Was WWI so bloody because "the generals were idiots" or because "doctrines haven't caught up with technology" in some parts?

DystopianAlphaOmega

Reactionary Revolutionary
91 Badges
Dec 28, 2010
1.294
556
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Magicka 2
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Magicka 2: Ice, Death and Fury
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Stellaris
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Tyranny - Bastards Wound
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Tyranny: Gold Edition
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Battle for Bosporus
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Victoria 2
  • Rome Gold
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
Generals always prepare to fight the last war. The last big European Wars before WWI were the Franco-Prussian War and Russo-Turkish war of 1877. The Napoleonic Wars were the last war of such scale. The takeaway from these was mobilize fast and first, invade the enemy before they could do the same, win a decisive battle, and be home by Christmas. These mindsets ran into difficulty with the level of mass mobilization/troop concentration meaning there was a continuous front rather than a decisive battle, and defensive innovations like machine guns, modern trench tactics, and barbed wire blunting offensive actions (at least in the west).
 
Last edited:

balmung60

Field Marshal
99 Badges
Jan 20, 2013
6.408
2.431
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Impire
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Knights of Pen and Paper +1 Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Divine Wind
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Humble Paradox Bundle
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • 500k Club
  • Warlock 2: The Exiled
  • Victoria 2
  • Teleglitch: Die More Edition
Generals weren't idiots,
I mean, some were. Like Luigi Cadorna, who threw away nearly a million Italian lives in twelve battles of Isonzo.


particularly how all major powers (except Germany and Japan) came into the war with old war school military thinking
I need to note that this is mostly a myth. France for example had adopted a very artillery-centric doctrine around the idea of expending munitions rather than men (Superior Firepower in HOI4 terms), and this formed much of the basis for US doctrine. And the USSR was developing what would become Deep Battle, even if they took some steps backwards after the Spanish Civil War and the early stages of the Winter War. Also, if anyone was doctrinally backwards, it was Japan, which pretty much always saw battleships as the decisive element of the navy and never really escaped the mindset of the Russo-Japanese War to the point that they never really considered how their planned victory of two decisive battles would lead to actual war victory, despite even such a miraculous victory over first the US Pacific Fleet and then the remnants of the Pacific Fleet reinforced by the Atlantic Fleet not having the same effect as defeating the Russian Pacific Fleet and then the Baltic and Black Sea Fleet reinforcements as the US wouldn't be nearly as cut off overall as Russia's far east forces were.
 
  • 5
Reactions:

endersaim

Sergeant
18 Badges
Oct 15, 2017
91
336
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Prison Architect
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
I don't think this is discussed enough in either historical terms or military terms all that much.

World War 2 on the other hand, has had tons of material written on it, particularly how all major powers (except Germany and Japan) came into the war with old war school military thinking.

Meanwhile, not much is discussed in terms of WWI. Particularly it's context.

In the context of WWI Germany, Britain, USA and France (and perhaps Austria-Hungary) were considered major industrial powers while Italy, Austria-Hungary and France had beneficial geography.

- In that context the Western Front was brutal in its losses because, of the vast armies concentrated in a small area with new weapons of war with which neither army knew how to overcome and simply became an attrition based war.
- The Eastern Front on the other hand, had dynamically shifting fronts, in which vast flat terrain and widely spread armies could outmaneuver each other so the previous decade's doctrines were at least still somewhat compatible with.
- The Italian front of bashing their heads against mountains and draining their resources until Austria easily pushed back through Venice because of the somewhat flat/hilly terrain.
- The Dessert campaigns of the middle east of failed incompetent Turkish leadership in Egypt, Caucasus, Kuwait leading to breezy victories for the allies and minimal casualties until more suitable men came to command (Ataturk) and ever more overconfident figures thought they could kick down the rotten door structure of the Ottoman Empire (Winston Churchill).
- The Balkan offensives on Serbian Soil proving to be a challenge to overcome for the poor Austrian leadership until the revanchist Bulgarian army smashed through the East and how Greece in the late stages of the war allowed the Allies to invade into Bulgaria with their newly developed doctrines that Bulgaria had no response to.

