Abbildungen der Seite

the front in France; it could should assist by taking over only be used to drive in the part of its line. Under the Frenoh side of the angle or the General Reserve plan, an British. He could only do one authority higher than that of two things-push baok the of any of the commanders-inBritish to and over the Somme, chief decided what assistance or the French over the Aisne one of them could receive from towards the Marne. In either the other. Under the arrangeoase he exposed himself to a ment of February 22 each oounter-attack on his open commander-in-chief decided flank from Fooh's mass of for himself what assistance be manouvre concentrated round would give a colleague. It Paris. Whichever he did, he was the principle upon which had delivered himself into the offensives against the GerFooh's hands.

mans had been conducted in In Maroh he chose the Brit. France, and which the Mili. ish side, and flung himself at tary Representative at VerGough's Fifth Army. Luden. sailles had considered was un. dorff has also told us why he suited to a defensive plan. chose this line of attaok: the This new scheme must have Allied line was thinnest there, been known to the leaders of and he chose the line of least the Allies, and certainly would resistance. This choice the not have been initiated by proscience of Fooh had also Petain, as it was, without the divined when he intended to assent of M. Clemenceau. But put the balk of the General it was unknown to Fooh, who Reserve round Paris and waited patiently for the Eng. Amiens. But the General lisb answer the whole of FebReserve was never constituted, ruary. The fighting was ex80 Fooh never carried out his peoted to begin the first week plan.

in Maroh. On Maroh 3 (and The letters sent to the com- it is the knowledge of this date manders-in-chief by the Ex. that shows how well informed eoutive War Board, asking Major Grasset is) a letter from them to contribute their quota Sir Douglas, dated March 2, to the General Reserve, were reached the Exeoutive War dated February 6: by Feb- Board refusing to contribute ruary 19 the French and any divisions to the General Italian answers were received Roserve, except British divi. assenting.

sions in Italy, which were On February 22nd Sir not ander his command. The Douglas Haig and Petain met Italian military representaat the Grand Quartier General, tive immediately deolared the and arranged another detailed Italian contribution to the scheme of defence on a com- General Reserve must be conpletely different principle to sidered as withdrawn, if there that of the General Reserve. was to be no English sontribuIt was the principle that if one tion. The General Reserve thus army was attacked, the other vanished, and with it the Executive War Board faded document, No. 5476 of the away, for it had been brought Zieme Burean, Grand Quartier into existence to handle the General, was not drawn up till General Reserve, and for no March 5, and is dated March other purpose.

Though for 5. There must be somo some time it oontinued to reason for this delay in making disouss, it never was to aot. minutes which should naturally Major Grasset says, not quite be made as soon as possible 80ourately

after the event they reoord. “Finally, in their session of It is easy to find the reason : Maroh 3, and in spite of the Petain, the commander-in-ehief energetio protests of General at the front, did not want Fooh, Fooh, the Council went so far the Chief of the Staff, at the as to decide upon an important Boulevard des Invalides in reduction of the Inter-Allied Paris, to know of this agreeReserve, and to envisagement, which destroyed the nothing more than resisting scheme of the General Reserve, as well as might be the till it was too late to protest. German effort, though this The fighting was expected to threatened to be of the most begin in March, and the draftformidable type.”

ing of the minute was delayed The refusal of Sir Douglas till then. So far as Fooh was was natural, for he could not conoerned, the agreement was undertake the double liability a secret agreement, and he was of taking over more French line therefore the victim of an and feeding the General Re- intrigue. Speaking of the serves 28 well.

oatastrophe that was to follow, The Protocol, the Minutes, Major Grasset says: “There as we say, of the arrangement was needed this extreme between him and General Petain peril and the

orushing as drawn up at the Grand force of this blow to open Quartier General, are contained men's eyes and to silence cer. in dooument No. 5476 of the tain vanities.” Mr Belloo has French Intelligence Section here misunderstood, and there(3 leme Bureau, as the Frenoh fore mistranslated, Major oall it). This document has Grasset's allusion. only to be placed next to the General Staffs in time of Resolutions of the Supreme modern war, when the nation War Counoil, oreating the becomes an army, are the Exeoutive War Board and the most powerful organisms in General Reserve, for the inoon. the state, for almost every sistenoy to appear. It was one must obey them. Their impossible to carry out both huge patronage gives them plans.

