MHO Home   Forum Home   Help   Register   Login
 
 
Welcome to MilitaryHistoryOnline.com.
You are not signed in.
The current time is: 12/11/2017 9:52:24 PM
 (1914-1918) WWI Battles
AuthorMessage
anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 6095
The Aisne and the Race to the Sea--Sept./Oct.1914
Posted on: 3/8/2017 8:22:22 AM
Following the defeat of the German Army on the river Marne and its subsequent somewhat hasty withdrawal to the river Aisne-which the Allies were slow to follow and attack a retreating enemy.WHy was this so??? The Germans were able to choose the best defence areas

Eventually there was continuous action between the German and Franco-British Armies in the months of September and October 1914 -wherein each side attempted to turn the other's northern flank- in order to envelop it.

This series of actions took the opposing sides north and towards the Belgian frontier and the North Sea.


[Read More]

Regards

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

Riaindevoy
Geelong, Australia
Posts: 1107
Re: The Aisne and the Race to the Sea--Sept./Oct.1914
Posted on: 3/9/2017 12:53:42 AM

Quote:
Following the defeat of the German Army on the river Marne and its subsequent somewhat hasty withdrawal to the river Aisne-which the Allies were slow to follow and attack a retreating enemy.WHy was this so??? The Germans were able to choose the best defence areas
...snip....

Regards

Jim
--anemone


The Germans were already holding the best defence areas, the front line troops merely had to walk back through areas they already occupied.

As for why the pursuit was so slow I don't know exactly, but both sides were exhausted and well understrength but the Germans were retreating onto the supplies and troops behind the lines which probably made them get better as the retreat continued.

The British began to deploy/redeploy to the north at about this time, the Royal Marine Brigade landed at Dunkirk to guard the port on the 19th followed by the 1st Oxfordshire Yeomanry regiment on the 22nd, the first Territorial Force deployment to the Continent. The BEF started moving from the Aisne to Flanders on the night of 1/2 October.
---------------
Vegetarian: the ancient tribal word for the villiage idiot; who was too stupid to hunt, fish and ride!

James W.
Ballina, Australia
Posts: 674
Re: The Aisne and the Race to the Sea--Sept./Oct.1914
Posted on: 3/9/2017 2:36:45 AM
Jim, seeking rational answers to the mental morass that was Allied WW I command decision making - at least for the 1st few years.. is IMO, a bold ask..

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 6095
Re: The Aisne and the Race to the Sea--Sept./Oct.1914
Posted on: 3/9/2017 3:36:38 AM
Yes-I gathered that both sides were n badly fatigued after the Marne engagementsn the Germans did know exactly what they intended to do-fall back on their carefully chosen reserve positions on the Aisne-where they had supplies and reinforcements.

When the Allies did catch up -they were still in with a chance-the passage across the river was achieved on the morning of 13th September via a gap inadvertently left between German 1st and 2nd German Armies Unfortunately this venture was lost because the High Command failed to appreciate the situationl; and by the evening the entire situation had changed completely-German reinforcements had arrived and the advance halted.

A French cavalry force would never again be given such an opportunity for glory.This time an even greater gap (10 mile) where they crossed crossed the river; but somehow feared being cut off, and retreated back from whence they came-another great opportunity missed.

Both sides were making fruitless bloody frontal attacks but neither side budged-The Germans dug in and their enemies followed suit-this was the start of trench warfare.


Regards

Jim

PS to James-Yep- the ramifications of the Great War become a magnum opus
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 6095
Re: The Aisne and the Race to the Sea--Sept./Oct.1914
Posted on: 3/10/2017 3:13:14 AM
During the three-week period following the unexpected development of trench warfare, both sides gave up frontal assaults and began trying to envelop each other's northern flank.

This period is called "Race to the Sea". As the Germans aimed for the Allied left flank, the Allies sought the German right wing.

Map
[Read More]


Regards

Jim

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

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 6095
Re: The Aisne and the Race to the Sea--Sept./Oct.1914
Posted on: 3/10/2017 11:06:49 AM

Quote:
The German army failed to defeat the Belgian army and the retention of the last corner of Belgium ended the Race to the Sea and the period of open warfare.

