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The Battle of Amiens: August 8, 1918

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On August 8, 1918, in Amiens, France, a British-led Allied force of 75,000 soldiers began the Battle of Amiens. It was the first battle of the “Hundred Days Offensive,” a string of German defeats that would eventually lead to the end of WWI.

Fold3 Image - Allies take over German trench on August 10, 1918. Dead German soldiers are seen in trench.
Under the direction of British Fourth Army commander, Sir Henry Rawlinson, the offensive was planned in part by French General Ferdinand Foch to protect the Paris-Amiens railway that served to supply the front lines. Troops from Britain, France, Australia, Canada, and the US joined forces to defeat Germany.

At 4:20 A.M., the battlefield was cloaked by a smoke screen laid by the Royal Air Force. Guns blazing, the Allies charged towards German trenches. The intense artillery attack lasted 5 hours and caught the Germans completely by surprise. Many surrendered immediately.

German General Erich Ludendorff referred to the first day of battle as “the black day of the German Army,” because so many Germans surrendered. German spirits were low and according to Ludendorff, “depressed down to Hell.”

The Battle of Amiens effectively ended trench warfare on the Western front because of the speed of the Allied advance. The Germans trenches were overrun pushing the enemy back. Allies captured large numbers of artillery and gathered them in a “captured gun park,” near Amiens.

By August 11, troops had advanced eight miles and 26,000 German soldiers were either captured, killed, or injured. The Allies suffered losses too with more than 19,000 casualties.

Allies were also successful in capturing the Amiens gun, an 11-inch Krupp naval gun that had been mounted on a rail car. The gun had been shelling Amiens all summer, wreaking havoc in the city.

The advantage Allied forces gained at Amiens continued for the next 100 days until the Armistice of November 11, 1918 was signed that ended WWI.

To learn more about the Battle of Amiens or other WWI battles, search our archives!

140 Comments

  1. George Orwell wrote in 1984, “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”
    its not merely a case of not teaching history, it’s a case of actively rewriting it. Napoleon famously said that history is “a set of lies agreed upon”
    Sever the youth from their history and you can manipulate them at your will.
    I recommend Dr Kollerstrom’s insightful book,
    “How Britain Initiated Both World Wars” It’s a real eye-opener.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Britain-Initiated-both-World-Wars/dp/1530993180

    • Hitler was really English, I suppose. Nuts!

    • David Harrell. I don’t believe I suggested any such thing. Im happy enough to engage in civilised debate, but thats just pointless strawmanning.

  2. At school, during the 60’s and 70’s, my curriculum did not include WW1 or WW2. Unbelievable!
    However, we were taught that Nov 11th is ‘Poppy Day’. OMG!! Poppy Day? What a dreadful term to use for Remembrance Day.

    I learned about WW1 & WW2 from listening to my grandparents who had lived through them; and my parents who were teenagers through WW2.
    Like most children of our era, my brother and I were brought up watching the war movies shown on b/w TV. And now, tracing my family history, and in the thick of WW1 centenary commemorations, I have learned even more about WW1. But why, oh why, was I not taught it in school?

    • Poppy Day was started by women whose family members were over there. You gave a donation for a poppy to pin on in remembrance. The money went to buy supplies for them. Have you read a poem The Field of poppy’s. About the red fields of battle in WW1. My Dad was “over there”.

    • I remember well Poppy Day. My dad was a 1st Class Machinist Mate on the early subs of WWI. He put in 21 years and retirement as a Chief Petty Officer. Three generations have followed – four Navy.

  3. Yes… “Sever the youth from their history and you will be able to manipulate them at your will”. How true this is! I look back at the violence, riots and bombing carried out by a group of misguided manipulated young people in the 1960s during the Vietnam war. If they were acting on knowledge then they would have carried out peaceful demonstrations. (I am a WWII veteran, and my son did two tours in Vietnam – he volunteered after his first year of college). Those who acted out their opposition to the war – got deferments, went to grad school, became the radical professors who have re-written history. Recently, it has become a repeat of the 1960s. Only this time is is an attempt to not only rewrite history; but destroy it. I am fearful for the future of our country – fearful that it has fallen into the hands of those misguided, uniformed rebels of the past. God help us, and save our blessed land.

    • A very simplistic “history” of the 1960’s. It started off with The Bay of Pigs followed by the: Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy assassination, Civil Rights turmoil, Gulf of Tonkin, ramping up the Vietnam Conflict, King/Kennedy assassinations, topped off with the 1971 Pentagon Papers saying the country was lied to. Throw in Watergate, then tell me who the “misguided” young people should follow.
      I had volunteered for military service after my first year in grad school in 1968 and resumed school in 1972,

    • Manipulated, misguided? No, we were on the right side of history snd saved countless lives by our resistance.

