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 (1914-1918) WWI Battles    
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anemone
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Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/25/2017 4:28:52 AM
On 12 of July 1918 Foch proposed to Haig that the first offensive to be launched on the should be one starting from British front should be one starting from the front of Festubert -Rebecq.

Five days later Haig replied in a letter that advancing over marshy ground would not favour a tank battle.He opined that this operation should be expedited to the East and South east of Amiens by the British and the French should open their attack from Moreuil- Montdidier.He had already put in motion that Rawlinnson's 4th Army.Foch agreed and set out his plan of attack for the French assault

Prepared in great secret, with a major counter-intelligence operation to deceive the Germans as to the real location of Canadian and Australian ‘shock troops,’ the attack at Amiens would prove one of the most successful of the war.The attack opened in dense fog at 4:20 am on 8 August 1918..

Rawlinson's Fourth Army had, the British III Corps which attacked north of the Somme, the Australian Corps to the south of the river in the centre of Fourth Army's front, and the Canadian Corps to the south of the Australians.

The French 1st Army under General Debeney opened its preliminary bombardment at the same time, and began its advance 45 minutes later, supported by a battalion of 72 Whippet tanks.

Question is did Foch's proposal have any merit ?? How did the day go ???

Regards

Jim
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George
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/25/2017 6:43:13 AM
Not following Jim. Are you asking us to comment on Foch's initial plan?

Cheers,

George

anemone
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/25/2017 7:05:33 AM
Sorry George -Yes-there had been a fair amount of wrangling between the two leaders-Foch wanted to retain leadership and for the British to capture the railhead at Estaires; but Haig wanted a swift thrust with tanks; and was of the opinion that this area was too marshy and riven by shellfire to suit his purpose.I also wanted to discuss in detail the progress made in each sector from north to south on the 8th August.

Regards

Jim
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George
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/25/2017 7:28:28 AM
Well I don't know anything about Foch's original plan. Sorry.

But if the success of the British forces and specifically the Canadian and Australian Corps on Aug. 8th is any indication, then Haig's approach was correct.

Canadians and Australians will go on at length about the Battle of Amiens, surely one of the most impressive successes in battle of this war.

Yes, I know that it wasn't only the Aussies and Canadians in the British sector but both Dominions did well. And this was the first time that these Corps fought side by side in the war.

It was an amazing little bit of disguise that allowed the Canadians to march into position, arriving only on Aug. 7 at Amiens. Apparently the Germans did not know that they were there.

Amiens was an 11 km advance with the front broken open and thousands of Germans made POW. Still costly though.


George

anemone
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/25/2017 7:43:50 AM

Quote:
It was an amazing little bit of disguise that allowed the Canadians to march into position, arriving only on Aug. 7 at Amiens. Apparently the Germans did not know that they were there.


Yes- the CEC were at Arras, and a selection from it ie.two Btns,two CCS and a wireless section were sent to Kemmel in Flanders as part of a ruse to fool the Germans-meanwhile the bulk of the CEC were stealthily dispatched down to the area of the Somme.

The general advance was brilliant -taking out the salient and straightening the line.


[Read More]

Regards

Jim
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anemone
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/25/2017 9:57:09 AM
The whole front was about 16 miles long and on thr German side was held by 16 Divisions-(averaging about 3000 officers and men each) of General Marwitz's 2nd Army-their weakness in numbers were exacerbated by weaknesses in defences for in their front line- there were none of their usual deep dugouts or machine gun bunkers-this is not to say that they did not fight-which they did- despite their poor defences.

[Read More]

Regards

Jim
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George
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/25/2017 12:51:51 PM
Ludendorff on the Battle of Amien


Quote:
"the black day of the German Army in the history of this war . . . Everything I had feared, and of which I had so often given warning, had here, in one place, become a reality.”


And Ludendorff to the Kaiser


Quote:
“We have reached the limits of our capacity. The war must be terminated.”



But for the allies, there were still nearly 100 days to go before all sides accepted the armistice.

The opening day of the Last 100 Days was an impressive one.




anemone
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/25/2017 1:19:18 PM
Many thanks George for the excellent maps.

Quote:
"the black day of the German Army in the history of this war . . . Everything I had feared, and of which I had so often given warning, had here, in one place, become a reality.”

