1. List: Greatest Defeat in Modern Military History
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    This exhibition is titled 'Greatest Defeat in Modern Military History' and is focused on the Battle of Tannenberg in East Prussia. It was fought between Russia and Germany and lasted from the 26th to the 30th of August 1914 . It showcases what many military historians consider to be one of the most decisive defeats in modern history which will be illustrated with the help of the items in the exhibition. These items and the exhibition complement each other to give a comprehensive record of the composition of the armies, their tactics in the battle and the eventual conclusion.

    6 items
    created by: Ibbo86 on 2018-04-04 12:19:39.0
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  1. Web page: Russian Cossacks during WW1
    http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-first-world-war-russian-imperial-cavalry-1914-90830007.html
    Web page
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    2018-04-11 00:05:18.0

    It was the early days of the First World War and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his generals had decided to send the Russian 1st and 2nd Armies into East Prussia in an offensive against the Germans. The two Russian armies numbered nearly a quarter of a million men and even contained the famous Cossacks, pictured here, within their ranks. Their forces were somewhat antiquated however, consisting mostly of peasants and lacking sophisticated communications and transportation. The German 8th Army which occupied East Prussia was smaller than that of the Russians totalling approximately 150,000. Despite this the German army was professional, well trained and well equipped, having superior weapons and artillery than that of the Russians.

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  2. Web page: Prussian P4 train
    http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-german-troops-travelling-by-train-to-the-eastern-front-first-world-28802247.html
    Web page
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    2018-04-10 23:46:06.0

    In warfare, it is often stressed that mobility is the key to a successful engagement. Making their way into German occupied East Prussia required logistical efforts that were beyond that of the Russians. They relied heavily on horses and outdated rail systems that halted their advance. The Germans on the other hand, had advanced rail and engines, such as the Prussian P4 which allowed their forces on the Eastern front to move quite fluidly. This mobility allowed the Germans to manoeuvre around the Russian 2nd Army and cut them off, providing the coup de grâce of the battle.

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  3. Web page: Map showing positions during the battle
    http://www.dhm.de/datenbank/dhm.php?seite=5&fld_0=20052104
    Web page
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    2018-04-10 23:41:25.0

    When the Russians began to move, they sent the 1st Army to cross the border in the north of East Prussia, towards the capital of Königsberg to draw the German defenders towards them. Four days later the 2nd Army would move up into an area near Tannenberg to the south and was planning to strike at Königsberg and cut off the German 8th Army. This was not to be. Instead the Russian 2nd Army halted in the woods south of Allenstein. Capitalising on unencoded radio communications from Russian General Pavel Rennenkampf declaring 1st Army would not proceed east for fears of heavy German resistance, the bulk of the German forces travelled south westerly to come behind the Russian 2nd Army and encircle them.

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  4. Web page: Russian barbed wire
    https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/-/JgHb_PywPIdEww
    Web page
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    2018-04-10 23:53:49.0

    The battlefield itself was heavily wooded. The commander of 2nd Army, Alexander Samsonov, was primarily a cavalryman and unfamiliar with fighting in forests. This, coupled with their unpreparedness and inferior equipment such as artillery, allowed for a German advantage. In an attempt to bolster their defences they hastily constructed fields of barbed wire, but to no avail. It has been reported that Samsonov was “absolutely clueless”. With poor communications, even relying on messages that were delivered on foot, it led to a lack of battlefield awareness and a stunning defeat.

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  5. Web page: Russians fleeing
    http://www.dhm.de/datenbank/dhm.php?seite=5&fld_0=95000548
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    2018-04-10 22:06:03.0

    With the defeat, the Russians attempted to retreat from their positions but discovered that they were surrounded. During the routing many Russians were killed while trying to break through the German lines. With the near destruction of his army and the humiliation that went with it, Samsonov and his staff began to withdraw but were constantly set upon by German troops, which forced Samsonov’s personal Cossack cavalry detachment to charge the enemy in which they were destroyed. Samsonov and his officers were forced to abandon their horses and continue on foot lost in the woods at night. During a brief respite Samsonov walked off into the woods and shot himself.

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  6. Web page: Victory telegram
    https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/telegramm-hindenburgs-an-den-kaiser-nach-dem-sieg-bei-tannenberg/zwEdf_yiRJYDeQ
    Web page
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    2018-04-10 22:06:36.0

    Following the battle, the German Empire’s perception of the victory would lead to efforts in recreating the results in future battles. Paul von Hindenburg and his righthand man Erich Ludendorff, who had commanded the battle, were immortalised in minds of their fellow countrymen. However, the significance that the German generals placed upon the tactics used and subsequent victory may have been misdirected. These efforts to use sweeping tactics and manoeuvres in the Western front proved futile and may have contributed to the German’s ultimate loss of the Great War.

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