Was World War I
an avoidable debacle ?
July 18 – November 11, 1918
Allied Powers – British Empire
Allied Powers – France
Allied Powers – Belgium
Allied Powers – Portugal
Associated Powers – USA
Central Powers – German Empire
Central Powers – Austria-Hungary
The Hundred Days Offensive was a series of offensives launched by the Allied and Associated Powers toward the end of World War I. Commencing with the Battle of Amiens, the Hundred Days Offensive ended with the signing of the armistice on November 11, 1918.
The Battle of Amiens:
The Hundred Days Offensive commenced with the Battle of Amiens on August 8, 1918. The Allied army was a medley of British, Australian, French, and Canadian troops. Capitalizing the advantage of a surprise attack, the Allied gained over fifteen miles of inroad between the enemy lines. Over 17,000 Germans were taken prisoner and the Germans recorded over 30,000 casualties. The Allied forces lost over 6,500 men. The offensive ended with a retreat of the Central troops toward the Hindenburg Line.
Second Battle of Somme:
In addition to the battle of Amiens, General Haig planned another series of offensives in and around Albert. The BEF attacked Albert on August 21, 1918 and captured the city the following day. The French Army engaged the German troops at Noyon and invaded the town on August 29, 1918. On the same day, BEF stormed and took Bapaume.
The Hindenburg Line Battles:
With these victories, the German troops were forced to retreat toward the Hindenburg Line. The Allied troops advanced and a number of battles were fought between August 30 and September 2, 1918. The French First and Tenth Armies moved towards the Hindenburg Line at Saint Quentin and Laon respectively. The BEF reached Saint Quentin Canal on September 18, 1918. French General Ferdinand Foch then launched a series of three offensives in France and Belgium. The Meuse-Argonne Offensive, as it was known, raged through September 1918 at Somme, Saint-Thierry, Montfaucon, and Le Chesne. The main attack on the German troops stationed on the Hindenburg Line was the Battle of Saint Quentin, launched on September 29. In this battle and in the Battle of Cambrai the Allied troops were successful in breaching the German defenses at the Hindenburg Line.
End of World War I:
The retreating German army burnt bridges, delaying Allied progress, but they also abandoned supplies and arms to hasten their withdrawal. A number of minor battles through October and early November such as the Battle of Courtrai, the Battle of the Selle, the Battle of the Serre, the Battle of the Sambre, and the Battle of Thiérache sealed the Allied victory.
The Hundred Days Offensive lasted until armistice on November 11, 1918.