Charles LanrezacCharles Lanrezac

Life: 1852-1925
Birth Place: Pointe-à-Pitre, France
Historical Role: General
Titles: General
Primary countries affected: France
Secondary countries affected: Germany
Events: Franco-Prussian War, First World War


Charles Lanrezac was born in 1852, in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadaloupe a territory of France. He studied at the Ecole Speciale militaire de Saint-Cyr. He served in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. He would eventually teach at the French War College and he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General in 1906.

At the start of the First World War, he was put in command of the French Fifth Army. Lanrezac was very critical of Joffre's Plan XVII, because Joffre had ignored the possibility that Germany could invade through Belgium. When the French realized that the Germans were indeed coming through Belgium it was up to Lanrezac's Fifth Army to slow them down. Although his defence was unsuccessful, because of the overwhelming number of Germans opposing him he did manage to slow them down somewhat, and thanks to a counter-attack he led, he altered the German plan forcing them abandon their planned wide sweep of Paris, this proved disastrous for the Germans who were thus unable to obtain a quick victory against France. Despite his actions he was replaced after this and didn't see further action during the war, Joffre chose to replace him because of his criticism towards his Plan XVII, even though Lanrezac's views proved to be right, Joffre also saw him as a defeatist. He died in 1925.

Thoughts & Comments




Tucker, S (1996). The European Powers in the First World War. New York: Garland Publishing Inc. p.427.