Ferdinand Foch

Ferdinand Foch


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Ferdinand Foch (1851-1929) bio je ključni francuski vojni zapovjednik tijekom Prvog svjetskog rata. Pridružio se pješaštvu tijekom Francusko-pruskog rata, da bi na kraju postao šef ratnog fakulteta. Imenovan zapovjednikom XX. Armijskog zbora u izbijanju Prvog svjetskog rata, Foch je pomogao osigurati pobjedu u Prvoj bitci na Marni. Budući da je francuska i engleska vojska u opasnosti od razdvajanja, Foch je u ožujku 1918. preuzeo zapovjedništvo savezničkih snaga i odolio ofenzivi u Ludendorffu. Kasnije tog ljeta, njegova pobjeda u Drugoj bitci kod Marne olakšala je kraj borbi. Među svojim poslijeratnim priznanjima, Foch je proglašen britanskim feldmaršalom i maršalom Poljske.

Ferdinand Foch bio je najviše inspiriran od generala Zapadne fronte u Prvom svjetskom ratu, ponekad na njegovu štetu. Mogao je biti gotovo mistično nepromišljen prema životima, započinjući napade kad bi mu suzdržanost bolje poslužila ili bi produžio ofenzive izvan svake nade u uspjeh. Njegove vlastite izjave imale su ga tendenciju sustizati. Na sreću po trajnom ugledu, ostat će upamćen više po predsjedavajućoj ulozi u pobjedi 1918. nego po odobrenju uzaludnih hekatombi 1915. i 1916. godine.

Rođen je 1851. godine, sin državnog službenika. U ljeto 1870., za vrijeme Francusko-pruskog rata, prijavio se kao vojnik u francusko pješaštvo, ali se nikada nije borio. (Ali stekao je mirnodopsku slavu skupljanjem 100.000 ljudi na reviji u pravokutniku dimenzija 120 x 100 metara.) Stalno se uzdizao i 1885. postao profesor na [Eacute] cole Sup [eacute] rieure de Guerre zapovjedni fakultet u Parizu koji će na kraju voditi. On je sada bio u svom elementu, a njegove izjave utjecale bi na generaciju francuskih časnika, kao i na početne događaje 1914. Foch je napisao dvije čitane paeanse u ofenzivu, Principi rata (1903.) i Vođenje rata (1905.). "Izgubljena bitka", proglasio je, "bitka je za koju se vjeruje da je izgubljena [elipsa4] Dobivena bitka je bitka za koju nećemo priznati da je izgubljena [elipsa4] Volja za osvajanjem brije sve prije nje [elipsa4] Veliki rezultati u rat pripada zapovjedniku. " U raspravi je Foch nastojao pobijediti zastrašivanjem i namjernom arogancijom - možda neodoljivom, možda zato što nikada nije priznao sumnje.

Kolovoza 1914. zatekao ga je kako zapovijeda pukotinom, dvodivizijskim korpusom na granici s Lorenom. Dok su se njegovi učenici katastrofalno pritiskali uvreda [težak] izlazak, apostol napada uskoro se našao u obrani. U Morhangeu 20. kolovoza, stajalište njegova dvadesetog korpusa poput stijena pomoglo je u sprječavanju francuske katastrofe. Možda je to bio jedini put u njegovu životu-tek su mu nedostajale šezdeset tri-da je vidio akciju. Za vrijeme bitke kod Marne, zadužen za devetu francusku armiju, blokirao je njemačko napredovanje na močvarama St.-Gonda. "Desno mi je zabijeno, centar mi popušta, situacija je odlična, napadam", rekao je. Vjerojatno nikada nije izgovorio ove legendarne riječi, ali sigurno bi to učinio da je na njih pomislio.

Foch je zatim preuzeo kontrolu nad francuskim vojskama na sjeveru; sada je koordinirao poteze s britanskom i belgijskom vojskom tijekom takozvane "utrke do mora". Ako nije uspio krenuti u ofenzivu, ipak je pomogao provjeriti njemački pogon za posljednje prave nagrade 1914. godine, luke pod Lamanšem. Nekoliko je puta bio prisiljen pripremiti nervoznog britanskog zapovjednika, ser Johna Frencha, s onim što njegov biograf, B. H. Liddell Hart naziva "injekcijom Fochian seruma". No, kad su Nijemci 1915. godine prekinuli liniju na Drugom Ypresu, Fochovo ustrajavanje na protunapadima donijelo je samo nepotrebne savezničke gubitke. Smrt u još većim razmjerima bila je najvidljiviji rezultat Fochove Artoisove ofenzive u proljeće i ranu jesen godine; žrtve su se približile 150.000. Nakon Artoisa [oštar] lan francuskog običnog vojnika, kojeg je tako cijenio, nikada ne bi bio isti.

1916. usmjerio je francuski dio 141-dnevne ofenzive u bitci na Sommi. Dobio je više teritorija i izgubio manje ljudi od svog britanskog protivnika, generala Sir Douglasa Haiga, no činilo se da je skupocjena odluka trajno narušila njegovu karijeru. Foch je razriješen komande. Iscrpio je svoje vrijeme, vječni feniks koji je čekao da se vinu iz pepela, i postupno se vratio na mjesto utjecaja. Imao je tu sreću da nije sudjelovao u savezničkim katastrofama 1917.

Dana 21. ožujka 1918. njemačke vojske Ericha Ludendorffa probile su se na Zapadnoj fronti (vidi Ludendorffova ofenziva) i činilo se da su spremne podijeliti francusku i britansku vojsku. Očajnički izgledi zahtijevali su očajničke mjere - i 26. ožujka saveznički čelnici učinili su ono što su trebali učiniti davno prije: imenovali su vrhovnog zapovjednika. Njihov je izbor bio Foch. Njegova je reakcija bila karakteristična. “Materijalno ne vidim da je pobjeda moguća. Moralno sam siguran da ćemo to steći. ” Fochov optimizam bio je zarazan. Nesebično je posudio francuske trupe zarobljenim Britancima, a saveznici su izdržali neprestanu proljetnu oluju Ludendorffa sve dok američke trupe nisu počele stizati u značajnom broju. Sredinom ljeta najgora njemačka prijetnja je prošla. Od sada, kako piše Liddell Hart, "Foch je tukao tetovažu na njemačkoj fronti, niz brzih udaraca u različitim točkama, od kojih se svaki prekinuo čim je njegov početni impuls oslabio."

Do kasne jeseni njemačka je vojska bila na putu raspada. Foch je smatrao da je rat trajao dovoljno dugo. Od 8. do 11. studenoga 1918. u željezničkom vagonu na šumskom kolovozu u blizini Compi [egrave] gne osobno je diktirao uvjete primirja njemačkoj delegaciji. Konačno, ali ne prekasno, naučio je kada prestati.

ROBERT COWLEY

Suputnik čitatelja u vojnoj povijesti. Uredili Robert Cowley i Geoffrey Parker. Autorska prava © 1996. izdavačke kuće Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Sva prava pridržana.


Prvi svjetski rat: maršal Ferdinand Foch

Maršal Ferdinand Foch bio je zapaženi francuski zapovjednik tijekom Prvog svjetskog rata. Nakon što je ušao u francusku vojsku tijekom Francusko-pruskog rata, ostao je u službi nakon francuskog poraza i identificiran je kao jedan od najboljih vojnih umova zemlje. S početkom Prvog svjetskog rata odigrao je ključnu ulogu u Prvoj bitci na Marni i ubrzo je postao vojskovođa. Pokazujući sposobnost rada sa snagama drugih savezničkih država, Foch se pokazao učinkovitim izborom da služi kao sveukupni zapovjednik na Zapadnom frontu u ožujku 1918. S te je pozicije usmjerio poraz njemačke proljetne ofenzive i niza savezničkih ofenziva koje su u konačnici dovelo do kraja sukoba.


