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27-05-2015, 03:42

Eastern Clashes - Tannenberg and Serbia

In accord with llic demands of the Schliclfcn Plan, the Western front had seen the main initial concentration of German forces. While Moltke's armies expected to overwhelm France in six weeks, Austria-Hungary and East Prussia would have to bear the brunt of the Russian attack. Conrad, Austria’s chief of the general staff, commented that he hoped Moltke would not leave him too long ‘in a nasty mess’.

In the east each power seemed bent on taking the offensive. For Conrad in particular, the offensive was a veritable obsession. .Austria expected to remove the Serbian thorn from her side in about two weeks; A'ienna was not unduly worried over dealing with a ‘kingdom of pig-breeders’. Certainly the Serbian campaign was expected to be finished before the Russians hacked their way through Galicia. However, when put into action, the. Austrian plans bogged down. In addition, because Russian mobilization was swifter than had been expected, Conrad had to transfer troops from the Serbian front to face the more formidable foe.

Because the Serbian capital, Belgrade, lay along the frontier with. Austria-Hungary, the Serbs half expected the first Austrian attack in this direction. Elaborate defensive preparations were made, and even before the outbreak of war, the government and the royal court were evacuated inland. .As it hap])ened, however, the Austrian war plan called for attack from the west and northwest. The intention was to create a movement of enxelopment which would strike a deathblow at the heart of the enemy.