    • The Vietnam War was controversial – YES. However, the riots, bombings and other violence was a disgrace. It almost became a war within a war. Now, we are beginning to undergo the same destructive outrages. I for one believed in the later stages that Vietnam was a disaster organized by one Lydon B. Johnson. My generation also fought the Vietnam war – two close friends – one and Air Force Colonel, a Navy Captain and commander of the US Navy Destroyer squadron, and a Navy flier who participated in the first raid. The flyer told me there were no north Vietnamese PT boats – there were water spouts due to inclement weather. But Lydon did nto want to be confused by facts when his mind was already made up.
      In short, I supported our fighting men,; but not the violence of the demonstrators. Nor, the treatment servicemen received on their return You can never excuse that.

    • Your lens of history is distorted by your personal bias. Many who protested the Vietnam War were earnest in their beliefs and not mesmerized by the lies of the government or the generals. The whole war was built on a lie, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

    • I never said they were not in earnest. However, so were those who served. I said it was destructive to create the violence. I am a Naval ROTC grad. Can you tell me what good it did to demonstrate against NROTC Units, those who wished to serve? What right did you have to spit on, curse and deride my son when he arrived home at the airport? You have a misguided sense of what was taking place. I felt strongly that Johnson should have been tried as a war criminal along with whiz kids in the Dept.of Defense. But – those in the armed forces should not have suffered the blame and humiliation you people visited on them. Somehow you cannot realize that we were on the same side – I thought the politicians were WRONG! What did you want a military coup – an uprising by the military to take over the government? Get REAL!

  4. I agree wholeheartedly that the decline began way back. The Bay of Pigs sticks out. I was trying to say that the 1960s saw the culmination of the growth of the Age of Disdain and the rebellion against the fundamentals beliefs in our nation. Yes, I oversimplified my comment, and agree with everything you wrote.

    I speak only as a Patriot. Born a Navy Junior to a submariner, served as a Naval Officer in WWII, son served in Vietnam as a white hat, and then both of his sons served as naval officers in the period – 1993 – 2008 – 8 and 10 years respectively. One a SEAL, the other a Naval Aviator. eafrom chir

    • What I was reacting to was the lack of mentioning other influences during that time. For the violence of the Weathermen and the Black Panthers, we had a resurgence of the KKK, and other hate groups. The John Birch Society was also during this time and it had money and political power. The Left never had the power and money the Right did.

    • How old are you Howard?

    • 95. Served in WWII in both Europe and Pacific theatres – Naval Officer. Also, recalled in Korean conflict. I’ll add I am proud of my country – she is mine even when things go wrong. I do not advocate domestic violence to solve political problems.

    • As a retired CPO, I think we see with the same eye, sir.

    • You tell it brother their is nothing but truth in your words. Say it again. I to am from a family of service men we fought for our country all the way back from before we were a country. The men in my family have fought for freedom every time it was put in jeopardy. Our blood was spilled on the ground from near and far and it’s a shame how this country has become. We must remember the price that our families have paid for our freedom and grasped it and never let it go and the best way to do that is to remember the past learn from it so that we don’t make the same mistakes. Our freedoms came from a high cost so let’s not squander it by letting those who want to take our freedom rewrite our past.

  5. I’ve had ancestors involved in America’s conflicts since the French Indian Wars including both sides of the Civil War. I do agree that teaching history has become a challenge. When I was teaching (science) the running joke was that the kids couldn’t remember which came first WWI or WWII.
    My Grandfather was in France at this time but I don’t know where. He died in 1959 before I had a chance to find out. He was wounded but his near death experience was when he came down with the Spanish Flu in France.

  6. This site seems to be based in the States. Being a British citizen I tried this site but every time I attempted to research,all I got was “” Information not recognised . Therefore if not workable in the UK why sign up for it.?

  7. I think WW1 was started by war lords, (monarchs). The only country involved that had an elected government at the time was Britain. Simply put, the Kaiser and the Czar thought they were chosen by God to rule. They were dictators. Their countrymen were there to serve them and give them their lavish lifestyle. Germany under the Kaiser put the Communists in power in Russia. Lenin would never have made it with out the aid of Germany.

