By Ray Rimell
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Extra resources for Albatros fighters
Germany’s wartime reorganisation was directed by the War Ministry, and this caused initial confusion, as the regional Army Corps districts, which formed the administrative units of wartime Germany, did not correspond with the civilian local government regions of pre-war Germany. Consequently, overlapping jurisdictions and the duplication of personnel and function resulted in chaos, exacerbated, at least initially, by the plethora of central agencies created to co-ordinate aspects of the war economy.
In May, Albert Thomas was recalled from active service and appointed UnderSecretary of State for Artillery and Munitions (later Minister for Armaments). He established sub-committees co-ordinating specific areas of armaments production, including shells and explosives, and worked closely with French industry which had, in the meantime, organised itself for war. Meanwhile Britain suffered serious shortages of shells during 1914–15. Despite the passage of DORA in August 1914, the economic demands of war were at first met through a market economy, with the government as customer dispensing lucrative contracts to private industry.
There the Germans dug in, deciding to wait for the Allies to bring the war to them, as the current military technology of machine gun, barbed wire and heavy artillery favoured a defensive approach. Meanwhile the unexpectedly swift invasion of East Prussia by the Russians had diverted two German divisions from the west at a vital moment, but left the Russian forces divided and over-stretched. General Hindenburg was brought out of retirement and, with his able quarter-master general, Eric Ludendorff, managed to inflict crushing defeats on the two Russian armies in East Prussia at Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes.
Albatros fighters by Ray Rimell