Dominarch's Hope wrote:The French will attack. They may stop it sooner, but its going to happen.
Why? You seem to be totally ignoring the way French strategy was governed by Entente strategy and in particular Russia - and more importantly, if Russia is neutral, how does France end up in conflict with Germany and Austria-Hungray in the first place?
This is probably the clincher. The only reason for France to end up in a war at all is that the Germans issued an ultimatum to France because they knew about the Entente.
They were looking at a war with Russia, and wanted their backs secure, so they demanded that France effectively disarm itself (remove troops and weapons from border forts, refuse to mobilize its army). France refused, and the Germans knew perfectly well they'd have to fight both.
But the French aren't fools at the strategic level; they won't attack Germany over the independence of Serbia. Not if Russia isn't getting involved.
Dr. Trainwreck wrote:What does Italy do in this war? Do they still change sides in 1916? Because if so, your precious Austrians will have work to do.
There's also, you know, the thing with the Schlieffen Plan. What tells you it would have worked even with the entirety of Germany's strength? How about this: so many soldiers at one place strain German logistics, not to mention the incredible congestion of all those people marching around in northern France, so the German advance is clogged up and they still lose at the Marne, followed by a retreat in a more defensible ground, you know, one where they can fortify and cover with artillery. Like Belgium. Remarque still gets to write his damn book.
IF the French inexplicably fought without Russia and IF the Germans had their whole army available, they'd have enough manpower to win by Verdun-style attrition. The war might drag out into 1915-16, but not longer than that.
Finally, while I find it hard to accept that trench warfare was the only way, nobody has told me a compelling argument as to why so many generals would choose it anyway besides "durr they were stoopid". And nobody has told me, basing his opinion on the technology and tactics available at the time, how trench warfare could have been different without all these pointless slaughters. I mean, if you're British then Haig is an easy scapegoat for so many dead Englishmen, but the old bastard had the support of the political leadership, a decent amount of respect by his peers and subordinates, and his funeral in 1928 was declared a day of national mourning. All dunces?
The real problem was:
1) The lack of mobile equipment. Military supplies could not move in quantity by road, not at the strategic level where most transport was horse-drawn. They had to travel by rail. Railroads are hideously vulnerable to being torn up by a retreating defender, if the attacking bombardment didn't already wreck them. And the defender can easily wreck any railroad within artillery range of his position. So a fighting force just couldn't be sustained far from the railheads, and the railroads couldn't advance until the enemy's artillery positions were forced backwards. But forcing the enemy back was hard because...
2) The ratio of force to space was huge, compared to any war that had ever happened before. The sheer size of the armies involved had grown by at least a factor of ten, and increased firepower meant that each man could cover more frontage before. In previous wars, digging and manning a trench line that ran from the Channel to the Swiss border would have been totally impossible- Louis XIV or Napoleon would both have loved to do it at the right times, but didn't have the resources. The WWI French (and Germans and British) did. Since the manpower existed to put up field fortifications literally everywhere an army could possibly go, the field fortifications went up, and both armies were forced into this bizarre mutant version of siege warfare.
Trench warfare tactics as we know them were just an update of the 19th century siege tactics that already knew
about things like assaulting trenches. The catch is that those tactics were designed for the bloody capture of an isolated fortress- where once you'd taken a few square kilometers of ground you'd won
because that was the entire area of the fortress. They were not designed for a situation where capturing a few square kilometers just means the enemy backs up a thousand meters to dig in on the next range of hills.
Dominarch's Hope wrote:Italy? No one cares. They dont matter at all.
Bullshit. They matter tremendously; just by existing their army tied up huge forces. Sure, it collapsed in 1917, but so did that of several other powers. That had more to do with the stresses of prolonged total warfare than anything else.
On the other hand, Italy is very likely to stay neutral or join the Central Powers in a war where Russia isn't a factor. So while you're too stupid to care, it doesn't actually change the outcome.