So, what do I think needs to be changed from Vic2 coming into Vic3? Well, I think that Great Wars should be more dynamic (not in political sense and what countries join on what side). Some countries may have not caught up in terms of industry to support such a large scale war, some may have power hungry incompetent leadership who don't even know how to manage a large scale war, though some may still be able to put up a fight thanks in part to their advantageous geography. Though most importantly it's that most leaders went head strong first into this war with tools and weapons that simply didn't work the way they expected them to in the Fields of Flanders only to hear completely conflicting views from those in Suez or Battle of Konigsberg.
Sorry, to break it to you, but this is one of the oldest and most discussed questions in regards to WW1 ;). It has been talked about millions of times since 1918 (probably during the war as well), and personally I remember learning about the academic debate surrounding it and its impact on world events in high school. Regardless, it is a great question and I'm glad to talk about it on the forum.

To rephrase: Who is responsible for the carnage of WW1? inept generals, new industrial technologies, or the political leadership (option 3, you didn't mention this one).

In general the academic consensus has shifted away from blaming the generals over time. The simple facts of the matter is that they were forced into many wasteful offensives (especially on the western front) by the political leadership, and they lacked the tools to effectively maneuver. Machine guns, barbed wire, artillary, trenches did not directly cause the breakdown of offensive power in WW1. All of those things were quickly overcome with tools such as infiltration tactics, rolling barrages, and tanks as early as 1916. The stalemate continued because the armies did not have RADIOS with which to coordinate troops who were out of reach of a wire or a messenger on a horse. In effect, WW1 generals were completely blind. They couldn't deliver commands to their troops in the field or receive back information to make decisions. Headquarters didn't have a clue about the position or condition of their troops after the offense was launched. It might be days before you knew that you broke through enemy lines, so you couldn't reinforce or even supply successful offensives. No radios results in a stalemate on all fronts where on side doesn't have a massive advantage.

Of course, there is some nuance here. Blaming the generals wasn't just a move by the politicians to save face: idiots abounding in the officer corps of nearly every nation involved. They managed to bungle a lot of operations and lose a lot of men from 1914-1918. Although, I think that poor leadership generally leveled out due to the scale of the armies and campaigns. No one general could really mess up the entire war unless they had political power and could make the big geostrategic mistakes that decided the war (looking at you Germany, Russia).

There were plenty of fossils cluttering up the general staffs (looking at you, Italy, Austria-Hungary, and France) and certainly some who should never have held command at the level they did (looking at you, Sir John French), and a couple who looked at manpower -veteran manpower in particular - as something to be thrown away at will (Falkenhayn, Joffre). However, saying that the generals of WW1 were idiots simply isn't accurate.
WW1 was as bloody as it was because combined arms was in its infancy. You only really start seeing true combined arms offensives coming in the latter half of the war, such as the Allied Hundred Days Offensive. Without a combined arms effort, breaking interlocking fortress lines and achieving a decisive breakthrough simply wasn't possible; and the three tools that are most critical to combined arms warfare - the radio, the tank, and the airplane - were all in their infancy too.
You forgot Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf, leader of AH military in the early war. He managed to get Austria's entire professional army wiped out in the first couple weeks of the war. This was primarily a communication failure. He forgot to verify that the Germans would also be attacking into Poland. The Germans had changed their mind about attacking and didn't tell him because they didn't know that he was attacking too.
 
  • 6
Reactions:

alanschu

Lt. General
91 Badges
Jun 9, 2005
1.440
614
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • BATTLETECH
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • BATTLETECH: Season pass
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • BATTLETECH: Flashpoint
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
You could argue the generals were too slow or maybe the higher ups lacked patience but to purely blame the skill of generals or the doctrine for this is missing an important cause.
My first post did more explicitly call out politicking yeah.

IIRC there was also a lot of politicking among some of the generals too as well. (I'd have to reread whom exactly, but I do recall some degree of "support my operation or I will resign my post" types of decrees as well from some. I recall this being an issue in ACW too and it seems like it's a bit more of a thing in that time period than more recently?)
 

Nuklearius

Colonel
9 Badges
Sep 17, 2014
1.056
2.217
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Victoria 2
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
It's actually quite simple. Both sides had almost perfect equality in numbers and equipment. It was impossible for either of the two sides to muster the 2:1 advantage you'd need to succeed against an equal opponent on the attack. As such every single offense became bogged down. Decisive battles weren't possible and the Western Front stayed stagnant but brutal.
On all the WW1 fronts where equipment or numbers weren't equal (Central Powers vs Russia, Entente vs Ottomans), you saw the frontline change quite a lot, just as you'd expect.

