Branch: Kaiserliche Heer
Born: 9 April 1865 in Kruszewnia near Posen, Province of Posen.
Died: 20 December 1937 in Munich, Nazi Germany.
General der Infanterie
Pour le Mérite, Iron Cross First class
Erich Friedrich Wilhelm von Ludendorff was born on 9 April 1865 in in Kruszewnia near Posen, Province of Posen. And educated in the cadet school of Plön, he entered the infantry in 1882, and in 1898, joined the general staff, with which he remained, save for brief intervals of active service, till early in 1914, acting as a lecturer in the military academy, Berlin, 1906 to 1908, and working, 1904 to 1913, in the operations section, which planned the violation of Belgium's neutrality. For this a special responsibility attaches to him.
On the German mobilisation. He was a major general and joined the staff of Karl von Bülow's 2. Armee. He took part in the attack on Liège, receiving the surrender of the citadel. On 22 August 1914, he was sent as Paul von Hindenburg's chief of staff to the Russian front, where he was mainly responsible for the great victory of Tannenberg, and for the successes of 1915. With Paul von Hindenburg, he opposed the attack on Verdun, and when that attack failed and Romania entered the war, he, with Paul von Hindenburg, was placed in command of the German forces, 29 August 1916.
Erich von Ludendorff reorganised the German army, and planned the bold strategy which paralysed Romania, while he held the French front defensively. In 1917, after the completion of the Hindenburg line, he arranged the German retreat to it. Erich von Ludendorff devised new methods of attack in 1917, which used surprise to the utmost, employed gas shells on a great scale, and supported the assault of picked shock troops by trench mortars, field guns and machine guns. These methods were successfully tested on the Russian front at the capture of Riga, and in the Caporetto offensive against the Italians.
In 1918, confronted by the failure of the U-boat campaign, which he had supported and strengthened by the collapse of Russia, he determined on a series of offensives on the French front, the prime object of which was to destroy the British Army. But his strategy failed, he did not breakthrough at Amiens in March as he had intended and, although he inflicted enormous loss on the allies, his first of three offensives did not bring a decisive victory.
In July 1918, he was still confident of success, but now found himself opposed by an able strategist in Foch, while American troops were pouring into France, and while the British brought up 350,000 fresh men.
On 18 July 1918, Foch launched his first counterstrike with success, Erich von Ludendorff from that moment, was held and, as a serious of Allied attacks, opened along the whole French front, suffered a serious of disastrous defeat. The storming of the Hindenburg line in September by the British and the collapse of Bulgaria, shuck his nerve, so that he called for immediate peace negotiations, but when these were opened he refused his consent, and was dismissed on 26 October 1918.
Erich von Ludendorff was a bold, enterprising strategist of great talent, but no genius, cold and heartless, lacking a deeper insight, which is the mark of a supreme leader. He was directly implicated in the grave war crimes, which brought such dishonour on the German nation, and after the Armistice plotted constantly against the allies His War Memories was published in 1919.
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