German analysis of the war



At the outbreak of the Balkan War, approximately two dozen German officers were attached to the Turkish Army. Among there were some prominent artillery specialist, like colonel Edgar Posseldt, who from 1909 supervised the heavy artillery units, and lt. col. P. Tupschoewski, who was in charge of the field artillery’s gunnery school. In addition several German field grade officers were stationed in various garrisons as commander of the so called model regiment. Among them there was the field artillery lt.col. Klaus von Anderten at Salonika. Finally there were also quite a few German subalterns in the Turkish Army, who had private contracts, that is, they had moved to Turkey on their own, usually after encountering difficulties during their service in Germany. The most important of them was cpt. Lehmann, a retired officer, who had been a battery commander in a West Prussian field artillery regiment, and who was asked to strengthen the fortification of the Chataldzha line.

As soon the hostlities began, virtually all the German officers volunteered to serve at the front, but most of them were not accepted. To avoid to contravene the international rules, anyone whishing to serve at the front would to sever all ties with Germany. In spite of these restrictions, several German officers could serve at the front during the opening phases of the war, being often employed within the staff of Turkish armies, corps or divisions.

At the end of the war, any of these officers told their experiences and the considerations about the development of the military operations in a series of books and articles, where the causes of the Turkish defeat were accurately investigated.


No German military observer was present either in Serbia and in Montenegro during the Balkan wars, while two officers, cpt. Cunze and maj. Gerold von Gleich, followed the military operations of the Greek Army in Epirus, sending very useful reports to Berlin. In Bulgaria, a highly experienced general staff officer, maj. Ewald von Massow, who should be the German Army plenipotentiary in Bulgaria also during World War I, was attached to the General Headquarters on 17 October 1912. He had been the German military attaché in Romania from May 1908 to October 1910 and knew Bulgaria very well, since until May 1914, to save money Germany had only one attaché for Bucharest, Belgrade and Sofia. In spite of the hostility of the Bulgarian high command, he was able to collect a lot of information about the Bulgarian military operations, keeping Berlin aware of the development of the war in Thrace.

The main result of the great work did by the militaries involved into the war was a detailed analysis of the military operations in the Thracian theatre published in 1914 by the Great Headquartes, Der Balkankrieg 1912/13. This book contained not only an account of the war between Bulgaria and Turkey, but also a 19 pages long analysis of the conduction of the combats and the effectiveness of the different weapons. This text was regarded as so authoritative, that it was immediately translated into Bulgarian, becoming the subject of interesting remarks by the Bulgarian military press.




All the dates in this page are according the western – Gregorian – calendar.