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Old January 22nd, 2013, 04:03 PM   #1

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WW100 Battle of the Marne


Just finished another of the Christmas collection on World War One. This time it was:

The Marne, 1914: The Opening of World War I and the Battle That Changed the World: Holger H. Herwig: 9780812978292: Amazon.com: Books
The Marne, 1914: The Opening of World War I and the Battle That Changed the World: Holger H. Herwig: 9780812978292: Amazon.com: Books


I found the title just a tad misleading in that the author's focus is clearly all of the Beginning stages of the war. The treatment of the Frontiers is actually more comprehensive than the Marne itself. For those not acquainted with the details of August 1914, the Frontiers is actually the opening battles of World War One.

The German and French armies attacked each other across a broad front in Alsace Lorraine and the Ardennes. The French held back from entering Belgium until assured of British intervention but then moved up and engaged in the same type of battle. The different zones of battle and army groups involved define separate battles. The Ardennes, Mulhouse, Lorraine, Mons, and St. Charleroi. These affairs went very well for Moltke and the German Army. Unfortunately, they turned south before engulfing Paris and famously offered Joffre the flank. Victory to defeat at the Marne after having chased the BEF and French armies across Belgium and much of France. Here are some links to those battles:

First World War.com - Battles - The Battle of the Frontiers, 1914

First World War.com - Battles - The First Battle of the Marne, 1914

Click the image to open in full size.

First_Battle_of_the_Marne First_Battle_of_the_Marne


Frequently when discussing the overall battle, I have noticed a tendency to emphasize the famous 'Gap' that opened up between the German 1st and 2nd armies allowing the BEF to drive into gap endangering 1st army with total destruction thereby forcing withdrawl to positions that became the Western Front.

I was quite surprised to find that the BEF did almost no fighting at the Battle of the Marne rather simply menaced the Germans by their presence.

I found it really ironic to discover the German army's defeat at the Marne may have had as much to do with bad communications as their victory at Tannenberg had to do with Russian communications.

Clearly Holger H. Herwig felt Von Moltke's performance was key in the loss at the Marne. Trying to run things from a distant headquarters with such poor communication lines was crucial in the defeat.

Papa Joffre gets off the hook for his performance at the Frontiers by maintaining calm and remaining fully engaged at the Marne.

Anyway, just a few thoughts.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 04:42 PM   #2
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And very interesting too, Baltis. Off at a tangent, sorry, I'd like a book around the miners and Hill 60, myself. Ref Battle of Marne (1st, 1914) was it then that Paris Taxis were used would you know? Regards, JP.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 05:08 PM   #3

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As you might imagine, the author did address the subject of the Paris Taxis. He indicated the effect on morale of having used the Taxis was very good but to say the Taxis drivers of Paris saved the city is myth. The using of the 600 taxis was a small part of the overall process of moving troops around the battlefield. Also, they were very slow and inefficient. But, on the other hand, the story is true that 600 taxis drove up and down a single road to help move the French into position at the Battle of the Marne.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 09:57 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Baltis View Post
Frequently when discussing the overall battle, I have noticed a tendency to emphasize the famous 'Gap' that opened up between the German 1st and 2nd armies allowing the BEF to drive into gap endangering 1st army with total destruction thereby forcing withdrawl to positions that became the Western Front.

I was quite surprised to find that the BEF did almost no fighting at the Battle of the Marne rather simply menaced the Germans by their presence.

I found it really ironic to discover the German army's defeat at the Marne may have had as much to do with bad communications as their victory at Tannenberg had to do with Russian communications.

Clearly Holger H. Herwig felt Von Moltke's performance was key in the loss at the Marne. Trying to run things from a distant headquarters with such poor communication lines was crucial in the defeat.

Papa Joffre gets off the hook for his performance at the Frontiers by maintaining calm and remaining fully engaged at the Marne.

Anyway, just a few thoughts.
Sounds like it was a pretty good account of things then. Might go on my reading list.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 01:47 AM   #5

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What did you make of the book, Baltis?

I've heard it got mixed reviews, tbh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Paul View Post
And very interesting too, Baltis. Off at a tangent, sorry, I'd like a book around the miners and Hill 60, myself. Ref Battle of Marne (1st, 1914) was it then that Paris Taxis were used would you know? Regards, JP.

Beneath Hill 60: Amazon.co.uk: Will Davies: Books
Beneath Hill 60: Amazon.co.uk: Will Davies: Books

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Old January 23rd, 2013, 02:03 AM   #6
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Baltis, great photos Were aeroplanes in use on the front at that time, and are they mentioned in the book? I always thought the "old comtemptibles" took part in "Marne", what does the book say sir?

Thankyou, for the book, Mangekyou. The DVD is very good, well acted.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 02:37 AM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Paul View Post
And very interesting too, Baltis. Off at a tangent, sorry, I'd like a book around the miners and Hill 60, myself. Ref Battle of Marne (1st, 1914) was it then that Paris Taxis were used would you know? Regards, JP.
The book Mangekyou posted is a fantastic read. Hopefully you'll have seen the Australian made film about the miners
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 03:18 AM   #8

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Quote:
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Thankyou, for the book, Mangekyou. The DVD is very good, well acted.
You're welcome, and yes it is

Quote:
Originally Posted by Son of Cathal View Post
The book Mangekyou posted is a fantastic read. Hopefully you'll have seen the Australian made film about the miners
Its an excellent book. The film is equally good, imho. A friend of mine went to visit the site a few years back, and he said the experience was amazing.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 03:36 AM   #9
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On the OP, the Marne Valley campaign is interesting, in how it split the German effort in to two fronts, scuppering the Schlieffen Plan and it seems, starting "trench warfare". Kluck and Bülow seem to have failed to maintain an effective offensive against France.

And yes, Son of Kathal, seen the film many times. Very well acted. Looks like I'll have to get the book, and find one from the German perspective while I'm at it.

Pictures from Wikipedia attached, Joffre (left) and Kluck.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 220px-Joseph_Joffre.jpg (9.4 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg 220px-KluckGBW.jpg (14.2 KB, 1 views)
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 03:54 AM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangekyou View Post
What did you make of the book, Baltis?

I've heard it got mixed reviews, tbh.



Beneath Hill 60: Amazon.co.uk: Will Davies: Books

As I mentioned previously, it seemed a bit more like a book about the Battle of the Frontiers than about the Battle of the Marne. Almost as if the author got tired of writing when he got to the main event.

I didn't like his maps very much. They were too busy and a bit confusing. On the other hand, I had already purchased this book to supplement my earlier Tannenberg readings. I really like it as a supplement:

Amazon.com: A Military Atlas of the First World War (9780850527919): Arthur Banks: Books
Amazon.com: A Military Atlas of the First World War (9780850527919): Arthur Banks: Books


Its a little hard to judge the book for me. I feel like it might not have really been organized that well but I was greatly assisted by the fact of reading the 'Guns of August' and a couple of others just ahead of it. I was already fresh on who everyone was and etc.
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