Ferdinand Foch Informacije


Mjesto rođenja: Tarbes, Francuska
Mjesto smrti: Pariz, Francuska
Odanost: Francuska
Služba/podružnica: Francuska vojska
Godine službe: 1871-1923
Poredak: Mar chal de France
Bitke/ratovi: Bitka na granicama,
Proljetna ofenziva,
Ofenziva Meuse-Argonne
Nagrade: maršal Francuske (1918)
Britanski feldmaršal (1919)
Maršal Poljske (1920)
Veliki križ časti Lion d'honneur
M daille militaire
Croix de guerre 1914-1918
Orden za zasluge (UK)
Virtuti Militari (1. klasa)
Medalja za istaknutu uslugu (SAD)

Ferdinand Foch (OM GCB (2. listopada 1851 - 20. ožujka 1929) bio je francuski vojnik, vojni teoretičar i književnik zaslužan za posjedovanje "najoriginalnijeg i najsuptilnijeg uma u francuskoj vojsci" početkom 20. stoljeća. Bio je general u francuska vojska tijekom Prvog svjetskog rata i proglašena je maršalom Francuske u posljednjoj godini: 1918. Ubrzo nakon početka proljetne ofenzive, posljednjeg pokušaja Njemačke da dobije rat, Foch je izabran za vrhovnog zapovjednika savezničkih vojski, položaj koji je držao do 11. studenoga 1918., kada je prihvatio njemački zahtjev za primirje, a 1923. postavljen je za maršala Poljske.

Zalagao se za mirovne uvjete koji bi onemogućili Njemačku da ikada više predstavlja prijetnju Francuskoj. Njegove riječi nakon Versajskog ugovora: "Ovo nije mir. To je primirje dvadeset godina" pokazale bi proročanski Drugi svjetski rat koji je počeo dvadeset godina i šezdeset pet dana kasnije.

Foch je rođen u Tarbesu, Gornje Pirine, kao sin državnog službenika iz Commingesa. Pohađao je školu u Tarbesu u Rodezu i isusovački fakultet u St. Etienneu. Njegov je brat kasnije bio isusovac i to je u početku moglo spriječiti Fochov uspon kroz redove francuske vojske (budući da je republikanska vlada Francuske bila antiklerikalac).

Foch se 1870., za vrijeme Francusko-pruskog rata, prijavio u francusku 4. pješačku pukovniju i odlučio je ostati u vojsci nakon rata. Godine 1871. Foch je ušao na veleučilište x cole i primio svoju zapovijed kao poručnik u 24. topničkoj pukovniji, 1873., unatoč tome što nije imao vremena završiti tečaj zbog nedostatka mlađih časnika. On se uspio u činovima, na kraju je stekao čin kapetana prije nego što je 1885. godine ušao u Koledž za osoblje. 1895. trebao se vratiti na Koledž kao instruktor, a za svoj rad ovdje kasnije je proglašen "najoriginalnijim" vojni mislilac svoje generacije ". Nadahnuvši se povijesti, Foch je postao poznat po svojim kritičkim analizama francusko-pruskih i Napoleonovih kampanja i njihovoj važnosti za vođenje vojnih operacija u novom stoljeću. Njegovo ponovno ispitivanje bolnog poraza Francuske 1870. bilo je među prvima te vrste.

Foch je u svojoj karijeri instruktora obnovio interes za francusku vojnu povijest, ulio povjerenje u novu klasu francuskih časnika i doveo do "intelektualne i moralne regeneracije francuske vojske". Njegovo razmišljanje o vojnoj doktrini oblikovano je nepokolebljivim uvjerenjem, tada neuobičajenim, da je "volja za osvajanjem prvi uvjet pobjede". Zbirke njegovih predavanja, koje su koncept ofenzive ponovo uvele u francusku vojnu teoriju, objavljene su u sveskama "Des Principes de la Guerre" ("O načelima rata") 1903. i "De la Conduite de la Guerre" ("O vođenju rata") 1904. Nažalost, dok je Foch savjetovao "kvalifikaciju i razboritost" u vojnoj strategiji i upozoravao da bi "nepromišljenost u napadu mogla dovesti do ogromnih gubitaka i konačnog neuspjeha", njegovi su pojmovi iskrivljeni i krivo shvaćeni. , postao je povezan s izopačenim uvredljivim doktrinama (l'ofensive x outrance) njegovih nasljednika. Na Fochovo žaljenje, kult ofenzive zavladao je vojnim krugovima, a Fochove su knjige čak citirane u razvoju Plana XVII., Katastrofalne francuske strategije za rat s Njemačkom koja je Francusku 1914. dovela tako blizu propasti.

Foch je nastavio svoj isprva spor uspon kroz činove, a 1898. promaknut je u potpukovnika. Nakon toga se njegova karijera ubrzala i vratio se na zapovjedništvo 1901. godine, kada je postavljen u pukovniju. Unaprijeđen je u pukovnika 1903. godine, zatim u brigadnog generala (Gnral de Brigade) 1907. godine, vrativši se na Stožernu školu kao zapovjednik od 1907. do 2011. godine. Godine 1911. promaknut je u general bojnika (General de Division), a zatim u general -potpukovnika (Gnral de corps d'Armæe) 1913. godine, preuzimajući zapovjedništvo XX. Korpusa u Nancyju.

Slika - Foch s generalom Pershingom (oko 1918.).

Po izbijanju rata Foch je zapovijedao XX. Korpusom, dijelom Druge armije generala de Castelnaua. Dana 14. kolovoza korpus je napredovao prema liniji Sarrebourg-Morhange, uzimajući velike gubitke u bitci na granici. Poraz XV korpusa s njegove desne strane natjerao je Focha na povlačenje. Foch se dobro oslobodio, pokrivajući povlačenje u Nancy i Charmes Gap, prije nego što je započeo protunapad koji je spriječio Nijemce da pređu Meurthe.

Zatim je izabran za zapovjednika novoformirane Devete armije, kojom je trebao zapovijedati tijekom Prve bitke na Marni i Utrke prema moru. Foch je to uspio sa svojim načelnikom stožera Maximeom Weygandom dok je cijela francuska vojska bila u potpunom povlačenju. Samo tjedan dana nakon što je preuzeo zapovjedništvo nad 9. armijom, bio je prisiljen boriti se s nizom obrambenih akcija kako bi spriječio njemački proboj. Tada je izgovorio poznate riječi: "Snažno pritisnut s desne strane. Centar mi popušta. Nemoguće je manevrirati. Situacija odlična. Napadam." Njegov protuudar bio je provedba teorija koje je razvio tijekom studija na fakultetu i uspio zaustaviti njemačko napredovanje. Foch je primio daljnje pojačanje iz Pete armije te je, nakon još jednog napada na njegove snage, ponovno kontrirao na Marnu. Nijemci su se ukopali prije nego što su se na kraju povukli. Foch je 12. rujna povratio Marne kod Chxlonsa i oslobodio grad. Ljudi iz Chxlonsa dočekali su kao heroja za čovjeka za kojeg se vjeruje da je bio ključan u zaustavljanju velikog povlačenja i stabilizaciji savezničkog položaja. Primajući zahvalu od biskupa Chx lonsa, Foch je pobožno odgovorio: "non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam." (Ne nama, o Gospodine, ne nama, nego slavi svome imenu, Psalam 115: 1)

Fochovi uspjesi stekli su mu daljnje napredovanje, 4. listopada, kada je imenovan pomoćnikom vrhovnog zapovjednika s odgovornošću za koordinaciju aktivnosti sjeverno-francuskih vojski i povezivanje s britanskim snagama. Ovo je bilo ključno imenovanje jer je tada bila u tijeku takozvana "Utrka do mora". Joffre je također htio imenovati Focha za svog nasljednika "u slučaju nesreće", kako bi bio siguran da posao neće dobiti Galli ni, ali francuska vlada na to nije pristala. Kad su Nijemci napali 13. listopada, za dlaku nisu uspjeli probiti britansku i francusku liniju. Pokušali su ponovno krajem mjeseca tijekom Prve bitke kod Ypresa, ovaj put podnoseći strašne žrtve. Foch je ponovno uspio uskladiti obranu i pobijediti u odnosu na izglede. 2. prosinca 1914. kralj George V. od Ujedinjenog Kraljevstva imenovao ga je počasnim viteškim velikim križem Reda Kupališta. Godine 1915. njegove su se odgovornosti do sada iskristalizirale u zapovjedništvo Sjeverne armijske grupe, proveo je ofenzivu Artois, a 1916. i francuski dio bitke na Sommi. Bio je žestoko kritiziran zbog svoje taktike i velikih gubitaka koje je saveznička vojska pretrpjela tijekom ovih borbi, a u prosincu 1916. smijenjen je sa zapovjedništva, od strane generala Joffrea, i poslan da zapovijeda u Italiju, Joffre je i sam dan kasnije smijenjen.

Samo nekoliko mjeseci kasnije, nakon neuspjeha generala Nivellea, general P tain imenovan je načelnikom Glavnog stožera Foch se nadao da će naslijediti Ptaina na mjestu zapovjednika grupe armija Centar, no ovaj je posao umjesto toga dobio general Fayolle. Sljedećeg mjeseca general P tain imenovan je vrhovnim zapovjednikom umjesto Nivelle, a Foch je opozvan i unaprijeđen u načelnika Glavnog stožera.

