IWW in 3 Minutes, GEOGRAPHY

Sometimes you just have to wonder. is it a big secret? everyone seems to look at trench maps, campaign maps. and sometimes an atlas. yet they remain an open secret. Hidden in plain sight they explain so much. It is all in the geography, where things be they countries or ports explains why.
Take a few brief examples from the first world war. imperial Germany is in the heart of Europe. Germany gets its food from the east-the Ukraine was the bread basket of Europe. France in the west, and by sea which is basically the north. the south is virtually blocked by mountains. so what does that tell us? it tells us that Imperial Germany can not win a long war on two fronts. The Germans would quite simply starve to death. They have to plan for short sharp wars. Quick swift victories, lightning wars, or as it became known in World War Two, Blitzkrieg. Withstand the attack and turn a short war into a long one, a war of attrition and Germany will be defeated. it is a simple case of numbers. Germany surrounded is always out numbered. The kill ratio is stacked against it. The surrounding nations can sustain higher casualties. On a one to one kill ratio germany will run out of men first. Add to that a dwindling food supply and you get the only viable basis for any German War plan. They have no option but to try and knock their opponents out of the war quickly. The surrounding nations however can survive a long war.
So did Germany have a plan for a short war? On paper yes, it is well known. It was of course the Schlieffen Plan. Eighteen years of preparation. Detailed mobilisation plans, timetables, numbers of divisions everything. This was Germany’s ultimate flowering of Clausewitz’s War is an extension of politics by other means. Apart from its inflexibility the Schlieffen Plan had another flaw. It was a paper plan. In the eighteen years it took in its evolution did no one in the German High Command ever look at a map? It is physically impossible to get the number of divisions needed for the plan to be successful in the geographical space known as Belgium. They cam close, but they got no cigar. Success would have to wait for another war.
Now a quick look at two ports on the south coast of England. Folkestone and Southampton. Folkestone was a small port with a thriving cross channel ferry trade. small cross channel ships. The size of the ships was restricted because Folkestone has a shallow harbour. It is the reason that cross channel ferries no longer dock there. Big ships just can not dock there. Folkestone, like most ports only has a “High Tide” the tide comes in then the tide goes out. A typical small English harbour. Southampton however is very different. Southampton is a deep water harbour. Very large ships can, do, and did dock there. So do many other ports. Portsmouth would also fit that description. So why was Southampton the main British Army port of embarkation? what made Southampton the port of choice? Geography did. The port was close enough to France for a short crossing, yet far enough away to provide significant natural protection from U-boats. Its partner port in France le Havre was safely away from the frontline and not in immediate danger of being over run. There was also another reason geography had made Southampton unique. Not only did Southampton have a high tide, but because of its location the port has a “Secondary” tide, in effect a double high tide. Twice the number of sailings on the tide are possible from Southampton than from any other port. A deep, large harbour, and double the number of sailings made and kept Southampton as the main port for the British Army in IWW. Geography, the untaught part of history.


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