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 The Spring Offensive 1918

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Triceratops
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PostSubject: The Spring Offensive 1918   Wed 21 Mar 2018, 10:44

aka the Ludendorff Offensive. The ending of the fighting on the Eastern Front freed up German Divisions for transfer to the West.

The Germans used this boost in manpower to begin a series of attacks to try and win the war before the arrival of overwhelming numbers of US troops.
The offensive began on the 21st March 1918, with an attack against the British 5th Army on the Somme;



this was the junction of the British and French Armies, the Germans anticipated that the British would fall back towards the Channel Ports, while the French defended Paris, thus opening up a fatal gap in the Allied lines.
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PostSubject: Re: The Spring Offensive 1918   Wed 21 Mar 2018, 10:48

German A7V tank in the village of Roye, 21st March 1918:

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PostSubject: Re: The Spring Offensive 1918   Wed 21 Mar 2018, 10:53

Battle tactics as laid out by General von Hutier;
1.A short artillery bombardment, employing heavy shells mixed with numerous poison gas projectiles, to neutralize the enemy front lines, and not try to destroy them.
2.Under a creeping barrage, Stoßtruppen would then move forward, in dispersed order. They would avoid combat whenever possible, infiltrate the Allied defenses at previously identified weak points, and destroy or capture enemy headquarters and artillery strongpoints.
3.Next, infantry battalions with extra light machine guns, mortars and flamethrowers, would attack on narrow fronts against any Allied strongpoints the shock troops missed. Mortars and field guns would be in place to fire as needed to accelerate the breakthrough.
4.In the last stage of the assault, regular infantry would mop up any remaining Allied resistance.



The first phase of De Kaiserschlacht:



Last edited by Triceratops on Wed 21 Mar 2018, 12:01; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Spring Offensive 1918   Wed 21 Mar 2018, 11:40

The attack was preceded by a concentrated barrage, with extravagant use of gas and smoke shells on the forward British positions.

Minister of Munitions, Winston Churchill who was visiting the 9th (Scottish) Division an Nurlu that morning:
And then, exactly as a pianist runs his hands across the keyboard from treble to bass, there rose in less than one minute the most tremendous cannonade I shall ever hear...It swept round us in a wide curve of red leaping flame stretching to the north far along the front of the Third Army, as well as of the Fifth Army on the south, and quite unending in either direction...the enormous explosions of the shells upon our trenches seemed almost to touch each other, with hardly an interval in space or time...The weight and intensity of the bombardment surpassed anything which anyone had ever known before.
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PostSubject: Re: The Spring Offensive 1918   Wed 21 Mar 2018, 11:52

The German infantry assault was spearheaded by Stormtroopers, well equipped with grenades and often with sub-machine guns and flamethrowers. Their job, to infiltrate the shattered trench system and move forward as far and as fast as possible;

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PostSubject: Re: The Spring Offensive 1918   Wed 21 Mar 2018, 12:22

The Germans also made use of ground attack aircraft organised in Schlachtstaffeln, Battle flights, to support their infantry.


Halberstadt CL.II  preparing for a mission;

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PostSubject: Re: The Spring Offensive 1918   Wed 21 Mar 2018, 12:36

From the BBC's Great War series;

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PostSubject: Re: The Spring Offensive 1918   Thu 22 Mar 2018, 21:30

Triceratops,

I am quite interested in your thread. For the moment as it is a bit quiet on my thread about the Saxon Shore on the French history board, I come back to you as soon as possible.

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Spring Offensive 1918   Mon 26 Mar 2018, 22:03

@Triceratops wrote:
The Germans also made use of ground attack aircraft organised in Schlachtstaffeln, Battle flights, to support their infantry.


Halberstadt CL.II  preparing for a mission;



Triceratops; read now the whole thread inclusive the WWI films.

