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Lossberg's War: The World War I Memoirs of a German Chief of Staff , by Frtiz von Lossberg, translated and edited by David T. Zabecki and Dieter J. Biedekarken

Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2017. Pp. xxvi, 446. Illus., maps, appends., notes, indices. $65.00. ISBN: 0813169801.

A German Staff Officer’s War

General der Infanterie Fritz von Lossberg (1868-1942) was perhaps the ablest staff officer in the German Army during the Great War, becoming chief-of-staff of an army while still a colonel, and going on to head the staffs of several armies and army groups . His 1939 memoir of the war, translated into English for the first time by American soldier-scholars Zabecki and Biedekarken.

In this work, von Lossberg throws considerable light on the workings of the general staff during the war, the value of which is enhanced by notes and commentary added by the translators, since much military terminology had changed since the Great War and many people, actions, and events once more or less well known are today largely forgotten. The general gives us the Germans side of the major actions in which he played a role, notably the Battle of the Frontiers and the Aisne in 1914, Champagne in 1915, the Somme and Verdun in 1916, Arras and Passchendaele in 1917, and the German spring offensives and the relentless Allied counter offensive in 1918 that led to the Armistice.

In his career, von Lossberg developed many new tactics that made him a master of defensive warfare. As he discusses these actions, Lossberg gives us insights into some of the more unusual aspects of the German staff system, so we see the unusual power staff officers could exercise over more senior commanders under certain circumstances and the remarkable frankness with which they would communicate with their superiors. Lossberg often includes blunt commentary on the skills of many senior officers, as well as on Germany’s allies and enemies, and the overall conduct of the war.

A volume in the University of Kentucky’s “Foreign Military Studies” series, Lossberg’s War is an essential work for anyone seriously studying military operations during World War I or for those interested in the Germany Army and staff system.

 

 
Note: Lossberg’s War is also available as an e-pub, 978-0-8131-6982-8, and in several other e-editions.

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Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   


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