    • I repeat – Sever the youth from their history and you can manipulate at your will. I am curious as to what the Germans did to put the Communist in power in Russia. The Czar and his ilk p made it possible for Communism to thrive and take over Russia.
      The political stupidity that caused WWI was a sign of the times. France was not a monarchy. Germany and Britain were. However, the British monarchy was not powerful like the Germans. The Russian monarchy was weak and easy to overthrow. The only warlord of consequence was the German-Austrian. Everybody else got sucked into an incidentt that should never have created WWI.

    • How True

    • Ever hear of a country called FRANCE. It became a democracy after Napoleon. A composite warlord – Germany and Austria. The Czar certainly could not be considered a warlord. Russian participation folded in WWI early on. This leaves the Allies – Britain/Commonwealth nations, France, and the US. The only warlords – German and Austria.

  8. The offensive from Amiens to the Hindenberg line was planned & organised in detail by General John Monash and spearheaded by Australian and Canadian troops. Monash (originally Monasch, of German parents who immigrated to Australia) abhorred the slaughter of previous offensives and developed tactics combining tanks, artillery and aircraft to give close support to the infantry. These tactics remind me of the German Blitzkreig tactics 21 years later.
    The “captured gun park” was at Monash’s HQ
    Rawlinson supported Monash’s plans and leadership, even while sometimes doubting that the stated goals were achievable.
    If you’re interested, see “Monash: The Outsider Who Won a War” by Roland Perry, isbn: 9781740512800.
    Please note, it is not my intention to lessen the contribution & sacrifice of the other members of the alliance. The Australian contribution was seen as contributing to the sense of identity of the recently constituted Federation of Australian states (1901) and I freely admit my bias.

  9. I think that my grandfather fought in this battle. I wonder how I confined out for sure?

  10. The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month was when guns stopped. That is why 11 November is properly remembered as Armistice Day – – – not the generic
    “Veterans Day” we celebrate today on some convenient Monday.

    • I agree – 11th of November is Armistice day for WWI. The end of WWII came on Sept. 2, 1945 and should be a holiday also. I am biased – I was in Subic Bay, Philippines staging for the invasion of Kyushu scheduled for November. By the way, the Russians celebrate the end of the Great Patriot War (WWII). I spent from 1955-2007 operating my petroleum consulting company in Kazakhstan – I was always invited to the celebration- a luncheon usually attended by around 150 veterans – me the only Westerner. To them the war end with the surrender of Germany in May.
      There were five or six who survived Stalingrad, and a some who had lost legs and arms.

    • I did not know this.

    • And that’s a product of our progressive, liberal educational systems. How much more do you not know, not of your violation, but because “the system” didn’t want you to know, and unfortunately, your family group did not take up the slack. But… it’s a good thing your here now learning……

  11. Howard R Lowe you should reach history.

  12. Some of you folks are still drinking the Kool-Aid

  13. I have to say I have enjoyed reading the comments posted so far. It is rare to see such reasoned and respectful debate on a comments page. I suspect it is partly – or even largely – due to respect for Howard Lowe. Thank you, Howard, for your service.

    I, and thousands of others like me, college students at the time, protested the Vietnam “conflict.” (The official government line was “It is not a war, but a police action;” a flimsy attempt to ease public concern over our military involvement there.) We thousands did not bomb, burn or otherwise turn to violence, simply because we felt it would reduce us to the level of those we were protesting – the “masters of war,” the “military-industrial complex” that President Eisenhower warned us against following WWII and Korea. We were simply tired of the deception, and demanding more transparency and a voice in the affairs that were directly affecting our generation. It was unfortunate that many others were more bent on destroying the system rather than changing it. The sad result was that our message of protest was subverted by the more sensational violence.
    I, too, lost friends in Vietnam, and became friends later with many who had served there but were mistreated – and ignored and lied to by the VA – when they returned. I respected them and joined with them in protest of their mistreatment – not quite a full circle of my involvement. Now, history seems bent on repeating itself ad infinitum, ad nihilum, in the Middle East. “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” (George Santayana)

    • Tom – an excellent reasoned reply. I, too, thought we had been led into a conflict … all because of poor judgement on the part of politicians … followed by lies and misinformation to cover up their actions. I have a bundle of letters from a close friend who commanded a destroyer, then an LSD, then a destroyer squadron. We were close friends from the last days of WWII. His letters gave me the NAKED TRUTH about what was really happening. I had another friend, an Air Force Colonel, who as Deputy Commander of a Thud wing. His experiences were recorded in a book – Thud Ridge – by Col. Jacksel Broughton. It is worth the read.

      I knew all along that Washington politicians were buried in a swamp during Vietnam. And, that some of the higher echelon of the military didn’t have the balls to stand up and speak out.

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