Battles of the Great War – World War 1 / Schlachten des Ersten Weltkriegs – 1. Weltkrieg

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Battle of the Frontiers

The Battle of the Frontiers (Dutch: Slag der Grenzen, French: Bataille des Frontières, German: Grenzschlachten) was a series of battles fought along the eastern frontier of France and in southern Belgium, shortly after the outbreak of the First World War. The battles resolved the military strategies of the French Chief of Staff General Joseph Joffre with Plan XVII and an offensive interpretation of the German Aufmarsch II deployment plan by Helmuth von Moltke the Younger. The German concentration on the right (northern) flank, to wheel through Belgium and attack the French in the rear, was delayed by the movement of French Fifth Army (General Charles Lanrezac) towards the north-west to intercept them and the presence of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) on his left flank. The Franco-British were driven back by the Germans, who were able to invade northern France. French and British rearguard actions delayed the German advance, allowing the French time to transfer forces on the eastern frontier to the west to defend Paris, resulting in the First Battle of the Marne.

Battle of Tannenberg

The Battle of Tannenberg was fought between Russia and Germany between the 26th and 30th of August 1914, the first month of World War I. The battle resulted in the almost complete destruction of the Russian Second Army and the suicide of its commanding general, Alexander Samsonov. A series of follow-up battles (First Masurian Lakes) destroyed most of the First Army as well and kept the Russians off balance until the spring of 1915. The battle is particularly notable for fast rail movements by the Germans, enabling them to concentrate against each of the two Russian armies in turn, and also for the failure of the Russians to encode their radio messages. It brought considerable prestige to Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg and his rising staff-officer Erich Ludendorff.

Although the battle actually took place near Allenstein (Olsztyn), Hindenburg named it after Tannenberg, 30 km to the west, in order to, in German eyes, avenge the defeat of the Teutonic Knights 500 years earlier at the Battle of Grunwald which was always known as the Battle of Tannenberg in German.

First Battle of the Marne

The Battle of the Marne was a World War I battle fought from 6–10 September 1914. It resulted in an Allied victory against the German armies in the west. The battle was the culmination of the German advance into France and pursuit of the Allied armies which followed the Battle of the Frontiers in August and had reached the eastern outskirts of Paris. A counter-attack by six French armies and the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) along the Marne River forced the Imperial German Army to retreat northwest, leading to the First Battle of the Aisne and the Race to the Sea. The battle was a victory for the Allied Powers but led to four years of trench warfare stalemate on the Western Front.

Second Battle of the Piave River

The Second Battle of the Piave River, fought between 15 and 23 June 1918, was a decisive victory for the Italian Army against the Austro-Hungarian Empire during World War I. Though the battle proved to be a decisive blow to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and by extension the Central Powers, its full significance was not initially appreciated in Italy. Yet Erich Ludendorff, on hearing the news, is reported to have said he“had the sensation of defeat for the first time”. It would later become clear that the battle was, in fact, the beginning of the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

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