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The Schlieffen Plan (1905)

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[For the development of the entire operation] it is crucial to create a powerful right wing, to win the battles with its support, to engage in continuous pursuit of the enemy, and to cause him to give up ground, again and again, with this strong flank.

The ring wing can only be fortified at the expense of the left, which will probably then have to fight a superior enemy.

A tremendous effort is required of the right wing if it is to achieve success. Yet the roads that will be used are generally very good. There would even be sufficient quarters in numerous towns if the corps comprising the right wing were not required to march in such large number that even the most densely populated areas are unable to provide sufficient quarters.

On the other hand, there will hardly be a lack of food. The rich regions in Belgium and northern France will be able to provide ample supplies, and if they are placed under appropriate pressure, they will procure any supplies they lack from outside sources.

If its forces are placed under an increased strain, Belgium may be swayed to refrain from all hostilities and to surrender its fortresses in return for all the favors a third party enjoys when avoiding participation in a battle between two rivals.

At the start of the war, three army corps and one reserve corps with three cavalry divisions must attack Nancy on the right bank of the Mosel. Success will depend primarily on whether the French confine themselves to defensive measures or whether they make a counterattack true to their principles. If they do the latter, the primary purpose of the attack on Nancy will be achieved, namely, to tie up strong forces on the eastern French front. The more troops the French deploy in a counterattack, the better it will be for the Germans. The Germans, however, must not get bogged down in stubborn fighting. Their primary task is to draw a strong opponent and restrain him with the help of the expanded position of Metz. There will hardly be any danger for the detached army on the right bank of the Mosel, but the situation for the main [German] army will deteriorate if the army on the right bank of the Mosel is superior in numbers. Our goal must be to restrain as many French forces with as few German troops as possible.

If the French do not mount a counterattack, the Germans must transfer two army corps as quickly as possible to their outermost wing in Belgium. It is crucial that this wing be fortified. Only then can we await the outcome of the battle with a quiet conscience after the 25 army corps on the left bank of the Mosel have been made available for a battle that requires great fortitude.

A few troops will remain on the right bank of the Mosel, including:

One army corps
One reserve corps
30th reserve division (Strasbourg)
Perhaps two new corps
Landwehr brigades on the Upper Rhine and from Metz, if it is not attacked
59th Landwehr brigade (Lower Alsace)
Six rifle battalions in the Vosges Mountains

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