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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Don't Mention the Schlieffen Plan", 25 May 2011
By 
Squirr-el (The Metroplis, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The First Battle of the Marne 1914: The French 'miracle' Halts the Germans (Campaign) (Paperback)
Contents:
Opening Moves - p5
Chronology - p9
Opposing Commanders - p12
Opposing Forces - p15
Opposing Plans - p23
The First Battle of the Marne - p28
.The battle of the Ourq 5-9 September
.The Battle of Saint-Gond Marshes 6-10 September
.The Battle of the Two Morins 6-11 September
Aftermath - p81
.Conclusion
The Battlefield Today - p92
Further Reading - p94
Index - p95

Illustrations:
Six full-page colour maps
Battle diagrams - 2-page, ¾ view:
.Opening day of the Battle of the Ourq, 5 September 1914
.The Struggle for Mondement, 9th September 1914
.Turning the German Flank - Marchais-en-Brie, 8th September 1914
Colour plates - 2-page spreads:
The Taxis of the Marne - soldiers assembling to board the convoy.
The Garde at Fere-Champenoise, 9th September 1914 - German infantry advancing, with regimental colour.
The Attack on Montceaux-les-Provins, 6th September 1914 - a battery of French 75mm guns in action.

This is a very interesting account of the campaign and battle, the detail is good and the maps are helpful. However, the author has read Dr Terence Zuber's Inventing the Schlieffen Plan: German War Planning 1871-1914 (which claims that the idea of `the Plan' was invented after the war by General Staff officers to push blame for the defeat on to generals who couldn't argue back), according to his Bibliography, so he tries to avoid mentioning "The Schlieffen Plan" in his description of the Opening Moves, though he does describe Moltke as "having taken over the war plan of his predecessor Schlieffen" (p14); and
"The German plan followed ideas outlined by Schlieffen in a memorandum of 1906" (p6), and then:
"Schlieffen's successor Moltke accepted the strategic assumptions behind the plan, but made several important revisions" (p7).
Almost there!
"With these new orders, the emphasis of the German invasion had definitely shifted. It was now seeking a decision in just that fortified area of eastern France that Schlieffen's original plan had tried so hard to avoid" (p27).
Slipping again...
None of this affects his description of the campaign, but it does give a partially misleading impression of the German objectives. The Germans reviewed their war plans every year, with war games and field exercises to test them. Schlieffen (who retired in 1905) and his successor Moltke were continually refining their proposals. Due to the Germans being outnumbered by the Franco-Russian alliance, Schlieffen's main preoccupation was with working out how to counter this handicap. His preferred idea was of outflanking and then enveloping his opponents, bringing the maximum force to bear against an enemy being pinned frontally. In fact, if there ever was a Schlieffen plan, it was that used at Tannenberg, first tested by him in 1894.

The author gives a good summing up in his Conclusion:
"The Schlieffen Plan [gotcha!] as modified by Moltke, was always a gamble. It made little provision for the unexpected, relied on meeting little or no Belgian resistance and discounted the contribution of the British. More significantly, it wasd far too ambitious - both in the sheer physical effort required of the German soldier and in the logistical support needed to keep him supplied". He then blames Kluck for going off-objective.

"The German system of command allowed considerable discretion to the commander on the ground. Kluck, therefore, considered his behaviour nothing more than as appropriate use of initiative. But this system needed a strong supreme commander to ensure his subordinates all conformed to the overall campaign strategy. And Moltke was not that man. According to Kronprinz Ruprecht's chief of staff, Moltke `practiced an exaggerated restraint, because he... lacked all self-assurance and thus all self-confidence. He was afraid to lead by himself'." (pp 83-85)

Ignoring the references to the Schlieffen Plan, the Author's summary of what went wrong is spot-on. Moltke simply wasn't up to controlling his subordinates and commanding the battle.

Dr Zuber's The Real German War Plan, 1904-14, published after this book, goes in to more detail on the `myth' of the Schlieffen plan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing and enjoyable read., 21 Feb. 2015
By 
IP - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The First Battle of the Marne 1914: The French 'miracle' Halts the Germans (Campaign) (Paperback)
The perfect companion for all military history enthusiasts is: THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

In this book on the first Marne, author Ian Sumner starts with a preamble of events leading up to the battle, a look at the commanders of both sides and the men under their command. Then there is an inspection of the plans of both sides. The 'meat' of the volume is next with the various stages of the battle, including the incredible movement of men and equipment needed to perform the assuault and defense. Finally, introspection on how the battle went, what was learned from it, and how it affected future events. There is also a look at the battlefield today. All of this is superbly illustrated with period photographs and the artwork of Graham Turner.

If you want insight into a pivotal event in the First World War, or just a fascinating read, then this is the book for you. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it as I feel sure will most students/enthusiasts of the First World War.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Marne 1914, 29 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: The First Battle of the Marne 1914: The French 'miracle' Halts the Germans (Campaign) (Paperback)
Good value Osprey book with some excellent photos and illustrations and an okay text. Maps are good too! Read it in conjunction with Ian Senior's 'Home before the Leaves Fall' (also from Osprey) and you have a pretty good picture of the horrors of the opening battles of the Great War.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the end of manouvere, 25 Oct. 2011
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This review is from: The First Battle of the Marne 1914: The French 'miracle' Halts the Germans (Campaign) (Paperback)
the last manaouvre in battle for at least 3 years or more the french army was very courageous but let them down was there early uniform of bright red trousers,and keppy style hats which was also red but covered with a blue cover ,to match there coats a great sight indeed but the casualty rate was high as there uniforms were very noticeable easy targets for the german infantry and machine gunners.
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