Saturday, 21 July 2018

Blooding the Americans

Sunday 21st July 1918

Since  Thursday a major offensive has been underway to the south. General Foch, the French commander-in-chief has launched an attack with 24 divisions, including two American divisions(1). The offensive is along the River Marne, scene of such bitter fighting in 1914 and where the German offensive was halted just short of Paris. 

Since then a corps of Italian troops has also been involved, which was roughly handled in its attack, but it has been replaced by two British divisions, 62nd (West Riding) and our old friends 51st (Highland) Division, whose initial base was in Bedford.

Yesterday the enemy began to fall back under the attacks of this army of four nations. This is the first serious retrograde movement the enemy has been forced to make since his triumphant Spring Offensive. Let us hope it is not his last(2).

(1) 92nd and 93rd Divisions. Both of these were"colored" divisions. US formations were segregated and both these divisions were manned by African Americans

(2) After 20th July German defences stiffened and renewed allied attacks were costly and without significant gain until; 1st August when a Franco-British attack advanced five miles during the day. German counterattacks on 6th August caused the offensive to peter out, but the British and Imperial troops at Amiens were then ready to launch their own attack which would see the beginning of the great allied advance which would end in the Armistice of 11th November.

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