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THE OFFENSIVE OF MAY 1918

At the beginning of 1918, the Germans tried to take advantage of their numerical superiority with a series of offensives on the French front before the Americans’ arrival.

 

That’s how on 27th May, an attack meticulously prepared was launched on the Chemin des Dames. But in reality it was only a manoeuvre of diversion (Scheinangriff) to keep the French in that particular area before launching a decisive offensive against the British who were based in Flanders .

 

The 7th German army commanded by General Von Boehn gathered more than 40 divisions on thirty or so kilometres of a front defended by only 8 French divisions from the 6th French army and 3 divisions from the 9th Corps of the British Army that had just arrived to a sector renowned for being calm, after serious and heavy fights in the Somme.
Launched in the middle of the night, at 1am, a flood of fire fallen by gas explosions destroyed the British and French first lines.
From 3.40 am, the Germans’ assault troops went over the Ailette.
At 5 am, the Germans got the control of the hills of the plateau of the Chemin des Dames.
From 10 am, they reached the Aisne River , which bridges weren’t destroyed, and then the Vesle River .

The offensive started back on the 28th towards Soissons where the Germans penetrated in the evening.
In 48 hours, they made headway something like 16-20 kilometres and the commander decided to exploit the breakthrough.

Three days later, the German troops arrived to Château-Thierry, on the Marne River and at 70 kilomteres of Paris , like in September 1914.


The regiments who have participated at this Battle 

           
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