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Encyclopedia > Battle of Amiens
Battle of Amiens Max Besworth
Part of World War I
"Amiens, the key to the west" by Arthur Streeton, 1918.
Amiens, the key to the west by Arthur Streeton, 1918.
Date: 8-11 August 1918
Location: East of Amiens, Picardy, France
Result: Major Allied victory
Casus belli: {{{casus}}}
Territory changes: {{{territory}}}
Combatants
United Kingdom, France, Canada, Australia Germany
Commanders
Henry Rawlinson Georg von der Marwitz
Strength
4 Aus. divisions
4 Can. divisions
2+ British divisions
534 tanks
6 divisions
Casualties
22,200 74,000
{{{notes}}}
Hundred Days Offensive
Amiens2nd Somme – Arras – Havrincourt – St.-Mihiel – Epéhy – Hindenburg Line – Meuse-Argonne – Courtai – Selle – 2nd Sambre

The Battle of Amiens, which began on 8 August 1918, was the opening phase of the Allied offensive, later known as the Hundred Days Offensive, that led ultimately to the end of World War I. The Australian and Canadian divisions that spearheaded the attack managed to advance over eight miles on the first day, one of the greatest advances of the war. The battle marked the end of trench warfare on the Western Front and the return to the mobile warfare that would prevail until the armistice was signed on 11 November. World War I, also known as the First World War, and (before 1939) the Great War, the War of the Nations, and the War to End All Wars, was a world conflict lasting from August 1914 to the final Armistice (cessation of hostilities) on November 11, 1918. ... Download high resolution version (930x600, 90 KB)Amiens, the key of the west oil on canvas painting by Arthur Streeton, 1918. ... Sunlight Sweet, Coogee by Arthur Streeton (1890). ... August 8 is the 220th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (221st in leap years), with 145 days remaining. ... August 11 is the 223rd day of the year (224th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... The cathedral in Amiens Location within France Amiens is a city and commune in the north of France, 120 km north of Paris. ... Coat of arms of Picardy Picardy (French: Picardie) is an historical province of France, in the north of France. ... Casus belli is a Latin expression from the international law theory of Jus ad bellum. ... General Henry Rawlinson at Fourth Army HQ, Querrieu Chateau, July 1916. ... Johannes Georg von der Marwitz (7 July 1856–27 October 1929) was a Prussian cavalry general, who commanded several German armies during the First World War. ... The Hundred Days Offensive was the final offensive in World War I by the Allies against the Central Powers on the Western Front from August 8, 1918 to November 11, 1918. ... Dont eat a cow aite? ... Combatants United Kingdom New Zealand Germany Commanders Julian Byng Unknown Strength 3 divisions 4 divisions Casualties unknown unknown The Battle of Havrincourt was a World War I battle fought on September 12, 1918, involving the British Third Army (under the command of General Sir Julian Byng) against German troops, including... Combatants United States Germany Commanders Kristen D. Vega Georg von der Marwitz Strength American Expeditionary Force German Fifth Army Casualties 7,000 20,000 The Battle of Saint-Mihiel was a World War I battle fought between September 12 - 15, 1918, involving the American Expeditionary Force and a number of... Combatants United Kingdom Australia Germany Commanders Henry Rawlinson Unknown Strength 12 divisions Unknown Casualties Total: unknown Australian: 1,260 men Total: unknown Captured: 9,000 men The Battle of Epéhy was a World War I battle fought on 18 September 1918, involving the British Fourth Army (under the command... The Hindenburg Line was a vast system of defences in Northern France constructed by the Germans during the winter of 1916– 17 during World War I; the Germans called it the Siegfried Line. ... The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was a major battle of World War I. It was the biggest operation and victory of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in that war. ... The Second Battle of the Sambre (November 4, 1918) was part of the final European Allied offensives of World War I. At the front German resistance was falling away, unprecedented numbers of prisoners were taken in the Battle of the Selle, and a new attack was quickly prepared. ... August 8 is the 220th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (221st in leap years), with 145 days remaining. ... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... The Hundred Days Offensive was the final offensive in World War I by the Allies against the Central Powers on the Western Front from August 8, 1918 to November 11, 1918. ... World War I, also known as the First World War, and (before 1939) the Great War, the War of the Nations, and the War to End All Wars, was a world conflict lasting from August 1914 to the final Armistice (cessation of hostilities) on November 11, 1918. ... Symbol of the Polish 1st Legions Infantry Division in NATO code A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of around ten to fifteen thousand soldiers. ... A mile is a unit of distance (or, in physics terminology, length) currently defined as 5,280 feet, 1,760 yards, or 63,360 inches. ... Trench warfare is a form of war in which both opposing armies have static lines of fortifications dug into the ground, facing each other. ... For most of World War I, Allied Forces, predominantly those of France and the United Kingdom, were stalled at trenches on the Western Front. ... A white flag is traditionally used to represent a truce. ... November 11 is the 315th day of the year (316th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 50 days remaining. ...

