Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Battle of the Marne

Time: September 5, 1914
Place: Marne River, France

The Germans attacked through Belgium and then down through France. The Kaiser said the boys would be home by Christmas. It was to be another war-winning, shattering offensive like just 40 years ago in 1870. And now, the Germans were on the outskirts of Paris.

Attrition and withdrawels to the Eastern Front had thinned the German spearhead. To solidify his front, the German commander ordered his army group to wheel south, in order to trap the French army defending the border with Germany.

The French commander saw a chance. As the Germans drove south, he could hit the Germans from the west.

The British commander is opposed. His army had been too mangled in the fighting and he wanted to retreat to the Channel ports. The French appealed to London. The reluctant British commander was ordered to cooperate. To make this work, the French needed every man they could get. The French Paris garrison had to climb aboard taxi cabs to make it into position.

Then the Germans got a copy of the French plan. The General wheeled his army to meet the French.

The French General tells his staff, "Gentlemen, we will fight on the Marne."

Pictured: German 17 mm. naval gun in action at the Marne. (CC)Deutsches Bundesarchiv‎.

More information: Summary, Chronology.