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The Allied Victory at the Marne

The advance of the 7th Reserve Division, part of the 4th Reserve Corps and of von Kluck's First Army, from Germany thru Belgium and northern France in August and September 1914, showing von Kluck's turn to the southeast away from Paris and exposure of his right flank to the French counterattack from the city. The 7th Division played a part in the Battles of the Marne and the Ourcq. The Division suffered heavily on September 6 and 7.
Text:
Vormarsch der 7. Reserve-Division durch Belgien u. Nordfrankreich im August u. September 1914.
Marsch durch Belgien vom 17-25.8 = 213 klm. in 8 1/2 Tagen.
Marsch bis vor Paris vom 25.8-7.9 = 294 klm. in 12 1/2 Tagen.
Marsch zur Aisne vom 9.9-11.9 = 49 klm. in 3 Tagen
Gesamtstrecke = 556 klm. in 24 Tagen.

Kampftage:
26.8 Wambaix
5.9 Monthyon
6.9 Puisieux
7-9.9 Le Plessis-Placy
13. u. 20.9 Nouvron
Advance of the 7th Reserve Division through Belgium and northern France in August and September 1914.
Through Belgium from August 17-25 = 213 klm. in 8 1/2 days.
Before marching to Paris from August 25 to September 7 = 294 klm. in 12 1/2 days.
March to the Aisne from September 9-11 = 49 klm. in 3 days
Total distance = 556 klm. in 24 days.

Battle Days:
August 26 Wambaix
September 5 Monthyon
September 6 Puisieux
September 7-9 Le Plessis-Placy
September 13 and 20 Nouvron
Reverse:
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The advance of the 7th Reserve Division, part of the 4th Reserve Corps and of von Kluck's First Army, from Germany thru Belgium and northern France in August and September 1914, showing von Kluck's turn to the southeast away from Paris and exposure of his right flank to the French counterattack from the city. The 7th Division played a part in the Battles of the Marne and the Ourcq. The Division suffered heavily on September 6 and 7.

Image text

Vormarsch der 7. Reserve-Division durch Belgien u. Nordfrankreich im August u. September 1914.

Marsch durch Belgien vom 17-25.8 = 213 klm. in 8 1/2 Tagen.

Marsch bis vor Paris vom 25.8-7.9 = 294 klm. in 12 1/2 Tagen.

Marsch zur Aisne vom 9.9-11.9 = 49 klm. in 3 Tagen

Gesamtstrecke = 556 klm. in 24 Tagen.



Kampftage:

26.8 Wambaix

5.9 Monthyon

6.9 Puisieux

7-9.9 Le Plessis-Placy

13. u. 20.9 Nouvron



Advance of the 7th Reserve Division through Belgium and northern France in August and September 1914.

Through Belgium from August 17-25 = 213 klm. in 8 1/2 days.

Before marching to Paris from August 25 to September 7 = 294 klm. in 12 1/2 days.

March to the Aisne from September 9-11 = 49 klm. in 3 days

Total distance = 556 klm. in 24 days.



Battle Days:

August 26 Wambaix

September 5 Monthyon

September 6 Puisieux

September 7-9 Le Plessis-Placy

September 13 and 20 Nouvron



Reverse:

Zur Veröffentlichung freigegeben

For immediate release

Other views: Larger, Larger

September 5 to 18, 1914

Western Front

The End of the Allied Retreat

On September 5, 1914, the German First Army under General von Kluck was northeast of Paris, pursuing the French Fifth Army newly commanded by General Louis Franchet d'Esperey. In his rapid advance, von Kluck had gained a full day's march ahead of the German Second Army on his left. In his engagements with the French and the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) during the Allied retreat from Belgium and northern France, von Kluck had concluded that there were no significant Allied forces on his right wing.

During the retreat, French Commander Joseph Joffre sought a line from which to base a counter-attack, and asked his generals when they would be ready to strike. General Franchet d'Esperey commanding the French Fifth Army, would be ready on September 6. On September 5, Generals Joseph Gallieni commanding the Paris garrison, and Michel-Joseph Maunoury, commander of the newly formed French Sixth Army, attacking from Paris, struck the right flank of the German First Army as it passed to the northeast in its attempt to envelop the French Fifth Army. The French and the BEF were still retreating, preparing to attack the next day.

