How was the first world war on the eastern front different from that on the western front class 9? Both sides on the Western Front experimented with new forms of military technology, including as the use of poison gas, aviation, and tanks, in an effort to break the stalemate of trench warfare.
In 1918, mobility was restored as a result of improved strategies being used as well as the gradual deterioration of western troops as the war wore on.
The “Eastern Front” of the First World War was different from the “Western Front” in a number of ways, including the following:
Great Britain, which had both a powerful naval force and an even more powerful land army, put up a fierce fight on the Western Front of the war.
On the eastern front was Russia, and at the time there was already unrest in Russia as a result of the Russian revolution; as a result, they were unable to focus very much on the battle front, which resulted in a high number of fatalities and devastation.
Despite the fact that Germany provided an equivalent amount of effort in the Eastern and Western theatres of the war, as they were fighting on both fronts as a part of a block known as “central power.”
In August of 1914, the troops of Russia and Austria-Hungary and Germany confronted each other across a barrier that was more than 1,600 kilometres long and reached from the Baltic Sea to the northern border of Romania, which was neutral at the time.
This frontier spanned over 1,000 miles. The development of Russian Poland as a large salient between German East Prussia and Austrian Galicia contributed to this vast length of the border.
After Romania entered the war on the side of the Allies in 1916, the front line extended from the Baltic to the Black Sea, a distance of approximately 800 miles (approximately 1,300 kilometres) in a straight line, or more than twice that distance if measured along the borders between the countries that were at war with each other.
The form of the boundary, the large distances, the geographical characteristics, and the nature of the communications all conspired to split the Eastern Front into three “sub-theatres” until the Russian withdrawal out of Poland in 1915.
This continued until the Russians withdrew completely from Poland. Consequently, the operations that took place in East Prussia, in the Polish salient, and in Galicia, despite the fact that they were part of an united whole, each have their own unique traits and qualities.
Plains or gently rolling uplands made up the vast majority of the enormous area of operations that we were responsible for. The Carpathians were the only heights that were significant enough to be considered a significant military obstacle. These mountains formed a protective barrier for the Hungarian plains that were located to the north and east. They extended in a semicircle from the south-west corner of the Polish salient to the Iron Gate on the Danube.
When seen from Romania, the Carpathians served as a de facto border marker, although when viewed from Russia, they were nearly aligned in a parallel fashion to the boundary and were located between 80 and 160 kilometres away from it.
On the Eastern Front, each of the armies that faced off against one another consisted entirely of conscripted soldiers. All able-bodied men of military age in Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Germany were compelled to serve between three and four years in the military, after which they served in reserve formations for a number of years.
The smallest military groups that are able to operate on their own are called divisions, and they range in size from 12,000 to 20,000 officers and soldiers. Divisions are used to measure military strength. In August 1914 the Russian army consisted of 102 regular divisions divided into six field armies, boasting a total manpower of some 1.4 million.
Germany’s eight field armies consisted of 98 regular divisions, supplemented by 27 Landwehr (reserve) brigades, for a total strength of 1.9 million men; although this force was significantly larger than Russia’s army, it would have to be deployed on two fronts.
A total of around 450,000 men were sent throughout Austria-six Hungary’s field armies, which were organised into 48 divisions. The technological prowess of the Austro-Hungarian army was only marginally, if at all, greater than that of the Russian army; nevertheless, its combat quality lagged well below that of the Russian army.
This was in large part due to a senior officer corps that was mediocre at best. When working under German direction, Austro-Hungarian forces had a greater tendency to achieve relatively high levels of success.
A Russian force was almost always the master of an Austro-Hungarian force of similar size, but it required a great numerical preponderance to meet a force of Germans with any hope of success. The early numerical disadvantage of the forces of the Central Powers was less significant because of the high level of discipline, training, leadership, and weapons that was present in the German army.
The German plan of 1914 was a modification of one drawn up by Alfred von Schlieffen many years previously. It provided for an offensive against France designed to obtain a rapid and decisive victory and a defensive in the east against Russia until the decision had been obtained in the west.
The choice of France for the initial offensive was actuated chiefly by the relative slowness of Russian mobilization and by the impossibility of gaining a rapid decision against Russia owing to the great distances. Germany’s problem in the east was then to determine the minimum strength to be left for defensive purposes.
This was eventually fixed at nine divisions, active and reserve, with one cavalry division, for the protection of East Prussia. Certain second-line troops were tasked with the defense of the Eastern Front fortresses such as Posen (now Poznań, Poland), Thorn (now Toruń, Poland), Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland), and Konigsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia) and to watch the Polish frontier. The troops in East Prussia, organized into four corps, formed the Eighth Army under Max von Prittwitz.
Rennenkampf’s First Army comprised six and a half infantry divisions and five cavalry divisions, and Samsonov’s Second Army was made up of 10 infantry divisions and three cavalry divisions. They had thus in combination an overwhelming superiority over Gen. Max von Prittwitz’s Eighth Army, which was defending East Prussia.
Coordination between them was, however, completely lacking and led to their defeat in detail. Zhilinsky, who was responsible for combining the action of the two armies, was a man of some administrative capacity but little aptitude for command. Samsonov’s army had to move before its concentration was completed and was deficient in transport.