Dana 26. ožujka 1918., na Doullensovoj konferenciji, Foch je imenovan vrhovnim zapovjednikom savezničkih armija s titulom Gnralisime ("vrhovni general") s poslom koordiniranja aktivnosti savezničkih vojski, tvoreći zajedničku pričuvu i koristeći ove divizije za čuvanje spoja francuske i britanske vojske i za popunjavanje potencijalno kobnog jaza koji bi uslijedio nakon njemačkog proboja u sektoru britanske Pete armije. Unatoč iznenađenju njemačkom ofenzivom na Chemin des Dames, savezničke vojske pod Fochovim zapovjedništvom na kraju su zadržale napredovanje njemačkih snaga tijekom velike proljetne ofenzive 1918. i u Drugoj bitci za Marnu u srpnju 1918. Proslavljena fraza, " Borit ću se ispred Pariza, borit ću se u Parizu, borit ću se iza Pariza ", pripisano i Fochu i Clemenceauu, ilustriralo je odlučnost generalsistera da zadrži savezničke vojske netaknutima, čak i uz rizik da izgubi glavni. Dana 6. kolovoza 1918. Foch je proglašen maršalom Francuske.

Zajedno s britanskim zapovjednikom feldmaršalom Haigom, Foch je planirao Veliku ofenzivu, koja je otvorena 26. rujna 1918., što je dovelo do poraza Njemačke. Nakon rata tvrdio je da je pobijedio Njemačku pušeći lulu. Foch je prihvatio njemački prekid neprijateljstava u studenom, nakon čega je odbio rukovati se s njemačkim potpisnikom. Na dan primirja izabran je u Akademiju znanosti. Deset dana kasnije, jednoglasno je izabran u Akademsku franks. Dana 30. studenoga 1918. odlikovan je najvišim portugalskim odlikovanjem Redom kule i mača 1. klase (Veliki križ).

Slika - Spomenik Ferdinandu Fochu u rodnom Tarbu.

U siječnju 1919. na Pariškoj mirovnoj konferenciji Foch je savezničkim opunomoćenicima predstavio memorandum u kojem je izjavio:

Od tada bi Rajna trebala biti zapadna vojna granica njemačkih zemalja. Odsada bi Njemačkoj trebalo oduzeti svaki ulaz i okupljalište, odnosno sav teritorijalni suverenitet na lijevoj obali rijeke, odnosno sve mogućnosti za brzi invaziju, kao što je 1914. Belgija, Luksemburg, za dosezanje obale Sjevernog mora i prijeteći Ujedinjenom Kraljevstvu, jer je nadmašio prirodnu obranu Francuske, Rajne, Meuse, osvojio sjeverne provincije i ušao u pariško područje.

U kasnijem memorandumu Foch je tvrdio da bi saveznici trebali u potpunosti iskoristiti svoju pobjedu tako što će trajno oslabiti njemačku moć kako bi je spriječili da ponovno zaprijeti Francuskoj:

Ljudi Njemačke najviše se plaše obnove neprijateljstava jer bi ovaj put Njemačka bila polje bitke i poprište posljedičnog razaranja. To onemogućuje još nestabilnu njemačku vladu da odbije svaki naš zahtjev ako je jasno formuliran. Antanta, u sadašnjoj povoljnoj vojnoj situaciji, može dobiti prihvaćanje svih mirovnih uvjeta koje može postaviti pod uvjetom da se oni iznesu bez puno odgađanja. Sve što trebate učiniti je odlučiti što će oni biti.

Međutim, britanski premijer David Lloyd George i američki predsjednik Wilson usprotivili su se odvajanju Rhinelanda od Njemačke, ali su pristali na savezničku vojnu okupaciju na petnaest godina, što je Foch smatrao nedovoljnim za zaštitu Francuske.

Foch je smatrao Versajski ugovor "kapitulacijom, veleizdajom" jer je vjerovao da će samo trajna okupacija Rajnske oblasti dati Francuskoj dovoljnu sigurnost protiv oživljavanja njemačke agresije. Tijekom potpisivanja ugovora Foch je rekao: "Ovo nije mir. To je primirje na 20 godina".

Slika - grobnica Ferdinanda Focha u Les Invalides.

Foch je 1919. godine postao britanski feldmaršal, a zbog savjeta tijekom poljsko-boljševičkog rata 1920., kao i zbog pritiska na Njemačku tijekom Velikopoljskog ustanka, 1923. godine dobio je titulu maršala Poljske.

1. studenoga 1921. Foch je boravio u Kansas Cityju kako bi sudjelovao u ceremoniji polaganja kamena temeljca za Spomen obilježje slobode koje se tamo gradilo. Toga dana bili su prisutni i general -potpukovnik barun Jacques iz Belgije, admiral David Beatty iz Velike Britanije, general Armando Diaz iz Italije i general John J. Pershing iz Sjedinjenih Država. Jedan od glavnih govornika bio je potpredsjednik Sjedinjenih Država Calvin Coolidge. 1935. spomen obilježju dodani su reljefi Focha, Jacquesa, Diaza i Pershinga kipara Walkera Hancocka.

Foch je umro 20. ožujka 1929. i sahranjen je u Les Invalides, pored Napoleona i mnogih drugih poznatih francuskih vojnika i časnika.

Fochov kip postavljen je na mjestu Compix gne primirja kada je to područje pretvoreno u nacionalni spomenik. Ovaj kip je jedini koji su Nijemci ostavili neometano nakon poraza Francuske u lipnju 1940. Nakon potpisivanja predaje Francuske 21. lipnja, Nijemci su opustošili područje oko željezničkog vagona u kojem su se predale 1918. i 1940. godine. mjesto. Kip je ostavljen da stoji, da vidi samo pustoš. Mjesto primirja obnovili su njemački zarobljenici nakon Drugog svjetskog rata, sa spomenicima i spomenicima koji su ili obnovljeni ili ponovo sastavljeni.

Slika - Kip Foch u blizini željezničke stanice Victoria, London, UK

Teška krstarica i nosač zrakoplova imenovani su u njegovu čast, kao i rani okrug Gdynia u Poljskoj. Potonji je komunistička vlada nakon Drugog svjetskog rata preimenovala. Ipak, jedna od glavnih avenija grada Bydgoszcza, koji se tada nalazio u poljskom koridoru, nosi njegovo ime u znak zahvalnosti za kampanju za neovisnu Poljsku. Avenue Foch, ulica u Parizu, dobila je njegovo ime. Nekoliko drugih ulica nazvano je u njegovu čast u Lyonu, Krakxwu, Chrzanxywu, Grenoblu, Quitu, Bejrutu, New Orleansu, Leuvenu, Cambridgeu, Williston Parku, Milltownu i Foch Roadu u Singapuru. Fochville u Južnoj Africi također je dobio ime u njegovu čast. Kip Focha stoji u blizini postaje Victoria u Londonu. Foch također ima kultivar grožđa nazvanog po njemu.

Vitez - 9. srpnja 1892. godine
Časnik - 11. srpnja 1908. godine
Zapovjednik - 31. prosinca 1913. godine
Veliki časnik - 18. rujna 1914
Veliki križ - 8. listopada 1915. godine.

Vitez - 9. srpnja 1892. godine
Časnik - 11. srpnja 1908. godine
Zapovjednik - 31. prosinca 1913. godine
Veliki časnik - 18. rujna 1914
Veliki križ - 8. listopada 1915. godine.

Medaille Militaire - 21. prosinca 1916.
Croix de Guerre 1914-1918
Spomen-ratna medalja 1870-1871
Službenik za javne upute.

Orden za zasluge (Ujedinjeno Kraljevstvo)
Viteški veliki križ Reda kupališta (Ujedinjeno Kraljevstvo)
Narudžba za ugledne usluge (Ujedinjeno Kraljevstvo)
Orden bijelog orla (Poljska) (15. travnja 1923.)
Veliki križ Reda Virtuti Militari (15. travnja 1923., Poljska)
Veliki križ Reda Polonia Restituta (Poljska)
Veliki križ Reda Leopolda (Belgija)
Veliki križ Reda Ouissam Alaouite (Maroko)
Medalja za istaknutu službu (Sjedinjene Američke Države)
Orden Lāčplēsis 3. razreda (Latvija)
Orden Svetog Jurja druge klase (1916, Rusko Carstvo)

Foch je titulu doktora honoris causa Jagelonskog sveučilišta u Krakovu dobio 1918. godine.