Contents


Prelude

On 21 March 1918, Germany had launched Operation Michael, the first of a series of attacks that would drive the Allies back along the length of the Western Front. Michael itself was aimed at the town of Amiens, a vital railway junction, but the advance had been halted at Villers-Bretonneux by the Australians on 4 April. Subsequent German offensives — Operation Georgette (911 April), Operation Blücher-Yorck (27 May), Operation Gneisenau (9 June) and Operation Marne-Rheims (1517 July) — had made advances but failed to achieve a decisive breakthrough. March 21 is the 80th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (81st in leap years). ... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... The Spring Offensive (Operation Michael) was a German offensive along the Western Front during the First World War which marked the deepest advance by any side since 1914. ... The cathedral in Amiens Location within France Amiens is a city and commune in the north of France, 120 km north of Paris. ... Villers-Bretonneux is a commune of the Somme département in France. ... April 4 is the 94th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (95th in leap years). ... The Battle of the Lys was part of the 1918 German Operation Georgette offensive in Flanders during the First World War. ... April 9 is the 99th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (100th in leap years). ... April 11 is the 101st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (102nd in leap years). ... May 27 is the 147th day (148th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with 218 days remaining. ... June 9 is the 160th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (161st in leap years), with 205 days remaining. ... (Redirected from 15 July) July 15 is the 196th day (197th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 169 days remaining. ... July 17 is the 198th day (199th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with 167 days remaining. ...


When the Marne-Rheims offensive petered out the Allied supreme commander, French Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch, ordered a counter-offensive which became the Second Battle of the Marne. The Germans, recognising their untenable position, withdrew from the Marne to the north. Note: This article is about the military usage of the word marshal. For other usages, see the end of this article. ... A monument to Ferdinand Foch in Paris. ... The Second Battle of the Marne, was a World War I battle fought from July 15 to July 18, 1918 near the Marne River. ... The Marne is a river in France, a tributary of the Seine in the area east and southeast of Paris. ...


Foch now considered the time had arrived for the Allies to return to the offensive and agreed on a proposal by the commander of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, to strike on the Somme, east of Amiens and southwest of the 1916 battlefield of the Battle of the Somme. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was the British army sent to France and Belgium in World War I and British Forces in Europe from 1939 - 1940 during World War II. The BEF was established by Secretary of State for War Richard Haldane following the Second Boer War in case the... Field Marshal Lord Haig Field Marshal The Right Honourable Sir Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig, KT, GCB, OM, GCVO, KCIE (19 June 1861–28 January 1928) was a British soldier and senior commander during World War I. He was commander of the British Expeditionary Force during the Battle of the... Somme is a French département, named after the Somme River, located in the north of France. ... 1916 (MCMXVI) is a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar) // Events January-February January 1 - The Royal Army Medical Corps first successful blood transfusion using blood that had been stored and cooled. ... Combatants United Kingdom France Canada India Newfoundland New Zealand South Africa Australia German Empire Commanders Douglas Haig Ferdinand Foch Max von Gallwitz Fritz von Below Strength 13 British & 6 French divisions (initial) 51 British divisions (final) 10. ...