Neither generals nor doctrines were at fault, but mostly politicians who misjudged their own strength and maneuvered their own contries into a bloody stalemate.
 
Last edited:
  • 2
Reactions:

General WVPM

Lt. General
23 Badges
Nov 14, 2012
1.553
925
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • For the Motherland
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44
  • Stellaris
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
It's actually quite simple. Both sides had almost perfect equality in numbers and equipment. It was impossible for either of the two sides to muster the 2:1 advantage you'd need to succeed against an equal opponent on the attack. As such every single offense became bogged down. Decisive battles weren't possible and the Western Front stayed stagnant but brutal.
On all the WW1 fronts where equipment or numbers weren't equal (Central Powers vs Russia, Entente vs Ottomans), you saw the frontline change quite a lot, just as you'd expect.

Neither generals nor doctrines were at fault, but mostly politicians who misjudged their own strength and maneuvered their own contries into a bloody stalemate.
Having a 2:1 advantage is not required. For example https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Compass

In this battle a small mobile force beat a much larger army that used static defences.
 

Baneslave

Field Marshal
118 Badges
Apr 9, 2004
6.636
753
  • 2
Reactions:

FOARP

Field Marshal
49 Badges
Sep 10, 2008
6.123
3.925
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Sword of the Stars II
  • Sword of the Stars
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Naval War: Arctic Circle
  • Magicka
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Gettysburg
  • For the Motherland
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44 -  Back to Hell
  • Steel Division: Normand 44 - Second Wave
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • 500k Club
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
Having a 2:1 advantage is not required. For example https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Compass

In this battle a small mobile force beat a much larger army that used static defences.
Off topic, but if Operation Compass had been carried out by a German general it would be praised as a masterpiece of Blitzkrieg to this day, rather than treated as a historical curiosity.

On topic, there were a number of battles of manoeuvre during WW1 in which large, country-sized areas changed hands in advances covering ~100 km or more (twelve off the top of my head: Schlieffen offensive, Poland 1915, over-running of Serbia, Brusilov offensive, Caporetto, Vittorio-Veneto, Romania, Baltics 1917, Kaiserschlacht, Messopotamia, Palestine, 100 Days). It is worth emphasising that the stalemate on the Western Front from 1915-1917 was far from the whole war, nor was it the only front on which capable armies met each other.
 
  • 1
Reactions:

grommile

Field Marshal
60 Badges
Jun 4, 2011
19.727
23.301
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Teleglitch: Die More Edition
  • Victoria 2
  • 500k Club
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Knights of Pen and Paper 2
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis III
In this battle a small mobile force beat a much larger army that used static defences.
There is nothing to fault in the soldierly virtues of the common Italian soldier of WW2, but their equipment and leadership left a great deal to be desired.
 
  • 2
Reactions:

General WVPM

Lt. General
23 Badges
Nov 14, 2012
1.553
925
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • For the Motherland
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44
  • Stellaris
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
I am not expert on this battle but I would assume that this smaller mobile force used their mobility to achieve local numerical superiority. So that is not an counter example.
Fair enough.

Examples of victory against a foe with superior numbers (and roughly the same tech & equipment quality):
  • The Malay campaign and especially the fall of Singapore (1942)
  • The battle of Brody (1941)
  • The battle of Narva (1700)

Examples of defeat against a numeriacally inferior foe (with roughly the same tech & equipment quality):
  • The Kotluban offensives near Stalingrad (1942)
  • The battle of Cold Harbor (1864)
  • The battle of Cannea (216 BC)
  • The Rzhev meatgrinder (1942-1943)
 

Vernichtere

Lt. General
57 Badges
Mar 26, 2010
1.299
2.693
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Prison Architect
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Majesty 2
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Stellaris
I mean, some were. Like Luigi Cadorna, who threw away nearly a million Italian lives in twelve battles of Isonzo.