Les Principes de la guerre. Conf rences faites x l'Ecole sup rieure de guerre (O načelima rata), Berger-Levrault, (1903)
La Conduite de la guerre (O vođenju rata), Berger-Levrault, 1905
M moire pour servir x l'histoire de la guerre 1914-1918 (Uspomene maršala Focha, posthumno), Plon, 1931.
Porte, Rmy i F Cochet. Ferdinand Foch, 1851-1929: Apprenez x Penser: Actes Du Colloque International, x cole Militaire, Pariz, 6.-7. studenoga 2008. Pariz: Soteca, 2010. ISBN 9782916385433

Doughty, Robert A. Pyrrhic Victory: French Strategy and Operations in the Great War (Harvard U.P. 2005)
Greenhalgh, Elizabeth. "Zapovjedništvo u koalicijskom ratu: Ponovna procjena maršala Ferdinanda Focha" Francuska povijest i civilizacija. Radovi sa seminara George Rud . Svezak 2 (2009) str. 91-100 na mreži
Neiberg, Michael S. Foch: Vrhovni saveznički zapovjednik u Velikom ratu (Brassey's Inc., 2003.), kratka popularna biografija

Vojni manevri 1912
Foch Line
Profesor francuske književnosti maršal Foch, katedra na Sveučilištu u Oxfordu osnovana u Fochovu čast 1918

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Autorsko pravo Ključ u Works Entertainment Inc .. Sva prava pridržana.


Zašto Prvi svjetski rat nije uspio završiti 1918

Mnogi su sukobi ostali neriješeni sve do godina nakon toga.

Ključna stvar: Učinci Prvog svjetskog rata žive do danas.

U najmanju ruku, Prvi svjetski rat završio je najprije prestankom oružanih neprijateljstava između zaraćenih sila na glasovitom "11. satu 11. dana 11. mjeseca", odnosno 11. studenoga 1918. Službeni ili diplomatski kraj Prvi svjetski rat došao je kasnije Versajskim ugovorom, 28. lipnja 1919.

U Rusiji bijes sukoba

Međutim, sukobi koji su ostali neriješeni s primirjem iz 1918. ili ugovorom iz 1919. značili su da je Prvi svjetski rat završio tek neko vrijeme kasnije. Politički i ideološki preokret koji je zahvatio Rusiju najmanje desetljeće prije Prvog svjetskog rata nije prestao kada je nova boljševička vlada te nacije sklopila separatni mir s Njemačkom, potpisavši Brest-Litovski ugovor u ožujku 1918. i napustivši rat.

Njemačka je omogućila povratak Vladimira Iljiča Lenjina, boljševičkog revolucionarnog vođe, u Rusiju kako bi podstakla građanske nemire i izbacila Rusiju iz Prvog svjetskog rata. Iako je njemačka taktika uspjela, ruska revolucija započela je krajem 1917. godine. preuzimanjem vlasti u zemlji od strane boljševika u tijeku je građanski rat. Ruski građanski rat završio je tek 1922.

Kraj njemačkog kolonijalnog carstva

Nadalje, nakon završetka neprijateljstava 1918., njemačko kolonijalno carstvo je raskomadano. U južnom Pacifiku, Njemačka Nova Gvineja, Bismarckov arhipelag i Nauru došli su pod australski mandat, dok je Njemačka Samoa ustupljena Novom Zelandu. Od primarne važnosti, Japan je preuzeo kontrolu nad otočnim skupinama Marshall, Caroline, Mariana i Palau, potičući japanske imperijalističke i teritorijalne ambicije u regiji. Japanci su na brojnim tim otocima uspostavili stalna postrojenja i vojna utvrđenja, koja su postala poprišta nasilnih borbi s američkim snagama tijekom Drugoga svjetskog rata.

Što su Ugovor i Versailles značili za Njemačku

Istodobno, uvjeti Versajskog ugovora prebacili su krivnju za dolazak Prvog svjetskog rata na Njemačku, ogolili državu europskog teritorija bogatog prirodnim resursima i strogo ograničili njemačku vojsku, prisiljavajući slaba njemačka vlada da plati milijune dolara ratne odštete. Tijekom 1920 -ih i 1930 -ih, Njemačku su potresli građanski i politički nemiri. Nacistička stranka i njezin karizmatični vođa Adolf Hitler uhvatili su se uočene nepravde Versajskog ugovora kako bi potaknuli njemački nacionalistički žar. Uz opću podršku njemačkog naroda, Hitler je uveo naciju u Drugi svjetski rat, ili kako bi neki mogli tvrditi, u nastavak Velikog rata. Smatrajući ovaj niz događaja neizbježnim zbog neriješenih pitanja među narodima svijeta, vjerojatno je da je Prvi svjetski rat završio tek 1945. godine, kada su Hitler i nacisti poraženi u Europi, a carski Japan pokoren na Pacifiku.

“Ovo nije mir. To je primirje na 20 godina. "

Francuski maršal Ferdinand Foch okarakterizirao je političko okruženje koje je prevladalo Versajskim ugovorom rekavši: „Ovo nije mir. To je primirje na 20 godina. " Foch je propustio svoje predviđanje za samo dva mjeseca. Njemački tenkovi i trupe prelijetali su poljsku granicu, čime je zapalio Drugi svjetski rat, 1. rujna 1939., otprilike devetnaest godina i deset mjeseci nakon potpisivanja ugovora.

Kroz prizmu povijesti proširena perspektiva doista je provokativna. 1945. Njemačka je podijeljena, a odnosi između bivših savezničkih nacija postali su rascjepkani i polarizirani, što je dovelo do pola stoljeća dugog Hladnog rata, doba neviđenog političkog i ideološkog rivalstva između Sjedinjenih Država i Velike Britanije s jedne strane i Sovjetski Savez, s druge strane, to je vjerojatno bilo u tijeku prije nego što je oružje utihnulo tijekom Drugog svjetskog rata. Suparničke zemlje su u tom razdoblju vodile posredničke ratove i imale ogroman globalni utjecaj.

Konačno, jedan od primarnih čimbenika koji je utjecao na ulazak carske Rusije u Prvi svjetski rat bila je njezina dugogodišnja želja za lukom s toplom vodom, bez leda tijekom cijele godine radi olakšavanja trgovine. Godine 2014. proruski separatisti pokrenuli su sukob na poluotoku Krim na Crnom moru, teritoriju koji pripada suverenoj državi Ukrajini. Nakon toga je ruska vlada najavila aneksiju Krima. Kada je završio Prvi svjetski rat?

Ovaj članak Mikea Haskewa izvorno se pojavio na Warfare History Network.


Maršal Ferdinand Foch

Ferdinand Foch postao je vrhovni zapovjednik savezničkih snaga u Prvom svjetskom ratu. Foch je, zajedno s Josephom Joffreom i Philippeom Pétainom, postao jedan od tri najistaknutija francuska vojna časnika u ratu.

Ferdinand Foch

Ferdinand Foch rođen je 1851. u Tarbesu u Gornjim Pirinejima. Foch se borio u Francusko-pruskom ratu 1870-71 i postao specijalist za topništvo. Godine 1907. imenovan je za načelnika École de Guerre, na dužnosti koju je obnašao do 1911. godine.

Kad je u kolovozu 1914. izbio rat, Foch je zapovijedao francuskom Drugom armijom. Ova je vojska zaustavila njemačko napredovanje prema Nancyju. Kao rezultat tog uspjeha, Foch je dobio zapovjedništvo devete francuske armije koja se borila u bitci za Marnu - bitci koja je zaustavila njemačko napredovanje prema Parizu. Nakon ove bitke služio je u Flandriji i postao zapovjednik Francuske armijske skupine koja se borila u bitci za Sommu.

Godine 1916. otišao je u mirovinu, ali se vratio na dužnost u svibnju 1917., kada je imenovan načelnikom stožera maršala Pétaina. U određenoj mjeri Pétain je nosio određenu količinu prtljage jer ga je zamijenio Joffre u Verdunu, a zamijenio ga je Nivelle. Oni koji su imali moć u savezničkoj vojsci vjerovali su da Foch nudi dinamičniji voditeljski potencijal od Pétaina. U travnju 1918. Foch je imenovan vrhovnim generalisimusom savezničkih snaga na Zapadnoj fronti - položaj koji mu je dao vrhovno zapovjedništvo nad svim savezničkim snagama na Zapadnom frontu. U srpnju 1918. Foch je pokrenuo uspješnu protuofenzivu protiv Nijemaca uz rijeku Marne. U kolovozu 1918. Foch je to nastavio nizom operacija koje su dovele do toga da su Nijemci u studenom 1918. zatražili primirje. Iz tog razloga Fochu se pripisuje da je utemeljio pobjedu nad Njemačkom.