The Somme was chosen as a suitable site for the offensive for a number of reasons. As in 1916, it marked the boundary between the BEF and the French armies, in this case defined by the Amiens-Roye road, allowing the two armies to cooperate. Also the Picardy countryside provided a good surface for tanks, which was not the case in Flanders. Finally, the German defences, manned by the German Second Army of General Georg von der Marwitz, were relatively weak, having been subjected to continual raiding by the Australians in a process termed Peaceful Penetration. Coat of arms of Picardy Picardy (French: Picardie) is an historical province of France, in the north of France. ... Flanders (Flemish, Fleming) (Dutch: Vlaanderen (Vlaams, Vlaming)) has-diddley two-diddley main-diddley designations-diddley: a-diddley geographical-diddley region-diddley in-diddley-diddley-diddley the-diddley north-diddley of-diddley Belgium-diddley, corresponding-diddley to-diddley the-diddley Flemish Region, a-diddley consituent-diddley part-diddley of-diddley the... The German Second Army (German: ) was a World War II field army. ... Johannes Georg von der Marwitz (7 July 1856–27 October 1929) was a Prussian cavalry general, who commanded several German armies during the First World War. ...


The plan

The initial attack would be made by the British Fourth Army, commanded by General Sir Henry Rawlinson, who had also been in command on 1 July 1916, the disastrous first day on the Somme when the British army suffered nearly 60,000 casualties. The British Fourth Army was a field army of the British Expeditionary Force during the First World War. ... General Henry Rawlinson at Fourth Army HQ, Querrieu Chateau, July 1916. ... July 1 is the 182nd day of the year (183rd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 183 days remaining. ... The first day on the Somme, 1 July 1916, was the opening day of the British and French offensive that became the Battle of the Somme. ...


The British went to great lengths to deceive the Germans as to their intentions and achieve surprise. On this occasion there would be no preliminary bombardment. The massed artillery would open fire at zero hour, at the same time as the infantry advanced. The movement and assembly of tanks was drowned out by low flying aircraft. The British had concentrated 324 Mark IV and Mark V battle tanks, 184 supply tanks and two battalions of light (14 ton) Medium Mark A "Whippet" tanks. A Japan Airlines Boeing 747-400. ... A Mark I tank on 26 September 1916 (moving left to right). ... A Mark I tank (moving left to right). ... The word ton or tonne is derived from the Old English tunne, and ultimately from the Old French tonne, and referred originally to a large cask with a capacity of 252 wine gallons, which holds approximately 2100 pounds of water. ... General characteristics Length: 20ft/6. ...


An elaborate deception was carried out to make the Germans believe the veteran Canadian Corps were elsewhere. A Canadian unit made itself obvious at Ypres and faked radio signals were used to suggest the corps was near Calais. The corps was secretly transported from Arras and was in position east of Amiens without the Germans being aware. The Canadian Corps was a World War I Canadas soldiers in September of 1915 after the arrival of the 2nd Canadian Division in France. ... The Belfry of Ypres Ypres (French, generally used in English;1 Ieper official name in the local Dutch) is a municipality located in Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium, and in the Flemish province of West Flanders. ... Location within France The Burghers of Calais, by Rodin, with Calais Hotel de Ville behind J.M.W. Turner: Calais Pier Calais (Dutch: Kales) is a town in northern France, located at 50°57N 1°52E. It is in the département of Pas-de-Calais, of which it is... Arras is a town and commune in northern France, préfecture (capital) of the Pas-de-Calais département. ...


