HIST 490 – Lecture 3, Jan 13 2014. World War one cont’d
- Western front and signals intelligence. At a rate that wasn’t seen before. Radio and
communications interception. The role begins to mutate with landlines etc.
- Armies become reliant on telegraph and field telephones. What becomes clear is there is
leakage on the front lines when using telegraph lines/field telephones. You can intercept
messages through the ground. The Germans and French stumble onto this knowledge
quickly, becomes offensive and defensive issue. The English are slower at this. The
Germans easily pick up English plans using this discovery. Near the end of the war,
more effective defense is implemented to stop this activity.
- Once people begin using radio in 1916/17 to direct artillery fire and communicate with
gun-spotters in order to figure out what is happening, and then deliver warnings to your
own troops. Popularity grows with use of radio, and everyone can know the location of
everyone. On intelligence alone, one could know the entire plan of the enemy
combatants. But this doesn’t mean that much actually, because it can’t actually help you
fight the physical battle. This was 1917. In 1918, things began to change. Traffic analysis
played a role as well – looking at the outside of the traffic data without intercepting the
actual conversation. Identifying key signatures etc. Metadata – telephone traffic which
shows associations with telephone numbers. An association with traffic analysis. The
British try to spoof this. Simulated radio stations, go black, etc. Wireless deception starts
to enter the equation and becomes important in 1918.
- Assume rationalisation in this time period, fighting attrition. The Western front case also
adheres to the fact that the defensive has the advantage.
- By late 1917, French and Germans have high damage (French with high morale, but
with limited manpower). Germans in a similar situation. The Commonwealth armies are
battered, but in better condition. Change begins to happen with assault divisions and
trench divisions. Americans rising in power quickly. Germans choose to go for an all-out
offensive. But did not drive out the Americans. Techniques exist in 1918 which allow
more effective attacks to be launched. The development of predictive fire (bringing
surprise back into the mix with artillery issues. Pre-send a frontline with a menu without
firing until your men actually go forward. Figuring out where targets are). Tanks become
an effective tool for the allies to pass through the defensive trench zone. Tanks
minimized casualties and break barriers, but not much besides that at this point.
- By the beginning of 1918, the Germans have a temporary advantage in manpower.
Partially because the British hold back their forces. The Germans pursue a surprise
attack plan, but are criticized for not strategizing. Germans use radio deception to create
a fake army at the front, and begin to implement their surprise attacks with radio
interceptions and planning. Identified soft spots. Use systematic efforts to trick the
enemy, and use the bulge to threaten the French and British armies. They move forward
and use artillery to neutralize the enemy defenses with significant manpower as well.
The Michael battles. Germans prevent the enemy from concentrating its defenses.
However, German losses are higher than allies loses in these defeats.
- Germans try to exploit by moving infantry through to the front lines. However, you cannot
transfer heavy weaponry at the advance. So what happens as men leave is they send infantry forward without weapons. Their best soldiers get thrown away in this flawed
strategy. They aren’t only losing men 3 to 2, but their best men. They are quickly running
low. Also, enemies (British and French) begin to recognize the signs of a German attack.
They were very stereotypical. French set up a great ambush. They can see where they
will attack. So they put small amounts of men on the front line to deceive the Germans.
They build up their defensive about 10 miles back, and when the German’s advance, the
French smash into them well-prepared, with the German’s being poorly prepared with all
their heavy artillery behind them. The French stalling the Germans is when the Germans
realize they cannot do it anymore. The Commonwealth are also significant in
discouraging German efforts. They had built up effective strategies, and the British
become as good as interception as the German’s were over time. The British pull off a
deception with the Canadian and Australian armies. The Canadian army has the best
doctrine of intelligence, which is picked up by Britain and later, America. Their strategy is
collecting as much intelligence as they can, store it in the intelligence agency and in real-
time processes information immediately available to the people who are controlling the
guns. The Canadians also train crews to use German guns, so the Germans are
overwhelmed, also by the mechanized brigade around back, and they dig in. After a
month of these blows, the German armies in effect give up.
- In 1918, the campaigns in the western front are basically equal with the Second World
War; with the exceptions of tanks and aircraft capabilities. Intelligence, deception, and
surprise are fundamental with how these strategies work.
- Target acquisition and strike warfare began to develop in the twentieth century, which
very much matters in the long run.
- The Eastern Front: secondary only to the western front in terms of output (wastage).
This area is also significant because it is where the Germans came closest to winning
the war. A much thinner force-to-space ratio. Maneuver and exploitation is possible, you
can break through a front and use cavalry. In this front as well, the German army is
much stronger than the Russian, which is equal to Austria-Hungary, even though it’s
much smaller. The German army is also better led than the Russian. The final difference
is intelligence. A crystal clear superiority with the Austria-Hungary. Germans do not have
a sufficiently developed landline system, and are helped by Austria-Hungary.
