. . . . . . The idea of an attack on these many strong positions would
have to be approached with scepticism. An attack from the northwest against
the flanks near Mézières, Rethel, La Fère and across
the Oise, directed against the rear of the position, seems to be more
promising than a frontal attack including encirclement of the left flank.
In order to achieve
this, the Franco-Belgian border on the left bank of the Meuse with its
fortified positions – Mézières, Hirson, Maubeuge,
3 small defensive forts, Lille and Dunkirk – must be overcome. This
necessitates violating the neutrality of Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.
of Luxembourg's neutrality will have no significant consequences other
than protests. The Netherlands, no less than Germany, regard an England
allied with France as an enemy. An agreement could be reached with them.
Belgium will probably
resist. In the event of a German advance north of the Meuse, its army,
according to plan, will retreat to Antwerp and will have to be contained
there – where possible also in the north by means of closing off
the Scheldt, in order to sever the connection to the sea and England.
Observation will suffice for Liège and Namur, where only a weak
military presence is intended. Huy Citadel can be taken or rendered ineffective.
If the Germans
advance under cover against Antwerp, Liège and Namur, they will
face a fortified border, which is, however, not as extensively fortified
as the border that is directed against Germany [i.e. the French border].
If the French want to defend it, they will need to transfer army corps
and armies from the original front to the threatened front and bring in
inactive reserves – for example, the corps from the border in the