|World War I|
This is about the Great War between the Central powers and the Entente. It started in 1914 and ended in 1916 with the Berlin Peace Conference, which included several treaties including the Treaty of Charlottenburg with Russia, the Treaty of Bellevue with France, and the Treaty of Potsdam with Britain, among others.
War had been building in Europe for a number of years and this was not the first but just the last of several close encounters between the 2 factions of Europe. On one side you had Britain wishing to subdue Germany's oversea's ambitions; France wishing to retake what they considered French lands and Russia determined to hold onto the Balkans and draw attention away from unhappiness with the monarchy. While on the other side you had Germany wishing to gain it's place in the sun and become a great power; Austria- Hungary wished to hold onto it's diminishing role in world affairs and deal with Serbia once and for all; Ottoman empire wishing to drive the Russians away and hold their slowly deteriorating nation together and Italy who as well as wanting a colonial empire thought they could in time relieve lands which had Italian minorities.
The 2 blocs of great armies finally came to heads in the Balkans and over Serbia with Serbian back terrorist in Bosnia killing the Archduke Franz Ferdinand the heir to the Austro- Hungarian throne by Garvillo Princip.
With the death of the Archduke in Austria- Hungary massive anger at the Serbs came about and war began to develop between the 2 countries. As Serbia was threatened by the Central Powers Russia stepped in to hold onto their last ally in the Balkans. So Germany then threatened Russia bringing Britain and France into play.
The Russians mobilized on the 30th July followed by the Germans on the 1st August and the Italians on the 2nd while France did as well. The Great War had begun.
The German war plan called for annihilating France quickly and then turning to Russia who they assumed would take a while to mobilize.
The Germans started their attack by an invasion of Belgium while the French fought Alsace and Lorraine trying to retake their lost ground. The Germans were slowed down at Liege but after that made good progress and although suffered casualties at the Mons and Charleroi after that they had a clean run and drive to Paris.
While in Italy they were taking a lot longer to mobilize, while they had originally enough forces to hold the Italians at the Alps as word came back at the start of the Great Retreat a number of units were pulled out on the 23rd August to go back to Paris where fighting was more urgent. While only a day later the Italian army finally decided it was ready for an attack with the bulk of their army mobilized and their supplies moved to the front with France. They attacked on the 24th August on the coastal road. They had a 3 to 1 local superiority over the French and while the French had made an effort to dig in they had not been provided with the resources or time. The battle of Menton was an Italian victory but a costly one. After a hard frontal assault they forced the French back to Nice by the 27th August but had to wait for their supplies to catch up.
Back in the North the Germans were getting ever closer to Paris as dismal attempts by the Allies failed to stop them until in September they were halted at the Marne and were then forced to retire. This set in the eventual Race for the Sea and the trench warfare in the North. In the South the Italians would not advance further as the French reinforced their positions.
While in the eastern Russian offensive was beaten back and the situation was while fluid the Germans ignored it due to lack of troops.
The German high command having largely ignored Russia except for defensive operations in 1914. They decided this year they would steamroll Russia and then knock France out of the war the next year. The mass German and Austro- Hungarian offensives dfeated the Russians and caused them to order a withdrawal which then sent the Russians retreating causing a large pursuit on the eastern front.
While the Allies in the West did not sit idly by. Large attacks were conducted in the north at places such as Nueve Chapelle and Champgne but they failed to break the ever growing deadlock. In the south the Italians continued to conduct offensives around Nice but they could not break out while in the Alps itself both sides fought hard for control of the other passes. Yet neither side broke the deadlock.
The Germans having failed to decisively eliminate Russia decided to turn their attention back to the West and they came up with a new strategy to "Bleed France White" it entailed taking parts of Verdun and then waiting for the French counterattack with they would destroy while the Allies would launch an offensive somewhere in the Flanders to relieve the French.
The French unsure where the next major attack would come seeing a buildup at Verdun but believing it to be a diversion and with a large Italian force in the Alps they decide to pull back more troops into reserves unsure where the next attack will come front. Verdun is left with only 7 divisions.
The battle started with a German attack in the north and a new Italian attack backed up by troops sent from Austria- Hungary against the French positions at Nice. The Germans launch a limited assault at Verdun which had not been reinforced as many of the troops had already been sent to dig in against a expected at Nice. The German advanced against the east bank of the Meuse went well at the start and they drove French away.Fort Douamont falls easily to a German assault. As parts of Verdun fell to the Germans the French rushed their strategic reserves in to try and contain the situation.
While in the South the attack had started off with a diversion attacks against the Ligurian alps in February followed by a major assault on the defenses holding Nice. The Italians characteristically launched a simple frontal assault which even backed up by Austrian troops failed to break the deadlock with their maddened assaults only driving the French back a few hundred meters although the heavy fighting locked in roughly 20 divisions.
At Verdun the French launched a massive counter attack against the German positions of the Meuse yet the Germans inflict large casualties. As the French fail to retake lost parts of Verdun the Germans after watching the French attacks.
As the French launched another mass assault against the Germans at Verdun after hard fighting it was repulsed. As the French fall back the Germans attack in the midst of their assault with the French falling back they can't risk dropping artillery or opening machine gun fire on the mix of troops. The German assault managed to get into the trenches and the French were badly mauled and started to fall back and collapse. As the Germans were in the French trenches, German cavalry attacked forwards and managed to make their way behind French lines. This led to confusion among the French and a general retreat at Verdun occurred.
On the 8th July the French call for armistice as casualties reach to high points in the north and south.
The British conscious of how things were going at Verdun launched their own relief offensive at the Somme as quickly as possible. After the Somme many of the leaders would be criticized for going to early on the 1 July and for poor tactics.
The Somme goes poorly for the British with large casualties and on the 8th July news about the french ceasefire comes in.
As the French call for an armistice, Germany continues to fully blockade the British Isles, in addition to blocking the entrance to the Baltic Sea and the Ottomans blocking the entrance tot the Black Sea. Russia, unable to receive additional supplies from Britain or other countries, also sees an increase in German troops fighting them on the Eastern front, now that the Western Front has essentially ended with BEF forced to evacuate. After Austria-Hungary keeps the southern part of the Eastern front at a stalemate, After Germany attacks and takes Minsk on September 22. On October 10, Russia calls for an armistice with the Central Powers after bread riots in Moscow which are only ended after word of peace comes in.
As Germany continues to attack British shipping, news soon reaches of the Russian armistice. With Britain now the only remaining major power fighting Germany and the threat to middle east next campaign season, and their economy collapsing due to blockades, Britain calls for an armistice of their own on October 30.