In the British Official History, J. E. Edmonds wrote in 1925 that from (18 October – 30 November) between Gheluvelt and the coast, German casualties were c. 76,250 men.

In 2010, Sheldon wrote that from 18–30 October, the Belgian army had 20,000 casualties and that German casualties may have been much greater


Source-Wikipedia

AFAIK-The stabilized front line along the Yser river became known as the Yser Front and continued to be held by Belgian forces until 1918 with little movement.

Regards

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

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 6095
Re: The Aisne and the Race to the Sea--Sept./Oct.1914
Posted on: 3/11/2017 7:05:39 AM
Edmonds's-the Official Historian-verdict is that "had some of the 14 British Territorial Divisions and 14 Mounted Brigades along with the 6th infantry Division- then in England been landed at the Channel Ports to fall on the German communications and rear,a decisive tactical result might have been obtained and the war finished"

He also hit out at the lack of resolve on the 13th September -when the Germans had so laxly left great gaps in their lines-which were not punished for.

Regards

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

Riaindevoy
Geelong, Australia
Posts: 1107
Re: The Aisne and the Race to the Sea--Sept./Oct.1914
Posted on: 3/11/2017 3:39:01 PM

Quote:
Edmonds's-the Official Historian-verdict is that "had some of the 14 British Territorial Divisions and 14 Mounted Brigades along with the 6th infantry Division- then in England been landed at the Channel Ports to fall on the German communications and rear,a decisive tactical result might have been obtained and the war finished"

He also hit out at the lack of resolve on the 13th September -when the Germans had so laxly left great gaps in their lines-which were not punished for.

Regards

Jim
--anemone


I don't think the law allowed the Terriers too be sent overseas unless they volunteered at this stage, although a Yeomanry Brigade was sent to France on 22 Sept.
---------------
Vegetarian: the ancient tribal word for the villiage idiot; who was too stupid to hunt, fish and ride!

Phil Andrade
London, UK
Posts: 2595
Re: The Aisne and the Race to the Sea--Sept./Oct.1914
Posted on: 3/11/2017 3:59:24 PM
It's worth mentioning that Edmonds served in this campaign as a staff officer: he suffered a nervous breakdown in the stress of the ebb and flow of battle.

Did this render his judgment suspect ?

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

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

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

Riaindevoy
Geelong, Australia
Posts: 1107
Re: The Aisne and the Race to the Sea--Sept./Oct.1914
Posted on: 3/11/2017 4:10:12 PM
I don't think he's wrong about the Terriers, that seems pretty self evident but ignores all sorts of real limits.

I think his judgement on thee resolve is suspect given he had a breakdown which indicates the difficulty of the campaign.
---------------
Vegetarian: the ancient tribal word for the villiage idiot; who was too stupid to hunt, fish and ride!

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 6095
Re: The Aisne and the Race to the Sea--Sept./Oct.1914
Posted on: 3/12/2017 3:48:51 AM
When war was declared, all Territorial Force troops received orders to mobilise. Many of them had just gone onto the annual fortnight's training camp and were hurriedly recalled to the home base.

Most TF units had a pre-arranged war station and the units moved quickly to take up their allotted places. Some were sent to garrison duties at various points around the Empire, replacing the regular units that were required for service in France.

On 15 August 1914 orders were issued to separate the "home service" men from those who had undertaken to serve overseas, with the intention of forming reserves made up of those who had not so volunteered.

Those men that did not agree were separated out into "Home Service" or "Second Line" units. The original units now became known as the "Foreign Service" or "First Line". These terms are often seen on TF men's service records.

NB.My GF was an officer in the 1st/5th Northumberland Fusiliers (50th Division) and in September 1914 were on Tyne Garrison duties.I would agree- that at that time- they were not ready then for Front Line duty

Although Edmonds did suffer a breakdown in September 1914-I thought he was right about the lack of resolve- in not using the gaps inadvertently left in the German line.As far as TF Divisions-he obviously knew of their existence; but little about their readiness for front line duty.

