TimelineMapsSearch QuotationsSearch Images

Follow us through the World War I centennial and beyond at Follow wwitoday on Twitter

Quotation Search

This page uses cookies to store search terms.

Quotation Context Tags

The Champagne-Loos-Artois-Offensive began on September 25, 1915 preceded by a 72-hour artillery bombardment.
Text:
Lichtwirkung des die große französische Offensive vorbereitenden siebzigstündigen Artillerie-Trommelfeuers und der Leuchtgranaten Ende September 1915.
Light effect of the seventy-hour preparatory artillery barrage and the light grenades for the great French offensive at the end of September 1915.
A379
B.P. & Co. A.G.
Illustraten Zeitung
Reverse:
Message dated August 25, 1916

The Champagne-Loos-Artois-Offensive began on September 25, 1915 preceded by a 72-hour artillery bombardment.

A Russian POW leaning on a shovel or other tool. A drawing by Wilhelm Hartmann dated September 22, 1915.
Text:
Im Felde, den 22.9.1915
Lieber Hermann!

A Russian POW leaning on a shovel or other tool. A drawing by Wilhelm Hartmann dated September 22, 1915.

Soldiers of the French Foreign Legion moving into position on September 24, 1915, the night before the beginning of the Champagne Offensive. From %i1%A Soldier of the Legion%i0% by Edward Morlae, an American and a Sergeant in the Foreign Legion.
Text:
As they swung into column the night before the 25th of December.

Soldiers of the French Foreign Legion moving into position on September 24, 1915, the night before the beginning of the Champagne Offensive. From Soldier of the Legion by Edward Morlae, an American and a Sergeant in the Foreign Legion.

A French Schneider 105mm L from La Musée de la Grande Guerre du Pays de Meaux, France. First put into service in late 1915, 1,300 of the guns were in service in 1918. A heavier weapon than the French 75, it was more effective against entrenched troops.

A French Schneider 105mm L from La Musée de la Grande Guerre du Pays de Meaux, France. First put into service in late 1915, 1,300 of the guns were in service in 1918. A heavier weapon than the French 75, it was more effective against entrenched troops. © 2014 John M. Shea

RAustrian Mountain Rangers 'resting in the shade of southern flora' on the Italian front. The card was postmarked from Berlin on January 5, 1916.
Text, reverse:
Vom Italienischen Kriegsschauplatz
Rast im Schallen der südlichen Flora.
From the Italian front
Rest in the shade of southern flora.

Austrian Mountain Rangers 'resting in the shade of southern flora' on the Italian front. The card was postmarked from Berlin on January 5, 1916.

Quotations found: 7

Wednesday, September 22, 1915

"The vibration of a gun-barrel after firing has tones that, to my ear, can be heard in the night air but not by day : so has the flight of a shell. Our heavies are less active to-day, but the Germans are shelling our rear with 4.2 and 5.9 to some purpose. In the afternoon I dropped into an artillery observation post to see the shoot. Our field batteries fire 1000 to 1200 rounds of shrapnel daily, wire-cutting. The shooting is remarkably good, but I did not like to hurt the gunner's feelings by saying how little sign there was of cut wire. Casualties are few yesterday; not 10 from the Brigade came through the dressing-station, deaths are fewer." ((1), more)

Thursday, September 23, 1915

"On September 23, at four in the afternoon, the regiment was assembled and massed in a square in a meadow. Our Colonel Poujal announced what we already knew, that a general offensive was going to be unleashed, that at this moment the Russians were falling back, but while most of the Germans were bogged down in Poland we would crush them on our front.

'And now,' he cried in a loud voice. "Forward! No more hernias! No more weak hearts! No more ached and pains! Nothing but the will to win!
Vive la France!"

This patriotic nonsense didn't arouse the slightest enthusiasm. We hadn't forgotten the horrors of the last offensive in Lorette. An impressive silence greeted the colonel's final words. Only the undertaker Torrès smiled. He nodded his head as if to say, "Yes, let the herniated, the weak-hearted, the sciatics come to me. They'll get a nice reception!""
((2), more)

Friday, September 24, 1915

"The pace was accelerating. The strain was beginning to wear off. From right and left there came a steady murmur of low talk. In our own column men were beginning to chaff each other. I could distinctly hear Soubiron describing in picturesque detail to Capdeveille how he, Capdeveille, would look, gracefully draped over the German barbed wire; and I could hear Cadeveille's heated response that he would live long enough to spit upon Soubiron's grave; and I smiled to myself. The moment of depression and self-communication had passed. The men had found themselves and were beginning their usual chaffing. And yet, in all their chatter there seemed to be an unusually sharp note. The jokes all had an edge to them. References to one another's death were common, and good wishes for another's partial dismemberment excited only laughter. Just behind me I heard King express the hope that if he lost an arm or a leg he would at least get a médaille militaire in exchange. By way of comfort, his chum, Dowd, remarked that, whether he got the medal or not, he was very sure of getting a permit to beg on the street-corners." ((3), more)

Saturday, September 25, 1915

"25th September [1915]

The first day of the great offensive. Anyhow, despite everything, we are optimistic; the surprise, our numbers, panic among the Germans, poison gas, I don't know—the Allies talk of so many infallible methods.