The battle

The battle began in dense fog at 4.20am on 8 August. From north to south the attacking formations of the Fourth Army were the British III Corps (north of the Somme), the Australian Corps and the Canadian Corps. The French First Army would keep contact in the south before making its own attack later. Sunlight filters through a thin layer of fog on a crisp winter morning in Albuquerque, New Mexico. ... August 8 is the 220th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (221st in leap years), with 145 days remaining. ... The British III Corps was formed in both World War I and World War II. During World War II it was formed to control forces of the British Expeditionary Force, after the expansion of that force had rendered control by just two corps headquarters cumbersome. ... The Australian Corps was a World War I army corps that contained all five Australian infantry divisions serving on the British army in France. ...

A German M96nA artillery piece captured during the course of the battle by the 33rd Australian Battalion
A German M96nA artillery piece captured during the course of the battle by the 33rd Australian Battalion

In the first phase seven divisions attacked, the British 18th (Eastern) and 58th (2/1st London) divisions, the Australian 2nd and 3rd divisions, and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Canadian divisions. These troops were to capture the first German position, advancing about 4000 yards, an objective they had reached by about 7.30am. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2304x1728, 1777 KB) Summary A German M96nA artillery piece, captured by Australian troops on August 8, 1918, during the Battle of Amiens (the plaque should properly read Warfusée, not Warfuse), photographed by DONeil. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2304x1728, 1777 KB) Summary A German M96nA artillery piece, captured by Australian troops on August 8, 1918, during the Battle of Amiens (the plaque should properly read Warfusée, not Warfuse), photographed by DONeil. ... For the thrash metal band, see Artillery (band) Historically, artillery refers to any engine used for the discharge of projectiles during war. ... The British 18th (Eastern) Division was a New Army division formed in September 1914 as part of the K2 Army Group. ... The Australian 2nd Division was formed from reinforcements training in Egypt on July 10, 1915 as part of the Australian Imperial Force to fight in World War I. It fought at France where it was the last Australian division to see combat. ... The Australian 3rd Division was a World War I infantry division formed in Australia in March 1916 and which began to arrive in England in July at which time General John Monash was appointed as the commander. ... The Canadian Corps - 1st Canadian Division – World War I Formed in August of 1914, the 1st Canadian Division was initially made up from Provisional Battalions that were named after their Province of origin but these Provisional titles were dropped before the Division arrived in Britain on October 14, 1914. ... The Canadian Corps - 2nd Canadian Division – World War I The formation of the 2nd Canadian Division began in May of 1915 in France in September of 1915. ... The Canadian Corps - 3rd Canadian Division – World War I The 3rd Canadian Division was formed in France in December of 1915 under the command of Major-General M.S. Mercer. ... This article is about the unit of measure known as the yard. ...


In the centre, the leading divisions had been followed up by supporting units who would move through to attack the second objective a further two miles distant. At 8.20am the Australian 4th and 5th and the Canadian 4th divisions moved off, advancing over open country. The fog was now dissipating and the troops were confronted with a spectacular view of tanks, cavalry and lines of advancing infantry. Many German gun positions had been overrun but surviving guns now engaged the tanks, knocking many of them out. The Australian 4th Division was formed in the First World War during the expansion of the Australian Imperial Force infantry brigades in February 1916. ... The Australian 5th Division was formed in February 1916, during the First World War as part of the expansion of the Australian Imperial Force infantry brigades. ... The Canadian Corps - 4th Canadian Division – World War I The 4th Canadian Division was formed in Britain in April of 1916 from existing units or others scheduled to arrive shortly thereafter. ...


