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Hentsch, Richard

(567 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Hentsch, Richard (December 18, 1869, Cologne – February 13, 1918, Bucharest), German officer. After a private education in Berlin, Hentsch joined the 103rd Infantry Regiment (4th Saxon) in Bautzen in …

Race to the Sea

(479 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Race to the Sea Popular metaphor for the military operations on the northern flank of the Western Front between September 15 and late October 1914, in the course of which both sides hoped to outflank the opponent, and which eventually came to an end with the onset of positional warfare in November of 1914. Following the German withdrawal to the Marne, the new chief of the Supreme Army Command (Oberste Heeresleitung, OHL), General Erich von Falkenhayn, planned to renew the offensive on the German rig…

Cadorna, Count Luigi

(286 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Cadorna, Count Luigi (September 4, 1850, Pallanza, no…

Moltke, Helmuth Johannes Ludwig von (the Younger)

(578 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Moltke, Helmuth Johannes Ludwig von (the Younger) (May 25, 1848, Gersdorff [Mecklenburg] – June 18, 1916, Berlin), German general; chief of the Army General Staff and nephew of Field Marshal von Moltke. In 1869 Moltke joined Fusilier Regiment the Queen’s No. 86 (Schleswig-Holstein), taking part in the Franco-Prussian War as a lieutenant. In 1872 he succeeded in transferring to the 1st Foot Guards Regiment. Moltke’s later military career was shaped by his closeness to his famous uncle – Moltke was his a…

Sarajevo

(729 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Sarajevo Capital of the Austro-Hungarian provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Austria-Hungary’s annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908 had aroused strong hostility against the dual monarchy among the Serbian population in Bosnia. Radicalization had led to the emergence of secret societies that were prepared to use violence. One of those societies, the “Black Hand,” enjoyed the protection of Serbian military circles, and planned to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir apparent to the Austrian throne, on the occasion of his visit to Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. In the province for military maneuvers, Franz Ferdinand wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to make a courtesy visit to the Bosnian capital. Although the security situation was seen as critical, measures to protect the archduke and his wife Sophie Duchess of Hohenberg, who was with him, were inadequate. The route they would take through the city having become known, a total of six conspirators equipped with pistols and bombs obtained from Serbian sources were positioned along it. The jou…

Alberich, Operation

(374 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Alberich, Operation Code name for the planned German rearward movement to the Hindenburg Line in February and March of 1917. Preparations for the withdrawal from the salient between Arras and Soissons had begun in the autumn of 1916 with the aim of disrupting Allied plans for an offensive in the spring of 1917 and shortening the German front line. Prior to the actual retreat, during the so-called Alberich period (February 9–March 15), the scheme called for the systematic devastation of the withdrawal zone on both s…

Military Historiography, Official German

(1,063 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Military Historiography, Official German Immediately after the end of the war, nearly all the states that had participated in the war began elaborating an official military historiography. These early efforts to produce standard official publications were not only a consequence of historical interest or of the wish to honor the achievements of one’s respective army, but should also be viewed in the light of the international debate on war guilt, which began with the Treaty of Versailles. Hence, the …

Positional Warfare

(1,219 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Positional Warfare A form of warfare conducted along permanent and fortified front lines. The war of positions came to characterize the First World War in contrast to other forms of combat. All major military powers had based their pre-1914 war strategies on a war of movement. This was the case despite the fact that positional warfare was not unfamiliar. Siege warfare had been ubiquitous in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period. Even in recent conflicts such as the Russo-Japanese War of 1904…

Wild von Hohenborn, Adolf

(296 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Wild von Hohenborn, Adolf ( July 8, 1860, Kassel – October 25, 1925, Malsburg-Hohenborn [near K…

Einem, Karl von

(339 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Einem, Karl von (January 1, 1853, Herzberg [Harz] – April 7, 1934, Mülheim an der Ruhr), German colonel general. Educated in the cadet corps, in 1870 Einem joined the 14th regiment of Uhlans, with whom he took part in the war against France. Never having attended military academy, Einem was ordered to the general staff while still a first lieutenant. In 1898 he was transferred as a colonel to the Prussian ministry of war (where he was director of the general war department from 1900). Lieutenant Ge…

