Race to the Sea

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Race to the Sea


three consecutive operations by maneuver of the Anglo-French and German armies on the Western Front from September to October 1914 during World War I (1914–18).

By the middle of September 1914 a solid positional front had been formed in France from the Swiss frontier to the Oise River, north of which the adversaries had open flanks. The area not occupied by troops was almost 200 km. From Sept. 16 to Sept. 28 the French Second Army tried to bypass the northern wing of the German armies between the Oise and Somme rivers, but it encountered German units that were being moved up into this area. The engagements ended with both sides assuming the defense. Subsequent attempts of the French Tenth Army to bypass the northern flank of the Germans on the Scarpe River in the region of Arras from September 29 to October 9 and attempts of the British Army to bypass the Germans on the Lys River from October 10 to 15 were equally unsuccessful. The allies collided with German troops, who in turn tried to bypass the left flank of the Anglo-French troops. After stubborn encounters, both sides assumed a defensive position. The maneuver phase of the war in the West came to an end by November 15, after the “Race to the Sea” and the Battle of Flanders of 1914, and a solid positional front was established. During the “Race to the Sea,” cavalry was widely used to protect the flanks and cover the concentration of infantry divisions. Troops and supplies were moved by rail and by motor vehicles. The “Race to the Sea” is an example of a flanking operation.


Novitskii, V. F. Mirovaia voina 1914–18, vol. 2. Moscow, 1938.
Kolenkovskii, A. Manevrennyi period pervoi mirovoi imperialis-ticheskoi voiny 1914. Moscow, 1940.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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After three chapters devoted to pre-war planning and the context of political and military authority within which figures like French Generals Joseph Joffre and Ferdinand Foch, and on the British side Horatio Herbert Kitchener and Sir John French would make decisions, the remaining five chapters examine in great detail the deployment of the British Expeditionary Force to France, setbacks during the Battle of the Frontiers, the "Miracle" of the Marne, and the subsequent vicissitudes of the "Race to the Sea," ending with the onset of winter and stalemate all along the front.
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Principal battles: Race to the Sea (1914); Ypres I (Ieper) (1915); Verdun, Romanian campaign (1916); Palestine campaign (1917-1918).
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The remaining entries for October describe the fierce fighting in the area of Messines, in official records known as the 1st Battle of Ypres or the Race to the Sea. As a consequence of the German defeat at the Battle of the Marne, they launched a major offensive which led to both armies trying to gain the initiative to reach the coast of the North Sea.
When storms force most people indoors, surfers race to the sea. In the surfing hot spot of La Union, local dude Ronnie "Poks" Esquivel stood out.
Principal battles: Ladysmith (1900); Blood River Poort (Natal) (1901); Race to the Sea (1914); the Somme (1916); Ypres (Ieper) III (1917); Somme offensive (1918).