Foch je tada odigrao istaknutu ulogu u potpisivanju Versailleskog ugovora tijekom kojeg je pokušao natjerati Georgesa Clemenceaua da Nijemcima nametne daleko oštrije uvjete kako Nijemci više nikada ne bi mogli predstavljati novu vojnu prijetnju Europi. Nakon potpisivanja ugovora, Foch se povukao iz javnog života.

Njegov ugled u francuskoj vojnoj povijesti bio je osiguran. Foch je jedini francuski vojni zapovjednik koji je postao počasni feldmaršal u britanskoj vojsci, a njegov je položaj osiguran postavljanjem njegova kipa u središtu Londona.


U jesen 1918

Ponovno je jesen u La Belle France: jesen 1918 .:

Usred ruševina cesta na sjeveru Francuske igrajte reflektore. Tri limuzine uvlače se u blještavilo sjajnog odsjaja, a kako se približavaju, vide se bijele zastave kako vijore s njihovih tijela. Unutra su Nijemci-Nijemci unakrsnog pogleda-traže primirje.
Prestupnici na tlu Francuske nailaze na ljubazno razmatranje.

Susreću ih francuski časnici, slatko se smiješe, ulaze u njihove automobile i vode ih mračnim cestama dok se ne dođe do Château Frankfort. Nalazi se u dubokoj šumi Compiègne, a ovdje se zaustavlja i noćenje.

Nijemci glasno hrču. Ne dopuštaju da ih poraz zabrine.

Sljedećeg dana automobilom do Senlisa, gdje u željezničkom vagonu sjedi isti časnik koji je bio na kapitulaciji Sedana, sada sijedi čovjek. On je generalissimo-vrhovni savezničke vojske.

Nijemci ulaze u auto, sa šeširima u rukama, a on im ustaje u susret.

Glas mu je napet, miran, jasan.

"Što želite, gospodo?"

"Došli smo, maršale, kako bismo dogovorili uvjete primirja", rekao je jedan od njih. “We accept President Wilson’s fourteen points. Germany is beaten.”

We do not know what the gallant Field-Marshal said, but we imagine that it was something like this:

“The terms, gentlemen, will be severe, owing to the barbarous manner in which your people have waged this war. They are as follows:”

Then he read to them the program already agreed upon by the Allies, and no more crushing ultimatum had ever been delivered to a beaten power.

The keen-eyed Marshal had no tone of sneering or of overburdening triumph in his voice as he read. Yet — away back in his mind — he had the scene of another surrender indelibly engraved upon his memory — that of Sedan, when his Emperor was humiliated. And, as he read on, the great Generalissimo of the French and Allied armies, smiled — not leeringly, but good- naturedly — into the stolid eyes of the crestfallen German emissaries.

What had the Marshal to do with the final triumph?

This is well expressed by the words of Premier Clemenceau, who, when approached by several Senators with the words:

“You are the savior of France,” replied: “Gentlemen, I thank vou. I did not deserve the honor which you have done me. Let me tell you that I am proudest that you have associated my name with that of Marshal Foch, that great soldier, who, in the darkest hours, never doubted the destiny of his country. He has inspired everyone with courage, and we owe him an infinite debt.”

SO, THREE TIMES THREE FOR GENERAL FOCH!

He is the man who never lost his cheerfulness in spite of the fact that the soldiers of his country — bleeding and distressed — have been fighting a grueling war and struggling for a long time against terrific odds.

The signing of the armistice terms, submitted by the Allies, practically brought to an end the greatest war in the history of the human race — a war which brought suffering and misery to the people of every land: which cost $224,303,205,000 in treasure, and nearly 4,500,000 lives.

The end of hostilities 1,556 days after the first shot was fired, tendered to civilization the assurance that never again shall people be threatened with the slavery of a despotically autocratic rule.

Cheerful when things were blackest, cheerful when events were brightest, let history record with truthful significance, that here — at least — has been one soldier who is the living personification of that ancient doctrine:

“When things look darkest: SMILE! SMILE! SMILE!”

Charles H. L. Johnston, Famous Generals of the Great War Who Let the United States and Her Allies to a Glorious Victory, Boston: The Page Company, 1919, pp. 87-108.


Ferdinand Foch

(Tarbes, Hautes Pyrenees, 1851-Paris, 1929) French military.After studying with the Jesuits and at the Polytechnic School, he pursued his military career spurred by the national humiliation suffered in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71).He became a brilliant artillery officer and immediately a professor at the War School (1885), of which he was commander from 1907 contributed to elaborate the military doctrine that France would follow in the First World War (1914-18), expressed in his works as Principles of war (1903) or Conduct of war (1904).

When the war broke out, he assumed command of an army corps in Lorraine, which participated in the unsuccessful initial French offensive on German territory.Later he helped to stop the advance of the Germans towards Paris (Battle of the Marne, 1914) and towards the sea (Battle of the Yser, 1914) and led the counteroffensive of 1915, which failed to break the enemy front.

Faced with the stagnation of the "war of positions", in 1917 there were changes in the French military leadership, which led Foch to be appointed head of the High General Staff and military adviser to the government With the eastern front disappearing due to the Russian withdrawal as a consequence of the Bolshevik Revolution, Foch dedicated himself especially to strengthening the coordination of the war effort of the allies on the western front, with the institution of an Anglo-Franco-Italian Supreme Council (1917).


‘Foch’s Grand Offensive’: the biggest battle you’ve never heard of

Between 26 September and 9 October 1918, the biggest battle ever fought in western Europe took place. Involving more than twice as many men as would fight at Normandy in 1944, the bloody series of concentric attacks on the German lines in France known as ‘Foch’s Grand Offensive’ was decisive in the outcome of the First World War, says historian Jonathan Boff. Pisanje za Povijest Extra, he explores the events of the Allied offensive and how it pointed the way towards modern warfare…

Ovo natjecanje je sada zatvoreno

Published: September 26, 2018 at 8:44 am

One hundred years ago, the Allied armies* in France and Flanders unleashed the biggest battle ever fought in western Europe. It’s a battle of which few of us may ever have heard, but it (and the Hundred Days Offensive of August and November 1918, of which it was a part) helped decide the outcome of the First World War. Over the course of five days, nearly two million American, Belgian, British and French soldiers climbed out of their trenches and, picking their way between shell bursts and clouds of poison gas, overran German trenches from the River Meuse to the English Channel.

Within just 48 hours at Ypres, which had long been the site of terrible fighting, the British captured ground that had taken nearly four months of mud-bound agony to seize the previous year. Further south, the Allies stormed the vaunted defences of the Hindenburg Line [the final line of German defences on the western front], shocking the German high command so deeply that it decided to demand an armistice without delay. Peace took another six weeks to come, but its foundations were laid in the fighting known as Foch’s Grand Offensive, which took place between 26 September and 9 October 1918. Yet this battle remains unknown to all bar the most keen of military historians.

Throughout the spring and early summer of 1918, the German army, desperate to end the war before the US Army arrived in strength, had launched repeated hammer blows at the British and French forces on the western front. The Allied line had buckled and been forced back, but crucially it hadn’t broken. The weakened German army was poorly equipped to resist the Allied counterattack which followed. This began on the Marne in July, continued at Amiens on 8 August, and extended across the old battlefields of 1916 and 1917 along much of the front later that month. In heavy and bloody fighting, the Allies pushed the Germans back.

Allied leaders, led by the pugnacious French general Ferdinand Foch, had stumbled across a new and effective operational method: instead of trying to break through enemy lines and drive deep into the rear – an approach which had not succeeded in four years of trying – they now suspended even successful operations after a few days and shifted the point of attack to somewhere else on the line. This saved the attackers’ energy, while sucking in and chewing up German reserves. Under the relentless pressure of this ‘rolling attrition’, in early September the German high command, led by Erich Ludendorff and Paul von Hindenburg, ordered their men to fall back to the positions they had occupied at the beginning of the year, in the formidable defences of the so-called Hindenburg Line. Here, they hoped to hold out until winter forced a pause in the fighting.