September 6

The German First Army units that had threatened Franchet d'Esperey moved north to help counter the French Sixth Army coming from Paris so that when the Allies counterattacked on September 6, the French Fifth Army's left wing was unopposed, even as the right wing encountered Bülow's Second Army. The British, having retreated farther than the Fifth Army, had farther to advance to encounter the enemy, and moved into the 30-mile gap cautiously, though there was only some cavalry in front of them. They encountered little resistance, and suffered few casualties in the Battle of the Marne.

Contrary to Joffre's order to remain on the defensive until September 6, General Foch, commanding the new French Ninth Army on d'Esperey's right, had advanced across the St. Gond Marshes on September 5 facing the left wing of Bülow's Second Army and the right wing of Hausen's Third. Over the next three days, Foch was driven back across the marsh. During the same time, von Bülow, pressed by the French Fifth Army on his right, pulled back behind the Petit Morin River, stabilizing his line.

On the night of September 8, Franchet d'Esperey successfully attacked across the Petit Morin. Von Bülow pulled back his right wing, again increasing the gap between his army and von Kluck's.

Major Richard Hentsch and the German Retreat

Having poor communications and unsure of what was happening at the front, German Commander Helmuth von Moltke sent Major Richard Hentsch, a highly regarded staff officer, to get a better understanding of the situation. Hentsch was given some authority to act in von Moltke's name. (Von Moltke had authority to act in the name of Kaiser Wilhelm, one of whose titles was Supreme War Lord.) Hentsch began on the German line near Verdun, then traveled west, preparing favorable reports on the situations of the Fifth, Fourth, and Third Armies. Visiting the Second Army on September 9 after the successful French attack of the night before, he found General von Bülow distraught at his situation, and agreed to von Bülow's decision to retreat.

Continuing on to von Kluck's First Army, Hentsch found it dangerously isolated, facing the French Sixth Army to the west, with the British slowly arriving to threaten his left wing and rear. With the German Second Army retreating, Hentsch had authority to order von Kluck to retreat to maintain coordination between the two armies, an order Hentsch gave, and one von Moltke approved.

Hentsch reported to von Moltke on September 10. With His First and Second Armies already retreating, the Commander ordered Hausen's Third Army to retreat in conjunction. On September 11, Moltke made his first visit to the front lines. He ordered a general retreat to a line running from Noyon to Verdun, and moved the Seventh Army from Alsace to fill the gap between the First and Second Armies. The Germans retreated north across the Aisne River, and began fortifying their position, much of it high ground.

On September 14, Kaiser Wilhelm replaced von Moltke with Erich von Falkenhayn as Chief of the General Staff, although this would initially be kept from the German public.

The Cautious Allied Pursuit

Although the Germans retreated across their entire front west of Verdun, the French and British advanced cautiously. Joffre urged them on, but the generals were slow to follow up, particularly the British despite the urging of Henry Wilson in British headquarters. On September 8, British and German forces clashed on the Petit Morin. On September 9, Sir John French stopped General Douglas Haig's advance for the day. On September 12, Sir John French sent cavalry, but they stopped after advancing seven miles. French General Franchet d'Esperey was also cautious in his advance.

Many of the German positions north of the Aisne were on high ground. On September 13, the Allies crossed the river, and launched repeated and costly attacks from September 14 to 18.

On September 18, Joffre stopped the attacks on the entrenched German positions, and began trying to outflank the German right wing, beginning the Race to the Sea.

Hentsch died in February 1918. A report he had submitted concerning the Marne was lost by the General Staff in 1915.

Between Verdun and Switzerland, the German Sixth and Seventh Armies attacked strong French defenses, and failed to advance. On either side of Verdun, the Crown Prince conducted several failed attacks before having some success at St. Mihiel on September 24.

1914-09-05

1914-09-18

Events contemporaneous with The Allied Victory at the Marne

Start Date End Date View
1914-08-02 1914-11-11 Turkey Enters the War
1914-08-04 1914-11-24 Germany Conquers Belgium
1914-08-11 1914-12-09 Austria-Hungary Invasion of Serbia, 1914
1914-08-20 1914-09-26 Galician Battles of 1914
1914-08-23 1914-09-05 Allied Retreat of 1914
1914-09-03 1914-09-11 Battle of Rava Russka