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Remembered Today:

Plan 17


penguy83

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I read a piece that mentioned a plan that the French had developed to gain back the lost territories of the Franco-Prussian War. The source stated that the plan was completed a few months before the assassination of Ferdinand. I'm looking to get some more info on this plan; not only to learn more, but also to serve as verification. Anyone have anything to contribute or have any sources of info that I can find myself?

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Penguy83

Put Plan 17 ww1 into google, quite a bit of info comes up.

Duncan

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Hello penguy

You may find them difficult to find in West Virginia, but if you e-mail the RA Museum, Firepower!, and ask for copies of two articles published in "Journal of the Royal Artillery Institution" in the early 1920s by Col W Macbean, the first entitled "The French Plan of Concentration and the Collapse of August 1914" you will get an overview. There is also a book in French, by a man called Percin (no initials or first name given) published in 1914, "Les erreurs du haute commandement."

The articles are in what is described as Volume XLX of the Journal, which I assume is a mistake for either XLIX or L (49 or 50).

The various versions of the French war plan came into force as follows:

Plan 16 in 1908

Plan 16 bis in 1911

Plan 16 ter in 1913

Plan 17 in February 1914.

Ron

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Yes thank you guys for the posts. I've dug up some additional information on the various battle plans that Austria-Hungary, Germany, France, Russia and Serbia had setup at the outbreak of the war. It was stated that neither Britain or the U.S had plans, because they did everything they could to stay out of it. But of course, the British were drug in by Belgium, and the U.S was drug into it by the unrestricted German submarine attacks and overall public sympathy toward the Allies.

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The French Staff drew up plans almost annually for the defence of La Patrie from their obvious next opponent. These were numbered and it so happens that the one drawn up in 1914 was 17. This was made under the aegis of Papa Joffre and reflected the emphasis on the offensive which was the reigning doctrine in higher French military circles at that era. The emphasis was changed from standing on the defensive on the Eastern frontier, Verdun - to the Swiss border and East to West from Verdun through Rheims towards Paris along Chemin des Dames. Instead of receiving an attack, Joffre et al planned an all out attack into Alsace and Lorraine and north into Luxembourg. That was where the disastrous Battles of the Frontiers took place. Joffre was able to alter his plan sufficiently to accommodate the overwhelming attack through Belgium and hold the Germans on the Marne. Plan 17, according to Joffre was more of a plan for concentration than a plan of attack but that is debatable.

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It is not true that Britain had no war plans, although we seem to have had no plans to take an active offensive. There were two aspects of a prospective war about which the British had indeed made detailed preparations:

1. From the discussions with France (although our Govt claimed that these were never intended to be binding on them) the War Office had produced detailed plans to send an Expeditionary Force to France in the event of war between France and Germany;

2. The Committee of Imperial Defence had overseen the preparation of a "War Book", wherein each Govt department prepared a detailed set of instructions for action in the event of war. Copies of the 1912, 1913 and 1914 versions of the War Book are available at the National Archives in one of the CAB classes, and I think that the comparable records of each department - certainly the War Office, in class WO33 - are similarly preserved at Kew.

There was also a fairly firm understanding between the Admiralty and the French, that the British would undertake defence of the French Channel ports against attack, thereby allowing the French to concentrate more naval forces in the Mediterranean. This in turn would relieve the British of the need for such a heavy presence there.

Ron

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