|Born||December 11, 1863|
|Died||26 January 1948(aged 84)|
|Place of birth||Berlin|
|Place of death||Garmisch-Partenkirchen|
|Service/branch||Imperial German Army|
|Years of service||1885–1919|
|Battles/wars||World War I|
|Awards||Pour le Merite|
Georg Bruchmüller (December 11, 1863 – January 26, 1948), nicknamed Durchbruchmüller, was a German artillery officer who had great influence in the development of modern artillery tactics. His nickname Durchbruchmüller is a combination of the German word durchbruch ('breakthrough') with his name.
Early life[edit | edit source]
Bruchmüller was born in Berlin into a middle-class family and joined the Imperial Army in 1885. He started his career at in the foot artillery (Fußartillerie), the branch of the German Army armed with heavier guns, howitzers and mortars, designed principally for siege warfare, but which also had a role in mobile and static warfare in the field.
In 1897 and 1898, Bruchmüller served as a battery commander in Fußartillerie-Regiment Nr. 3 in Mainz.
In 1901 and 1902, Bruchmüller served as a battery commander in the Lehr-Bataillon [Demonstration Battalion] of the Royal Prussian Fußartillerie-Schießschule [Foot Artillery Firing School] in Jüterbog. During this time, he worked with one of the instructors at the Fußartillerie-Schießschule, Hauptmann Arthur Bilse, a heavy artillery specialist who rose to general officer rank during the First World War and, while serving as General der Fußartillerie 15, was killed in action on New Year's Day of 1916 at Les Baraques, France.
Bruchmüller retired from active duty after a riding accident.
World War I[edit | edit source]
At the beginning of World War I he was reactivated and became artillery commander of the 86. Infantry Division at the Eastern Front. Bruchmüller developed techniques to support attacks with a sudden concentration of accurate fire instead of prolonged preparatory bombardments. In the spring of 1916 he convinced the chief of staff of the Tenth Army to adopt this method of concentration for a major attack at Tarnopol, and the effect in supporting the rapid advance of the infantry was impressive.
Bruchmüller's technique emphasized fire in depth throughout the enemy positions. His support included an accurate creeping barrage, the Feuerwalze, for the advancing infantry.
Bruchmüller developed several techniques to achieve disruption, which required strict control of all artillery assets. Each battery of each type of weapon received specific fire missions with specific timetables. He organized it in three stages of delivery of fire. The first consisted of surprise, concentration, hitting headquarters, phone links, command posts, enemy batteries, and infantry positions. The fire was sudden, concentrated, and made extensive use of gas. The second stage required that the other batteries reinforced those batteries already firing on enemy batteries. The third stage asked for fire for effect on designated targets according to range. Some batteries continued to shell infantry positions, heavy pieces engaged long range targets.
To achieve maximum disruptive effect on the enemy, surprise was essential. Thus, the Germans concealed their attack preparations very carefully and their initial target data had to be very accurate. Bruchmüller rose in position in the east, commanding the artillery of von Hutier's Eighth Army at Riga in September 1917. When his unit was transferred to the west in late 1917, Bruchmüller arrived in time to participate in the Cambrai counterattack.
Post-war life[edit | edit source]
He was not selected for the post-war Reichswehr and retired in 1919 holding the rank of colonel. He had been awarded the Pour le Merite, Germany's highest military award in 1917, being one of only four senior artillery officers to receive this honour.
He died at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1948.
References[edit | edit source]
- Preußen. Armee. Vollständige Dienstaltersliste der Offiziere der Königlich Preussischen Armee und des XIII. (Königl. Württ.) Armeekorps mit Angabe d. Datums d. Patente zu den früheren Dienstgraden. Burg: Verlag von August Hopfer, 1898.
- Preußen. Kriegsministerium. Geheime Kriegs-Kanzlei. Rangliste der Königlich Preußischen Armee und des XIII. (Königlich Württembergischen) Armeekorps für 1902. Mit den Dienstalterlisten der Generale und Stabsoffiziere und einem Anhange enthaltend das Reichsmilitärgericht, die Ostasiatische Besatzungs-Brigade, die Marine-Infanterie, die Kaiserlichen Schutztruppen und die Gendarmerie-Brigade in Elsaß-Lothringen. Nach dem Stande vom 1. Juni 1902. Auf Befehl Seiner Majestät des Kaisers und Königs. Berlin: Ernst Siegfried Mittler und Sohn, 1902.
Further reading[edit | edit source]
- Hans Linnenkohl: Vom Einzelschuss zur Feuerwalze, Bernard & Graefe, Koblenz 1990, ISBN 3-7637-5866-6. (in German)
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