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Black Dudley

Start German Spring Offensive

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Black Dudley

German Spring Offensive (Kaiserschlacht) starts 21th March 1918 with Operation Michael. Last attempt by the German Armies to break though the allies Western Front, before the arrival of huge masses of fresh American troops would have made the war unwinnable for them. A number of battles followed, but by the middle of July, the initiative passed to the allies. Here are two death cards of German soldiers who fell on the the first day of Operation Michael

Sterebild 1.jpg

Sterbebild 2.jpg

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Black Dudley
The German Spring Offensive - Operation Michael had been running the past six days with much success, by 27/3/18 overrunning the allied fronts and taking bounty - storage camps, munition trains and POWs. However it did knock their morale realizing how well the allied soldiers were fed against their poor, meagre rations. Here's four press photos showing German troops inspecting captured English lines between Bullecourt - Croisilles and a second picture - English POWs eating from the German Field Kitchen near Bapaume. Third picture shows a captured English munitions train and clearing out a storage camp at Roisel. Fourth photo shows troops on the St. Quentin - Ham road.
Attached Images
 

Gross 1.jpg

Gross 2.jpg

Gross 3.jpg

Gross 4.jpg

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Black Dudley

Grosse Schlacht 28/3/18 - Martin Oswald oberschützer with 1st Bavarian Füssartillery Regiment after three days of fighting at the village of Bucquay (Bucquoy) finally captured the village.

Pass 1.jpg

Pass 2.jpg

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Black Dudley

  Today Hundred years ago 29/3/1918 the Germans Long-Range artillery piece "Wilhelm's Gun" fired its most destructive shell on Paris, killing 88 worshippers and injuring a further 68, hitting the Church of St. Gervais, near the Louvre. Below is a illustration of where shells fell on Paris during its time within Wilhelm's Gun range 23 March - 9 August 1918.
 

Paris 29th.jpg

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Karsten
On 3/28/2018 at 10:10, Black Dudley said:

oberschützer

I think it reads "Obergefreiter" and "Kanonier" .

 

11. Batterie des 1. Fußartillerie-Regiments 

 

Do you have "Bavarian" from the inside of the Militärpaß?

 

That could/should be him: http://des.genealogy.net/search/show/4958144 He was severely wounded (schwer verwundet), mentioned in Verlustliste of 4th November 1916.

 

Kind regards,

 

Karsten

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Interested

 

Black Dudley,

The plan of shelling in Paris is interesting, thanks.  Do you know if the dispersion was deliberate or just a matter of random variation?

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Black Dudley

Hello Karsten,

                        I had another closer look at the Militärpass  - yes you are right Obgefreiter was his rank, he had a long war 8.8.14 - 26.12.18, only as late as 21.10.18 was he promoted to Obergefreiter. During this time, he served with - 1.bayr. Füßart. Regiment 11 Bätterie, - so is its form written in the Pass. He's a different Martin Oswald from your link, born in Alling, Fürstenfeldbruck, reading through the battle calendar the time you man man was wounded, my Martin Oswald was still fighting on the Somme. Hope this clears some points - Cheers

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Black Dudley

Interested,

                  I don't have a great deal on knowledge on the bombardment of Paris, I'll share with you, what I know. The gun was always at a fixed elevation of 50 degrees. The bombardments were from three locations - 60 miles, 80 miles, 75 miles away, from such distances at that time, they could have only hoped for randomly hitting the target - Paris, which looking at the illustration, you would have to say they did with some success.  The thinking was to lower the morale of the Paris citizens for whom it must have been a terrifying time, they didn't hear the boom of the gun, it was too far away, then after around 3 minutes a 228 pounds shell drops out of the sky, no chance of cover. Never-racking time.    

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28juni14

If I may attempt a response to "Interested"is question, the shelling of Paris was most deliberate; in that center mass of the city was the focal point.   Few today realize the detrimental effect of the corrosive powder used.   The Germans had determined the probable corrosive effect on the guns' rifling.  They concluded that the barrel lining life was limited and shot fall would become more erratic with each round fired.   Consequently, after the first few shots, the " spraying" of shot fall was mathematically inevitable, and expected.

Keep in mind, the guns purpose was to promote physiological damage; not material.

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Black Dudley

Yesterday - Monday 2/4/18 - BBC Radio4 broadcast at 13.45pm a 15 minute programme "Voices of the First World War" "Operation Michael". From the BBC sound archives, British Army veterans of the battle gave their reminisces of the fighting. Is available on the internet for the next 28 days. The Germans were still advancing, taking prisoners. A press photo of English soldiers coming in, to captivity.

Paris 3.jpg

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Black Dudley

Hundred years ago - 4th & 5th April 1918 British Forces managed to re-establish the line. The German Advance had managed to create a salient 40 miles deep at its furthest, a tactical success, they were not able to hold on too. A musketeer Wilhelm Mösle with Infantry Regiment 127 lost his life in the Montdidier - Noyon line - 4th April 1918.