The British Fourth Army on 8th August took 13,000 prisoners while the French captured a further 3,000. Total German losses were estimated to be 30,000 on 8 August. The Fourth Army's casualties, British, Australian and Canadian infantry, were approximately 8,800, exclusive of tank and air losses and those of their French allies.

Foch was filled with the idea of maintaining the pressure. Haig however- on the advice of his Dominion Corps commanders- was more for exerting pressure at minimum cost at this juncture.

Regards

Jim
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George
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/25/2017 1:29:06 PM
Monash of the Australians and Currie of the Canadians both realized that the battle had petered out by Aug. 11.

It was time to consolidate gains and move the artillery back into effective range.

Good decision by Haig. Listen to those colonials.

anemone
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/25/2017 1:58:10 PM
Yes indeed-4th Army losses from 8th to 12th August rose to 20,000.

On 10th August Haig visited the front and carefully studied the situation.Foch was urging him to drive on -Haig demurred to that as "a vain waste of life" In a letter to Foch on the 14th he told Foch that he had stopped the attack planned for the next day; and that he was preparing an attack by British 3rd Army from Albert.

Foch objected a ta conference the next day stubbornly held his ground and gained his point and 3rd started their advance on the 21st,4th Army rested until three days later.

Regards

Jim
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George
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/25/2017 3:31:24 PM
Beginning of the end

[Read More]


This picture is too big to display so I have included it as a READ MORE. I had to do that with several of them.

Take a look at the guy with his hands up, 4th from the rear. Is he wearing a British helmet or did the Germans employ other troops who had helmets similar to the British? The man in the front with the nasty looking bayonet is a Canadian soldier at Amiens.

[Read More]


This is General Currie checking out some of the German guns that the British and Dominion troops captured at Amiens

[Read More]


Australian Artillery at Villers-Brettoneux, morning of Aug. 8



Canadian Armoured Car heading into battle, Aug. 8




British 3rd Corps (London), RAP at the capture of Chipilly Ridge, Aug. 9.

[Read More]

anemone
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/26/2017 3:30:12 AM
Remarkable pictures George -thank you.I think the POW wearing a British steel helmet -must have picked it up somewhere.

The whole series of operations undoubtedly brought about the German Army's Blackest Day.It was Haig who insisted who and where; but it was the the magnificent troops who expedited the plan.

Regards

Jim

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Phil andrade
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/26/2017 6:00:43 AM
And to think that just a few months beforehand the German photographers were able to pitch their folks at home some images of the complete reverse....thousands and thousands of British and French soldiers being marched away as POWs !

What a sudden and dramatic change.

Forgive my brief comments : a bit distracted at the moment , but keen to let my pals know that I'm still engaged and very interested.

Regards, Phil.
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"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/26/2017 6:06:47 AM
Hi Phil-thank you for your comment-as you say I feel that the Entente leaders were waiting for the Kaiserschlacht to run it's course and then wallop.For once I really admired DH for digging his heels in and doing it his way-for in the long run- it was the right way.

Regards

Jim
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Michigan Dave
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/26/2017 10:04:50 AM
Jim,

I do know that by late 1918 Black Jack Pershing, was about to have a nervous breakdown!
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anemone
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/26/2017 10:22:59 AM

Quote:
I do know that by late 1918 Black Jack Pershing, was about to have a nervous breakdown!


I Would be obliged Dave if you could enlarge on this important point ie. why was he on the verge of a nervous breakdown ????

Regards

Jim
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Michigan Dave
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/26/2017 10:40:57 AM
Hi Jim,

He lost his wife & kids to horrific fire, and he had trouble dealing with the huge losses his troops suffered. Also dealing with the other allied commanders using his troops! He surrendered his leadership to his subordinates at the end of his tenure there!

MD
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anemone
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/26/2017 11:07:39 AM
Good Lord-how tragic-away fighting a terrible war at huge cost far from home; and to hear you have lost your wife and children in a fire would unhinge many of us.He would definitely be against his troops being purloined by other commanders.I did know that he passed his command over to an efficient subordinate at the end of his tenure.Poor chap!!Thanks Dave

Regards

Jim
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MikeMeech
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/26/2017 5:12:02 PM

Quote:
Good Lord-how tragic-away fighting a terrible war at huge cost far from home; and to hear you have lost your wife and children in a fire would unhinge many of us.He would definitely be against his troops being purloined by other commanders.I did know that he passed his command over to an efficient subordinate at the end of his tenure.Poor chap!!Thanks Dave

Regards

Jim
--anemone

Hi
He lost his wife and three daughters in a fire in San Francisco on 26 August 1915, he was leading the 8th Brigade on the Mexican border. When in France he had a mistress of about 34 years younger, Micheline Resco, who he had met in the Summer of 1917. He left another woman in the USA, Anne ('Nita') Patton, yes that Patton, it was George Patton's sister!