Jan 15 , 2014 (Morgan)
• German army is better than the Russian army
• Russians relied heavily on radio
• Aus-Hun & Germans sources say they got a great deal of intelligence about
the Russians, reinforces them more consistently than anyone else involved in the
• 1915-1916 german and aus-hun attacks against the czar
• Inflict much heavier casualties against the Russians than you suffer
• Russians had a huge artillery, employ guns in fortified permanent zones-
• german military- generals don’t care much about intelligence but if it is there
they will take advantage of it and use it effectively • Russians were slow on the curb of using how to use predictive fire, easy to
anticipate what they will do
• Pile more artillery in an area= more chance of winning but easy for the other
to predict that they will be attacked there
• June-july 1916 Bruselaw? Defensive- series of attacks the Russians have
thrown on their front- one major success of Russian army
• Aus-hun intelligence provides extremely accurate prediction of when they
Russian army will attack
• Russians in this Bruselaw defensive are behaving differently than any other
army in the war at this time
• Small artillery, large cavalry
• Bruselaw uses forces differently- don’t have enough guns to blast the enemy
away, uses guns and ammo in first hour of battle, try to neutralize enemies fire
defenses long enough to bring our men on top of the enemy and they will be
ordered to keep moving forward
• aus-hun know # of forces and hour of attack, but they don’t know what they
will do- au shun army is ripped apart
• cavalry has a strategically significant role*
• aus-hun military and intelligence is an example of an extremely good
intelligence system which cannot save its military from disaster
• germans inflict huge losses on Russians
• early 1917 german army brigns Russia to a point where the army starts to
• if Germany didn’t drive America to get involved they may have won the war
• german army at all levels is better than the Russian army*
Intelligence in the Middle East
• plays a more dynamic and complicated role
• when turkey enters the war, one of the consequences is a blockade of
• 1914-1916 real war that turkey fights is against Russia
• Most of the tools used by the turks and the germans are not military tools-
• British have a limited intelligence capability against Russia
• Dardnels campaign is very important strategically
• Germans late 1914 option to move forces from the east to the west
• British unsure where to send forces, if you pile them in france they will suffer
• Istanbul –sea port city- if you had a battleship in the port, you could blow the
city away- had the British been able to get a ship into the sea of____ they could
have forced the turks out of the war • Initial british effort is to send small ships into the dardnels- into minefield- bad
• Invasion of galipoly is launched- failed?
• British assumed that the Turkish forces weren’t very good- stemmed from
race and national characteristics-assume that if youre not white youre not likely
to be very good
• Balkan wars 1912-1913 turkish army is trampled by others, 1914 ripped apart
• English launched attack in Iraq and the Turks perform poorly- think they can
get away with a small scale simple attack
• Galipoly is an area the turks regard as being important to defend
• Their personal were better than the English and Australian soldiers a shore
• Gustav Kamil?
• British are willing to believe they can take a position that is difficult to take
and don’t think the enemy matters
• = defeat where the turks inflict heavy losses and do fairly well
• British didn’t take intelligence seriously, because at that point they didn’t take
the turks seriously
• British discovery that if you advance into enemy territory, their ability to
defend/send reinforces is quite good, and you can’t predict their intelligence?
• Turks march everyone 100 miles away
• Armenian Genocide- Turks march Armenians off
• Galipoly= disasterous, Koot= embarrassing defeat
• British, indian and Australian armies build up forces in middle east
• Turks also treat the war against the English as a side show
• From turks point of view they are defending islam against infultrators
• War against Russia is what most interests them
• Turks send their forces into the caucuses
• War of sideshows between the English and turks where intelligence mattered
• Early part of the war British intelligence sucked
• Gets better 1916 because of more/different sources
• British 1916 air reconnaissance abilities that the turks don’t have
• CUP members always communicating, if you are significant CUP leader, only
form of communication is radio
o British early 1916 onward are increasingly able to read all Turkish
communication, have a clear idea what the turks are doing on a strategic
o Turks at any point are able to send an army of 50/60,000 soldiers, but
the English are able to monitor the movement of these forces • Germans and turks are employing most of their forces against eachother*
rather than the British
Jan 17th, 2014
- British have knowledge of Turkish location and strength, with the Turks in control of
Mecca during the War. The British exploit intelligence from this area working
reconnaissance and other strategies together. The Turks are taken down. Another battle
happens in modern-day Israel. Attempted launch of cavalry in the Sinai Desert. The
Turks need to defend Beersheba and Gaza, and the British launch three attacks to break
through this line. Intelligence plays a large role in how British intercept the Turkish
control. Cairo is where the messages are intercepted. The inability to get live intelligence
does have a toll on tactical strategies.
- Small numbers of soldiers in these combats. They are aiming to get past these Gaza
front, as it would be easier to base your efforts in terms of food and supplies. The third
time, it looks as though the British will attack Gaza, however, they would attack
Beersheba from the inside to drive into Palestine – using deception as a large factor of
this tactic. Associated with the haversack ruse – fake papers within a suitcase of a
divergent. False plans found, reshape the enemy’s assessment.
- They fake military concentrations along the coast, and don’t move military forces along
the frontline in the interior until the last hour in Beersheba. Germans and Turks expect
Gaza attack, and Beersheba, but not a large one. Cavalry is being used like armor was
in Blitzerg. End result is that the Germans and Turks can see that the British will attack
from many places. You cannot hide the possibility of an attack of some kind against your
target, but you can hide the volume of that attack. In certain chokepoints, you have
major attacks of air raids… sounds like a modern battle: mobile forces, air attacks,
deception, and annihilation.
- The exception to the rule of defensive with the strategic upper hand is the Germans in
the Eastern front with a superior army. Intelligence does get extremely good by 1917,
almost as good as armies in 1941. Land intelligence – issue of actually having armies
that can effectively exploit it.
- The North Sea arena. Naval criteria. The British and German balance of power is highly
in favor of the British. The British building more warships than the Germans, and
throughout the war continue to hold dominance. Brits are set up well strategically across
from the North Sea, and can use the Norwegian Sea to get into the Atlantic. But unless
you can win, you will lose. Germans have erratic and irrational naval set ups. They had
to prevent the Brits from gaining control of the Baltic, which the Germans currently had.
British had a good strategy to slowly influence the German economy and collapse it as
they move in on the North Sea. The Brits have a good position in their strategy. But the
Germans come up with their own. They want to ambush the British naval fleet. Here is
where intelligence comes into play, in order for a war of ambush to work. By fluke, the
British get an opp