The arrangements for obtaining and recording intelligence were indifferent in spite of the large masses of cavalry available.
So defective were the means of communication that the Russians were frequently forced to issue “in clear” (unencrypted) orders by wireless, with the result that the Germans often had complete information of their enemy’s moves and intentions.
With the German declaration of war against Russia on August 1, 1914, all hope had been lost of the conflict between Serbia and Austria-Hungary remaining a localized affair. Armies were already mobilizing along what would become the Eastern Front. Rennenkampf crossed the frontier on August 17, driving back a German force at Stallupönen (now Nesterov, Russia).
After a hard battle at Gumbinnen (August 19–20), Rennenkampf defeated Prittwitz, who had concentrated against him the bulk of his army, leaving only one corps to observe the southern frontier.
Meanwhile, Samsonov, moving slowly forward by Mława, crossed into East Prussia on August 21, causing Prittwitz, in momentary panic, to announce his intention of withdrawing behind the Vistula.
Meanwhile, in Galicia, Austria-Hungary had suffered a serious defeat at the hands of Ivanov’s Southwestern army group. The offensive of the Austro-Hungarian First and Fourth armies toward Lublin and Chełm at first made satisfactory progress, with battles at Kraśnik and Komarów ending in their favour.
However, their flank guard of the Second and Third armies was unable to withstand the onslaught of the Russian Third and Eighth armies. On September 2 Lemberg was lost, and the advance of the victorious left wing was consequently stayed.
Two corps from the Russian Ninth Army (which had been formed at Warsaw as a central reserve) now reinforced Ivanov’s right wing, and the whole Austro-Hungarian line was gradually pressed back.
On September 11 a retirement to the San was ordered by the Austro-Hungarian command; by the end of the month they had withdrawn to within 50 miles (80 km) of Kraków, leaving their fortress of Przemyśl to withstand an extended siege.
The Austro-Hungarian defeat in Galicia compelled the German Supreme Command to send direct assistance to its reeling ally. This was done by the transfer of five and a half corps, formed into the Ninth Army, from East Prussia to the Kraków-Częstochowa front.
From there the Ninth Army marched on Warsaw in the last days of September in conjunction with a simultaneous advance along the whole Austro-Hungarian front up to the Carpathians.
The Russians had halted on the San after the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian forces and were in the process of transferring troops north to form a new front south of Warsaw. This regrouping was carried out in safety behind the Vistula, with only cavalry being left to oppose the German advance west of the river.
Both the eastern and western fronts of the battle that took place in 1914 ended in a standstill. The German strategy called for a fast fall of France, which was supposed to be followed by a slow reckoning with Russia.
However, this plan had failed. After a little over half a year of fighting, Germany’s Austro-Hungarian allies were already dangerously close to collapsing under the pressure of the conflict.
From this point on, German formations had to be knitted into the Austro-Hungarian battle line in order to give it more stability and make its fabric less unpredictable.
On the other hand, the shortcomings that were already apparent in the Russian army were exacerbated by the shortages of ammunition, particularly rifles and shells, that were starting to be significantly felt at this point in the conflict.
Even the harshness of winter had no effect on the amount of violence that occurred. The front held its position in the centre during the first few months of 1915, although the combat on each wing were particularly intense.
On the Russian side of the conflict, Grand Duke Nicholas had come to the conclusion that he needed to ensure the safety of his flanks before making any more attempts to advance in the salient.
The dilemma of which flank to attack caused division among the Russian strategic thinkers. The vast majority of people advocated for the dissolution of Austria-Hungary, but some argued, very sensibly, that Russia’s strategic issue might be resolved most effectively by occupying East Prussia.
In the end, we tried them both, however we were unsuccessful in achieving either of our goals.
On the German side, it was becoming more clear that Erich von Falkenhayn, head of the imperial general staff, and Ludendorff, the leading brain of the battle on the Eastern Front, had fundamentally different points of view.
The latter aspired for nothing less than a decisive move on the biggest scale against the Russian army, and he now argued that all of the available resources should be thrown into a tremendous effort from both sides, which was meant to put a stop to the eastern war once and for all.
In the opinion of Falkenhayn, the distance was too considerable, and the connections were too limited, for an operation of this magnitude.
He would only permit a limited attack that focused on achieving victory on a tactical rather than a strategic level. He had high hopes that a string of successes like this would eventually wear down the Russian army.
On the Eastern Front, the operations slowed down throughout the second part of March and throughout the month of April, with the exception of the Carpathian Mountains. This allowed for some much-needed breathing room.
The decision to launch a major attack in the east was made by Falkenhayn at this time. His objective was to reduce the Russians to such a state of helplessness that he would be able to concentrate the bulk of the German troops in the west without worrying about the fall of Austria-Hungary.
As a result of the offensives launched by both the French and the British in March, he was able to determine the amount to which he could safely weaken his western front in order to give the required troops for this endeavour.
He decided on a breakthrough on the Dunajec River between the Carpathians and the Vistula, and he assigned the operation to Mackensen with the newly constituted Eleventh Army, which had eight divisions from the Western Front. Mackensen was successful in his mission.