Military Cabinet

(247 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Military Cabinet The bureau that handled personnel matters for the Prussian army. Created in 1883 out of the former Prussian Adjutant General’s Office, the Military Cabinet reported directly to the Kaiser. The Military Cabinet represente…

Kuhl, Hermann von

(350 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Kuhl, Hermann von (November 2, 1856, Koblenz – November 4, 1958, Frankfurt am Main), German general. Kuhl received a doctoral degree from the University of Tübingen for his thesis on the Carmen Saliare in 1878. That same year he joined the Prussian Infantry Regiment No. 53, rising to captain in 1893, and to major in 1899. Having taught at the War Academy from 1898, Kuhl became chief of Department III at the General Staff in 1906. Promoted to major general in 1912, he was raised to the hereditary nobility one year later. In 191…

Battle of the Frontiers

(647 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Battle of the Frontiers Collective term for a series of engagements that were fought in Belgium and France in the course of the German invasion between August 20 and 24, 1914. The German operational plan had envisioned a strong right wing enveloping the bulk of the French, British, and Belgian forces in northern France. Following the successful coup de main against Liège this right wing consisting of the First, Second, and Third Armies advanced through Belgium toward the French border. The Fourth and Fifth Armies moved through Luxembourg and the Ardenne…

Tunnel Warfare

(587 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Tunnel Warfare Warfare by means of planting subterranean destructive charges. Following the onset of positional warfare, the belligerents soon turned to tunneling and mining along the stationary front lines, especially on the Western Front and in the Alps. A distinction must be made between offensive and defensive mining: offensive mining was conducted for the purpose of destroying key positions or entire sections of the enemy’s trenches immediately before a planned infantry attack. This was accom…

Headquarters

(1,417 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Headquarters Command centers for the supreme military, sometimes also political, leadership set up in the field for the duration of the war. Composition, location, and function of such a headquarters depended on the constitutional position of the supreme military command of each belligerent and the demands of modern mass and coalition warfare. – By far the most comprehensive headquarters at the outbreak of the war was the German “Great Headquarters.” Aside from the German Emperor as the nominal c…

Null-Acht-Fünfzehn (Maxim Machine Gun)

(269 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Null-Acht-Fünfzehn (Maxim Machine Gun) The designation for the new Maxim machine gun, the Model 8, implemented by the German Army beginning in 1915. On this redesigned Maxim gun, the heavy carriage of older models was replaced by a bipod. It was lighter, and equipped for the first time with a shoulder stock as well as a pistol grip. Great quantities of the Model 8 were produced under very strict fabrication tolerances that resulted in exceptional durability, even when subjected to extreme mechanical stresses. It therefore comes as no surprise that in German soldiers’ slang, Null-Acht-Fünfzehn (‘08/15’) came to stand for a…

Hausen, Max Klemens Lothar Freiherr von

(289 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Hausen, Max Klemens Lothar Freiherr von (December 17, 1846, Dresden – March 19, 1922, Dresden), Saxon general. After cadet school, von Hausen joined the Saxon Army’s Third Jägerbataillon (Rifle Battalion) in Dresden in 1863. He took part in wars in Bohemia in 1866 and in France in 1870/1871, and was promoted captain in 1871. He was first appointed to the imperial general staff four years later. A major in 1881, in 1893 he was promoted to major general. Between 1895 and 1897 he was back on the general staff as deputy chief ( Oberquartiermeister). Between 1900 and 1902, he served as comma…

Krafft von Dellmensingen, Konrad

(320 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Krafft von Dellmensingen, Konrad (November 24, 1862, Laufen [Upper Bavaria] – February 22, 1953, Seeshaupt), Bavarian general. Krafft joined the Bavarian Army in 1881 as an officer candidate (field artillery) and attended the War Academy from 1891 to 1894. From 1908 to 1911, he served as division chief in the Munich War Ministry with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. Promoted to the rank of major-general and appointed chief of the General Staff in 1912, Krafft became chief of staff of the Sixth Army (…
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