Start with this as the others comments are more elaborated Wink



From: 
https://www.reddit.com/r/TheGreatWarChannel/comments/7oxw3a/a_german_halberstadt_clii_schlachtflieger_battle/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halberstadt_CL.II


And it seems that it could be used in "close airsupport" in which the Germans were so excellent in WWII and the French not.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Spring Offensive 1918   Mon 26 Mar 2018, 22:53

@Triceratops wrote:
aka the Ludendorff Offensive. The ending of the fighting on the Eastern Front freed up German Divisions for transfer to the West.

The Germans used this boost in manpower to begin a series of attacks to try and win the war before the arrival of overwhelming numbers of US troops.
The offensive began on the 21st March 1918, with an attack against the British 5th Army on the Somme;



this was the junction of the British and French Armies, the Germans anticipated that the British would fall back towards the Channel Ports, while the French defended Paris, thus opening up a fatal gap in the Allied lines.


Some comments on the map.
To start with a small one: on the map Switzerland marked as neutral and not the Netherlands.
On the map the purple colour said: under the League of Nations, but in my opinion it was only the Saar, which was under the League of Nations? And the rest were occupation zones by the several allies? And the Ruhr under direct French and Belgian control? Will verify what is true.
And the orange colour: the only territory conquested by the allies during WWI.
And yes that was one of my arguments in the thread on the BBC messageboard in 2002: Was the treaty of Versailles too harsh? My first steps in English on the BBC history messageboard.
Especially Belgium devastated and the whole North of France, and the Germans thinking that it were they, who were mistreated. I agree parts of the treaty were humiliating and the war debt could have handles otherwise. But that is a thread apart.
Final remark: if you look at the frontline on the map, it was still the one from 1914.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Front_(World_War_I)#/media/File:Stabilization_of_Western_Front_WWI.PNG
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Front_(World_War_I)#/media/File:Western_Front_1917.jpg
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Front_(World_War_I)#/media/File:Western_front_1918_german.jpg


Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Spring Offensive 1918   Thu 29 Mar 2018, 22:46

Triceratops, sorry to start that late, but today change of old second hand car to new second hand car...and taht's quite a story..;not only removing  all the old stuff from the old one and selecting it for the new one...but nowadays such an amount of red paper too...

But back to our subject...when I watched your Great War BBC film I was struck by the Germans during the Spring offensive...upholdied for looting the apaling rich British foodstorage...I heard it before, from 1916 on, the time of the peace demand from the Germans, there was foodshortage both for the civilians as the army...due to the blockade from the allies...
Some sources in a hurry to expand further tomorrow...
https://everydaylivesinwar.herts.ac.uk/?p=435
Source:
https://everydaylivesinwar.herts.ac.uk/?page_id=125


https://www.rtbf.be/ww1/topics/detail_the-germans-and-food?id=8356037
Source:
The public French language TV: the RTBF

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Spring Offensive 1918   Fri 30 Mar 2018, 22:26

Sorry again Triceratops,

I wanted to make a summary today of the two articles I mentioned yesterday, but this evening preparing for a thread on Historum, about the relationship between the Church and Charlemagne. I will pretend that there were already earlier examples of the same phenomenon as Pepin the Short and pope Zachary and the help to the pope with the invasion of Italy against the Longobards (after some seeking I found out that in English they call them the Lombards (Longobardi) and the unction to King of Pepin...and all my time went to that...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Spring Offensive 1918   Sat 31 Mar 2018, 22:46

About the first link:
https://everydaylivesinwar.herts.ac.uk/?p=435


August 1916 the German wifes demand for peace due to the harsh food shortages and hard work.
It is perhaps a reason for the Peace demand on 14 December 1916?
https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/5544246


In 1914 1/3 import for food, fodder and fertilizers...
Men and horses away in the army...
The wifes have to work on the land, also some 900,000 prisoners of war on the land...
Due among others to the economic blockade of Germany food ration of summer 1917: 1000 calories per day, 40% less than the prewar...
It remembers me the stories of my parents about food in WWII...especially in the cities...
From 1917 onwards detoriation of health of the population. In four years the death rate from TBC rises with 91%. Typhoid doubled.


