Amiens, Battle of

Amiens, Battle of

 

Anglo-French offensive operation of August 8–13, 1918, against the German armies. It marked the start of the general offensive of the Allied forces in the last campaign of World War I (1914–18). The immediate aim of the Amiens operation was the liquidation of the Amiens salient and the freeing of the Paris-Calais railroad line from artillery bombardment. In the breakthrough sector of Morlancourt-Moreuil were concentrated the main forces of the Fourth British Army under General Rawlinson and the First Corps of the First French Army under General Debe-ney (18 infantry and three cavalry divisions, 2,684 guns, 511 tanks, and up to 1,000 airplanes) against seven undermanned infantry divisions (with 840 guns) of the Second German Army under General Marwitz. On August 8 the Anglo-French forces advanced to a depth of 11 km against the German defense along a 30–km front. The Germans lost 28,000 men and more than 400 guns in the course of the day. By August 13 the Allied forces, joined in the offensive by the entire First French Army and part of the Third French Army, widened the attack front to 75 km and advanced another 8–9 km. The Second German Army was badly defeated. August 8, which E. Ludendorff called the “black day of the German Army,” represented the beginning of the defeat of Germany that culminated with its capitulation in November 1918.