whose condition is statistically unambiguous) rather than wounded (the criteria for which varied considerably by nation) is unsound since the rationale for doing so is clearly stated by the author in Chapter 1. When reviewers repeatedly dig up this canard one can only conclude that they didn't bother to actually read the book.

Crunch the numbers all you like, the Kaiser's armies lost fewer men dead than the British and French combined, as was noted by Churchill in 1923 and Maginot in 1916 and confirmed in 1919. Since nobody has ever claimed that no German soldiers at all died on the Eastern Front, the problem for Western historians has always been to account for this uncomfortable fact that has been hiding in plain sight for over 90-years.

The "professionals" find Mosier's conclusions distasteful since they attack Great War dogma but his overall methodology is valid and a visit to the battlefields of Hartmannswillerkopf and Butte de Vacquois which feature in his narrative of the campaigns of 1915 tends to confirm his version of events where there is hard supporting evidence.

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Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:17 am

Random wrote:Mosier rubs European, particularly British, historians the wrong way
The particular review I quoted was written by Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Stephenson, PhD, of the United States Army. I find it hard to believe he'd be the sort of person to be criticising Mosier on nationalistic rather than professional grounds. ;)

attacking his exclusive use of dead (whose condition is statistically unambiguous) rather than wounded (the criteria for which varied considerably by nation) is unsound
That's not what's happening. Mosier is counting all the Allied dead but only some of the German dead; that's why his methodology is criticised.

Since nobody has ever claimed that no German soldiers at all died on the Eastern Front, the problem for Western historians has always been to account for this uncomfortable fact that has been hiding in plain sight for over 90-years.
How can it have been "hiding in plain sight" when it's been common knowledge generally accepted by everyone? The fact that the side which was usually on the offensive for four years lost more men than the defender isn't "uncomfortable", it's plain common sense.

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Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:52 pm

The particular review I quoted was written by Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Stephenson, PhD, of the United States Army. I find it hard to believe he'd be the sort of person to be criticising Mosier on nationalistic rather than professional grounds.

I had not heard of Scott Stephenson before so went looking for the review to which you refer but could not find it and so will take your word on its content. Did however find a review he wrote in 2001 on several books aimed at rehabilitating the reputations of the British Great War leadership wherein he specifically calls into question the conclusions of writers like Tim Travers and fellow US Army officer Bruce Gudmundsson. Perhaps the negative review of Mosier is merely due to an Anglophile bias in the reviewer, the professional historians contempt for the amateur or a combination of both.
That's not what's happening. Mosier is counting all the Allied dead but only some of the German dead; that's why his methodology is criticised.

Since you have obviously read Myth of the Great War perhaps you can help me find these errors, since where I have crossed checked, he has inevitably agreed with his source material. Perhaps Note 9 on page 80 where he states a figure and goes on to explain that no break down is available? Perhaps Note 31 on page 164 containing an allusion to "correcting data for certain omissions" without going into details? Maybe it's in the body of the text where he uses actual War Office figures on page 242 or page 318 where he again combines dead with missing but for both sides.

This vague and oft repeated comment that Mosier fudged all the Allied data to skew it in favour of the Germans has never been coupled with a suitable quote from the book itself that I have seen. Without an unambiguous example am inclined to give benefit of the doubt to the author particularly when he went to all the trouble of actually counting graves on occasion, where one can be reasonable certain that all those interred were in fact, dead.
How can it have been "hiding in plain sight" when it's been common knowledge generally accepted by everyone? The fact that the side which was usually on the offensive for four years lost more men than the defender isn't "uncomfortable", it's plain common sense.

The Germans took the offensive in the West in every year but 1917 and even then counter-attacked continuously throughout Arras, Chemin de Dames, 3rd Ypres and Cambrai. They also attacked in the East every year but 1918 so the contention that they suffered less because they stood on the defensive is unsupportable and always was. Churchill mooted that explanation in The World Crisis and it has been repeated uncritically ever since. Hence the disparity in casualties has been a blinding glimpse of the obvious since Maginot first spoke of it during the Battle of Verdun but few English language writers have looked further for a reason than Churchill's shallow and demonstratably inaccurate assessment.

For what it's worth I do not believe that Mosier provides the Last Word on the Great War or the casualty controversy or that there will ever be a diffinitive and entirely accurate study of WW1. He represents a source, Myth of the Great War resides happily on my shelves beside Haig, The Educated Soldier just as John Laffen sits in harmony along side Robin Niellands. Now you even have me looking for Scott Stephenson's book The Final Battle. Thanks.

ambien
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Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:34 pm

"Pyrrhic Victory" by Robert Doughty contains an excellent English-language analysis of French strategy and war-planning from the mid-1870s through the end of WWI.

http://www.amazon.com/Pyrrhic-Victory-French-Strategy-Operations/dp/067401880X

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Mosier

Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:27 am

Thing that sticks in my craw about Mosier is his depiction of the Somme and Verdun as resounding German victories.

If he thinks they were German victories, the Germans of 1916 certainly did not think so. They believed 1916 was a year of barely averted disaster. This perception is why von Falkenhayn was sacked, and the unrestricted submarine warfare campaign was commenced.

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