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100 Years On – Second Marne

On July 15, 1918, the German Army in France began its final offensive of the war.  In two major pushes against British, American, and French forces, the Germans were able to establish a bridgehead across the Marne, but met stiff resistance by Allied defenders.

Combined Allied action, including the use of tanks, bombers, and several fresh American divisions, stopped the German offense.  Both sides had learned lessons in the years of fighting.  French defenses in the first hours of the attack were arrayed so that their soldiers were not open to German bombardment in the front lines.  In the counterattack, the Allies were able to coordinate their plans and movements in a concerted effort to throw the Germans back.

By early August, the Germans were pushed back across the Marne and back to their original positions.  This action was followed by the final Allied offensives of the war, which saw the Germans begin to slowly lose the territory they had held since 1914.

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2 Comments

  1. OldNFO

     /  July 17, 2018

    Lower casualties than before, but still WAY too many.

    • I guess it depends on how you look at it. Basically, by this time, the French and Germans had found the most efficient and effective way to do a frontal assault on a dug-in enemy. They’d also learned how best to defend against those tactics. Technology and tactics hadn’t progressed to where we could envelop a fixed position from the air, and the trenches had no flanks. I’d be interested to see what how the casualties for these later WWI battles compare with WWII and Korea battles fought under similar circumstances

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