I need to note that this is mostly a myth. France for example had adopted a very artillery-centric doctrine around the idea of expending munitions rather than men (Superior Firepower in HOI4 terms), and this formed much of the basis for US doctrine. And the USSR was developing what would become Deep Battle, even if they took some steps backwards after the Spanish Civil War and the early stages of the Winter War. Also, if anyone was doctrinally backwards, it was Japan, which pretty much always saw battleships as the decisive element of the navy and never really escaped the mindset of the Russo-Japanese War to the point that they never really considered how their planned victory of two decisive battles would lead to actual war victory, despite even such a miraculous victory over first the US Pacific Fleet and then the remnants of the Pacific Fleet reinforced by the Atlantic Fleet not having the same effect as defeating the Russian Pacific Fleet and then the Baltic and Black Sea Fleet reinforcements as the US wouldn't be nearly as cut off overall as Russia's far east forces were.

Let's put it this way. World War II punished idiocy much more harshly. The First World War allowed mistakes to be corrected.
 

Vernichtere

Lt. General
57 Badges
Mar 26, 2010
1.299
2.693
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Prison Architect
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Majesty 2
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Stellaris
Fair enough.

Examples of victory against a foe with superior numbers (and roughly the same tech & equipment quality):
  • The Malay campaign and especially the fall of Singapore (1942)
  • The battle of Brody (1941)
  • The battle of Narva (1700)

Examples of defeat against a numeriacally inferior foe (with roughly the same tech & equipment quality):
  • The Kotluban offensives near Stalingrad (1942)
  • The battle of Cold Harbor (1864)
  • The battle of Cannea (216 BC)
  • The Rzhev meatgrinder (1942-1943)
The wars of modern times are characterized by the fact that the role of the home front is much more decisive, as there is no longer really a battle in the traditional sense. There's the front. At Narva you could beat someone skillfully and then maybe you would have destroyed the entire army. This is more and more difficult in relation to the modern age. Ultimately, the combined machine of the state and the military gets more and more weight, less the general.
 

Rubidium

Field Marshal
49 Badges
Jul 7, 2011
5.362
6.830
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • BATTLETECH: Flashpoint
  • Stellaris
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • BATTLETECH
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Tyranny - Bastards Wound
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Imperator: Rome
  • BATTLETECH: Season pass
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • BATTLETECH: Heavy Metal
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Revelations
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Victoria 2
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Tyranny - Tales from the Tiers
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
On topic, there were a number of battles of manoeuvre during WW1 in which large, country-sized areas changed hands in advances covering ~100 km or more (twelve off the top of my head: Schlieffen offensive, Poland 1915, over-running of Serbia, Brusilov offensive, Caporetto, Vittorio-Veneto, Romania, Baltics 1917, Kaiserschlacht, Messopotamia, Palestine, 100 Days). It is worth emphasising that the stalemate on the Western Front from 1915-1917 was far from the whole war, nor was it the only front on which capable armies met each other.
Not to mention the various colonial campaigns in Africa and Asia. People focus on von Lettow-Vorbeck holding out in parts of German East Africa, but the rest of the Central Powers' colonial possessions were snapped up reasonably quickly.
 
  • 1
Reactions:

spartansociety

Colonel
29 Badges
Mar 22, 2013
824
541
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Semper Fi
  • Magicka
  • Leviathan: Warships
  • King Arthur II
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • For the Motherland
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • East India Company Collection
  • Cities in Motion 2
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars Pre-Order
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Surviving Mars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • War of the Roses
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
I would also point out that it was partially down to luck (or lack thereof). I mean, if the German logistics had allowed them to just go a little further.... WW1 might have been a quick continental war that showed the power of Prussian offensives.
 

Woifee

Erzherzog von und zu Miregal
31 Badges
Apr 12, 2014
3.953
2.599
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Victoria 2
I would also point out that it was partially down to luck (or lack thereof). I mean, if the German logistics had allowed them to just go a little further.... WW1 might have been a quick continental war that showed the power of Prussian offensives.

Yeah, don't make war plans that are based on luck.
 
  • 3Like
Reactions:

Vernichtere

Lt. General
57 Badges
Mar 26, 2010
1.299
2.693
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Prison Architect
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Majesty 2
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Stellaris
Yeah, don't make war plans that are based on luck.
On the whole, it has been detached from the political level and from general developments. The plan was revised several times and it was known in the General Staff that they did not have enough troops. The propaganda effect was completely ignored. Without the attack on Belgium, it would be more difficult to convince the British public to enter the war or to sustain any lengthy war effort.