Death 4.4.18.jpg 1.jpg

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Black Dudley

9th April 1918 - 100 years ago today, Operation Georgette : Battle of Lys kicked off, the British had been drawn away to the south to protect Amiens. The Germans switched their attack to the area South of Ypres threatening the key railway supply line at Hazebrouck, eventually the channel ports of Calais, Dunkirk would be threatened, raising the British fear of being choked to death. The Germans made a good start attacking the Portuguese 2nd Division, a unit in a sorry state, understrength, under-resourced, soldiers with low morale. Two pictures of Portuguese soldiers (1 NCO 2 Privates) captured near Festubert.

Port 1.jpg

Port 2.jpg

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Black Dudley
By 11th April 1918 the German force had taken Armentieres and continued pushing westwards. A press photo showing captured English position before Armentieres shot to pieces by German artillery.
 

Armentiers 1.jpg

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Interested

It was on 11th April 1918 my grandfather was KIA along the old Front Line in the valley of the Steenbeke between Wulverghem and Messines.  I understand the German advance went as far as Kemmel before their supply lines petered out and they were unable to consolidate the advances made.

He lies in Lijssenthoek, we visited yesterday paying our respects.

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Black Dudley

Interested - I understand, it must have been a poignant and emotional day visiting your grandfather's grave on Wednesday, 100 years to the very day, it certainly would have been for me. Although both my grandfathers survived the war, my maternal granddad was wounded on the Somme in 1916, maternal grandad was gassed at Passchendaele in 1917.  I do have this map of the battle field, looking at the legend, one can see where the German line had reached on the evening of 10th April 1918 and the final extent of their advance on the evening of 30th April 1918, which went just past Mount Kemmel, perhaps 1 mile if that. 

Map 1.jpg

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Black Dudley

14th April 1918 - Six Divisions of the Bavarian II Corps were making an attempt on Bailleul and still taking causalities. A picture of wounded German soldiers being being transported in field ambulances away near Armentieres.

Amentieres 2.jpg

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Black Dudley

Hundred years ago today - 15th April 1918 Bailleul fell to the Germans. It was a very serious situation, if the enemy continued to advance at its present rate. By next week they would be at the Channel 25 kilometres away. A German field postcard issued by "Königlich Bayerisches Infanterie-Leib-Regiment" showing English & French soldiers captured at Bailleul. Judging by the background, these soldiers seem to be held somewhere outside of the town.

Balli 1.jpg

Balli 11.jpg

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MikeyH

Two of the Poilu have turned away from the camera.

 

Mike.

Edited by MikeyH

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17107BM

Great thread and very interesting. Keep it coming.

We have until November to contribute.

 

Cheers.

 

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Black Dudley

17107BM - it would be nice to go to November, don't think I've enough material to go till then, perhaps enough to cover the German Offensive till 18th July 1918 

 

Operation Georgette - the German Army had taken a lot of causalities and gained little. At the bottom of the salient the German soldiers buried their dead at Salome, April 1918, amongst the dead are three officers. A large assembly of soldiers are gathered to pay their respects, curiously on the left of the photo a small group of 5 allied soldiers stand. My question, would they be the burial detail ? or there's a whole row of graves ( I count 12 ) would allied soldiers be buried together with the German soldiers ? the site is away from the front. I've always believed where possible, soldiers of different nationalities were buried apart ! am I right ?

Salome.jpg

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Interested

I believe I read somewhere (but someone more expert might correct me) that troops who'd surrendered were often directed to dig graves.  Perhaps the group of allies were detailed for this?  Isn't one of them wearing a Scottish beret?

Your source information is invaluable and greatly appreciated; it would be a shame if you can't provide ongoing details covering actions up to November.

Philip

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PJS

Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig issued the following Special Order of the Day on 11th April, 1918:

 

"Three weeks ago today the enemy began his terrific attacks against us on a fifty-mile front. His objects are to separate us from the French, to take the Channel Ports, and destroy the British Army.

 

In spite of throwing already one hundred and six divisions into the battle, and enduring the most reckless sacrifice of human life, he has, as yet, made little progress towards his goals. We owe this to the determined fighting and self-sacrifice of our troops.

 

Many amongst us now are tired. To those I would say that victory will belong to the side which holds out the longest.

 

The French Army is moving rapidly, and in great force to our support.

 

There is no other course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall, and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight on to the end.

 

The safety of our homes, and the freedom of mankind depend alike upon the conduct of each one of us at this critical moment."

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Chris_Baker

Allied POWs were kept in the area of Salome and put on labouring work in the area. Several of them were killed by British shellfire. Discussed in my 2011 book "The battle for Flanders".

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Black Dudley

21.4.1918 - Operation Georgette - After 12 days fighting the German Imperial effort was twisting northwards, away from the key communications lines towards the hills south of Ypres. German ambitions had been scaled down with time. Feldpost card showing Sturmtrupp fighting with hand-grenades. 

Thanks for the post Chris_Baker

Handgranaten-Kampf.jpg

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Interested

Hi PJS,

I first read Haig's message of 11th April in a copy of the "History of the 8th North Staffords" to which the comment was made at the time.....

"What Bl...y wall?"

The pbi knew there was nothing between their backs and the Channel coast.

Trench humour, of course and not a comment on those at the top being out of touch!

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