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The Aisne (Blücher) Offensive, the Third German Drive of 1918

Three headstones at the Necropole Craonelle, a French military cemetery, of British soldiers who died May 27, 1918, most likely killed in the German Aisne offensive that began that day. From left to right the headstones are those of Norman Gibson, East Yorkshire Regiment, age 18; C. G. Sills, Machine Gun Corps; and G. Rees, Yorkshire Regiment. Webmatters.net includes these men and two others noting that, 'These men were caught up the whirlwind of Operation Blücher launched by the Germans on the morning of 27th May 1918. They were part of the 150th Brigade of 50th Division holding the Plateau de Californie and Craonne.'
Text:
41629 Private Norman Gibson, East Yorkshire Regiment, 27th May 1918, Age 18
67830 Private C. G. Sills, Machine Gun Corps (Inf.), 27th May 1918, Age 33
34962 Private G. Rees, Yorkshire Regiment, 27th May 1918

Three headstones at the Necropole Craonelle, a French military cemetery, of British soldiers who died May 27, 1918, most likely killed in the German Aisne offensive that began that day. From left to right the headstones are those of Norman Gibson, East Yorkshire Regiment, age 18; C. G. Sills, Machine Gun Corps; and G. Rees, Yorkshire Regiment. Webmatters.net includes these men and two others noting that, 'These men were caught up the whirlwind of Operation Blücher launched by the Germans on the morning of 27th May 1918. They were part of the 150th Brigade of 50th Division holding the Plateau de Californie and Craonne.' © 2013, John M. Shea

Image text

41629 Private Norman Gibson, East Yorkshire Regiment, 27th May 1918, Age 18

We miss him most

Who loved him best

2, Alexandra Road

Windemere. Eng.



67830 Private C. G. Sills, Machine Gun Corps (Inf.), 27th May 1918, Age 33

Abide with me



34962 Private G. Rees, Yorkshire Regiment, 27th May 1918

Other views: Larger

Still hoping to separate the British from the French and push them back to the Channel, Ludendorff settled on attacking the French to prevent their supporting the British as they had in the Lys Offensive. He planned an attack along the heights of Chemin-des-Dames north of the Aisne River which the French had taken at great cost in the Second Battle of the Aisne in 1917. He had two German armies facing a single French army in the sector. Although Allied intelligence, escaped French prisoners, and captured German soldiers warned of an attack, the French took no precautions.

Ludendorff's Aisne Offensive opened on May 27, 1918 along a 30-mile front from Soissons to Reims with the largest German bombardment of the war: 2,000,000 gas and shrapnel shells in four and a half hours. The German assault overwhelmed the outnumbered Allied defenders, driving them from the heights of Chemin-des-Dames and back to the Aisne, advancing up to 12 miles before noon.

The Germans crossed the Vesle on May 28. On the 29th the broadened the front and took Soissons. German forces again reached the Marne River and were 56 miles from Paris by May 30. By the 31st they had taken 45,000 prisoners. But they were also 90 miles beyond their railheads.

The Allies were stunned by the German advance but rapidly reconfigured their forces. Pétain rushed 16 reserve divisions into defensive position in 24 hours. A French army in reserve in the British sector was moved into the battle. The British and Belgians extended their lines to free up French forces. Americans in the British sector were moved east to release additional French troops. Newly in the battle line, American forces helped stop the German attempt to cross the Marne at Château Thierry. By June 4, the Allies had stabilized the line. Ludendorff halted and, tempted by Paris, looked to strike the French left.

1918-05-27

1918-06-04

The Aisne (Blücher) Offensive, the Third German Drive of 1918 is part of Germany's 1918 Offensives on the Western Front.

More about The Aisne (Blücher) Offensive, the Third German Drive of 1918:

The Aisne Offensive - the Third German Drive

Events within The Aisne (Blücher) Offensive, the Third German Drive of 1918 (1)

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Château Thierry and Belleau Wood 1918-06-01 1918-07-04