Breaching the German lines was going to be no pushover: their positions, perfected by years of siege warfare, were deep and strong. Carefully sited fortifications with overlapping fields of fire, built around concrete pillboxes and dug-outs and protected by belts of barbed wire, stretched back in line after line of defences, often several miles deep. German units might have been starting to run low on infantrymen, but they still had plenty of machine guns and artillery, and the troops’ morale had recovered from the toughhit in the summer. The Allies had every reason to believe that they faced a very tough challenge.

Nonetheless, Foch was determined to give the Germans no respite. Together with the national contingent commanders – Philippe Pétain for France, John ‘Black Jack’ Pershing for the United States, and Sir Douglas Haig for Britain and its empire – Foch began putting together a grand offensive to bounce the Germans out of their defences and liberate France and Belgium. They spent most of September repairing the shattered roads and railways leading up to the new Allied positions, stockpiling matériel, and moving up the men and machines they would need. Foch intended to unleash a flurry of rapid blows up and down 350 kilometres of the western front, from Verdun almost to the English Channel.

Operating on such a broad front had the political advantage of balancing out the contribution of each ally, as Eisenhower would find in a later war. Militarily, it also created multiple threats at once, which might both overstretch German reserves and overload the capacity of Ludendorff and his generals to react. In all, on the active front from the River Meuse to the sea, the Allies mustered 171 divisions – probably around 1,750,000 fighting men – supported by artillery guns, tanks and aircraft in their thousands, against about 1,250,000 Germans in 165 divisions.

The western front ablaze

The ‘Grand Offensive’ opened just before dawn on 26 September 1918 with a powerful Franco-American force driving into the Argonne forest and along the left bank of the Meuse in France. The next day, the British Third and First armies crossed the Canal du Nord and drove through the thickest part of the Hindenburg Line toward Cambrai. On Saturday 28 September, French, Belgian and British forces attacked at Ypres. The spotlight returned to the centre on 29 September, where the British Fourth and French First armies stormed over the St Quentin Canal and penetrated deep into the Hindenburg Line, while the River Aisne was the site of a further major French attack on 30 September.

Within five days, Foch had set the western front ablaze. The German defenders fought hard: not one of the attacks opened a clean break in the German lines, and progress was often slow. General Pershing suspended his offensive in the Argonne Forest after just three days, for instance, having lost 45,000 men and advanced at best only 12 kilometres, while the British attack on Cambrai stalled. It took several days of bitter fighting to clear the defenders from the Hindenburg Line in the St Quentin area. Only at Ypres did the defence collapse, but even here the Allied advance soon ground to a halt: it was simply too great a task to move supplies across the shattered ground of the salient [a part of battlefield which juts out or bulges into enemy territory].

The beauty of Foch’s plan, however, was that it didn’t depend on achieving a breakthrough at any one point, much less all of them. Instead, it relied on cumulative effect, and it proved spectacularly successful. The evident inability of the German army to hold its ground, even in the strongest trench defences ever constructed, raised alarm throughout the ranks. A captured German non-commissioned officer admitted that “Germany is defeated, and the sooner we recognise it, the better”.

Likewise, Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria, the field marshal commanding the defence in northern France, wrote in his diary on 29 September: “We must absolutely make peace: there’s nothing else for it”.

Rupprecht could not yet know it, but at six o’clock the previous night, Ludendorff and Hindenburg had already come to the same conclusion. In his memoirs Ludendorff pretended that it was news of the imminent collapse of Bulgaria, rather than the military situation in the west, which provoked their decision. This was a transparent lie, told to deflect blame away from himself: at the time he told his staff officers that he wanted to save the army from total collapse in case it was needed to suppress a Bolshevik uprising back home. The generals told the Kaiser it was time to approach US president Woodrow Wilson and request a ceasefire. Within a week, a peace note was on its way to Washington. So began a process that soon ran out of the German high command’s control, with far-reaching and disastrous consequences: by the middle of November, the army had disintegrated, an armistice had been signed, and revolutions had swept crowned heads from thrones all over Germany and central Europe.

In the meantime, the offensive ground bloodily on. By about 8 October, the German army was falling back once more. It was soon fighting a semi-mobile war in much more open country, without trench lines to rally on, improvising defences where it could, in one desperate rear-guard action after another. This kind of combat was far from the trench warfare of earlier years, and the German army began to crumble under the pressure. By 5 November it was thoroughly beaten and retreating towards the German frontier as fast as it could march.

The impact of the battle

Casualties during the last phase of the war are hard to calculate, not least because record-keeping was poor. In the ‘Grand Offensive’ itself, British and empire forces alone probably lost nearly 100,000 men, though the total could easily have been as high as a quarter of a million for each side.

The Allied victory was built on weight of numbers, especially in manpower, artillery, tanks and aircraft, as well as on old-fashioned human virtues such as guts and determination. A major contribution, however, was made by the Allies’ ability to out-think their enemy. They had better learnt the lessons of previous years. Experienced commanders now led formations capable of integrating new technologies into combined arms tactics and operational approaches far advanced from those of even 18 months previously. The Germans, quite simply, ran out of responses as their command system seized up under the pressure Foch was exerting.

Foch’s ‘Grand Offensive’ was much more than the battle which, more than any other, doomed Germany to defeat in the First World War. It was also the biggest battle ever fought in western Europe, involving more than twice as many men, and twice as bloody, as, say, the battle for Normandy in 1944. More importantly still, together with the other operations of autumn 1918, it pointed the way to the future of modern warfare. When British and American generals sat down to plan the artillery-intensive, combined arms set-piece attacks of the Second World War, they took their inspiration from the battles they had fought as subalterns in 1918. The ‘Grand Offensive’, along with the other battles of the so-called Hundred Days campaign, established a template that survives today. It is no coincidence that in autumn 2018, officers from the American, Australian, Belgian, British, Canadian, French, German and New Zealand armies will once again meet on the battlefields of 1918, this time as friends, to see what lessons modern armies can learn from the events of 100 years ago.

Why, then, is this battle so little known? A combination of factors are at work. Even at the time, these events were not well reported: partly because self-censoring journalists were being purposely vague about details, and partly because the appetite for military news was waning after four years of war. More recent neglect is perhaps due to the failure of this phase of the war to conform to ‘mud, blood and futility’ stereotypes, a fascination with remembering those who died even at the expense of those who made their sacrifice in other ways and survived, or a desire to avoid anything that might look like celebration, rather than commemoration. We can all agree that there is no place for triumphalism in our history of the First World War. But we should remember the war as it was. The Allied victory won as a result of Foch’s ‘Grand Offensive’ was an important part of that war, and it deserves to be better known.

Dr Jonathan Boff is a senior lecturer in history at the University of Birmingham. Njegove knjige uključuju Winning and Losing on the Western Front (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and Haig’s Enemy: Crown Prince Rupprecht and the German Army on the Western Front(Oxford University Press, April 2018).

*Technically, the United States was an Associated Power, rather than an Ally, of Belgium, Britain and France, but for convenience they will all be referred to here as ‘the Allies’.


Modern War for Romantics: Ferdinand Foch and the Principles of War

There are three reasons Americans should study French military strategy. The first is that the French military has an intellectual tradition that stretches back at least to the 18th century, and more than a few French military theorists draw on that tradition and are enriched by it. Their work is sophisticated, and they write well. Second, the disastrous losses that Americans too often associate with the French military and that encourage them to dismiss the French should do the opposite the failures make the French worth reading. Every generation of French officers since the catastrophe of the Franco-Prussian War has had to grapple with failure and think hard about the challenges of modern warfare. Third, relatedly, the French view everything from the perspective of scarcity, meaning they assume they have to compensate for a lack of resources with smarts and courage, and by making the most of what they have.

All three factors were apparent in June of last year, when the French army’s doctrine center, the Centre de doctrine et d’enseignement du commandement, organized a conference on the “Principles of War in 2035.” The focus of the conference obviously was on the future, but one could not talk about the future without drawing on the wisdom of the past, even if only for conversation’s sake. The conference location made it hard to do otherwise: The center is located on the 18th-century campus known as the École Militaire, in central Paris near Les Invalides (the site of Napoleon’s tomb and the army’s excellent history museum). The École Militaire is also home to France’s École de Guerre, where generations of rising French officers have come to study (and where Capt. Alfred Dreyfus was stripped of his rank and had his sword ceremonially broken, but more on him later). Engaging with the French military’s intellectual tradition, however, was also part of the point of the conference. The giveaway is the title, for when the French talk about the “Principles of War,” they are referencing a line of thinking that stretches back to a specific book and the man who wrote it.

