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British troops in Picardy 1918Download nowEnlargeShow similar images

Title: British troops in Picardy 1918

Description: British troops at an advance post in Picardy during the massive German advance launched by General Erich Ludendorff (Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff; April 9, 1865-December 20, 1937) on March 21, 1918, in what became five successive offenses against the Allies, called the Second Battle of the Somme (AKA: 1918 Battle of the Somme; Second Battle of Picardy; Operation Michael; March 21, 1918-April 4, 1918); with the Eastern Front becoming dormant following a peace negotiated between Germany and now communist Russia, more than one million seasoned German troops were released from that area and Ludendorff moved them as reserves to the Western Front, planning to drive a wedge between the French and British armies and to attempt to drive the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) into the sea, all before enough troops from the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), then pouring into France, could be effectively used against the Germans on the Western Front; following a bombardment of 6,000 German guns and a heavy gas attack, Ludendorff unleashed seventy-one German divisions making up the Second German Army commanded by General Georg von der Marwitz (Johannes Georg von der Marwitz; July 7, 1856-October 27, 1929), the Seventeenth German Army led by General Otto von Below (January 18, 1857-March 15, 1944), and the Eighteenth German Army under General Oskar von Hutier (August 27, 1857-December 5, 1934), these armies driving westward along a 50-mile front south of Arras, which was held by British forces commanded by Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig (1st Earl Haig; June 19, 1861-January 29, 1928); on March 21, 1918, the fifteen British divisions commanded by General Hubert Gough (Sir Hubert de la Poer Gough; August 12, 1870-March 18, 1963) rapidly gave ground, and, the following day, March 22, 1918, Gough ordered a general retreat behind the Somme River, an order that would cause his replacement by General Sir Henry Rawlinson (Henry Seymour Rawlinson; AKA: Baron Rawlinson; February 20, 1864-March 28, 1925), and left exposed the right flank of the British Third Army commanded by General Sir Julian Byng (1st Viscount Byng of Vimy; Julian Hedworth George Byng; September 11, 1862-June 6, 1935), which forced Byng to also retreat; Ludendorff's German armies swallowed up fourteen miles of Allied territory in four days before Ludendorff fed more German divisions to the south against French and British forces led by French General (later field marshal) Emile Fayolle (Marie Emile Fayolle; May 15, 1858-August 27, 1928), Hutier driving back this force and capturing the French town of Montdidier on March 27, 1918; exhaustion and lack of supplies, however, slowed the German momentum and the Ludendorff offensive came to a halt on April 4, 1918, after the Germans had gained almost forty miles of territory and almost succeeded in driving the British forces into the sea; the German offensive was the last great German victory of the war where Germans took more than 70,000 prisoners, captured 1,100 guns and inflicted 160,000 casualties against the Allied forces, but at a great cost of almost equal numbers to themselves; the desperate Allies made French Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch (October 2, 1851-March 20, 1929), who had been retired after the mismanaged French offensive on the Somme in 1916, chief coordinated of Allied troops on the Western Front during the battle, and, on April 14, 1918, he became the actual commander-in-chief of all Allied armies in France, including the newly arrived American Expeditionary Force (AEF);

Category: World War I

Keywords: battlefields, battlegrounds, British soldiers, British troops, First World War, The Great War, trenches, rifles, War to End All Wars, World War I, WWI.

Orientation: Landscape

Dimensions: 2400 x 1384 (3.32 MPixels) (1.73)

Print Size: 20.3 x 11.7 cm; 8.0 x 4.6 inches

File Size: 9.51 MB (9,976,098 Bytes)

Resolution: 300 x 300 dpi

Color Depth: 16.7 million (24 BitsPerPixel)

Compression: None

Image Number: 0000048291

Source: Jay Robert Nash Collection

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