WI: Germany in 1914 gets the 24 divisions required for the Schlieffen Plan

C.Z.A.R

Donor
As is said above, what would happen if Germany is (somehow) able to get the 24 extra divisions needed for the Schlieffen Plan? How would the Battle of Frontiers & Marne go? Would Germany win?
 
As is said above, what would happen if Germany is (somehow) able to get the 24 extra divisions needed for the Schlieffen Plan? How would the Battle of Frontiers & Marne go? Would Germany win?
To give any kind of guess we need to know how and the lead up time. 24 extra German divisions is a lot, so how would France react to obvious(?) German expansion?
 

Coulsdon Eagle

Monthly Donor
Assume that the High Sea Fleet is more of a High Sea Flotilla, given the funds & manpower diverted from OTL to the landsers.
 

Garrison

Donor
The plan was an organizational monster with the OTL forces, its going to be an even bigger mess with even more troops on the move. I think the problem is the force to space ratio rather than the Germans simply needing more troops.
 
If Germany has an extra 24 divisions, the French are likely to notice. The idiocy of Plan XVII dropped for something far more defensive and wait for the Russians. Only strengthening the reserves would offer the French much hope

The British will even notice it. The realization that France would need real assistance against Germany would likely mean an Army expansion.

On the plus side, the Italians might be more willing to join. But the King waited in both World Wars so I doubt that will change

There is a real debate if Schlieffen really needed an extra 24 divisions. While active corps each had two divisions, many reserve corps only had one. The 24 divisions comes from assuming these corps are brought to full strength
 
I've seen the argument, I believe in John Keegan's volume on the First World War, that additional troops would be pointless because the existing forces on the German right wing were already using the entirety of the Belgian/ Northern French road network. Even if you pulled them from the left wing or magicked them out of thin air, there were only so many roads that soldiers could march down, and thus additional forces could only follow up the existing units, or clog up the supply lines. This seems plausible, but does anyone know anything more about this?
 
More sense to have a larger reserve, and rotate troops out frequently to keep them fresh.
They couldn't really supply the OTL numbers of troops on the front.
They need mechanization of supply columns, not more troops, to be honest
 

Garrison

Donor
More sense to have a larger reserve, and rotate troops out frequently to keep them fresh.
They couldn't really supply the OTL numbers of troops on the front.
They need mechanization of supply columns, not more troops, to be honest
Which the Germans couldn't manage even in WWII.
 
If Germany has an extra 24 divisions, the French are likely to notice.
Well a broken clock is right twice a day so there is that.

The idiocy of Plan XVII dropped for something far more defensive and wait for the Russians.
Which will work right up until the Russians start screaming at the French to carry their weight.

Only strengthening the reserves would offer the French much hope
There is no reserve left to strengthen the reserve - France had been overdrafting it's population to make it as strong as it was. France could not make it stronger, short of drafting it's female population.
The British will even notice it.
They will notice the lack of a HSF.
The realization that France would need real assistance against Germany would likely mean an Army expansion.
Or, they head of the issue at start. OTL they drifted towards France and Russia because of hostility to Germany, and a fear of being constrained by the Franco-Russian alliance. ITTL, Germany won't have that Navy, and focused as it is on Russia and France, serves as a much better counterbalance than OTL.
So odds are that the Entente never happens, and the many preceding crisises has different resolutions. One reason the conference system broke down, is because everything crystalised into fixed positions - If we imagine the July crisis with the UK as a free agent, it's much more likely that AH is willing to let it go to a conference, and that resolves it. Even if this then leads to war, A british guarantee of neutrality might very well be seen as genuine for Germany. Though i have to also say that with a UK that isn't a part of the Franco-Russian block the Russians might very well not be willing to risk war. OTL, they perceived themselves to be the stronger side and thus felt they could risk war, but with the UK not a part of said block they might make a different math and come to the conclusion that waiting a few years is the better option.
 
I've seen the argument, I believe in John Keegan's volume on the First World War, that additional troops would be pointless because the existing forces on the German right wing were already using the entirety of the Belgian/ Northern French road network. Even if you pulled them from the left wing or magicked them out of thin air, there were only so many roads that soldiers could march down, and thus additional forces could only follow up the existing units, or clog up the supply lines. This seems plausible, but does anyone know anything more about this?
I don't think they could have been deployed so as to make Schlieffen work. Unless the Army expansion is combined with mechanisation, there just isn't supply.
What they could do, and probably would do, is both/either let the Germans win the race to the sea, or push the French troops in the east past their breaking point.
OTL, the Bavarians attacked but didn't have enough troops - It's not at all implausible that with 6-8 more divisions the French lines are ruptured and significant territory is lost.
But even if they do nothing, and just all get sent to the east, that's going to have significant impacts.
 

C.Z.A.R

Donor
To clear up things:
Germany gains the extra 24 through completely cancelling their naval programmes. It all goes into artillery, since the effective fighting power of a division in this time is determined by firepower.
We all know Germany has plenty manpower to fulfill those 24.

The real questions are:
How would international opinion change?
How would French and Russian planning change?
How would the initial battles of the war go?
 
To clear up things:
Germany gains the extra 24 through completely cancelling their naval programmes. It all goes into artillery, since the effective fighting power of a division in this time is determined by firepower.
We all know Germany has plenty manpower to fulfill those 24.

The real questions are:
How would international opinion change?
How would French and Russian planning change?
How would the initial battles of the war go?
In that case, Russia and France reduce their naval programs and match the Germans
 
As is said above, what would happen if Germany is (somehow) able to get the 24 extra divisions needed for the Schlieffen Plan? How would the Battle of Frontiers & Marne go? Would Germany win?
Schileffen plan was just a general ideas, not a real plan, and even them Moltke almost pulled it, with 24 extra division that is a rush over it
 
IIRC Van Creveld talked about having more troops in Supplying War, having another army marching behind 1st and 2nd Armies on the right wing. IIRC these troops couldn't have been supplied, 1st and 2nd Armies had lived off the land and picked the area clean and the supply system such as it was was focused on keeping these armies supplied rather than this army moving in from behind. That said I suppose this beehind army could live off the supplies left at bypassed railheads to an extent.

I think the real problem is the marching distances, even an administrative march over such a huge distance is hard on the troops' legs and boots. This behind army would also be knackered by the time it gets to the Marne and won't be fit and ready to start another big flanking move. More likely it will plug the gaps at the Marne and Paris and push the line out to the sea.

We should also bear in mind that the German advance was poorly commanded, it needed a proper Army group command level, more troops will likely only lead to more bad command decisions.
 

C.Z.A.R

Donor
From what I've seen (from most responses, and I mostly support this conclusion):

The deployment of another 24 divisions in the Western Deployment would only serve to slow down and confuse German forces due to the logistical difficulties. This would also mean a much worse diplomatic situation for the German Empire & a radical change in Franco-Russian planning.
 
The better course of action would have been to actually stick to the Schlieffen concept and Moltke's actual plan and pull troops from the left wing as soon as that front had stabalised instead of letting the conduct 2 failed offensives. The first order to send troops from left to right came on Sept 15 after Falkenhayen became CGS, but in fact they could have been sent as early as 24 August.
 
The real reason they lost in 1914 was simple, the Germans walked while the French could use trains and internal lines of communication. Getting More men still means they'd have to march and fight over the same distance and still be exhausted before Paris.
 
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