Oh, do be quiet
You might also consider adding Philippe Pétain to your list, although the decision to defend Verdun was perhaps questionable. The French had lost 315,000 French and pretty much the city by the end of attack and the Germans only 282,000 men but then again they had failed to break the Western Front.
Pétain was very good at looking after his men and was able to rebuild the moral of the French army after the mutinies in 1917, but he seems to have been average in the field- he didn't seem to cope very well with teh Ludendorff Offensives, panicing and wanting to withdraw his forces after the hammering Fifth Army recieved. It is likely the French army would have done just that had Foch not been quickly appointed Generalismo.
BTW, only? That's nearly a 1:1 kill ratio, both sides gave each other a good thwacking.
If Joffre had had his way they would have let the Germans had it, which would have freed up an awful lot of soldiers for the Somme, which in turn might have made the battle come out differently... (Ilphi shuts up before he ventures into dangerous alternate-timeline thoughts)
Hmmm, hard to say- Verdun was a symbol of French resistance and the French would not give it up. This was the reason that Falkenhayn decided to launch his attack there. As to changing the Somme- overall, probably not. By their nature, battles on the Western Front in WW1 were mostly bloody, undecisive affairs. Major advances only occured after armies began to feel the strain of attrition. OTOH, if the bulk of troops had been experienced French forces rather than the inexperienced Kitcherner the initial phases of the battle would probably have gone better for the Entente. As with all things what if, it's hard to say.
Oh, I do enjoy a good thread drift.
Edited by Talkie Toaster, 17 February 2003 - 01:20 AM.
Blessed is the mind too small for doubt.