Regards

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

Riaindevoy
Geelong, Australia
Posts: 1107
Re: The Aisne and the Race to the Sea--Sept./Oct.1914
Posted on: 3/12/2017 5:21:39 AM
As I understand it the Terriers mobilised and were deployed for home defence, but as the weeks progressed many of them volunteered for Imperial service so units were split in August and September. The first units to head overseas were Churchill's old Yeomanry Regiment to France and others going to Egypt and India.
---------------
Vegetarian: the ancient tribal word for the villiage idiot; who was too stupid to hunt, fish and ride!

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 6095
Re: The Aisne and the Race to the Sea--Sept./Oct.1914
Posted on: 3/12/2017 6:33:32 AM
As you say-Territorial units initially saw service in Egypt, India and other Empire garrisons such as Gibraltar, thereby releasing regular units for service in France and enabling the formation of an additional five regular army divisions (for a total of eleven) by early 1915.

The first Territorial Infantry division to join the fighting on the Western Front was the 46th (North Midland) Division in March 1915-followed by the 50th (Northumbrian) in April 1915.

First Line TF Divisions were numbered from 42nd (East Lancs) to 56th (London)

Regards

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

Riaindevoy
Geelong, Australia
Posts: 1107
Re: The Aisne and the Race to the Sea--Sept./Oct.1914
Posted on: 3/12/2017 4:04:48 PM
All of that took time and certainly wasn't thrashed out in peacetime, making the assertion that these units should have been thrust into the German flank during the Race to the Sea a valid one in tactical/operational terms but detached from reality in political/strategic terms. I find the gathering and deployment of British units in 1914 a fascinating topic that doesn't get the attention it deserves in histories.

In a similar vein the idea that the BEF lacked resolve at the Aisne is easy to say but what does it mean in practice? Only 6th Divisions was fresh by this stage although 4th Division which had arrived after the first four wasn't as beaten up as they were. Who exactly lacked resolve?
---------------
Vegetarian: the ancient tribal word for the villiage idiot; who was too stupid to hunt, fish and ride!

Phil andrade
London, UK
Posts: 2595
Re: The Aisne and the Race to the Sea--Sept./Oct.1914
Posted on: 3/13/2017 3:51:50 AM
No lack of resolve on the part of the rank and file.

No other day of fighting in 1914 cost as many British lives as the 14 September : not even the existential fight at Le Cateau or the crisis at Ypres.

It was a real touch and go affair ; high ground and golden moments ....the Germans won it by a gnat's eyelash. Real Little Round Top stuff.

My close friend's grandfather was medical officer of the Grenadier Guards and made his reputation by supervising the evacuation of wounded that day.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

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

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 6095
Re: The Aisne and the Race to the Sea--Sept./Oct.1914
Posted on: 3/13/2017 5:44:28 AM
On reaching the Aisne- an opportunity had remained -only to be missed,thanks to German carelessness,but the initiative of various junior officers-the passage across the river could have been achieved if Haig had given it sufficient credence-which he and his HQ did not; and so the opportunity was lost.This I would describe as a lack of resolve -in this particular instance.


Regards

Jim

PS. I have already stated that Edmonds knew of the TF Divisions in England but not of the preparedness for front line duties in September 1914.
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
Posts: 2955
Re: The Aisne and the Race to the Sea--Sept./Oct.1914
Posted on: 9/19/2017 10:51:52 PM
News on a WWI German U-Boat found off the Belgium Coast recently!?

[Read More]
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Riaindevoy
Geelong, Australia
Posts: 1107
Re: The Aisne and the Race to the Sea--Sept./Oct.1914
Posted on: 9/21/2017 5:25:20 PM
The UB II were prefabricated in Germany, taken by rail to Antwerp for final assembly then sailed through inland canals to Bruges, Ostend and Zeeebrugge.



I find the MarineKrop Flandern a fascinating topic and one of Germany's great lost opportunities.

---------------
Vegetarian: the ancient tribal word for the villiage idiot; who was too stupid to hunt, fish and ride!