THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918
THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918
The campaigns and battles of 1914
The campaigns and battles of 1914
The Great War:
The Gallery Solace signature design for the Great War, depicting the political chaos along side the consequences for the civilian population.
Battle of the Frontiers
The Battle was fought on a grand scale with Germany and France each committing 1,000,000 to the cause. The line of battle stretched from the Swiss Frontier to Mons in Belgium. By the end of August, the French Army had suffered 75,000 dead of which 27,000 were killed on 22 August alone, making it a day to rival the first day on the Somme for bloodshed. Total French casualties for the first month of the war were 260,000 of which 140,000 were sustained during the climactic final four days of the battle of the Frontiers.
The Battle of Mulhouse,
the opening French gambit of the war, which began at 05:00 on 7 August 1914. Forming a fundamental component of Plan XVII, the Battle was intended to secure the recapture of Alsace (with Lorraine to follow separately), territories lost to Germany as a consequence of losing the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. The taking of Mulhouse, albeit without opposition, sparked wild celebrations in France, but on the 24th August the French withdrew from Mulhouse and would not return until the Armistice.
Battle of Lorraine,
Part of the French Plan XV11 was launched on 14th August 1914 the French army still wearing their early 19th-century uniform of blue coat and red trousers were lured into a trap by Commander Crown Prince Rupprecht Sixth and Seventh German Armies. The French suffered heavy casualties inflicted on them by the encircling German army.
Battle of Mons.
The comparatively small British army, intended only to support a driving French attack against the Germans which failed, suddenly became the living shield of the whole of France. Facing a numerically superior German Army the British inflicted heavy casualties on the Germans checking their advance, they were eventually forced to retreat due both to the greater strength of the Germans and the sudden retreat of the French Fifth Army, which exposed the British right flank. Though initially planned as a simple tactical withdrawal, and executed in good order, the British retreat from Mons ultimately lasted for two weeks and took the BEF to the outskirts of Paris
Retreat from mons
Battle of Le Cateau
The Battle of Le Cateau was fought on 26 August 1914, Despite being later criticised for his decision to "stand and fight" at Le Cateau by his superior Field Marshal Sir John French, General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien was lionised by both the army and the public at home for his actions. The consensus amongst military historians considers Le Cateau as amongst the most successful holding actions in British military history.
On the morning of the 1st September a German Cavalry Division attacked 1st Cavalry Brigade and L Battery,all but one gun, had been destroyed. The 13-pounder gun manned by Captain Bradbury, WO2 Dorrell, Sergeant Nelson, and Gunners Osbourne and Darbyshire, managed to keep the single gun in action against the three German Batteries located a thousand yards away. The Artillery fire put down by this gun allowed the 1st Cavalry Brigade to deliver a successful Counter attack.
Battle of Guise - Saint-Quentin: In an attempt to relieve the pressure on the retreating British Army the French launch a counter attack on St Quentin on 29 August. The Germans however were aware of the counter-offensive and had time to prepare. The attacks against the town by the French fail with heavy casualties, but advances on the right of the town were made successfully against the Germans who were forced to retreat. This let the French to continue its retreat back to the Marne, with the Germans refraining from following.
Battle of the Marne The German army reached within 30 miles of Paris . In attempting a quick victory over the French Fifth army they abandoned elements of the Schlieffen plan which consequently cost them victory in the Battle of France. While Joseph Joffre gave his rousing “Die rather then retreat” speech to his troops the French Government had already evacuated the capital for Bordeaux. The site of nearly 600 Taxi cabs moving elements of the 7th French army to the front line adds to the legend of the miracle of the Marne.
This name, the 'Race to the Sea." is something of a misnomer; because it wasn't so much a race to the sea as a succession of attempts to turn the flank of the other side, until- ultimately, without a decision- the front simply reached the English Channel and the North Sea." The Race began in September 1914 in Champagne and ended at the North Sea in November.
The First Battle of the Aisne was the Allied follow-up offensive against the right wing of the German First & Second Army as they retreated after the Battle of the Marne. When the Germans turned to face the pursuing Allies on September 13, they held one of the most formidable positions on the Western front. It became apparent that neither side could budge the other, so Sir John French ordered the entire BEF to entrench, the troops initially dug shallow pits in the soil, intended only to afford cover against enemy observation and shell fire. Soon the trenches were deepened to about seven feet. The stalemate would lock the antagonists into a relatively narrow strip for the next four years.
Battle of the Yser: The first skirmishes started on 16 October 1914. The town of Diksmuide was attacked but the Germans were repelled by French marines and Belgian artillery. On 18 October the German offensive started. It initially overran the frontal defense positions of the Belgian, British and French armies along a line stretching from Nieuwpoort down to Arras in France. The objective was to defeat the Belgian and French armies and to deprive the British of access to the harbours of Calais, Boulogne and Dunkerque. It took four days of heavy fighting for the German troops to drive the allies back and reach the borders of the river Yser. On 21 October, the Germans were able to establish a small bridgehead on the other side of the river. The last bridge over the Yser was blown up on 23 October. Diksmuide bore the brunt of repeated German offensives and bombardments yet the town was still not taken.
The Battle Ypres: brought about the destruction of the British regular army. Having suffered enormous losses for its small size, "The Old Contemptibles" disappeared to be replaced by fresh reserves which eventually turned into a mass conscripted Army to match its Allies and enemies. The result was a victory for the Allies, although losses were particularly heavy on both sides. The Germans called the battle "The Massacre of the Innocents of Ypres" (in German Kindermord bei Ypern) as most of the German casualties were a mixture of young inexperienced and highly trained reserves. The end of the battle marked the end of mobile operations until 1918.