Sicherungsstellung Nord
 - The WW1 German Northern Front in the Southern Jutland, Denmark. 1916-1920.


www.Fortress-scandinavia.dk
Forts and Defence Lines in Scandinavia


 The Author of this Site
 

 The Background
 
 The Landscape 
 
 Building the Position
 
 The Infantry and Trenches
 
 The Light Batteries
 
 The Heavy Batteries
 
 The Camps
 
 POW´s and other Prisoners
 
 Other Facilities
 
 Other Batteries
 
 The Remainings
 
 To the Start
 


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 The Background of the Defence Line

 The background was Denmarks everlasting evil spirit - our strategic place as the cork in the Baltic Sea.  A place we have used to
 our benefit, but also a place that have brought us between the big countries in Europe again and again. Sweden, Germany,
 England and latest the Warsaw Pact had the need for access to the North Sea.
 In this actual period Denmark was interesting for England, because the narrow straits with mines could prevent the German Baltic
 Fleet from leaving the Baltic Sea. Germany was interested in preventing England form invading the Baltic Sea or attack through
 Jutland from the north. Therefore Germany was interested that Denmark remained neutral, with an army big enough to defend the
 neutrality. Denmark knew that, and mobilised the biggest Danish army ever at the outbreak of WW1.
 57.000 men were enlisted, of which the 40.000 were placed around Copenhagen in case of a German attack.

 The Situation in the Baltic Sea.
 
 Admiral von Tirpitz tried at the beginning of the 20th. Century to build a navy so big and powerful, that  Germany for the first time
 ever, would become an important naval power.  



                             
                               Alfred von Tirpitz
 
WW1, Sicherungsstellung Nord, German stronghold in Denmark. German High Sea Fleet on Parade
                               The German High Sea Fleet on parade

 Already in the autumn of 1904, this balance was twisted.  The Russian Vladivostok-fleet from the north was destroyed during the
 Russian- Japanese war, and the Russian Baltic Fleet was sent to take over. This fleet had to go south of India, but no states were
 interested to help them - except one. German HAPAG coal carriers delivered more than willingly coal to the Fleet in open waters.
 And thereby Germany helped the unpleasant Fleet to move further and further from home waters - and the German Baltic Fleet. 
 The Russian Baltic Fleet was totally destroyed by the Fleet of Admiral Togo in the battle at the the Tshushima-strait in 1905.

 The naval balance in the Baltic Sea was now twisted totally, and Germany now was the most important naval power in the region.
 So powerful, that England increased the power of the Home Fleet, and seriously discussed a preventive naval attack on the
 Imperial German Navy.
 Along with the English-French Entente, Germany felt they have been left alone in the colonial race, and the new status as a naval
 power should be used. France was making some progresses in the Marocco, and during this the German Kaiser Vilhelm made
 a rather clumsy visit to Tanger in Marocco on a battleship.

  WW1, Sicherungsstellung Nord, German stronghold in Denmark. Churchill and Kaiser Wilhelm
  Churchill and Kaiser Wilhelm II
               before the war

 By France considered as a open challenge.
 During this crisis, the French Foreign Minister Delcassé got a promise, possibly by the English king
 personally, according
 the landing of 100.000 English soldiers in  Aalbæk Bugt and Esbjerg in Jutland in case
 of a war between France and Germany.
 This promise was revealed by the angry, now former foreign minister,   Delcassé in the French
 newspaper Matin in 1906.
 At the time, Kaiser Vilhelm talked about Delcassé as “the most dangerous man for Germany in France”.

  WW1, Sicherungsstellung Nord, German stronghold in Denmark. Theophile Delcassé
Théophile Delcassé

 The promise the English King had made Delcassé chocked both the German Army and the politicians as well, and English lan-
 ding in Esbjerg was included in the German plans the next twenty years. 
 This is confirmed in the so called Lütken talks.
 L.C.F. Lütken, at the time a Captain in the army and close to the
Danish Prime Minister, was of the opinion that  Danish neutrality
 
could only be obtained if Denmark cooperated with Germany in closing the open German flank in the north. (Jutland)
 On his own initiative, he visited the German Chief of Staff, General Molkte in 1906, and from Lütkens memories we know, that
 Molkte again and again returned to an English landing in Esbjerg.
 We don’t know if Lütken was sent secretly by the Prime Minister, but it is interesting that General Molkte would waste time and
 concern on a Danish Army Captain
, but it seams there have been some family realtions.  
 It is also interesting, that at the political defence deal in 1909, more resources were used in Jutland than in Eastern Denmark
 (where the capitol was situated
).