About the second link from the RTBF
https://www.rtbf.be/ww1/topics/detail_the-germans-and-food?id=8356037
From the link:
The poorest Belgians quickly come to rely on the aid provided by the United States of America to the CNSA (National Relief and Food Committee). But what about the Germans in Belgium, how are they eating? Are they also subject to the Belgian harvests and to their exorbitant prices? Or are their food supplies coming directly from Germany? At the end of the war, the German soldiers will be affected by the shortages as much as the Belgians. The situation in Germany is catastrophic, and civilians there are even closer to famine than in Belgium. No one can therefore help the German soldiers, who find themselves gradually affected by shortages just as much as the civilians. Just like civilians, the battalions posted to the countryside have easier access to food, and it is especially the troops in the cities that will have the most trouble finding any. They can nevertheless rely on force in order to oblige vendors to comply with the imposed prices, which civilians cannot do. But this technique has its limits and, quite quickly, when they attempt to buy anything at a reasonable price, they're told that the storerooms are empty…

Things don't get any better, and 1918 is worse yet. In January, in an effort to reestablish balance between the men who can count on support from their families in Germany and the others, meat is no longer distributed but rather sold, and each man's salary is increased. A soldier's daily pay allows him to buy a maximum of 60 g of meat. In April, the end of the postal service brings equal hunger to everyone. The lack of grease is being felt more and more, and the distributed soup no longer manages to fill stomachs.
In September 1918, the situation becomes even more difficult. The daily rations now include no more than 500 g of bread. Butter, meat, cheese and honey can no longer be purchased.
Given this flagrant deterioration in the living conditions of German soldiers, no one is surprised to see popular uprisings first in Germany, which is overwhelmed by hunger even more than in the trenches, and then in the occupied territories. In case anyone thinks that civilians are the victims of an occupation army that is keeping all the food for itself, such an idea must be discarded. The men in the units are in the same dire straits as the Belgians, and while the German defeat can be explained by many reasons, the growing shortage of food is doubtlessly one of the most significant.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Spring Offensive 1918   Sun 01 Apr 2018, 21:48

Triceratops,

I spoke about Germany's isolation in 1916



From:
https://www.vox.com/a/world-war-i-maps


As I see it: The Germans had only access to the sea on the small 40 km occupied Belgian coast and at their coast at Helgoland. The rest was nearly closed at the Skagerak and between the heel of Italy and Albania. And via Bulgaria and Turkey the whole Mediterranean was hostile and closed at Gibraltar...
Thus the only way to escape that situation was to seek to destabilize Russia via the sending of the Bolshevic Lenin to counteract the Menshevic revolutionary Russia of Kerensky, what ultimately succeeded. And as Lenin promised he made peace with Germany. (Had Kerensky done it?). So the German troops at the Eastern front were free to move to the West for the Spring Offensive, but as it was too far changed with the help of the Americans and as mentioned by my above articles about the health and food situation, Germany seems to have be doomed.

See also:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Atlas_of_World_War_I


Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Spring Offensive 1918   Sat 07 Apr 2018, 23:18

Since two days I wanted to add some support to the strangling of the German economy and food supply by the blockade of the Allies. They had only fully supply via the Belgian coast and the German coast in front of Helgoland if I understood it well. And it was also a start for their U-boats, as for instance from Ostend and Zeebruges. The Allies tried to block these ports with the Vindictive in Ostend and the Zeebrugge raid. As I understood it they both failed...
As we have in the coming days a British princess in Zeebruges to commemorate the 100th anniversary...
As it is past midnight overhere again I give first the entries to comment them tomorrow...
https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/world-war-i-german-submarine-wreck-found-off-belgium-1752527
http://www.forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl/wiki/index.php/Flandern_U-boat_bases

I wanted also to discuss in this thread the entrance of the US in WWI.
http://www.eastsussexww1.org.uk/american-soldiers-arrive-france/
Source:
http://www.eastsussexww1.org.uk/about/


http://www.rochester.edu/newscenter/looking-back-100-years-u-s-enters-world-war-i-on-april-6-1917/
Source:
http://www.rochester.edu/aboutus/


Kind regards, Paul.
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