Mike

Jim Cameron
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/26/2017 7:10:20 PM

Quote:
Good Lord-how tragic-away fighting a terrible war at huge cost far from home; and to hear you have lost your wife and children in a fire would unhinge many of us.He would definitely be against his troops being purloined by other commanders.I did know that he passed his command over to an efficient subordinate at the end of his tenure.Poor chap!!Thanks Dave

Regards

Jim
--anemone


Not sure that I would say that he passed his command over to a subordinate. More like when 2nd Army became operational on 10 October, 1918, during the Meuse-Argonne, Pershing effectively became an army group commander. This did have the concurrent, and salutory, effect of leaving the tactical conduct of the offensive in the very capable hands of Hunter Liggett, who really did a better job than Pershing. Until then, the fact was that Pershing was rather overwhelmed running the battle and handling army administration at the same time.
He was clearly still grieving his wife and children (one son survived), but it is difficult to say just how much this effected him on a day to day basis. Pershing tended to keep a close reign on his emotions.
As noted above, he did take a mistress while in France (Micheline Resco, hired by the French government to paint his portrait). The relationship lasted over 30 years, although kept from the public, so it was by no means a casual dalliance. Pershing would eventually marry Resco, in 1946.
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George
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/26/2017 8:02:19 PM
Jim, I just watched the PBS special on the US in the Great War.

They said that Pershing realized that his physical and mental state toward the end of the Meuse-Argonne offensive was not good. He was emotionally unsteady.

Meuse-Argonne had not gone well and Pershing was feeling the weight of command as losses mounted.

And Pershing knew that he could not carry on. The documentary said that he was smart enough to realize that 1st Army needed someone else and he brought in Liggett who apparently was quite a sharp fellow, a professional soldier and very smart.

The doc praised Pershing for this decision.

He also brought in Bullard for the 2nd army.

But Pershing was not out of the show. In fact, when he heard about the armistice and voiced his displeasure, he ordered Liggett and Bullard to attack toward Sedan.

That didn't go well. The battle was poorly planned. US soldiers wound up shooting at one another inadvertently as a the commander of the 5th Corps, Summerall sent a division to cut in front of two other US divisions.

Liggett was pretty ticked off at this fiasco. Do we blame Pershing for it?

Cheers,

George

Jim Cameron
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/26/2017 11:44:16 PM
Well, that's one take on events. Liggett was in fact an excellent general, better tactically than Pershing, but plans to establish Second Army, with Bullard in command, had been in the works for some time. The AEF had simply grown too large for Pershing to administer it, tend to relations with the Allies, deal with the administration and the War Department, and command it in combat all at the same time. He needed to "kick himself upstairs", but not because he "could not carry on", so much as out of sheer practicality. Pershing had to become what we would call an army group commander, like Haig. Having Liggett take over management of the Meuse-Argonne offensive was a fortunate by-product. As it turned out, Second Army played only a minor role in the offensive. First Army did most of the heavy lifting.

Sedan was a strange affair, a combination of poorly drafted orders and over-zealous execution. Pershing wanted First Army to take the town, despite the fact it was in the French sector and no agreement was in place for First Army to cross the boundary. (Pershing also neglected the importance of Sedan to the French.)
The orders as issued included the stipulation that "boundaries would not be considered binding" - which was simply asking for trouble - and Summerall jumped on this to send the 1st Division across the corps boundary, through the rear of the 42nd Division. The 1st Division troops ended up exhausted, and the 42nd's lines of supply badly disrupted (Douglas MacArthur being "captured" in the process.)
In truth, there was plenty of blame to go around, Pershing included, but nothing much came of it. Probably because Pershing realized that he himself was ultimately responsible.
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anemone
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/27/2017 7:29:38 AM
The main attack was widened from 21st August -starting with Byng's 3rd Army despite pressure from Foch-however there was a surprise attack by a Corps of Plumer's 2nd Army-the battling Scots of the 9th Division were well to the fore taking the Outersteen Ridge with little difficulty-it formed a valuable spring board to leap towards Armentieres and Kemmel.Rawlinson's
III Corps- with one Australian Division- attacked north of the Somme on the 22nd.The 18th Eastern Division retaking the town of Albert which fell to the Germans during the Kaiserschlact in March.

