Military Review English Edition November-December 2015 - Page 32

key insights that are relevant to our armed forces today, particularly as they may apply to analysis and employment of the mission command concept. in early August, the Germans deployed rapidly, advancing through neutral Belgium in an effort to envelop the French and British forces preparing to advance against the Germans. As part of this operation, the German army had assembled a force of heavy artillery guns to quickly reduce the Belgian and French fortresses in the path of their advance. In contrast, the French plan at the start of the war was basically to attack wherever their forces could destroy German forces, depending for success on élan and their belief in the natural superiority of the French soldier. Background of the Campaign The designation “First Battle of the Marne” is in fact a misnomer; there was no decisive battle. It was rather a series of numerous skirmishes and several separate battles fought between Imperial German Army and Anglo-French forces along the Ourcq, Petit Morin, Grand Morin, and Aisne Rivers in northwestern France (see figure 1). To avoid the German High Command’s worst nightmare scenario of a two-front war, the key initial objective for the opening German operation was to knock France out of the conflict as quickly as possible so Germany could then turn its attention toward Russia in the east. As a result, at the outset of the war The German Offensive The German invasion started 2 August 1914 and extended to early September. In the beginning, most things went right for the Germans and most went wrong for the French. After reducing the fortress of HOLL Battle of le Cateau 26 August LG I Mons Boulogne Arras Brussels UM Lille Battle of St. Quentin/ Guise 29-30 August Battle of Charleroi 22-23 August X Liege Namur Ma ube uge me Aachen Battle of the Ardennes 22-23 August se Meu Charleroi Som NY MA Ypres BE GER Calais Siege of Liege 4-16 August Antwerp BELGIAN ARMY Battle of Mons 22-23 August Dunkirk AND Dinant LU X EM X Amiens Sedan St. Quentin FRANCE XXXX BO UR G Luxembourg 5 XXXX XXXX Compiegne 1 XXXX XXXX 3 e Aisn Reims 2 6 Verdun Ma e 50 miles XXX X BEF XXX X 5 XXXX XXXX 9 6 3 Paris Sein XXXX XXXX rne XXXX 4 2 XXXX 4 Figure 1. The First Marne Campaign 30 November-December 2015  MILITARY REVIEW