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BATTLES OF WORLD WAR I. TRENCH WARFARE. BATTLE OF THE MARNE. The 1st Battle of Marne - The First World War - Sept 1914 Germans continued their push towards Paris. This was part of the Schlieffen Plan

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battle of the marne
  • The 1st Battle of Marne - The First World War - Sept 1914
  • Germans continued their push towards Paris. This was part of the Schlieffen Plan
  • British and French troops retreated to positions south of the Seine and Marne rivers. French 6th Army launched a counter attack.
  • French managed to save Paris. (Reinforcements were sent in taxi's from Paris.)
battle of the marne6
  • Around 600 taxis used to transport 6,000 French troops to battle.
  • Over 2 million troops fought in First Battle of the Marne.
  • First Battle of Ypres was last major battle of the first year (1914)
  • This battle marked the end of the Race to the Sea where Germans tried to reach French ports of Calais and Dunkirk, which were the main supply routes for the British Expeditionary Force.
  • Germans called the battle "The Massacre of the Innocents" (German "Kindermord").
  • Many of German units consisted of enthusiastic students. Their offensive had been stopped by a British force, which although outnumbered was highly professional having learned many lessons from the Boer War.
  • The BEF was effectively destroyed at First Ypres but bought the British valuable time to reinforce the lines
ypres x3
  • The Battle of Ypres includes three battles. They were fought in Ypres, Belgium.
  • The town of Ypres was always under attack from the Germans because it was a key point in keeping them from the English Channel.
  • "They shall not pass." -Philippe Pétain
  • fought between Feb and Dec 1916.
  • resulted in nearly one million deaths and an additional 450,000 wounded and missing.
  • one of longest and bloodiest battles in history.
  • Douaumont Ossuary (remains of 130,000 unknown soldiers) and National cemetery (15,000 graves of identified French soldiers).
  • Germany captured a centre of France's fortifications -Fort Douaumont but could not capture Verdun itself.
  • Germans assaulted French forces with massive artillery barrage and then advanced on French trenches using flamethrowers for the first time.
verdun aftermath
  • apparent successes of fixed fortification system (with the exception of Fort Douaumont) led to adoption of the Maginot Line as preferred method of defense along the Franco-German border during the inter-war years.
  • France's army was plagued not with desertions, but rather with a general refusal to march face-first into the teeth of Germany's impregnable positions.
  • France's troops remained in their trenches, willing to fight only in a defensive capacity.
battle of the somme
  • 1916- Battle of the Somme was one of the largest battles, with more than one million casualties. The British and French forces attempted to break through the German lines along a 25 mile (40 km) front north and south of the River Somme in northern France. One purpose of the battle was to draw German forces away from the battle of Verdun; however, by its end the losses on the Somme had exceeded those at Verdun
battle of the somme14
  • The battle is best remembered for its first day, 1 July 1916, on which the British suffered 57,470 casualties of which 19,240 were killed or died of wounds. It remains the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army.
battle of the somme movie
  • For the first time the home front in Britain was exposed to the horrors of modern war with the release of the propaganda film, The Battle of the Somme which used actual footage from the first days of the battle.
  • The film spanned five reels and lasted 63 minutes . It was first screened on 10 August, 1916, while the battle was still raging.
  • On 21 August the film began showing simultaneously in 34 London cinemas.
somme movie cont
  • film was screened for British soldiers at rest in France where it provided new recruits with some idea of what they were about to face. Soldier's main complaint was failure of film to capture sounds of battle. However, as a silent film, the titles could be remarkably forthright, describing images of injury and death.
  • film was shown to British public as a morale booster and was favourably received. British public's response to film was enormous with an estimated 20 million tickets being sold in two months. On this basis, The Battle of the Somme remains one of the most successful British films ever.
  • Battle of Passchendaele, otherwise known as Third Battle of Ypres, fought by British, ANZAC, & Canadian soldiers against German army near Ypres
  • village is now known as Passendale, the term Passchendaele alone is now used to refer to this battle. The label "Passchendaele" should properly apply only to battle's later actions in Oct–Nov 1917, but has come to be applied also to the entire campaign from July 31. After three months of fierce fighting, the Canadians took Passchendaele on Nov 6, 1917, ending the battle.
  • "...I died in Hell
  • (they called it Passchendaele) my wound was slight
  • and I was hobbling back; and then a shell
  • burst slick upon the duckboards; so I fell
  • into the bottomless mud, and lost the light"
    • -- Siegfried Sassoon
vimy ridge
  • seminal event in Canadian history
  • Vimy, located in northern France, was one of most heavily defended points on Western Front and was thought to be impregnable.
  • Germans fortified it with tunnels, 3 rows of trenches behind barbed wire, and numerous machine gun nests. French and British had suffered thousands of casualties in previous attempts to take Ridge; the French alone lost 150 000 men at Vimy in 1915. The ridge was a crucial point that allowed Germans to control much of surrounding territory.
  • Canadians determined to learn from mistakes of French and British and spent months planning their attack.
  • Built a replica of the Ridge behind own lines, and trained using platoon-level tactics, including issuing detailed maps to ordinary soldiers rather than officers or NCOs alone.
  • Each platoon given a specific task by commanding officers, rather than vague instructions from an absent general.
  • employed older techniques such as detonation of large mines under German trenches.
vimy ridge20
  • On April 2, 1917, the Canadians launched largest artillery barrage in history up to that point. They shelled the German trenches for the next week, using over one million shells. The attack was loud enough that it could be heard in London.
  • Easter Monday, April 9, the 30 000-strong Canadians began the attack, using a creeping barrage, a new technique whereby soldiers walked across No-Man's Land just behind a continuous line of shells
  • After less than two hours, three of the four Canadian divisions had taken their objectives; the fourth division, however, was caught by the machine gun nests on the highest point of the Ridge known as Hill 145. The 87th Battalion suffered 50% casualties.
vimy ridge cont
  • By April 12 the Canadians controlled the entire Ridge, at a cost of 3598 men killed and 7104 wounded. The Germans suffered approximately 20 000 casualties. The Canadians also took 4,000 German POWs.
  • It was the first time in Canadian history that its army fought as a complete organization in an independent battle.
  • The capture of the Ridge by the Canadian Corps, under the command of British General Julian H.G. Byng with Canadian General Sir Arthur Currie acting as Chief-of-Staff), was a turning point for Allies.
  • The success of the Canadian forces in this battle and others earned them a place at the post-war peace negotiations, a clear mark of the nation's independence from Britain.
  • The Battle of Gallipoli took place on the Turkish peninsula of Gallipoli in 1915. A combined Allied operation was mounted in order to eventually capture the Ottoman capital of Constantinople. The attempt failed, and an estimated 131,000 soldiers were killed and 262,000 wounded.
  • In Britain it is called the Dardanelles Campaign and in Australia and New Zealand it is known simply as Gallipoli
gallipoli movie
  • The film Gallipoli (1981) is an account of several young men from rural Western Australia who enlist in the Australian armed forces. They are sent to Turkey, where they take part in the Battle of Gallipoli.
  • It stars Mel Gibson.
  • The climax of the movie occurs on the Anzac battlefield at Gallipoli and depicts the ill-fated attack at the Nek on the morning of the August 7, 1915