Max Hoffmann was the unsung hero who devised the brilliant German battle plan to crush the invading Russians in East Prussia in the opening weeks of the Great War. Two huge Russian armies, led by Generals Samsonov and Rennenkampf, who were divided by mutual hatred as well as space – invaded the ancient German lands much earlier than expected and found themselves up against weak opposition, with most German troops on the western front. After defeating the Germans under von Prittwitz at Gumbinnen it seemed that nothing could stop the Germans. It was then that Hoffmann, a Russian specialist, devised his plan to encircle and defeat the two Russian armies piecemeal after they outreached themselves and overstretched their supplies and communications. When Hindenburg and Ludendorff arrived to take charge, all they had to do was implement Hoffmann’s plan – and gain the huge credit for the subsequent crushing victories at Tannenburg and the Masurian Lakes. Prussia was saved, and the Russians never recovered from the blow. Hoffmann remained on the Eastern Front and in these fascinating memoirs tells the full story of this forgotten war, a German triumph, from the victories of 1914 down to the Russian revolution and the peace treaty of Brest-Litovsk. These memoirs betray Hoffmnn’s justified bitterness over the fact that Hindenburg and Ludendorff had got the credit for the victory which he had devised.
WAR OF LOST OPPORTUNITIES The Forgotten Eastern Front In WW1
War memoirs of Max Hoffmann, the brilliant German staff officer who devised the plan to encircle and crush the invading Russian armies at Tannnburg and the Masurian Lakes in Prussia in 1914. Betrays Hoffmann’s bitterness that Ludendorff and Hindenburg got the credit for his victory. A few years after the war, when touring the field at Tannenburg, Hoffmann told a group of army cadets “See – this is where Hindenburg slept before the battle, this is where Hindenburg slept after the battle, and this is where Hindenburg slept during the battle.”