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17 As strong as their new bond was with their comrades-in-arms, moreover, artillerymen had neither forgotten the disgrace of 1866 nor overlooked their vast potential for an even greater performance in a future war. Interservice harmony seemed likely to deteriorate once again. After 1871, in fact, the artillerists could present a strong case for investing heavily in them. In observing the Franco-Prussian War, the other Great Powers concluded that Prussia’s rifled-steel, breechloading field gun had pushed the smooth-bore muzzle-loader made from bronze into obsolescence.

They began to convert, therefore, to newer, state-of-the-art models. Worn out from heavy firing in eastern France, Germany’s arsenal of 4- and 6-pounders needed replace- queen of the battlefield 31 ment in any event. It was obvious, therefore, that the new gun had to be a superior artillery piece. More than two years of debates and tests resulted in the so-called C-73 cannon. Its 88-mm caliber was just slightly less than that of the old 6-pounder (90 mm), but improved gunpowder and a reinforced barrel nearly doubled the maximum range to 7,000 meters.

In his anxious, troubled mind it was only logical that Germany should launch a preemptive strike without delay. Waldersee wanted to shift Germany’s strategic emphasis from east to west. Only 6 German corps would assist the Austrian Army in a decisive winter offensive into Poland. Then, when the French attempted to exploit the eastern campaign with an invasion of the Rhineland, Germany’s remaining 12 corps would repel the enemy’s 18 corps and crush them with a brutal counteroffensive. 11 Waldersee had calculated that Germany would win because of its unmatched combination of high intelligence and superior tech- between persistence and change 47 nology.

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Mwf046 - Frederic 1er Barberousse 1123-1190


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