Battle Of jutland
After the outbreak of World War One, the British navy tried to tempt the German navy to come into the North Sea for a major battle. Admiral Hugo von Pohl, the commander of the German High Seas Fleet, resisted these temptations, but in February 1916, he was replaced by Admiral Reinhardt von Scheer, who was much more aggressive. In May 1916 Scheer decided that he would attack the British Navy. He would send a decoy as bait and then send 40 ships to attack. At the same time, Admiral Beatty and 52 ships were on their way to join Admiral Jellicoe and the British grand fleet. The British fleets fought off the Germans. Admiral Scheer recognized he was losing and ordered his ships to retreat north. The British didn’t follow them, but instead went a different route and intercepted the German fleet again. They fought and the Germans retreated again.
Battle of verdun
In December 1915, General Erich von Falkenhayn, Chief of Staff of the German Army, decided to attack Verdun, France. The Germans attacked Verdun on February 21, 1916. A million troops, led by Crown Prince Wilhelm, faced only about 200,000 French defenders. The following day the French were forced to retreat to their second line of trenches. By February 24, the French had moved back to the third line and were only 8km from Verdun. The same day, General Henri-Philippe Petain was appointed commander of the Verdun sector. He ordered that no more withdrawals would take place. Of the 330 infantry regiments of the French Army, 259 eventually fought at Verdun. The German advance was delayed at the end of February. On the 6th of March, the German Fifth Army launched a new attack on Verdun. The Germans advanced 3km before they were stopped again in front of the area around Mort Homme Hill. The French seized this strategic point until it was finally secured by the Germans on May 29, and Fort Vaux fell on June 7th, after a long siege. The French recaptured both forts. The Battle of Verdun ended on December 18th and was the longest battle during World War one.
Battle of Tannenburg
On the outbreak of the First World War, General Alexander Samsanov was given command of the Russian Second Army for the invasion of East Prussia. He slowly advanced on the south western province, hoping to link up with General Paul von Rennenkampf and advancing from the north east. General Maximilian Prittwitz, the general of the German Eight Army, was dismissed for ordering a retreat when faced with the Russian army. General Paul von Hindenburg and General Erich Ludendorff were sent forward to meet Samsanov's advancing troops. They fought on August 24, 1914 and for six days the Russian had a few successes. However, by August 29, Samsanov’s army was fully surrounded. He attempted to retreat but he couldn’t, and most of his troops were slaughtered or captured. Only 10,000 of the 150,000 Russian soldiers managed to escape. Shocked by the disastrous outcome of the battle, Samsanov committed suicide. In Britain, all news of the Russian defeat at Tannenberg was kept from the public.
Battle of isonzo
General Luigi Cadorna
“By the spring of 1915 the chief of staff of the Italian Army, General Luigi Cadorna, had 25 infantry and 4 cavalry divisions. Grouped into four arms, Cadorna only had 120 heavy or medium artillery pieces and 700 machine guns.” Despite the artillery shortage, Cadorna launched attacks on Austria-Hungary in June 1915. The defending army quickly dug trenches and the Italian army suffered many casualties. Although Cadorna had a numerically superior force, massed infantry assaults without the back-up of enough artillery pieces, he was unlikely to succeed against machine-guns. By the time the attacks were called off that winter, Italian casualties had reached 300,000. Cadorna also lost 3,000 field guns which reduced his chances of carrying out a successful offensive during the next few months.