Knjiga je On the Principles of War, first published in 1903. It is the touchstone of modern French military doctrine, a primary reference for the French army’s most recent high-level doctrinal publication, Future Land Action (2016), and the beginning of French conversations about strategy regardless of whether or not readers agree with the book or like it. Indeed, some of the book’s influence is due less to its intrinsic qualities than to the prestige of its author, Marshal Ferdinand Foch (1851–1929). Foch was the Supreme Allied Commander in 1918, making him France’s most accomplished general of the past century and the man who led France to victory at the end of its bloodiest war. He is France’s Eisenhower and Grant rolled into one. He also had intellectual predilections: He served as a professor at the École de Guerre, and later was its director (his office when he was director currently is occupied by the commanding general of the Centre de doctrine et d’enseignement du commandement). For those of us who wish to understand French military thinking, the place to start is with Foch.

Foch’s reputation in France is not without blemish, owing mostly to his association with Carl von Clausewitz’s Romantic vision of total war as well as his contribution to the “offensive à outrance” (offensive at all costs) school of thinking. These are often blamed for the carnage of the Western Front, especially the foolhardy campaigns of 1914 and 1915, which took place before many commanders on all sides, Foch among them, revised their methods and solved the tactical challenges that caused the stalemate. Foch’s most recent French biographer, Jean-Christophe Notin, quipped that “his teachings at the École de Guerre did more to lead to defeat than prepare for victory.”

Marshal Ferdinand Foch. (Kongresna knjižnica)

There is some truth to this, especially with regard to his belief in aggressive infantry assaults despite the strong evidence that the firepower of modern weapons greatly favored the defense. However, Notin’s view undervalues the extent to which Foch revised his own ideas about conducting offensive operations. By 1916 he had, for example, embraced Marshal Philippe Pétain’s (1856–1951) mantra, le feu tue (fire kills), and became a devotee of the methodical use of heavy artillery. He also renounced the Clausewitzian search for a decisive battle in favor of an operational approach that consisted of hammering the front at multiple points and obtaining, through the aggregate effect of many limited victories, the desired strategic effect, namely breaking the enemy’s will to fight. Foch, however, never abandoned his faith in the offensive, which distinguished him from the cautious, defensively minded Pétain. If we expand our scope to include France’s greatest military tragedy, 1940, we see that the problem was not Foch’s influence but rather the lack of it. As both Robert Doughty and Michel Goya have noted, it was the longer-lived Pétain, and not Foch, who had the greatest influence over military thinking on the eve of World War II. More specifically, it was the dour Pétain’s interpretation of the lessons of World War I that encouraged the French army to shelter behind the Maginot Line and renounce offensive capabilities. In Doughty’s words, “one only has to read the minutes of the Superior Council of War’s meetings in the interwar years to weigh the different effects of the two men and to consider how different things could have been had Foch wielded the most influence.” After 1940, the parts of the French army that reassembled themselves under the Free French flag restored the connection to Foch, with thinkers like Gen. André Beaufre (1902–1975) serving as a bridge.

Clausewitz and the Romantic Critique of the Franco-Prussian War

It is true that at the heart of Foch’s thinking about war is a Romantic interpretation of “modern” warfare that owes a lot to Clausewitz as well as ambient French Romanticism, which encouraged rejection of materialist or positivist philosophies and valorized spirit and will. Foch was no partisan of the French Revolution’s social-democratic and anti-clerical agenda. On the contrary he was a conservative Catholic who lost his first teaching job at the École de Guerre as part of an anti-clerical purge, and he was almost certainly anti-Dreyfus. (France at the turn of the 20th century split over belief in the guilt or innocence of Dreyfus, who was Jewish, accused of leaking military secrets to the German government. The dividing line, however, reflected a cultural war, as Jews in post-1789 France served as a stand in for modernism, capitalism, positivism, and the republic to be anti-Dreyfus was to be some combination of anti-Semitic, anti-liberal, and anti-modern.)

“The traitor: Degradation of Alfred Dreyfus, in the Morland Court of the École Militaire in Paris,” Henri Meyer. (Slika ljubaznošću: Bibliothèque nationale de France)

But like many conservative Catholics he nonetheless saw in the revolution an important world-historical event, which he celebrated in his Principi as a triumph of the spirit. It was the birth of France as a nation, which he conceived of in terms of a spiritual community in a manner akin to the Romantic Johann Gottlieb Fichte, as opposed to the more rationalist and positivist Ernest Renan. The revolution was also, to borrow a late 20th-century term, a revolution in military affairs. The nation at arms, supercharged by spirit, swept aside the professional armies of the old monarchical regimes of the 18th century. Foch cited Clausewitz, who summed up matters in the following terms:

The French Revolution, through the force and the energy of its principles, through the enthusiasm to which it brought the people, threw the entire weight of the people and all its forces into the balance, where before only reduced arms and the limited revenues of the state had been felt.

Foch, like his peers, identified the root cause of France’s defeat in 1870 as a spiritual failing that translated into passivity and the lack of will to fight. Citing the conservative Catholic philosopher Joseph de Maistre, Foch wrote, “A lost battle is a battle one believes one has lost, for […] a battle is not materially lost.” For Foch, the opposite was also true: “A battle won is a battle in which one does not admit defeat.”

Wars for Foch were contests between wills the most obstinate wins. But they were also fundamentally about aggression. If you want to push your enemy back, “hit him, otherwise nothing is done, and to that end there is only one means: battle.” Foch, Clausewitz student that he was, declared the objective of battle to be destroying the enemy’s forces. “Modern warfare cannot understand arguments other than those that led to the destruction of the [enemy’s] army: the battle, the toppling by force.” With profound admiration he cited Clausewitz’s appreciation of Napoleon:

Bonaparte always marched straight to his goal without worrying about the enemy’s strategic plan. Knowing that everything depended on the tactical results and never doubting achieving them, he ceaselessly and always sought opportunities to fight.

The Principles of War

Notwithstanding Foch’s apparent endorsement of the “never mind maneuvers, always go straight at ‘em” approach so dear to Patrick O’Brian’s Jack Aubrey, Foch believed that strategy boiled down to maneuver. But the maneuvering had to be for the sake of setting up the decisive attack. This was an important distinction for him, given his condescending view of pre-1789 commanders, whom he compared to fencers who maneuvered to score points rather than kill. In contrast, Napoleon maneuvered to kill. Foch believed he could teach the art of maneuvering to kill by studying not formulae for victory but rather fundamental “principles of war” that he believed should guide commanders’ analysis of how to proceed. Foch’s catchphrase was said to have been “De quoi s’agit-il?” meaning “What’s it all about?” The idea is to think and adapt rather than do anything mechanically, an imperative that gave commanders full license, for example, to abandon the disastrous tactics of 1914 and try something else.

Contemporary French military treatments of Foch associate him with three principles, which probably are what most French officers would say if quizzed about Foch: economy of force, concentration of efforts, and liberty of action.

This is a distillation of Foch’s 1903 work, in which he identified several more and hinted at the existence of others. Foch was, it must be said, a poor writer, and his work invites simplification. What he actually wrote is this: economy of force, intellectual discipline, liberty of action, security, strategic surprise, and the decisive attack.

Let us review these principles briefly.

Economy of Force

Foch explained “economy of force” with what he said was a Latin aphorism that “one does not hunt two hares at the same time.” Elaborating on the idea, he defined economy of force as the “art of [dispersing one’s efforts] [ in a profitable manner, of getting the greatest possible benefit out of the resources one has.” One must also be mindful of the corollary principle, which Foch never in fact names but discusses at length: concentration of efforts. He explained:

The principle of economy of force, it is […] the art of spending all of one’s resources at a certain moment at a certain point of applying [to that point] all of one’s troops, and, for this to be possible, of keeping them always in communication with one another instead of compartmentalizing them or affecting them to a fixed and invariable destination then, once a result is obtained, to have them once again converge and act against a new unique objective.

This approach also held the secret to taking down a larger opponent: One only needs superior numbers at a specific point and can keep targeting points where one has the advantage. He cited Napoleon:

When, with fewer forces, I was in the presence of a large army that threatened to overwhelm mine, I fell like thunder on one of its wings and I knocked it over. I then profited from the disorder that this maneuver never failed to create in the enemy’s army, to attack another part, always with all of my force. I fought him piece by piece, and the victory that resulted, was always, as you see, the victory of the larger number over the smaller.

