The Results of the Battle of Amiens 1918

The results of the Battle of Amiens may be summarised as follows. Over Twenty Germans divisions had been heavily defeated by the many British, Australian, French and Canadian infantry and cavalry divisions, assisted by a regiment of the 33rd American Division and supported by some 500 hundred tanks and many aircraft.  The British had sustained 22,000 casualties (the French losses aren’t certain), ‘The Western Front Companion’ estimates that the Germans sustained 74,000 casualties, 47,000 as prisoners, and lost 600-700 guns.

The Allied line had been pushed forward to a depth of some twelve miles in vital sectors, also the attacks of the French Armies had compelled the enemy to evacuate hurriedly a wide extent of territory to the south.

Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig during his visit to the 4th Army on Aug 11th 1918 in conversation with Major John Roper leading his battalion of the Nova Scotia Highlanders
Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig during his visit to the 4th Army on Aug 11th 1918 in conversation with Major John Roper leading his battalion of the Nova Scotia Highlanders

 

The effect of this victory, following so closely after the Allied victory on the Marne, upon the moral both of the German and British troops was very great. Buoyed up by the hope of immediate and decisive victory, to be followed by an early and favourable peace, constantly assured that the Allied reserves were exhausted, the German soldiery suddenly found themselves attacked on two fronts and thrown back with heavy losses from large and important portions of their earlier gains. The reaction was inevitable and of a deep and lasting character.

How seriously the German armies had begun to wear down appears from an Order of the Day of this period of Marshal Foch. “One hundred and twenty German, “he said “have been thrown into battle since July 15. We have an opportunity in front of us that will never occur again, and which call on all of us to put forth our utmost efforts.”

Allied troops felt that at last their opportunity had come, and that supported by a superior artillery and numerous tanks, they could now press forward resolutely to reap the reward of their patients, dauntless, and successful defence in March and April. This they were eager to do, and as they moved forward during the ensuing months, from one success to another, suffering, danger, and losses were alike forgotten in their desire to beat the enemy and their confidence that they could do so.

Meanwhile, as a further and immediate result of the Allied successes, the enemy was thrown back definitely upon a defensive policy and begun to straighten out the salient in his line. Between the 14th and 17th August, he withdrew from positions about  Serre, and farther north indications multiplied of an intention shortly to abandon the salient in Lys valley. Allied patrol were already beginning to push forward on this front, and on the night of the 13th – 14th August established post south and east of Vieux Berquin. On the 18th and 19th August the capture of Outtersteene village and ridge with some 900 prisoners by Divisions of the Second Army, hastened the enemy's movements on the Lys.

German prisoners at Méricourt-l'Abbé Aug 8th 1918
German prisoners at Méricourt-l'Abbé Aug 8th 1918

In that sense the Battle of Amiens was a turning point in the First World War. It was part of a sequence of operations, often referred to as “the 100 Days Offensive”, that saw the Allies bring the long, grinding, bloody attrition of four years of trench warfare to an ultimately victorious conclusion. It demonstrated not only the decline in German military capacity but the growing superiority – material, tactical and technological – of Allied forces. After a brief pause to regather strength, offensive operations were resumed on 21st August and would not cease until the Armistice of 11th November. Amiens thus marked the beginning of the end. Though between 21st August and 11th November 1918, the BEF suffered 265,000 casualties. This represents roughly the same rate of average daily loss as on the Somme in 1916 and at Passchendaele in 1917.

 

Advance to Victory - The Last 100 Days of World War One.

Forces War Records unique ‘WW1 Troop Movement’ using Order of Battle of Divisions (ORBATS) an interactive audio-visual feature follows the Allies' advance across the Somme to the Hindenberg Line, then onto Mons where the last shots were fired and finally onto Compiègne where the Armistice was signed, thus ending the hostilities.

[ FOLLOW THE BATTLES HERE ]

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