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8 - Performance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 March 2023

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Summary

Final command task: winning, by preventing a breakthrough and inflicting maximum casualties while preserving German forces. German view of combat value (fighting power); assessment of divisions’ intrinsic (long-term) and current (short-term) combat value. Nearly half the army was unfit for major combat.

The army fulfilled both parts of this command task in spring 1917, but suffered as much damage as during the Somme over the same period, and more than at Verdun or Third Ypres. The system for assessing current combat value helped overcome this potential crisis. Nevertheless, reserves were running out, field strength fell and the army displayed increasing distress.

Section on why the offensive failed from the Entente side: shortcomings in grand strategy, strategy, operations and tactics. But it was not doomed to failure: counterfactual on how it could have gone better. German commanders took it very seriously, rightly as the great damage suffered by the army shows.

Type
Chapter
Information
Holding Out
The German Army and Operational Command in 1917
, pp. 245 - 275
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • Performance
  • Tony Cowan
  • Book: Holding Out
  • Online publication: 31 March 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108900553.010
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  • Performance
  • Tony Cowan
  • Book: Holding Out
  • Online publication: 31 March 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108900553.010
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Performance
  • Tony Cowan
  • Book: Holding Out
  • Online publication: 31 March 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108900553.010
Available formats
×