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German Spring Offensive - 1918

March 21 – July 18, 1918

Western Front

Central Powers – German Empire
Allied Powers - France
Allied Powers – British Empire
Allied Powers – Portugal
Associated Powers – USA

By the spring of 1918, it looked fairly certain that the United States would enter World War I. The war became concentrated on the Western Front with armistice being signed with Russia on December 16, 1917.
This allowed Germany to move the troops from the Eastern Front to the Western Front and launch a series of offensives on the Western Front. Known as the German Spring Offensive, these attacks began on March 21, 1918, and lasted until July 18, 1918.

The German Spring Offensive was launched on March 21, 1918, toward the western fringes of Cambrai. The attack started with heavy bombardment and shelling of the Allied lines. Over a million shells were fired in a matter of five hours. The German infantry then launched an attack with surprising speed. Highly skilled soldiers stormed the Allied lines. Their speed was due to the fact that, unlike in earlier attacks, they moved with very few arms and supplies. Over 21,000 BEF soldiers were taken prisoner. The British Fifth Army withdrew beyond the Somme region.

The Germans then employed their latest invention, the Krupp cannons, and launched over 180 shells at Paris, over seventy-four miles away. The German Eighteenth Army reached as far as Amiens. The speed of the assault was the greatest strength of the Germans. It also proved to be their weakness since they soon ran out of supplies. The supply lines could not keep pace with the lighter troops. General Ludendorff ordered an attack on Amiens instead of allowing for the troops to consolidate their victory. Food ran short and the soldiers who had started out with much vigor and speed could not get past Albert to attack Amiens. The German camp had also lost over 230,000 soldiers.

By April, the entry of the United States into the war added a large number of troops to the Allied ranks. This further weakened the Germans, both in morale and in numbers. By July 1918, the Germans had lost over a million soldiers in their Spring Offensive. The French counteroffensive in Marne cut off the German supplies ending the offensive in disaster.

  Major Battles of World War I  
Battle of Mons - 1914German Spring Offensive - 1918
Battle of Tannenberg – 1914Battles of Gaza - 1917
Battle of Heligoland Bight - 1914Second Battle of Aisne - 1917
First Battle of Marne – 1914Second Battle of Arras - 1917
First Battle of the Masurian Lakes – 1914Battle of Messines – 1917
First Battle of Aisne – 1914Battle of Passchendaele - 1917
First Battle of Albert - 1914Battle of Caporetto - 1917
First Battle of Arras – 1914Battle of Cambrai - 1917
First Battle of Ypres – 1914German Spring Offensive - 1918
Gallipoli Campaign – 1915Hundred Days Offensive - 1918
Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes – 1915German Spring Offensive - 1918
Battles of Isonzo – 1915Second Battle of Somme - 1918
Loos-Artois Offensive - 1915Second Battle of Marne - 1918
Battle of Verdun - 1916Battle of St Mihiel - 1918
German Spring Offensive - 1918Battle of Cambrai - 1917
First Battle of Somme - 1916Battle of Vittori Veneto - 1918