The third phase of the attack was to have been performed by infantry-carrying tanks (Mark V* type) however the infantry were able to carry out this final step unaided. The Allies had penetrated well to the rear of the German defences and cavalry now continued the advance, one brigade in the Australian sector and two cavalry divisions in the Canadian sector. While the infantry were still short of the second objective, 16 armoured cars had broken through towards Péronne and proceeded to roam the German rear, causing panic and confusion. Brigade is a term from military science which refers to a group of several battalions (typically two to four), and directly attached supporting units (normally including at least an artillery battery and additional logistic support). ... Military armored cars A French VBL reconnaissance vehicle. ... Péronne is the name or part of the name of several communes in France: Péronne, in the Saône-et-Loire département Péronne, in the Somme département Péronne-en-Mélantois, in the Nord département This is a disambiguation page — a list of...

8th August, 1918 by Will Longstaff, showing German prisoners of war being led towards Amiens.

By the end of the advance, a gap 15 miles long had been punched in the German line south of the Somme. The Fourth Army had taken 13,000 prisoners (8,000 by the Australians, 5,000 by the Canadians) while the French had taken a further 3,500. The Australians also captured 173 guns and the Canadians 161. Total German losses were estimated to be 30,000 on 8 August while the Allies suffered about 6,500 killed, wounded and missing. Download high resolution version (1200x765, 136 KB)8th August, 1918 oil-on-canvas by Will Longstaff, Australian official war artist. ... Download high resolution version (1200x765, 136 KB)8th August, 1918 oil-on-canvas by Will Longstaff, Australian official war artist. ... Geneva Convention definition A prisoner of war (POW) is a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine who is imprisoned by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict. ... The cathedral in Amiens Location within France Amiens is a city and commune in the north of France, 120 km north of Paris. ...


The advance would continue for three more days but without the spectacular results of 8 August as the rapid progress had outrun the supporting artillery. On 10 August there were signs that the Germans were pulling out of the Michael salient. August 10 is the 222nd day of the year (223rd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... In military terms, a salient is a battlefield feature that projects into enemy territory. ...


Conclusion

The German commander-in-chief, General Erich Ludendorff, described 8 August 1918 as "the black day of the German Army", not because of the ground lost to the advancing Allies but because the morale of the German troops had sunk to the point where large scale capitulations occurred. Ludendorff in 1918 Erich Ludendorff (sometimes given incorrectly as Erich von Ludendorff) (April 9, 1865 – December 20, 1937, Tutzing, Bavaria, Germany) was a German Army officer, noted as a general during World War I. Ludendorff was born in Kruszewnia near Posen, Prussia (now Poznań, Poland). ... August 8 is the 220th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (221st in leap years), with 145 days remaining. ... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... Morale is a term for the capacity of people to maintain belief in an institution or a goal. ...


External links

  • The British Army in the Great War: Battle of Amiens

Suggested Reading

Christie, Norm. For King & Empire, The Canadians at Amiens, August 1918. CEF Books, 1999


McWilliams, James and Steel, R. James. Amiens – Dawn of Victory. Dundurn Press 2001


Nicholson, Col. G.W.L. Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-1919, Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War, Queen’s Printer, 1964


Schreiber, Shane B. Shock Army of the British Empire – The Canadian Corps in the Last 100 Days of the Great War. Vanwell Publishing Limited, 2004


  Results from FactBites:
 
Amiens - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (422 words)
Amiens, the Roman Samarobriva, was the central settlement of the Ambiani, one of the principal tribes of Gaul, who were issuing coinage, probably from Amiens, in the 1st century BC.
Amiens is notable for the coherence of its plan, the beauty of its three-tier interior elevation, the particularly fine display of sculptures on the principal facade and in the south transept, and the labyrinth and other inlays of its floor.
Amiens was the birthplace of Peter the Hermit and Odette Sansom (1912-1995), a heroic member of the French Resistance.
Battle of Amiens - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1175 words)
Amiens, the key to the west by Arthur Streeton, 1918.
The Battle of Amiens, which began on 8 August 1918, was the opening phase of the Allied offensive, later known as the Hundred Days Offensive, that led ultimately to the end of World War I.
The battle marked the end of trench warfare on the Western Front and the return to the mobile warfare that would prevail until the armistice was signed on 11 November.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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