Battle of the Marne: 6-10 September 1914
First Battle of the Marne, (September 6–12, ), an offensive during World War I by the French army and the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) against the advancing Germans who had invaded Belgium and northeastern France and were within 30 miles (48 km) of Paris. The French threw back the massive German advance and thwarted German plans for a quick and total victory on the Western Front. Aug 20, · The World War I First Battle of the Marne featured the first use of radio intercepts and automotive transport of troops in wartime. After French commander in .
The World War I First Battle of the Marne featured the first use of radio intercepts and automotive transport of troops in wartime. By Sept. Alerted by French air reconnaissance and radio intercepts, the first time either had been used in a major conflict, French commander batrle chief Joseph Joffre ordered an attack. On September 10, German chief of staff Helmuth von Moltke the younger ordered his forces to regroup on a front between Soissons and Verdun.
Joffre pursued into September 13, when French attacks failed to dislodge German positions north of the Aisne. The Anglo-French ih had been due in part to the fact that the Germans had outrun their logistics and their heavy artillery, used to crushing advantage in earlier battles.
Moltke, whose command style has been compared to that of an orchestral conductor whose players disregarded his baton, lost control of his army commanders. But the real victory went to Joffre and the French General Staff, who took advantage of German overextension to snatch the strategic initiative from the attackers. Edited by Robert Cowley and Geoffrey Parker.
All rights reserved. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Subscribe for fascinating stories connecting the past to the present. Paris crackled with panic as September arrived. Just a month into the Great War, the Germans had the French capital within sight. Sporadic air raids hit the city at night, resulting in damage more psychological than physical, but on September 2 a German biplane carpet-bombed The Battle of the Somme, which took place wnat July to Novemberbegan as an Allied offensive against German forces on the Western Front and turned into one of the most bitter and costly battles of World War I.
British forces suffered more than 57, casualties—including Marnw campaign began with a failed naval attack by British and Following the Second Battle of the Marne, the Allies how to get a domestic violence case dismissed an attack in August with a force of 75, men, more than tanks and nearly 2, planes.
The offensive achieved huge gains After more than two ij of indecisive fighting along the Isonzo River, on Austro-Hungarian command devoted more resources to strengthening the Italian front. Using new infiltration The World War I Battle of Cambrai marked the first large-scale use of tanks for a manre offensive.
Led by General Julian Byng, a British force of nine infantry divisions, five cavalry divisions and three tanks brigades sprung mare surprise attack near Cambrai, France, on November The battle began in the afternoon of May 31,with gunfire between the German and British scouting forces.
When the main warships Live TV. This Day In History. History Vault. Battle how to wash a foundation brush the Somme. Battle of Gallipoli. Battle narne Britain. Battle of Midway. Battle of the Somme The Battle of the Somme, which took place from July to Novemberbegan as an Allied offensive against German forces on the Western Front and turned into one of the most bitter and bahtle battles of World War I.
Additional Resources About World War One
This happened at the Battle of the Marne, fought from September 6 to 12 in The Allies won a victory against the German armies in the West and ended their plans of crushing the French armies with an attack from the north through Belgium. Both sides dug in their trenches for the long war ahead. Battle of the Marne The First Battle of the Marne marked the end of the German sweep into France and the beginning of the trench warfare that was to characterise World War One. Germany's grand. Jan 23, · On September 6, , the 37 th day of the German campaign, the Battle of the Marne began. The French Sixth Army, led by General Michel Maunoury, attacked Germany’s First Army from the west. Under attack, Kluck swung even further west, away from the German Second Army, to confront the French attackers.
The battle was the culmination of the Retreat from Mons and pursuit of the Franco—British armies which followed the Battle of the Frontiers in August and reached the eastern outskirts of Paris. Allied reserves would restore the ranks and attack the German flanks. By 9 September, the success of the Franco—British counteroffensive left the German 1st and 2nd Armies at risk of encirclement, and they were ordered to retreat to the Aisne River.
The retreating armies were pursued by the French and British, although the pace of the Allied advance was slow: 12 mi 19 km in one day. The German armies ceased their retreat after 40 mi 65 km on a line north of the Aisne River, where they dug in on the heights and fought the First Battle of the Aisne. The German retreat between 9 September and 13 September marked the end of the attempt to defeat France by crushing the French armies with an invasion from the north through Belgium and in the south over the common border.
Both sides commenced reciprocal operations to envelop the northern flank of their opponent, in what became known as the Race to the Sea which culminated in the First Battle of Ypres. The Battle of the Frontiers is a general name for all the operations of the French armies from 7 August to 13 September. The French captured Mulhouse, until forced out by a German counter-attack on 11 August, and fell back toward Belfort.
