As usual I probably wasn’t clear. The question I’m posing is does the author take into account the doctrinal methods of 1889 or is he entirely rooted in the 1906 doctrine as he was in his book on the Ardennes?
I agree with your initial statement and I believe the picture clearly shows a sample not of a 1906 movement to contact but rather an 1889 movement to contact that was conducted in 1913. I disagree in general with the ambling over that hill thought in that I believe that every movement of troops is conducted in theoretical accordance with doctrine. “Ambling over the hill” I would expect to be conducted in March column.
I interpreted this picture as what is entitled “Vormarsch zum Gefecht” in the 1906 regulation but really is strung out like the 1889 model. This is very easily a formation that could have bumped into the BEF. My mind calls this “movement to contact”. As there was strong disagreement and incremental discussions between the 1889 model and the 1906 model it is not clear to me that either was entirely adhered to. Was it all firepower oriented or was there still a sense of shock action? However, the author in his last book I think really missed the mark on page 19 when he described the 1906 regulation. I tried to explain earlier that the doctrine had to be understood as a developmental process. Yet, I do not think he did that in his last book as he clearly states “the new regulations fostered a required individual initiative and thought. The skirmish line became standard in combat.” Both Auftragstaktik and the skirmish line were clearly major parts of the 1889 manual and the subject of much of the debate. Yet previously this was not covered. In a nutshell, the 1906 manual was an iteration of the 1889 manual rather than something entirely new. That is why I say that appendix D. of the Handbook does a better job explaining the development, of course I am biased. I found a disconnect with the author starting at 1906 and expecting that this was widely accepted and practiced. Maybe it should have been.
If this interpretation ignores the 1889 model I am wondering if the new book does the same?
Ah, I see--we're on the same sheet of music now. I'd want to spend some more time analysing that picture--I think there is a lot to be learned from breaking it down. Just at quick glance the "blobs" seem to be about platoon strength (?).
I agree with you 100% on the developmental process of the regulations. The 1906 regulations would be in modern software parlance version 1.X of those from 1889.
This is an interesting and important topic, but it is complex as we're discussing something almost 100 years removed and from a completely different standpoint in that most of us are not career infantry officers.
My opinion is that there was a still a sense of shock action in the 1906 regulations. Units were slowly pushed forward to win fire superiority and when the line had approached to say between 250-400 meters (and won fire superiority-something in itself hard to judege) the reinforced line assaulted.
The point about debate is well made. These things were hotly debated, and the debate intensified after the Boer War and then again after The Russo-Japanese War. The article I mentioned in my last post gives a few examples from the Russo-Japanese war, and it makes it pretty clear that an attack not well executed could be a blood bath. The debate is important to remember--if German military experts were as divided as it appears from the debates, we have to be careful about thinking we are better positioned to represent any type of consensus.
Regulations were not always followed--sometimes they weren't followed at all. I'm writing up a section now for my research of the German fortress warfare regulations before and during the war. The local commanders completely threw what was written out and conducted the fortress attacks of 1914 in a manner that had been suggested and debated outside the regulations since the 1880's. The regulations were based on the Japanese experiences in attacking Port Arthur, but these were totally rejected by the troops in the field. This is interesting in that it shows the degree of innovation and flexibility that was possible.
"Attitudes are stronger than regulations." I love that quote.