 In Southern Jutland, that became German after the second Danish-Prussian War in 1864, a lot of major drills were held. A lot of
 the soldiers lived during these drills in private homes, at they told everywhere to their Danish hosts about 100.000 English troops
 coming from Esbjerg.
 These Drills were in general held, where the Defence Line Sicherungstellung Nord later was placed.
 
 In 1909 some articles occurred in the major German Newspapers as the Vossische Zeitung and the Berliner Tageblatt about the
 vitality of a defence of the west coast of Southern Jutland and Esbjerg. During the years 1905-09 there were several English naval
 visits in Esbjerg, which without any doubt confirmed the German fear of an English landing.
 
 All ready in the initial strategic planning prior to WW1, the campaign plan from the German General Staff mentions:
 
"To secure Slesvig-Holstein and the Kaiser Vilhelm Channel the following units will, on the 8-11 day of the mobilisation, start moving. The North
 Army composed of IX. Reserve corps and 4. "gemischten" Landwehr  brigade under the command of Höherer Landwehrkommandeur 1..."  
 
 However, all available forces were needed on the Western Front, and IX Reserve Corps was moved  here.  The responsibility of
 the Defence Line in Jutland was left over to the Landwehr and the Landsturm.
 
 The German military situation is bad in 1916, when Hindenburg takes over the position of chief of the German General staff, with
 Ludendorff as his nearest assistant. (Erster Generalquartiermeister)
.

                                         WW1, Sicherungsstellung Nord, German stronghold in Denmark. Paul von Hindenburg
                                         Paul von Hindenburg
  WW1, Sicherungsstellung Nord, German stronghold in Denmark. Erich Ludendorff
    Erich Ludendorff

 Before the unrestricted submarine warfare was declared, the generals Hindenburg and Ludendorff  had some conditions to be
 fulfilled. They feared the Submarine War could bring The Netherlands and  Denmark into the war against Germany, because of
 their great naval and commercial interests. Therefore they demanded that the Northern Flank was effectively secured before
 Submarine War was declared.

  WW1, Sicherungsstellung Nord, German stronghold in Denmark. Hindenburg and Ludendorff  Hindenburg and
 Ludendorff

 Ludendorff in his memories:
 It was only with the deepest regrets, we could not recommend the unconditional Submarine Warfare. In the opinion  of the  Reichskansler it
 could eventually mean war with The Netherlands and Denmark. To protect ourselves
against these two nations, we didn’t have a one man
 available. They would be able to invade Germany with their armies, even not used to war, at give us the final stroke.
 

 The Danish mobilisation force from 1914 was decreased from 57.000 men in 1914 to 33.000 men in 1916  and the plans were
 overall defensive, expecting a German attack.
 The preferred plan was a fighting withdrawal towards a defence line at the Limfjord
 in Northern Jutland.
 This plan could hardly treathen neither Berlin nor Germany.
 But the two German made a treat of the Danish defence, and demanded the Defence Line. Maybe they never really forgot the
 English promise from 1905 ?
 
 The first time the Defence Line is actually mentioned, is an letter from the OKK, Oberkommando der
Küstenverteidigung,  (The
 High Command of the Coastal Defence) to the Hochseekommando (the  Command of the High See Fleet) 2. sep. 1916, where a
 position situated as the later Defence Line is prepared. According to this, the Defence Line had already been prepared, when the
 Admiral Staff sep.16th 1916 receives a telegram from Ludendorff ordering them to establish a "Stellung in Gerippe" (a prepared
 and partly finished) positions following the line Hoptrup - Toftlund – Skærbæk.
 
 Sep. 18th 1916 reports General Malachowski from OKK, that the construction of a position between Genner Fjord and the island
 of Römö
 already was started. There were only 5 landsturmbattailone at the Danish boarder (Kongeåen), but two divisions were
 being formed, ready to march to the German-Danish boarder.
 On September 1916, the General Command of the 9. Army Corps is ordered to establish the defence Line Sicherungstellung Nord
 according to the plans that has been ready for a long time.
 On September 10th and 17th the first Pioneer units arrive to the Southern Jutland.  

 To day we know that in case of an attack form the Netherlands, two German Army Group Commands and 9½ infantry division
 were held in reserve.
 In case of a Danish attack, the German army would remain in the defensive. For this purpose one
 German General Command, 2 Division Staffs and 6 mixed (gemischte) brigades were in reserve.
 
 Which forces that should have been sent to the Defence Line are still not known?
 IX. Reserve Corps is a possibility according to the first plan, unless they were occupied on the western Front.
 It is only a guess, but it unthinkable that
the Landsturm and the Landwehr should defend the Northern Front without forces
 
trained in combat.