Then on the 25th Nangin's 10th Army launched his offensive,standing on the left of Humbert's 3rd Army- just beyond the Oise-twelve divisions were deployed on a twelve mile front-this proved to be another "black day"for Ludendorff.

Regards

Jim
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George
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/27/2017 9:23:23 AM
We have to give credit to the Australians and Gen. Monash for the planning that went into the Battle of Amiens.

During a smaller battle on July 4, at Le Hamel, the Australians had used the element of surprise to defeat well entrenched German forces.

The onset of the fight was signalled only by the bombardment necessary to get the Australians into the German trenches.

The Germans were routed in an hour and a half.

So a lot was learned and lessons were applied to the planning of Amiens.

The fire plan for 4th army was drawn up by an Aussie (Budworth) as well.


I have read that 8 companies of Americans accompanied the Australians at Le Hamel and fought well. But they weren't supposed to be there.

Apparently Pershing had ordered them not to attack.

But the Americans, under whose orders I do not know, put on Australian kit and fought. Is this story true?

Why did Pershing order the men not to attack and who defied his order? I know that Pershing was adamant that US forces should act as a single force and not be divided up among other allied forces.


I was also surprised to learn that Canadian General Arthur Currie whose troops were stationed closer to Ypres while Amiens was being teed up, was not appraised of the major Canadian role that the Corps was to play at Amiens, until July 16, about 3 weeks prior to the battle.

That would be short notice for a man like Currie so I do wonder why he was not kept in the loop.

By this stage of the war, the Germans took note of the position of the Canadians because they had been used so often as shock troops so the appearance of the Canadians near Amiens would have been telling.

And Currie only informed his divisional commanders that they were about to be transferred to the Amiens sector, on July 29, just one day before they were to depart for the Amiens sector.

Two CDN battalions stayed near Ypres and conducted a raid shortly before the battle. Canadian marked equipment and two RAP were left for the Germans to find.

Wireless messages in the Ypres sector fooled the Germans into thinking that the Canadians were still there even as they began to move at night to the south.

Canadian recce patrols in the area where the Corps was to assemble at Amiens wore the uniforms of Australians and left equipment for the Germans to find.

The Canadians were marched to a wooded area just outside Amiens with the whole Corps crammed into a small area. The whole Corps was there by Aug. 7 and the Germans were completely surprised to find themselves fighting the Canadians on Aug. 8.

This was a remarkable bit of deception. All the Canadian soldiers had the words, "Keep your mouth shut" stamped on pay books

It worked.

Michigan Dave
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/27/2017 9:43:35 AM
Hi George,

Again a nice Canadian involvement & perspective on the battle. Also Black Jack Pershing wanted his troops to aggressively attack,
& didn't like them operating under another command.

Cheers
Dave
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anemone
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/27/2017 10:34:19 AM
Sir John Monash's plans for Amiens


Quote:
The Australians had mounted a number of local counter-attacks which both revealed the suitability of the open and firm terrain south of the Somme for a larger offensive and also established and refined the methods which were to be used.

Rawlinson had submitted Monash's proposals to Haig in July and Haig had forwarded them to Foch. At a meeting on 24 July, Foch agreed to the plan but insisted that the French First Army, which held the front to the south of the British Fourth Army, should participate.

Rawlinson were not too happy about this- as his and Monash's plans depended on the large-scale use of tanks (now finally available in large numbers) to achieve surprise, by avoiding a preliminary bombardment.
Australian Encyclopedia.

Regards

Jim
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George
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/27/2017 10:48:08 AM

Quote:
Hi George,

Again a nice Canadian involvement & perspective on the battle. Also Black Jack Pershing wanted his troops to aggressively attack,
& didn't like them operating under another command.

Cheers
Dave
--Michigan Dave


Actually it's hard for me to restrain myself lest I be accused of ultra-nationalism but the contribution of the Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders to allied victory is more than significant.

