FANDOM


Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff (Born 9 April 1865) was a German general, the victor of the Battle of Liège and the Battle of Tannenberg. From August 1916, his appointment as Quartermaster general (Erster Generalquartiermeister) made him the leader (along with Paul von Hindenburg) of the German war efforts during the Weltkrieg. In the years following the peace with honour Ludendorff was considered the de-facto dictator of Germany until his arrest and resignation following the Osthilfeskandal in 1923.

Erich Ludendorff
Ludendorff

Full Name Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff
Titles Erster Generalquartiermeister (retired)
Born 9 April 1865
Status Alive
Allegiance Flag-GER German Empire


History

Pre-Weltkrieg

Ludendorff was born on 9 April 1865 in Kruszewnia near Posen, Province of Posen, Kingdom of Prussia, the third of six children of August Wilhelm Ludendorff (1833–1905). He had a stable and comfortable childhood, growing up on his families' small farm, and enrolling in the Hauptkadettenschule near Berlin in 1882.

In 1885, Ludendorff was commissioned as a subaltern into the 57th Infantry Regiment, then at Wesel. He rose rapidly and was a senior staff officer at the headquarters of V Corps from 1902 to 1904. Next he joined the Great General Staff in Berlin, which was commanded by Alfred von Schlieffen, and lobbied vigorously for an expansion of the military in 1913, shrugging off informal restrictions regarding the involvement of military personnel in politics.

Early Weltkrieg

At the outbreak of war in the summer of 1914 Ludendorff was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff to the German Second Army under General Karl von Bülow. His assignment largely due to his previous work investigating defenses of Liège, Belgium. At the beginning of the Battle of Liège Ludendorff was an observer with the 14th Brigade, which was to infiltrate the city at night and secure the bridges before they could be destroyed. The brigade commander was killed on 5 August, so Ludendorff led the successful assault to occupy the city and its citadel. In the following days, two of the forts guarding the city were taken by desperate frontal infantry attacks, while the remaining forts were smashed by huge Krupp 42-cm and Austro-Hungarian Skoda 30-cm howitzers. By 16 August, all the forts around Liège had fallen, allowing the German First Army to advance. As the victor of Liège, Ludendorff was awarded Germany's highest military decoration for gallantry, the Pour le Mérite, presented by Kaiser Wilhelm II himself on 22 August.

Eastern Front

German mobilization earmarked a single army, the Eighth, to defend their eastern frontier. Two Russian armies invaded East Prussia earlier than expected, the Eighth Army commanders panicked and were fired by OHL, Oberste Heeresleitung, German Supreme Headquarters. OHL assigned Ludendorff as the new chief of staff, while the War Cabinet chose a retired general, Paul von Hindenburg, as commander. They first met on their private train heading east. They agreed that they must annihilate the nearest Russian army before they tackled the second. On arrival, they discovered that General Max Hoffmann had already shifted much of the 8th Army by rail to the south to do just that, in an amazing feat of logistical planning. Nine days later the Eighth Army surrounded most of a Russian army at Tannenberg, taking 92,000 prisoners in one of the great victories in German history. Twice during the battle Ludendorff wanted to break off, fearing that the second Russian army was about to strike their rear, but Hindenburg held firm.

Then they turned on the second invading army in the Battle of the Masurian Lakes; it fled with heavy losses to escape encirclement. During the rest of 1914, commanding an Army Group, they staved off the projected invasion of German Silesia by dexterously moving their outnumbered forces into Russian Poland, fighting the battle of the Vistula River, which ended with a brilliantly executed withdrawal during which they destroyed the Polish railway lines and bridges needed for an invasion. When the Russians had repaired most of the damage the Germans struck their flank in the battle of Łódź, where they almost surrounded another Russian Army. Masters of surprise and deft maneuver, they argued that if properly reinforced they could trap the entire Russian army in Poland. During the winter of 1914-15 they lobbied passionately for this strategy, but were rebuffed by OHL

Early in 1915 they surprised the Russian army that still held a toehold in East Prussia by attacking in a snowstorm and surrounding it in the Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes. OHL then transferred Ludendorff, but Hindenburg’s personal plea to the Kaiser reunited them. Erich von Falkenhayn, supreme commander at OHL, came east to attack the flank of the Romanian army that was pushing through the Carpathian passes towards Hungary. Employing overwhelming artillery, the Germans and Austro-Hungarians broke through the line between Gorlice and Tarnów and kept pushing until the Russians were driven out of most of Galicia, the Austro-Hungarian southern part of partitioned Poland. During this advance Falkenhayn rejected schemes to try to cut off the Russians in Poland, preferring direct frontal attacks. Outgunned, during the summer of 1915 the Russian commander Grand Duke Nicholas shortened his lines by withdrawing from most of Poland, destroying railroads, bridges, and many buildings while driving 743,000 Poles, 350,000 Jews, 300,000 Lithuanians and 250,000 Latvians into Russia.

During the winter of 1915-1916 Ludendorff's headquarters was in Kaunas. They occupied present-day Lithuania, western Latvia, and north eastern Poland, an area almost the size of France. Ludendorff demanded Germanization of the conquered territories and far going annexations, offering land to German settlers. Far reaching plans envisioned Courland and Lithuania turned into border states ruled by German military governor commander answerable only to German Emperor. He proposed massive annexations and colonisation in Eastern Europe in the event of the victory of the German Reich, and was one of the main supporters of Polish Border Strip.

On 16 March 1916 the Russians, now with adequate supplies of cannons and shells, attacked parts of the new German defenses, intending to penetrate at two points and then to pocket the defenders. They attacked almost daily until the end of the month, but the Lake Naroch Offensive failed, “choked in swamp and blood”, The Russians did better attacking the Austro-Hungarians in the south. The Brusilov Offensive cracked their lines with surprise hurricane bombardments followed by well-schooled assault troops probing for weak spots. The breakthrough was finally stemmed by Austro-Hungarian troops recalled from Italy stiffened with German advisers and reserves. In July Russian attacks on the Germans in the north were beaten back. On 27 July 1916 Hindenburg was given command of all troops on the Eastern Front from the Baltic to Brody in the Ukraine. They visited their new command on a special train, and then set up headquarters in Brest Litovsk. By August 1916 their front was holding everywhere.

Generalquartiermeister

Input here.

Dictator

Input here.

Later Life

Input here.

See also

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.