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STRATEGIC MOVEMENT BY RAIL IN 1914. By Major F. During. Infantry.
TRANSPORTATION PROBLEM AT THE OUTBREAK OF WAR.
For a Continental power the outbreak of war involves three principal categories of military movement:
(b) The establishment of covering forces on the frontier.
(c) The strategic concentration.
It is important, however, to remember that during the days immediately prior to and following a declaration of war, other movements is taking place:
(d) The maintenance traffic of the armies during mobilization, and concentration (small in comparison with other movements).
(e) Civil traffic, which cannot be entirely suspended; and the evacuation of refugees and material from frontier districts exposed to invasion constitutes a special problem.
(f) Technical movement, i.e., movement in order to place the technical service itself upon a war footing.
THE GERMAN CONCENTRATION.
Till 1913 alternative plans of concentration East or West were worked out in detail, but from that date a major concentration was envisaged only on the Western Front. Four periods may be distinguished during the critical days of July and August, 1914:
(1) Up to 12:00 noon, 31 July, preliminary measures were .quietly taken as political tension developed into the certainty of war.
(2) From the "war imminent" warning order issued at that hour to the order for general mobilization at 5:00 PM, 1 August, measures of security and preparations for war were openly pushed.
(3) The mobilization period till 6 August.
(4) The strategic concentration during 6-7 August.
By 1914 Germany, like other European powers, had developed an organization for coordinating military requirements with technical possibilities. The Chief of the General Staff was in close touch with the Imperial Railway Bureau, the central organ of the civil railway administration. The galvanic body was, however, the Railway Section of the General Staff, the personnel of which was drawn from the most intelligent stratum of staff officers-and commonly regarded as approaching lunacy! The head of the Railway Section was responsible for the coordination of all measures of preparation for war, e.g., new strategic construction, mobilization and concentration programs, and arrangements for assuming control of the civil railway system. The collection of technical information and the work of movement plans devolved largely upon "Line Commissions comprising one military and one technical member with a mixed office staff!. Of these commissions there were twenty-six in Germany, with their headquarters at important railway centers and their spheres of action corresponding generally to the operating divisions of the State railway system.
During the war control was centralized at General Headquarters, the head of the Railway Section becoming Director of Railways under the Quartermaster General. His duty as Chef des Feldeisenbahnwesens was to coordinate all transportation resources for war purposes, and his sphere of authority embraced all railways of military importance without exception, both at home and in the theater of operations. The Line Commissions (Linienkommandanturen), supplemented later by additional appointments in occupied territory, now assumed responsability for the technical execution of military requirements under instructions from the Director of Railways, who was also represented by liaison officers (Bahnbeauftragte) from his Section, acting as technical advisers at all Army and Line of Communications Headquarters. For the repair, equipment, and working of lines in occupied territory the rector of Railways had at his disposal operating and construction companies amounting in all to over 30,000 men.
Source: Abstracts - Foreign Articles. RML Nº 58. Sep 1935.
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Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.