The concentration was conducted in extreme secrecy, and the assault, which was launched against General Radko Dimitriev’s Russian Third Army, was preceded by artillery bombardment on a scale that had been been seen before on the Eastern Front.
On May 2 we began operations, and right away we were met with great success. The Russians were pushed back into the line of the San, suffering considerable casualties in the process.
The German offensives in July were successful, but only after a great deal of bloody combat. As a result, the grand duke was successful in withdrawing Russian troops from Warsaw and the salient while maintaining access to his line of retreat.
The inability of Falkenhayn and the Eastern Front leadership to eliminate the Russian troops in Poland led to an intensification of the confrontation between the two (Hindenburg and Ludendorff). The former accused Hindenburg of not pursuing the assault on the Narew with all of the power that was available to him at the time.
As a matter of fact, Hindenburg had kept some formations in hand for Ludendorff’s Kovno-Wilno strategy, which made it possible for the Russians to flee. Hindenburg countered by stating that his assault on Wilno, which would have ended the war in the east if it had been allowed, would have cut off the whole Russian army.
On the Eastern Front in the spring of 1916, the forces were organised as follows: on the German front, from Riga to the Pripet Marshes (the dividing line between the German and Austro-Hungarian sectors), there were 42 German and 2 Austro-Hungarian divisions; south of the Pripet, there were 38 Austro-Hungarian and 4 German divisions. On the Austro-Hungarian front, there were 42 German and 2 Austro-Hungarian divisions.
The Russian front line was broken up into three different fronts: the northern front, which stretched from Riga to Dvinsk and consisted of 35 divisions; the western front, which stretched from Dvinsk to the Pripet Marshes and consisted of 60 divisions; and the southwestern front, which stretched from the Pripet to the Romanian border (35 divisions).
More over 1.5 million Russian troops were deployed across these three fronts as part of the Russian army’s overall strength.
The German attack on Verdun commenced on February 21, and on March 18, the Russians initiated a relief offensive on their Western Front in response to a request made by the French commander in chief Joseph Joffre.
The selected points of assault were on each side of Lake Naroch (Narach), which is located to the east of Wilno. After a preliminary success, the Russians persisted in attacks although a thaw had rendered the ground practically impassable. By the end of March, they had suffered the loss of 150,000 soldiers but had very nothing to show for it.
The Russians then commenced to prepare an offensive south of Lake Naroch, to take place in July, in combination with the Franco-British offensive in the west. Gen. Aleksey Brusilov, who had succeeded Ivanov in command of the Southwestern Front, had been ordered to prepare such offensives as he could stage with his own resources, to serve as distractions to the enemy from the main Russian effort.
The Romanians checked the enemy’s attempts to cross the passes on the heels of their retreat from Transylvania and compelled them to pause and await fresh reinforcements.
They also defeated the first attempt of Falkenhayn, who commanded the principal Austro-Hungarian–German army, to force the Vulcan and Surduc passes. A second attack with fresh troops, made at the same spot (November 10–17), broke their resistance, and the Romanians fell back to a line astride the Olt River.
Falkenhayn had won his race against winter by only a few days, as snow would soon have made large-scale operations in the high passes almost impracticable.
As soon as Falkenhayn’s army was across the mountains and within striking distance of the Romanian capital, Mackensen made the next move in the carefully orchestrated plan. Leaving a small force to hold the narrowest part of the Dobruja north of the Constanța railway, he withdrew the bulk of his army to Sistova (Svishtov).
There his engineers bridged the Danube, and on November 23 his main force crossed the river, thus appearing in the rear of the main Romanian defensive line on the Olt.
Both Mackensen and Falkenhayn now advanced on Bucharest, which fell on December 6, after a hard-fought battle on the Argeş River. The steadfast performance of what remained of the outnumbered and outgunned Romanian army owed much to the leadership of Gen.
Constantin Prezan, who had now become chief of the Romanian general staff. Tardy Russian attacks in the Carpathians and the Dobruja had no effect, and the Russians and Romanians withdrew to a defensive line along the Siret and Danube rivers to the Black Sea.
On the Eastern Front, there were no trenches, therefore the action was more mobile than it was on the Western Front. This was one of the primary differences between the two fronts.
Additionally, there was not a stalemate on the Eastern Front due to the fact that Russia was not as industrialised as other nations and did not have many supplies; nonetheless, they had a large population.
Geography was the primary factor that differentiated the Western Front from the Eastern Front throughout the war. On the western front, there was a more concentrated fighting area.
On the Western front, one of the most distinguishing features was the development of trench warfare. The forces dug trenches into the dirt and were able to place themselves safely behind the defences they had constructed.
It included the majority of Eastern Europe as well as a significant portion of the interior of Central Europe, and it reached all the way from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south.
This is in contrast to the “Western Front,” which refers to the battles that were taking place in Belgium and France.
Trench warfare, which is something that is strongly linked with the conflict in the west, was not a feature in the east since the front line spanned over such a huge region in the east. Because the soldiers had so much more latitude to move, there was no need for trenches to be dug.