The weather which has been threatening for two or three days has definitely grown worse; it is pouring with rain. The bombardment began at 4 o'clock this morning. They are the Engish guns we can hear in the direction of Ypres.

. . . At midday we received some news. The English have taken Looz; the French are advancing in Champagne. At 5 o'clock this afternoon it was announced that the English have taken Hill 70 and Hulluch. In Champagne a breach has been made, through which the French cavalry has been launched.

At 9 o'clock this evening it was put out that Souchez has been taken. Elsewhere the advance has been stopped by bad weather. The English have lost Hulluch after heavy counter-attacks. In Champagne we have captured twenty-five kilometres of front line. This is not yet the real victorious break-through."
((4), more)

Sunday, September 26, 1915

"One o'clock in the morning. At 7 it will have been seventy-two hours since, without interruption, we have been frightfully bombarded—seventy-two hours of endless, deafening uproar, which even the steadiest nerves can hardly endure!

. . .

This is becoming frightful. An explosion throws me against a wall of a trench. A Lieutenant tells me a shell struck in his shelter also. I rush out and see that all the bombproofs on the slope are burning. A shell striking an ammunition magazine causes a formidable explosion. The French keep on firing into the fire. How I hate them!

How I admire the French artillery! They are the master gunners. We really cannot imitate them, I regret to say. Continuing to fire into the fire, the enemy provokes a more violent explosion than the preceding ones.

God knows what they have blown up now! From this moment I have lost all sensation of fear."
((5), more)


Quotation contexts and source information

Wednesday, September 22, 1915

(1) Entry for September 22, 1915 from the writings — diaries, letters, and memoirs — of Captain J.C. Dunn, Medical Officer of the Second Battalion His Majesty's Twenty-Third Foot, The Royal Welch Fusiliers. The Allies had begun their preliminary bombardment for the great allied autumn offensive of 1915. Although it was the heaviest Allied bombardment to that date, many of the guns were field artillery which did little against entrenchments or the men sheltered in them. The uncut wire, and the German machine guns behind it, would ensure the Anglo-French attacks would falter, failing to achieve the breakthrough so ardently desired.

The War the Infantry Knew 1914-1919 by Captain J.C. Dunn, page 150, copyright © The Royal Welch Fusiliers 1987, publisher: Abacus (Little, Brown and Company, UK), publication date: 1994

Thursday, September 23, 1915

(2) Extract from the notebooks of French Corporal Louis Barthas whose reserve unit was in the process of being moved from Flanders to the Arras sector in Artois to take part in the Third Battle of Artois, part of the great autumn Anglo-French offensive of 1915. Barthas and many of his reservists were older, and suffered the ailments (or complained of them) listed by Colonel Poujal. The preliminary bombardment had begun and, on September 24, Barthas 'could hear a violent cannonade all along the front.' The corporals were assembled in the company post and given one cutlass for each of their men (14 to Barthas). Having heard elsewhere the weapons were for slaying the wounded and killing prisoners, Barthas and all but one of his men discarded them.

Poilu: The World War I Notebooks of Corporal Louis Barthas, Barrelmaker, 1914-1918 by Louis Barthas, page 107, copyright © 2014 by Yale University, publisher: Yale University Press, publication date: 2014

Friday, September 24, 1915

(3) Sergeant Edward Morlae recounting some of the black humor of soldiers of the French Foreign Legion moving into position for the Champagne Offensive the night of September 24/25, 1915. They turn from this to a discussion of the 'German methods of making war' including hand-grenades, poison gas, flame-projectors, vitriol bombs, and explosive bullets. In the trenches, they move to the front line ahead of other units who complain until they realize it is 'La Légion' moving to the fore. The Legion is passed by the Moroccan Division. Both units suffered heavily in taking the Butte de Souain. Of the 3,200 men in his regiment who entered the September 25 attack, only 852 would pass in parade after the battle later. Most of Morlae's men were Americans.

A Soldier of the Legion by Edward Morlae, pp. 21-23, copyright © 1916, by the Atlantic Monthly Company; 1916, by Houghton Mifflin Company, publisher: Houghton Mifflin Co., publication date: 1916

Saturday, September 25, 1915

(4) Most of the entry for September 25, 1915 from the diary of Albert, King of the Belgians, the day French Commander Joffre launched his great offensive of autumn 1915, the Anglo-French attacks in Artois and Champagne. The over-estimated the element of surprise in the offensive, in part because of the sheer numbers involved, 1.5 million on the Allied side, and nearly as many on the German. The English first used poison gas in their part of the offensive, Battle of Loos, but poorly. It was released from cylinders, in winds that, in some cases, blew the gas back to the English lines.

The War Diaries of Albert I King of the Belgians by Albert I, pp. 64, 65, copyright © 1954, publisher: William Kimber

Sunday, September 26, 1915

(5) Part of a letter found on a German office slain in the French offensive in Champagne. He began writing at 1:00 AM, after nearly three days of continuous bombardment.

The Great Events of the Great War in Seven Volumes by Charles F. Horne, Vol. III, 1915, p. 314, 315, copyright © 1920 by The National Alumnia, publisher: The National Alumni, publication date: 1920


1 2 Next