In 1918 the most decisive battle of World War I “The Battle of Amiens” ends in victory to the Allies.
The Russian revolution of 1917 led them to agreeing a ceasefire on the eastern front on the 15th of December 1917 effectively leaving the First World War. With the Eastern Front ended Germany’s most senior officer, Erich Ludendorff, suddenly had a huge supply of battle ready troops ready to fight against the remaining allies on the Western Front.
Ludendorff devised a plan he called the “Emperor’s Battle” which involved the full force of the new troops attacking one point in the western front which was being held by the British Expeditionary Forces near the strategically important city of Amiens. On the 21st of March Lundendorffs attack began, starting with the most intense gas and artillery fire bombardment of the entire war for five hours against the British forces. This was followed by several waves of Germany soldiers that broke through the lines and killed about 30% of the British Soldiers in that section. By the 5th of April the German forces had gained 28 miles before finally being subdued by the Allies. By July the Allies had managed to regroup and British Commander Henry Rawlison was given the task of forcing the Germans back. The Americans entrance into the war the previous year gave the allies much needed resources. With new tanks and artillery, a huge force of Allied soldiers and the newly formed RAF, Rawlison had a tremendous force to accomplish his mission.
On the morning of the 8th of August the allies began to advance, supported by heavy artillery fire and the RAF taking out German strongholds. British, Canadian and Australian regiments continued to advance driving back the Germans and gaining more ground on that day then had previously been achieved in any single day of the war. The push continued for three days with the battle ending on the 11th of August. Despite the huge loss of life to the allies, the shock of the successful attack against the previously strong German line caused many Germans to surrender. The crippling attack also led Ludendorff to declare to the German Emperor, Wilhelm II that the war was lost.
This Battle is also considered the beginning of the “Hundred Days Offensive” that led to the German Armistice on the 11th of November 1918. Although the Russian revolution initially aided the Germans it would also aid there downfall. Germany was being suffocated by not only the human loss but also the financial loss of the war and after the “battle of Amiens” it became apparent that it was a war they may indeed loose. With the German people suffering the thoughts of their own revolution began to cross their minds. Soldiers continued to surrender as the “Hundred Days Offensive” progressed and when the German Navy were ordered to attack the superior Royal Navy in what would have been a suicide mission the entire navy began a revolt which quickly spread throught the armed forces and country leading to the Germans calling for an Armistice, and effectively surrendering on the 11th of November.
Sadly despite the time and date of the Armistice known for some time in advance fighting continued right up until the last moments before 11:00 am on the 11th of November 1918. The Americans lost huge numbers of soldiers on the final day, having been ordered to advance right up to the final moments of the Armistice. Some of the commanders felt they had something to prove while others believed that the Germans needed to taste true defeat and know that they were beaten rather than have an armistice. One such general prolifically said that if they are not defeated in battle than they would try again.