We would never say that we won the war. Neither would the Australians. A Corps is too small and we depended upon the British for plenty of logistical support.

However, there was good reason that the Australians and Canadians acted as the storm troopers of the Imperial Army.

We like to think and I'm sure the Australians think the same way, that our Corps performed magnificently. It's worth checking out the number of important victories in which these two national "armies" were key elements. The list is long and both countries are proud of their record.

As always, we acknowledge that many times, British divisions joined the Canadians and Australians in attacks or were engaged in their own initiatives in the same field of battle.


Re: Pershing. I still would like to know what happened with the Americans at the Battle of Le Hamel on July 4, 1918.

The Australian divisions were running extremely short of manpower and the infusion of quite raw Americans was appreciated as the Le Hamel attack was formed.

In turn, the American soldiers embraced the opportunity to learn from these battle hardened Aussies.

I did find this account of the battle and if accurate, I was wrong about all the Americans donning Australian uniforms. A few did.

But it is true that Pershing ordered the withdrawal of all American forces from participation with the Australians.

It appears that Pershing nearly scuppered Monash's attack with some last minute orders for the Americans to come out of the line. The Americans were extremely disappointed to receive this order.

Some interesting information about the relationship between Australian and American troops too.


[Read More]

anemone
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/27/2017 11:14:04 AM

Quote:
Re: Pershing. I still would like to know what happened with the Americans at the Battle of Le Hamel on July 4, 1918.

The Australian divisions were running extremely sheciated as the Le Hamel attack was formed.

In turn, the American soldiers embraced the opportunity to learn from these battle hardened Aussies.

I did find this account of the battle and if accurate, I was wrong about all the Americans donning Australian uniforms. A few did.

But it is true that Pershing ordered the withdrawal of all American forces from participation with the Australians.

It appears that Pershing nearly scuppered Monash's attack with some last minute orders for the Americans to come out of the line. The Americans were extremely disappointed to receive this order.

Some interesting information about the relationship between Australian and American troops too.


The four American companies that had joined the Australians during the assault were withdrawn from the line after the battle and returned to their regiments, having gained valuable experience.

Monash sent Bell his personal thanks, praising the Americans' gallantry, while Pershing set out explicit instructions to ensure that US troops would not be employed in a similar manner again.

They would subsequently play a significant role in the fighting that followed right up until the end of the war, as US reinforcements came to tip the manpower balance in favour of the Allies.

Regards

Jim

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George
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/27/2017 11:38:42 AM
Battle of Amiens, Aug. 8

From the Long, Long Trail.

You can see to the north of the Somme River that the British 3rd Corps attacked here.

Next them but to the south of the River was the Australian Corps.

And to the right of the Australians was the Canadian Corps.

And to the right of the Canadians were the French.




Australian Corps advance




Canadian Corps advance



British 3rd Corps advance. Not the best map unfortunately. In the first phase, seven divisions attacked: the British 18th (Eastern) and 58th (2/1st London), the Australian 2nd and 3rd, and the Canadian 1st, 2nd and 3rd Divisions. Parts of the American 33rd Division supported the British attackers north of the Somme. I can't seem to see US 33rd on the map.




Huge advances. The Germans were flung back a long way and it is important to note that the rail lines at Amiens were now safe from German attack.

Cheers,

George

anemone
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/27/2017 11:54:07 AM
Absolutely cracking maps George-so vital to the understanding of this mammoth undertaking.Are they available to all on the internet.??? I only recognised the The Long Long Trail map.Anyway George Congrats on an excellent piece of work.

Regards

Jim
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George
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/27/2017 12:09:16 PM

Quote:
Absolutely cracking maps George-so vital to the understanding of this mammoth assault.Are they available to all on the internet.??? I only recognised the The Long Long Trail map.Anyway George Congrats on an excellent piece of work.

Regards

Jim
--anemone


No particular genius at work here Jim.

Whenever I want a map I google something like, "Battle of Amiens 1918, maps". What comes up is a bunch of links.

Then I click on images at the top and maps galore appear. Some are relevant, some are not.

Michigan Dave
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/27/2017 12:28:39 PM

Quote:
Absolutely cracking maps George-so vital to the understanding of this mammoth undertaking.Are they available to all on the internet.??? I only recognised the The Long Long Trail map.Anyway George Congrats on an excellent piece of work.

Regards

Jim
--anemone




Dtto, here George,

Great advice on the maps!

