restricted access Shoulder to Shoulder: Close Control and "Old Prussian Drill" in German Offensive Infantry Tactics, 1871-1914

This article argues that a conservative ideology held by German officers, both aristocratic and middle class, led the army to retain costly tactical and training methods. Officers' close control of men massed them in formations vulnerable to modern firepower, and repetitive "old Prussian drill" to force discipline led to rigid tactical execution. These methods survived both the Prussian reform of 1806-15 and the reasoned and needed tactical reforms undertaken in the 1860s and persisted into World War I. Only post-World War I reform of the Reichswehr by the renamed General Staff created tactical independence for the individual soldier.