The Great War Part 213, September 14th 1918

The Fourth Year restoring the war of movement arrogantly confident in its generalship and system. The problem was to surprise the enemy and bring up masses of men without allowing hostile airmen to notice their coming. This was a business demanding ingenuity and skill. M.Abel Ferry a former French Under-Secretary for War, said in 1918 that when in 19151916 and 1917 the French Higher Command was urged to adopt surprise tactics the Staff officers uniformly replied :“How do you expect us to conceal from the enemy the concentration of 300000 men ?"The Germans however in 1918 solved the problem which the Allies had previously believed insoluble. A few weeks later Marshal Foch the new Allied Com- mander-in-Chief turned the German methods against themselves with such remarkable success that his great counter-attack upon the front between Soissons and Chateau- Thierry caught the German Staff entirely off its guard and on August 8th Sir Douglas Haigs sudden onslaught on the enemy upon the Somme repeated Marshal Foch’s feat. So that surprise which as an Transformation element seemed to have vanished from of war in 1918 war with the development of the allied and German air forces was restored and generalship was given new scope for action. This was the great transformation which war underwent in 1918. The details of the new German methods are set forth in the succeeding chapters dealing with the great offensive which shows how the German Staff treated the problem. General Ludendorff however was very greatly helped by the treason of tlie Bolshevists. This provided him with avery marked superiority in men and the chance of giving the special training which his troops required for the attack. Some forty divisions after a thorough training, were gradually brought to the west and toadded the one hundred and sixty divisions already there. Only thirty-five German divisions were left in Russia and the Ukraine and these were composed of old men and ineffective material. Until the Allies adapted themselves to the new German form of attack and until the German advantage in numbers passed with the arrival of American troops the situation was one of particular danger there were weeks and months when the fate of freedom trembled in the balance. But the transformation of war had this result. It proved that with generalship and a sufficiency of men any front could be broken through. It gave anew certainty of ending the struggle if only the Allies could hold till the Americans arrived. The new American Coming of Army would be just such a force as the the Americans Allied Supreme Command would require to strike the deadly blow. It was composed as Captain von Salzmann wrote in the German Press in July “of fresh young men with ”unshaken nerve not of worn and middle-aged men who had spent years in the trenches under fire. It had never acquired the spirit of the defensive. It had reaped all the: benefit of British and French experience. It was provided with the finest weapons which the ingenuity of the Allies could devise. The British French and Italian Armies after long years of desperate war fighting continuously had slowly worn down the German strength exhausted the German energy, and killed the pick of the German officers and soldiery. Their frightful sacrifices had not been in vain. Over the graves of their dead the new armies were to march to victory, and those dead had made the road. If an enduring peace was to be assured freedom to be pro­tected for a generation from further treachery and if as President Wilson said the world was to be made safe for democracy a final trial was necessary in which the German SCOTTISH TROOPS TAKING PART IN A FRENCH CORPUS CHRISTI CELEBRATION. Procession through a small French town in celebration of the Corpus festival. At the request of the Vatican the British abstained from making Christi festival of May 30th 1918. A detachment of the Catholic members any bombing raids on Cologne and other German towns on that day of a Highland regiment stationed in the neighbourhood took part in the though the Germans did not thus reciprocate this consideration.
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