Cheers,
MD
---------------
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anemone
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/27/2017 12:46:41 PM
58th Canadian Btn capture Demuin 9th August 1918




Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

George
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/27/2017 2:00:20 PM
Many thanks Jim. Most already know but I shall remind all that Demuin was the place that your grandfather lost his life a few months before during the German spring offensive.

Cheers,

George

George
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/27/2017 2:14:37 PM
The Australians and the Canadians pushed the Germans back 6 and 7 miles.

British III Corps did not progress quite as well with problems experienced at Chipilly Ridge.

Canadians and Australians at this stage in the war felt that they were superior to the British divisions.

There was tension between the Imperial and Dominion forces because of this and some British officers were very resentful of the attitude of the Dominion troops. The differences in culture between the imperials and the colonials was easy to see at this point. The Dominion troops were very cocky and flushed with past successes.

But at the Battle of Amiens, I think that we have to look at the topography of the area that the Imperial troops, assisted by the elements of some American divisions, attacked.

Please take a look at this map. You will note that at the bottom of the map that the Canadians and the Australians in the middle were advancing flatter plains. It wasn't easy. Both Dominion Corps took heavy casualties.

The map is too big to post as an image so you will have to open the READ MORE

[Read More]

Now take a look at the top of the topo map where the British lll Corps and the Americans attacked.

The contour lines in some places are virtually cliffs. This was extremely difficult territory to assault and on Chipilly Ridge, the attack stalled.

This opened the left flank of the Australians to artillery fire from the village of Chipilly. As a result, the Aussies had to send units across the Somme River to stabilize the situation.

I don't know all of the details of the Battle of Chipilly Spur but the topography was extremely challenging and no country for tanks, I wouldn't think.


Cheers,

George

George
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/27/2017 5:26:32 PM
I thought that I would recommend this essay written by S.F. Wise.

The essay is entitled Australians and Canadians at Amiens. The forward is by Australian Lt. Gen. Frank Hickling.

The essay reviews the historiography of this battle and ponders why it receives less attention in British coverage.

Wise determines that cultural differences between the Dominion troop led to tension between the Imperials and the Dominion forces.

He does note that while older British historians seemed to parrot the Dominion contention that they were better troops, more recent treatments try to point out the equal quality of some British Corps and divisions.

WW1 was a time of emerging nationalism for the Dominions and yes they had been successful and yes they were pretty cocky.

The Australians in particular had worked more directly with the Imperials as individual divisions. The Canadians had refused to fight piecemeal as just 4 more divisions in the BEF.

The Australians had complained in the past that they had not received proper support from Imperial counterparts at times.

So read the essay if you like. Perhaps it will generate some discussion. If not, it helps explain some of the tension between Imperial forces and Dominion forces and even some inter-Dominion tension.

Had early historians including British historians treated the Imperials unfairly during WW1?

[Read More]


Cheers,

George

anemone
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/28/2017 3:43:23 AM

Quote:
Haig presided over the largest army in British history. He shaped the BEF into an effective fighting formation that played a decisive role in the defeat of Germany in the titanic battles of late 1918.

He was also instrumental in creating the combined Allied command structure that coordinated the march to victory. Haig appreciated the military prowess of his colonial and dominion troops, including the Canadians, but chaffed at the political conditions sometimes attached to using them in battle.

In the spring of 1918, he was particularly incensed at Canada’s insistence that its divisions fight together as a corps instead of as reinforcements as needed elsewhere in the Allied lines-whereas Imperial troops had to do as they were bid-Colonials (other than the S Africans) fought under their own tenets
Haig and and the Great War

Regard

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

George
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/28/2017 7:50:49 AM
General Currie was not convinced that some and I repeat some of the British generals were competent. He was determined that his Corps would not be broken up and dispersed as the British saw fit.

And he had the backing of his government which had representatives in London including Max Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook.

When Haig ordered the four divisions of the Canadian Corps to different areas of the front during the German Spring Offensive, Currie hit the roof and started calling the appropriate people.


PM Borden had been lobbying for Canada to have some say in the management of the war as far back as 1915. Even at this early date, Borden was uneasy about leaving the lives of Canadians in the hands of the Imperial power.

In 1917, David Lloyd-George who had realized more than some others that the Dominions were agitating to be heard regarding the conduct of the war, created the Imperial War Cabinet. The first conference was in the spring of 1917 and Borden was there.

