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The necessary flank protection weakens the offensive strength of the Army, and immediate reinforcements are therefore urgently needed. Owing to the ever-changing situation, it will not be possible for the commander of the First Army to make any further important decisions unless he is kept continuously informed of the situation of the other armies who are apparently not so far advanced.

Communication with the Second Army is constantly maintained. On the evening of the 5th September detailed instructions arrived from the Supreme Command, and from them it appeared that the enemy was transporting troops from the front Belfort-Toul westwards, and was also withdrawing troops from the front of our Third, Fourth, and Fifth Armies. The Supreme Command, therefore, calculated that very strong enemy forces were being concentrated near Paris to protect the capital and threaten the German right flank.


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The bearer of these instructions from the Supreme Command, Lieut. There was consequently a possibility that the enemy would move troops by rail from his eastern wing towards Paris. A very different aspect was thus given to the situation confronting the First Army. It was intensified by a report which arrived late in the evening of the presence of strong enemy forces about Dammartin, to the north-east of Paris. During the night of the 5th September it became obvious that further and more drastic changes in the movements of the First Army were essential, if the danger of an envelopment was to be effectively countered in time.

Owing to the reports of the IV Reserve Corps in its fighting during the 5th, a special order was sent to the II Corps to begin its march in the early hours of the 6th, so as to be ready to support the IV Reserve Corps on the 6th if needed. Its commander, General von Linsingen, moved the 4th Infantry Division by Lizy towards Trocy and the 3rd by Vareddes, to the relief of the IV Reserve Corps, which in the meantime had been attacked by about a corps of the enemy on the front Bregy-St.

The 3rd Infantry Division came up against strong British forces west and north of Vareddes. The first strong reinforcement to deal with the new opponent had thus arrived on the scenes. By an Order issued at 5. At Thus, on the morning of the 7th September, the II Corps, the IV Reserve Corps still without its Brussels Brigade , and the IV Corps stood between the Therouane and the Gergogne a tributary of the Ourcq , with their units rather intermingled, with the 4th Cavalry Division immediately to the north of them: they were to hold up the Army of Maunoury, of the strength and composition of which nothing was known at First Army Headquarters.

The pressure of superior forces was perceptible from the very first. The Second Army, wheeling round, pivoted on its right flank at Montmirail, intended to continue the pursuit up to the Seine with its centre and left wing, the latter moving on Marigny-le-Grand. By an Army Order issued at 10 p. They gained touch again with the right flank of the Second Army at Montmirail, and, to ensure united action, were to conform to its instructions.

During the morning of the 8th September it became evident that the British were advancing towards the Marne, while strong forces. An order was therefore sent to the IX Corps at The Marne bridges were to be prepared for destruction, and, if necessary, to be demolished; in the latter case, the fact was to be notified to headquarters. Meanwhile, the French attempt to break through our front at Trocy on the morning of the 8th had been frustrated without the assistance of the 5th Infantry Division, which was ready at hand in support.

Late in the evening, Army Headquarters went to La Ferte Milon in order to be close to the critical part of the battle. At dusk an audacious detachment of French cavalry had attacked an aeroplane station south of La Ferte Milon, just as the line of cars of Army Headquarters was approaching the scene of action.

The march on Paris and the battle of the Marne, 1914

All the members of the Staff seized rifles, carbines, and revolvers, so as to ward off a possible advance of the French cavalrymen, and extended out and lay down, forming a long firing-line. The dusky red and clouded evening sky shed a weird light on this quaint little fighting force. The thunder of the artillery of the IX and IV Corps boomed and roared defiantly, and the gigantic flashes of the heavy guns lit up the deep shadows of the approaching night. In the meantime, the French squadrons had been apparently shot down, dispersed, or captured by troops of the IX or another Corps.

These bold horsemen had missed a goodly prize!

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The Army Operation Order for the 9th September issued from La Ferte Milon late in the evening of the 8th, stated that the First Army had maintained its position on the whole front from Cuvergnon, north of Betz-Antilly, to the Marne salient at Congis; also that enemy reserves were reported south and west of Crepy-en-Valois. A decision would be arrived at on the morrow by the enveloping attack of General von Quast with the IX Corps and the 6th Infantry and 4th Cavalry Divisions from the wooded country north of Cuvergnon.

Shortly after 1 p. The Second Army is beginning to retreat; its right flank on Damery. This retreat widened the gap between the two Armies, which up till now had been screened, into a serious breach in the western wing of the German Armies, extending - with every possibility of a further increase - from Chateau Thierry to about Epernay - that is to say, on the breadth of front of an Army.

Not till twenty hours later did the Second Army Headquarters correct their message by another to say their right flank was retiring not on Damery, but on Dormans. The attack of General von der Marwitz against the British ended successfully, and part of the enemy who had crossed the Marne was thrown back into the vicinity of Montbertoin by evening.

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Towards midday the situation of the First Army was thoroughly favourable, even taking into consideration the withdrawal of the Second Army north-eastwards. For victory seemed assured on the decisive wing of attack, the left wing was standing firm, and the flank appeared to be sufficiently guarded by General von der Marwitz with two cavalry divisions, the 5th Infantry Division, and Kraewel's Brigade.

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At about this period Lieut. His arrival was only made known to the Army Commander after he had already hastily departed - a regrettable circumstance, which would have been avoided had the Colonel personally reported himself to the Army Commander; the latter at the moment was close to the scene of the meeting. Colonel Hentsch made the following communication, which was taken down in the form of a minute in the still existing records of First Army Headquarters:. The situation is not favourable. The retreat of the Second Army behind the Marne is unalterable: its right wing, the VII Corps, is being forced back and not voluntarily retiring.

In consequence of these facts, all the Armies are to be moved back: the Third Army to north-east of Chalons, and the Fourth and Fifth Army, in conjunction, through the neighbourhood of Clermont-en-Argonne towards Verdun. The First Army must therefore also retire in the direction Soissons-Fere-en-Tardenois, and in extreme circumstances perhaps farther, even to Laon-La Fere. A new Army was being assembled near St.

Quentin, so that a fresh operation might be begun. General von Kuhl remarked that the attack of the First Army was in full swing and that a retreat would be a very delicate operation, especially as the Army was in an extremely exhausted condition and its units intermingled.

To this Lieut. He emphasized the fact that these directions were to remain valid regardless of any other communications that might arrive and that he had full powers. It must be repeated that information of such a kind, throwing an entirely different light on the whole situation, should have been given by Lieut. From French sources now available, it is clear that General Maunoury had so early as the evening of the 8th considered the advisability of a retreat to a position of defence on the line Monthyon-St.

The First Battle of the Marne

Soupplets-Le Plessis Belleville. Taxis save Paris! After Germany invaded Belgium in early August and France and Britain declared war on Germany and her allies, the Germans saw that to win the war they should attack France quickly and decisively. They hoped to win the war within days and thus end what might be their biggest nightmare—a two-front war. As they swarmed toward Paris, the French were surprised.

First Battle of the Marne - Wikipedia

And their troops, their 7th Division, had to be repositioned from their railhead to quickly stop the German advance. In a valiant maneuver, the Army asked approximately taxi drivers of Paris to aid them by carrying 10, French troops to the front lines. The taxi drivers were to meet their so-called passengers in the drive in front of the Les Invalides.

The farthest the Germans advanced was within 30 miles of Paris. At Meaux, they were stopped, thanks in part to these taxi drivers! Do see the map here! Gerald March 20, at AM. Louise Erdrich June 17, at AM. Unknown September 13, at PM. Newer Post Older Post Home.