On 12 August, the Battle of Haelen was fought by German and Belgian cavalry and infantry, resulting in a Belgian defensive success. The Belgian government withdrew from Brussels on 18 August. The German armies crossed the border and advanced on Nancy , but were stopped to the east of the city. Further west, the French Fifth Army had concentrated on the Sambre by 20 August, facing north on either side of Charleroi and east towards Namur and Dinant.
To the south, the French retook Mulhouse on 19 August and then withdrew. The opposing armies met in thick fog; the French mistook the German troops for screening forces.
On 22 August, the Battle of the Ardennes 21—28 August began with French attacks, which were costly to both sides and forced the French into a disorderly retreat late on 23 August. Mulhouse was recaptured again by German forces and the Battle of the Meuse 26—28 August , caused a temporary halt of the German advance. The Great Retreat took place from 24 August to 5 September; the French Fifth Army fell back about 15 kilometres 10 mi from the Sambre during the Battle of Charleroi 22 August and began a greater withdrawal from the area south of the Sambre on 23 August.
That evening, the 12, Belgian troops at Namur withdrew into French-held territory and at Dinant , men, women and children were summarily executed by Saxon troops of the German 3rd Army; the first of several civilian massacres committed by the Germans in The British were eventually forced to withdraw due to being outnumbered by the Germans and the sudden retreat of the French Fifth Army, which exposed the British right flank.
Though planned as a simple tactical withdrawal and executed in good order, the British retreat from Mons lasted for two weeks and covered kilometres mi. During the retreat, BEF commander Sir John French began to make contingency plans for a full retreat to the ports on the English Channel followed by an immediate British evacuation.
Arras was occupied on 27 August and a French counter-offensive began at the Battle of St. Quentin Battle of Guise 29—30 August. On 1 September, the Germans entered Craonne and Soissons. Also on that day, French troops counterattacked in the Battle of the Ourcq 5—12 September , marking the end of the Great Retreat of the western flank of the Franco-British armies.
In the east, the Second Army had withdrawn its left flank, to face north between Nancy and Toul ; the First and Second Armies had slowed the advance of the German 7th and 6th Armies west of St. There was a gap between the left of the Second Army and the right of the Third Army at Verdun, which faced north-west, on a line towards Revigny , against the Fifth Army advance west of the Meuse between Varennes and Sainte-Menehould.
In the first days of September, the final decisions were made that were to directly create the circumstances for the Battle of the Marne.
Moltke ordered that Paris would now be bypassed and the sweep intended to encircle the city would now seek to entrap the French forces between Paris and Verdun.
On the eve of this most important battle, Moltke had requested situation reports from the 1st Army on 1 September but received none. Moltke chose to reinforce the opposite wing that was attacking fortifications in the region near Verdun and Nancy.
Kluck, whose army on the western flank had formerly been the force that would deliver the decisive blow, disregarded these orders. Together with his Chief of Staff General Kuhl, Kluck ordered his armies to continue south-east rather than turning to the west to face possible reinforcements that could endanger the German flank.
They would seek to remain the wing of the German attack and to find and destroy the French Fifth Army's flank. These reports were dismissed and not passed to the IV Reserve Corps. Joffre spent much of this afternoon in silent contemplation under an ash tree.
That night he issued commands to halt the French retreat in his Instruction General No. The BEF was under no obligation to follow orders of the French. Joffre first attempted to use diplomatic channels to convince the British government to apply pressure on the French. Later in the day, he arrived at the BEF HQ for discussions which ended with Joffre banging his hand dramatically on a table while shouting "Monsieur le Marechal, the honour of England is at stake!
Gond marshes. Seizing the initiative in the early afternoon, the two divisions of IV Reserve Corps attacked with field artillery and infantry into the gathering Sixth Army and pushed it back. Overnight, the IV Reserve Corps withdrew to a better position 10 kilometres 6. Gronau ordered the II Corps to move back to the north bank of the Marne, which began a redeployment of all four 1st Army corps to the north bank which continued until 8 September.
The swift move to the north bank prevented the Sixth Army from crossing the Ourcq. In this move against the French threat from the west, von Kluck ignored the Franco-British forces advancing from the south against his left flank and opened a kilometre 30 mi gap in the German lines between the 1st Army and the 2nd Army on its left east. Allied air reconnaissance observed German forces moving north to face the Sixth Army and discovered the gap.
The BEF advanced on 6—8 September , crossed the Petit Morin, captured bridges over the Marne, and established a bridgehead 8 kilometres 5 mi deep. On 6 September Haig's forces moved so slowly they finished the day 12 km behind their objectives and lost only seven men.
This included about 3, men from the Seventh Division who were transported in a fleet of Paris taxicabs requisitioned by General Gallieni. On 6 September, General Gallieni gathered about six hundred taxicabs at Les Invalides in central Paris to carry soldiers to the front at Nanteuil-le-Haudouin , fifty kilometres away.