By this time, Borden was considering conscription. To that point the Canadian Corps had been an all volunteer force but recruitment numbers were in decline and the Corps was taking heavy casualties in a number of 1917 battles.

Borden did not want conscription. He knew that it was a contentious issue and indeed once instituted, riots ensued and the delicate balance between French and Anglos in Canada was upset. The country was nearly torn apart in the aftermath. There was near rebellion over the issue.

The first conscripts didn't arrive for training until Jan. of 1918 as they only began registration for conscription in October of 1917.

The last battle fought by the all volunteer Canadian Corps was the Battle of Amiens in August.

In June of 1918, the second Imperial War Cabinet conference took place.

I hope that I have described the domestic tensions that Borden was dealing with. As well, the Canadian Corps in 1917 had been involved in some very costly battles. These were battles that had been victories but had seen high casualty rates thus creating the need for conscription.

Canadian PM Robert Borden had told David Lloyd-George at the conference and in an angry and uncharacteristic fashion that he was most upset that he had not been consulted before the Corps was committed at Passchendaele in 1917 which was a Canadian victory.

We recall that Currie had told Haig that this was a foolish endeavour and correctly predicted the number of casualties.

As well, Borden had been receiving reports from Currie that British planning and execution by some higher command was lacking. That was somewhat unfair but Currie like to implement his own plans once the orders came down to execute an action.

So PM Borden made an impassioned speech at the conference about the need for effective planning and the inclusion of the Dominions in the decision making process.

Famously Borden turned to L-G and told him that "no more Canadians will go to the front if another Passchendaele occurs".


So after all of that, I hope that you can understand the mindset of the Canadians and the reaction of Currie and the representatives of the Canadian government to Haig's deployment of the 4 Canadian divisions as he saw fit, during the Spring Offensive.

Within 24 hours, 3 of the 4 divisions were returned to Currie. Currie then committed his Machine Gun Corps and some cavalry to the fight.

Haig praised the Australians because they fought as instructed during the Spring Offensive while the Canadians placed national interests ahead of the needs of the Empire.

Of note, the Australians lost a lot of men during the Spring Offensive and could not replace them. This affected their longevity in the Last 100 Days.

The Canadians did cover a long front in the Vimy area during the Spring Offensive. They had spent months building a formidable defensive position and of note, the Germans did not attack here.


Hope that that helps. Jim's post indicates that Haig liked the Canadians but I can tell you that he was not pleased with them while the German offensive was in full swing.


Cheers,

George



George
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/28/2017 4:15:01 PM
d

Phil andrade
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Re: Haig takes the Helm for the 8th August 1918 operation
Posted on: 4/29/2017 12:01:31 PM

Quote:
I thought that I would recommend this essay written by S.F. Wise.

The essay is entitled Australians and Canadians at Amiens. The forward is by Australian Lt. Gen. Frank Hickling.

The essay reviews the historiography of this battle and ponders why it receives less attention in British coverage.

Wise determines that cultural differences between the Dominion troop led to tension between the Imperials and the Dominion forces.

He does note that while older British historians seemed to parrot the Dominion contention that they were better troops, more recent treatments try to point out the equal quality of some British Corps and divisions.

WW1 was a time of emerging nationalism for the Dominions and yes they had been successful and yes they were pretty cocky.

The Australians in particular had worked more directly with the Imperials as individual divisions. The Canadians had refused to fight piecemeal as just 4 more divisions in the BEF.

The Australians had complained in the past that they had not received proper support from Imperial counterparts at times.

So read the essay if you like. Perhaps it will generate some discussion. If not, it helps explain some of the tension between Imperial forces and Dominion forces and even some inter-Dominion tension.

Had early historians including British historians treated the Imperials unfairly during WW1?

[Read More]


Cheers,

George
--George


George,

Thanks for this superb contribution !

The essays are a wonderful array of the historiographical battleground of the Great War: and to see this focusing on the 1918 battles is very gratifying as we approach the centennial.

I'm still in Dorset, and rather limited in my chances to engage as I would wish, but there is one phrase I love from that essay by SF Wise

the hoary British imperial practice of patronising condescension

That has to be one of the most pregnant comments ever made by a historian trying to survey the historiography of that war !

Regards , Phil
---------------
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