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Kaiserschlacht 1918: The Final German Offensive [Paperback]

Randal Gray
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Sept. 26 1991 Campaign (Book 11)
Osprey's examination of the Kaiserschlacht, which was Germany's last offensive during World War I (1914-1918). The entry of the USA into World War I spelt disaster for Imperial Germany. The massive superiority in men and materials which the Americans could provide meant that if Germany had any chance of winning the war she must do so quickly. Randal Gray describes how, using special 'Stormtrooper' units and high-mobility tactics, the Germans came within a hair's breadth of winning the war, providing a blow by blow account of the daily events of the battle. Although at first glance the Kaiserschlacht was Germany's greatest success of the First World War, in fact its ultimate failure consigned Germany to inevitable defeat.

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First Sentence
The German spring offensive of 1918, above all Ludendorff's offensive, wears many names, but none more appropriate than Kaiserschlacht ('Emperor's battle'), the name bestowed on it by General der Infanterie Erich Ludendorff in honour of his sovereign and supreme warlord Kaiser Wilhelm II. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good overview of the campaign May 25 2000
This book provides, in the usual Osprey Battles format, a nice overview of the Dardanelles campaign. There are plenty of black and white photos, as well as color drawings featuring uniforms, armament, and so on.
From a modeler's point of view, you should add Osprey's THE OTTOMAN ARMY 1914-1918 for a more complete vision of the turkish army.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars German Tactical Excellence coupled with Ludendorff's Strategic Incompetence May 6 2010
By John "Silence is Golden" - Published on Amazon.com
This is one of the best written and illustrated books of the Praeger / Osprey campaign series. It describes the " Kaiserschlacht " - Kaisers Battle, the five interlocking battles that comprised the 1918 German spring offensive to destroy the British and French armies before the fresh one million man + American army could come into play against them. The rival commanders, orders of battle and opposing plans of campaign are well detailed documented with well illustrated comparisons of their strenghts and weaknesses discussed. Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig and the British command are let off relatively easy by the author in terms of how the British army was deployed. Haig expected the Germans to attack his forces "SOMEWHERE" but badly bungled on where the attack would come. The 5th army{General Gough} was far weaker than the adjacent 3rd army and in the vunerable position as at the most likely area of attack. Haig's deployment of his reserves was also questionable. The German artillery fire plan and small unit infantry tactics are ably chronicled and can only be described as "masterfull". The author argues that German tactical sucessss were negated by Ist Quarter-Master General Ludendorff's flawed strategic plan as he divided his limited forces to try to achieve too many objectives at once instead of concentrating them to split the British army from the French army {as originally envisioned }defeat the British in detail and then deal with the French. This supposed war-winning German plan lacked focus and the logistical support necessary to sustain an advance that totally relied on the failing strenght and muscle of man and horses to advance across a devastated landscape - again Ludendorff did not plan how to sustain an advance. The narrative describing the massive initial German artillery bombardment and the elite stormtrooper's breaking of the British lines is excellently presented. The pictures and color plates are very good and the maps are outstanding.As the series of battles continues, Mr.Gray explains how despite massive losses the British and French are able to give ground, move their reserves along interior lines and finally stop the tactically superior German army. In 96 pages, this book provides an excellent overview as well as a lot of detailed information on "the Kaisers Battle" including the total casualities for both sides and the aftermath / results. This is an excellent book and I recommend it with a strong 4 1/2 stars.
5.0 out of 5 stars Germany goes for broke and got it! Sept. 15 2007
By Douglas E. Libert - Published on Amazon.com
This book describes Germany's attempt to break the western front stalemate in March of 1918, before the American Allies can become a major factor. The book has good maps of the British "defense in depth" plan which allows for territory to be captured by the German Army but ultimately the more territory captured by the enemy the more he is in the mire! The British are actually retreating to their main supply bases behind their own lines while the Germans are moving away from their supply lines by pushing forward. Meanwhile the casualties and the attrition is mounting up. The decision in this evenly matched battle will be who simply has more supplies and amunition,food, bombs, poison gas, air coverage, artillery shells, etc. Just the artillery bill for either side alone would bankrupt about any other nation even including some industrialized countries. This World War is the first where industrialization appears to be more a factor than the espirit de corps of the troops! The Germans seemed to still hold the belief of victory by rapid manuever and the will of the its soldiers, after all they had conquered France in a week or so during the 1871 Franco-Prussian War. Not to say Germany hasn't industrialized also just not enough to escape attrition by the allied powers.
Jokers in the deck that could spoil the Franco-British strategic plan and assist Germany,are the questionable performance of the French troops which were exhausted being bled white for 3 years to the point of numerous mutinies in the French Army. As it appeared from the book the French seemed to be able to somewhat carry their butcher bill enough to help attrit the German Army in their sectors of the line. Still though, Britain has to be concerned about the southern portion of the line. Also the Americans had just recently entered the war and the British also were uncertain of the US's assistance, whether it would be an aid or a liability. As it was US Army involvement from my read of this book was more in a scouting and a supply role with some minor combat duties. With the British "defense in depth", which extended rearward to 15 miles, a soldier might well try to get a billet well behind the front lines without feeling he was dodging combat. After all if the German got 12 miles in the rear he could fight them there as well! (So I bet there was some scrambling for duty assignment and as always the "luck of the draw" in regard to rotation probably had a lot to do with who would live to reproduce themselves. Front line soldiers could surrender to the enemy as well easily feeling they had done their job,knowing the real storm was coming from well behind them.?) The battle seems a question of who is going to run out of large 'body bandaids" first and you would have to say from a read of the book that the Germans with no seapower,landlocked, and near exhaustion from 4 years of war, are going to be the losers even without the Americans engaging them directly in combat. I was wondering however from reading the book how much American aid in supplies etc. contributed to the German defeat. this aspect wasn't really covered. By the way von Richthofen was shot down during one of his "too many trips to the well" sorties during the Kaiserschlacht campaign.(Little bit'a trivia)
0 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good overview of the campaign May 25 2000
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This book provides, in the usual Osprey Battles format, a nice overview of the Dardanelles campaign. There are plenty of black and white photos, as well as color drawings featuring uniforms, armament, and so on.
From a modeler's point of view, you should add Osprey's THE OTTOMAN ARMY 1914-1918 for a more complete vision of the turkish army.
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