Scaled up to the operational level, this form of martelage (hammering) describes Foch’s approach to breaking the Germans after turning the tide in August 1918.

Intellectual Discipline and Liberty of Action

Foch argued for what later would be referred to by Americans as mission command, and, in the French army, the principle of “subsidiarity,” which boils down to the idea that an officer should communicate his general intent to his subordinate officers, but leave to them the authority and autonomy to figure out the best way to fulfill it. For this to work, commanders have to be capable of “active discipline” as compared to “passive obedience.” Foch saw this as essential for maintaining “liberty of action.” Otherwise, commanders too often would be incapable of fulfilling the will of their superiors because of the circumstances in which they find themselves, or because of the actions of the enemy. They also needed to have the discipline not to think they knew better, or to take it upon themselves to attempt to achieve an objective other than what had been communicated to them.

Just as when one walks through a dark house one extends one’s arm in front to guard against walking into obstacles, Foch wrote, an army must deploy a force ahead as well as to the sides and rear. The objective is to protect the major portion of the force, the gros, from being forced to react and thereby losing its liberty of action. One “constantly has to seek to create events, and not be subject to them.” If and when the avant-garde encounters an enemy force, it should be able to determine the nature of that force and thus the best response to it: Attack? Ignore? Block? The avant-garde needs to encounter the enemy far enough away to offer the gros time to react as the commander wishes. Any closer and the gros might be forced to react. Too far away and dispersed elements might not be able to concentrate, if desired.

Foch’s discussions of the avant-garde show the importance of his arguments about intellectual discipline. Detachment commanders needed to understand fully their role and how it contributed to the larger mission. Otherwise they risked straying too far, or too close, or mistaking their duty: resisting when they should maneuver or attacking when they should hold their ground. Foch himself made that mistake on Aug. 20, 1914, when he disobeyed orders and attacked German positions at Morhange, when he had been told to hold.

Strategic Surprise and Decisive Attack

Strategic surprise and decisive attack are closely related. Though Foch spoke of the need for decisive battles with language that evoked the physical destruction of the adversary’s armies, he was really interested in imposing upon the enemy a psychological effect that was analogous to the effect ideally brought about by a surprise: namely, a combination of terror and paralysis. You do not actually have to kill the enemy you do not even literally have to surprise them. You only have to make the enemy feel powerless in a way analogous to being surprised.

Foch envisioned a kind of warfare denoted by the term “battle-maneuver.” It combined his vision of striking at the right point with the principle of economy of force, and the idea of dividing up the forces to ensure that the gros is ready, in reserve, to provide the commander with a hammer to strike at the right place and right time. “In the battle-maneuver, the reserve is the mass prepared, organized, reserved and carefully maintained to execute the one act of the battle from which one expects a result, the decisive attack,” Foch wrote. His vision of “battle-maneuver” featured small units advancing under cover, protected by fires, supporting one another, and always working to preserve their liberty of action while denying it to the enemy, and organizing “…above all the [decisive] attack, with the rest becoming subordinate and only considered from the perspective of the advantage they would offer the attack.” The first rule, however, was to keep attacking. The worst thing to do would be doing nothing: “Of all mistakes one alone is infamous, inaction,” he repeated.

Foch at War

Using Elizabeth Greenhalgh’s masterful biography Foch in Command as our guide, we find that Foch, like World War I’s other successful commanders on both sides, adapted his methods over the course of the war as he learned to overcome its many tactical challenges (Michel Goya’s work on the French army from 1914 to 1918 also is highly instructive in this regard.) Foch backed away from the more enthusiastic arguments in Principi regarding offensive operations and especially his article of faith that modern weapons gave the attacker an advantage over the defender. Though, to be fair, elsewhere in Principi he acknowledges that because of modern weapons infantry could not attack as they had before. They had to eschew close formations and make use of all available cover their path, moreover, had to be prepared by artillery. The difference lay in his estimation of precisely how much firepower this required: As he himself came to realize in 1914 and 1915, he had been off by an order of magnitude at least. Meanwhile, in 1918 he made deft use of economy of force and concentration of force (thanks in large part to logistical capabilities that facilitated the quick movement of divisions by rail and truck up and down the front) to deny the Germans liberty of action. In the process he did not destroy the German army he convinced its commanders further resistance was futile.

Foch’s tomb at Les Invalides. (Photo by Guilhem Vellut)

Foch Today: Plus Ça Change?

Warfare obviously has changed a lot since 1918, not to speak of 1903, when Foch penned Principi. In the preface to the fifth edition, dated September 1918, Foch looked back on all the innovations he had witnessed. So much had changed. And yet, nothing had:

The fundamental truths that govern the [art of war] remain immutable, just as the principles of mechanics always govern architecture, regardless of whether one is building with wood, stone, iron, or reinforced concrete just as the principles of harmony govern music whatever the genre might be. It is therefore still necessary to establish the principles of war.

The French army is inclined to agree, by affirming Foch’s premise that there are in fact principles of war and continuing to enshrine Foch’s. It places Foch’s principles at the heart of its doctrine, or rather at the pinnacle of its “hierarchy of norms” as spelled out in the 2016 Future Land Action. More specifically, the French army today recognizes five principles of war. The first three are straight Foch: liberty of action, economy of means, and concentration of efforts. To these the French have added two more, reportedly derived from the 1992 book on strategy by Adm. Guy Labouérie (1933–2016). These are “uncertainty” and foudroyance.

Uncertainty quite simply is something one most go to great lengths to cultivate among one’s adversaries: uncertainty about what one is doing and going to do, where, when, and why. Foudroyance, derived from the word for thunder (foudre), means a sudden crippling shock. In truth, it amounts to a rephrasing of Foch’s principle of strategic surprise. To cite Labouérie (who mentions Foch but does not take up his principles specifically):

The principle of foudroyance has as its goal not destroying everything, which is without interest in any conflict, but breaking the rhythm or rhythms of the Other in its diverse activities, in such a way as to keep it from pulling itself together and to keep it a step behind the action.

To do that, one must strike at the right moment, at just the right place, where the effect would be to block the enemy’s attempt to retake the advantage or restore cohesion.

At the 2019 “Principles of War in 2035” conference, participants discussed whether or not new technologies, new forms of conflict, and new contextual realities (such as new political landscapes, the role of the media, and the much smaller size of most militaries) had changed or would in the foreseeable future change warfare so significantly as to make Foch finally useless. In essence, the answer was no, although participants agreed that commanders today and in the near future would have to change how they applied Foch’s principles. To some extent, the old terms mean different things or imply different courses of action. Liberty of action, for example, now requires access to information and protection of information networks. It also requires political legitimacy, especially since often it is public opinion at home that limits commanders’ choices and confines their liberty of action. Indeed, politics weighs far more heavily on military operations now than in Foch’s day. Also, modern forces are smaller and more likely to be dispersed to a far greater extent than Foch had in mind, giving new importance to economy of means and concentration of efforts. Information networks can facilitate both, though they will challenge command-and-control practices while also becoming a potential vulnerability (Gen. Guy Hubin’s 2003 Perspectives Tactiques stands in the French army as the most influential vision of how networked technology will affect ground operations). Concentration of efforts must also take into account the fact that more often than not military operations are conducted by coalitions. Conference-goers also suggested that recent evolutions oblige the adoption of new principles. Proposed examples include agility, comprehension, proportionality, and resilience. Similarly, French army doctrine itself evokes “legitimacy of action” and “reversibility of action.”

Beaufre perhaps said it best when he wrote that Foch’s principles have the advantage of being sufficiently abstract as to remain universally valid, though he complained that they were too abstract to have any practical application. Nonetheless his own work reflects a strong influence by Foch, and it seems that today the French army at least has inherited a measure of Foch’s aggressiveness. France’s 2013 intervention in Mali, for example, featured a rapid series of aggressive maneuvers that demonstrated a will to deny the enemy liberty of action and, in effect, cripple it through sheer relentlessness and speed. In that sense, the Mali war bore a remarkable resemblance to Foch’s vision of future combat in 1903 and the great counter-offensive of the autumn of 1918. Foch’s principles also make particular sense given the French army’s lack of resources, compared not just to the U.S. military but even the French army of Foch’s day. Economy of means when means are limited is not a thought exercise. Foch above all counseled fighting smart, and trying always to answer “de quoi s’agit-il?” even if this amounts to nothing more than the imperative to take a moment and think through what one is trying to achieve. This seems self-evident, but recent American military history suggests civilian and military leaders could benefit from the reminder.

Michael Shurkin is a senior political scientist at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation.


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