In the night of , two groups set off: the first, comprising vehicles, departed at 10 PM, and another of an hour later. Only the back lights of the taxis were lit; the drivers were instructed to follow the lights of the taxi ahead. Most of the taxis were demobilised on 8 September but some remained longer to carry the wounded and refugees.
The taxis, following city regulations, dutifully ran their meters. The French treasury reimbursed the total fare of 70, francs. The arrival of six thousand soldiers by taxi has traditionally been described as critical in stopping a possible German breakthrough against the 6th Army.
However, in General Gallieni's memoirs, he notes how some had "exaggerated somewhat the importance of the taxis. The reinforced Sixth Army held its ground. The following night, on 8 September, the Fifth Army launched a surprise attack against the 2nd Army, further widening the gap between the 1st and 2nd Armies. However, Hentsch reminded them he had the full power of the OHL behind him, and that 2nd Army was already in retreat.
Von Kluck reluctantly ordered his troops to pull back. Moltke suffered a nervous breakdown upon hearing of the danger. His subordinates took over and ordered a general retreat to the Aisne, to regroup for another offensive. The Germans were pursued by the French and British, although the pace of the exhausted Allied forces was slow and averaged only 19 km 12 mi per day.
The Germans ceased their retreat after 65 km 40 mi , at a point north of the Aisne River, where they dug in, preparing trenches. By 10 September the German armies west of Verdun were retreating towards the Aisne. Joffre ordered Allied troops to pursue, leading to the First Battle of the Aisne see below.
The German retreat from 9—13 September marked the end of the Schlieffen Plan. Moltke is said to have reported to the Kaiser : "Your Majesty, we have lost the war. Whether General von Moltke actually said to the Emperor, "Majesty, we have lost the war," we do not know.
We know anyhow that with a prescience greater in political than in military affairs, he wrote to his wife on the night of the 9th, "Things have not gone well.
The fighting east of Paris has not gone in our favour, and we shall have to pay for the damage we have done". German attacks against the Second Army south of Verdun from 5 September almost forced the French to retreat. Mihiel, which threatened to separate the Second and Third Armies. German attacks continued through 8 September but soon began to taper off as Moltke began shifting troops to the west. By 10 September the Germans had received orders to stop attacking and withdrawal towards the frontier became general.
At the start of the war, both sides had plans that they counted on to deliver a short war. While the German invasion failed decisively to defeat the Entente in France, the German army occupied a good portion of northern France as well as most of Belgium and it was the failure of the French Plan 17 that caused that situation.
Joffre, whose planning had led to the disastrous Battle of the Frontiers , was able to bring the Entente to a tactical victory. He used interior lines to move troops from his right wing to the critical left wing and sacked generals. The 2nd and 3rd German armies had battalions facing battalions of the French Fifth and new Ninth Army.
D'Esperey should also receive credit as the author of the main stroke. As Joffre says in his memoirs: "it was he who made the Battle of the Marne possible". After the Battle of the Marne, the Germans retreated for up to 90 kilometres 56 mi and lost 11, prisoners, 30 field guns and machine-guns to the French and 3, prisoners to the British before reaching the Aisne. Following the battle and the failures by both sides to turn the opponent's northern flank during the Race to the Sea , the war of movement ended with the Germans and the Allied Powers facing each other across a stationary front line.
Both sides were faced with the prospect of costly siege warfare operations if they chose to continue an offensive strategy in France. Historians' interpretations characterise the Allied advance as a success. Tuchman and Robert Doughty wrote that Joffre's victory at the Marne was far from decisive, Tuchman calling it an "…incomplete victory of the Marne…" and Doughty [the] "…opportunity for a decisive victory had slipped from his hands".
But that men who have retreated for ten days, sleeping on the ground and half dead with fatigue, should be able to take up their rifles and attack when the bugle sounds, is a thing upon which we never counted. It was a possibility not studied in our war academy. Richard Brooks in , wrote that the significance of the battle centres on its undermining of the Schlieffen Plan, which forced Germany to fight a two-front war against France and Russia—the scenario that its strategists had long feared.
Brooks claimed that, "By frustrating the Schlieffen Plan, Joffre had won the decisive battle of the war, and perhaps of the century". Over two million men fought in the First Battle of the Marne and although there are no exact official casualty counts for the battle, estimates for the actions of September along the Marne front for all armies are often given as c. The Germans suffered c. No future battle on the Western Front would average so many casualties per day.
In , Herwig re-estimated the casualties for the battle. On 10 September, Joffre ordered the French armies and the BEF to advance and for four days, the Armies on the left flank moved forward and gathered up German stragglers, wounded and equipment, opposed only by rearguards.