First and foremost, a political failure. As a government, I cannot advocate a scheme in which, in the event of a not unlikely failure, I will be the villain.


The same goes for the Austrians. Vienna made itself completely dependent on the Germans. Attacking Serbia under these conditions is just insane
 
  • 2
Reactions:

demanvanwezel

General
85 Badges
Mar 27, 2009
2.351
1.532
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Impire
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Tyranny - Tales from the Tiers
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • 500k Club
I would also point out that it was partially down to luck (or lack thereof). I mean, if the German logistics had allowed them to just go a little further.... WW1 might have been a quick continental war that showed the power of Prussian offensives.

no, even if the british hadn't joined and von moltke hadn't panicked at the russian advance (or the russians hadn't advanced prior to getting their codebooks) then france wouldn't have been defeated
paris might have been taken, the city was (quite purposfully) indefencible however the 4 times that france had been totally subjugated by foreign powers it happened after france's armies had been reduced to next to nothing
the germans failed in destroying the french army unlike they had done in 1870 and that's the main cause of the failure of the 1914 offensive
 

Alpha2518

Lt. General
On Probation
102 Badges
Sep 12, 2009
1.301
651
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Rome Gold
  • Semper Fi
  • Sword of the Stars
  • Sword of the Stars II
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Divine Wind
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Stellaris
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
no, even if the british hadn't joined and von moltke hadn't panicked at the russian advance (or the russians hadn't advanced prior to getting their codebooks) then france wouldn't have been defeated
paris might have been taken, the city was (quite purposfully) indefencible however the 4 times that france had been totally subjugated by foreign powers it happened after france's armies had been reduced to next to nothing
the germans failed in destroying the french army unlike they had done in 1870 and that's the main cause of the failure of the 1914 offensive


This is correct as Moltke's contempories said sending reinforcements to the East was a mistake with Moltke even agreeing with them after the war. The only thing that might've saved the French would be if that gapp between the armies still opened up. Conversely if the gap had never opened up to begin with as things had actually happened the war might've ended in a German victory. Who knows but it be a lot harder to muster the political will to fight if Paris is no more.
 

demanvanwezel

General
85 Badges
Mar 27, 2009
2.351
1.532
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Impire
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Tyranny - Tales from the Tiers
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • 500k Club
Yeah, don't make war plans that are based on luck.
On the whole, it has been detached from the political level and from general developments. The plan was revised several times and it was known in the General Staff that they did not have enough troops. The propaganda effect was completely ignored. Without the attack on Belgium, it would be more difficult to convince the British public to enter the war or to sustain any lengthy war effort.


First and foremost, a political failure. As a government, I cannot advocate a scheme in which, in the event of a not unlikely failure, I will be the villain.


The same goes for the Austrians. Vienna made itself completely dependent on the Germans. Attacking Serbia under these conditions is just insane

the main thing for the germans is that according to the calculations of their general staff with the increase of the french army and expansion of the railway network in russian poland victory against both of these powers was effectively impossible even with a prepared attack from 1915 onwards and anyone could see that at this point war with one party meant war with the other
 

demanvanwezel

General
85 Badges
Mar 27, 2009
2.351
1.532
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Impire
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Tyranny - Tales from the Tiers
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • 500k Club
This is correct as Moltke's contempories said sending reinforcements to the East was a mistake with Moltke even agreeing with them after the war. The only thing that might've saved the French would be if that gapp between the armies still opened up. Conversely if the gap had never opened up to begin with as things had actually happened the war might've ended in a German victory. Who knows but it be a lot harder to muster the political will to fight if Paris is no more.

the main problem here is that the british must always choose the side of the french, the british wanted to avoid a napoleon situation at any cost and germany once war started had bassicly two options: either it would win and be europe's hegemon or it would lose and be a 2nd rate power and they went all in on the first option

germany definitly had a chance to win WW1 but not in 1914, the attack did do a lot to neutralise french industry though (1/3th of french coal and half of it's steel production was behind the germand lines for the rest of the war)