a hold even over legislature. This arrangement was made The two-handed engine of on February 22; but this deception, the censorship

1 Precepts and Judgments of Marshal Foch,' by Major Grasset ; translated by Hilaire Belloc. Chapman & Hall.

whioh oonoeals the truth, other part nullified by an and propaganda whioh sug- intrigue. gests the false, does what The Allies therefore went it likes with modern publio baok to the position they had opinion in time of war: people been in the preoeding autumn; are far more uninstruoted and and the consequences they had misled by newspapers than rightly anticipated and feared ever they were by rumour in from that position unrolled the past, before the spread of themselves at once, and in an education had made it possible aggravated form: aggravated to induce people to believe any- because only one part of their thing by printing it. Propa- military plans was left intact, ganda oan even persuade the extension of the British generals themselves that they line. This portion of their are geniuses, who must be design had been conneoted with kept in place at all costs, how the Exeoutive War Board and ever much they fail. This the General Reserve; but great two-handed engine the though the reserve was never General Staffs also oontrol, for formed, and the Board never military reasons. So the Staff had any functions, the British ceases to exist for the nation: line remained extended; and the nation lives for the benefit there from its extremity at of the Staff. Viotory or defeat Barisis northwards to Gouzeauceases to be the prime interest; court lay our Fifth Army, what matters it whether dear oomposed of only

of only fourteen old Willie or poor old Harry infantry divisions and three shall command, or the Chan- oavalry divisions, strung out tilly party soore a point over over 42 miles, on an average the Boulevard des Invalides front of 6750 yards to each party. The Central Powers division: this was very thin, seem (as far as we can see from The Third Army, Byng's, imCount Czernin's Memoirs') mediately to the north, had one to have suffered even more, division on every 4200 yards. and their Emperors and Chan- The German divisions from cellors to have been treated the East were still flowing into like valets; but tough and France in Maroh, but had at slippery as the General Staff the beginning of the month might be with us, Mr Lloyd not yet risen to the level of the George was more 80, and he Allies. On Maroh 13, Ludenkept war a funotion of politios, dorff had 186 divisions at his and viotory as the end of the disposal, of which 79 were in war,

reserve: this gave him 1,370,000 But before the campaign of rifles and 15,700 guns. But 1918 began, of the two parts of the 167 Allied divisions (58 in the plan of campaign which reserve) gave them 1,500,000 may be oalled that of Mr Lloyd rifles and 16,400 guns. They George, Sir Henry Wilson, and still had the odds. On March Fooh, one part had been pub- 21, Ludendorff had 192 divi. lished and betrayed, and the sions, of which 85 were in reserve; this made him equal the Thursday. Now Haig and in rifle strength, but perhaps Petain's armies were equal to still inferior in guns.

Ludendorff's. They ought to On Thursday, March 21, have taken dispositions to an attack was made in the come to the help of Gough, morning on the Fifth and part who held the weakest portion of the Third British Armies: of their common line. This 64 German divisions, a total help_could come either from higher than the whole British the British or Frenoh. army of 57, were set in motion The official despatobes of against this sector. On that Sir Douglas Haig do not seem first day of battle against two- to come from the pen of Sir thirds of the line held by Douglas himself, but from Gough's 14 divisions, 40 of some subordinate, for their these 64 German divisions style is very different from his were set in set in motion;

motion; and personal communications to against one-fifth of the line Versailles or the War Cabinet, held by him, Von Hatier to which the historian of the brought off his Riga man. war is again earnestly re@avre. On the Wednesday ferred. The despatches are this sector had had 4 German candid, but they have not divisions in line; spread fan- altogether the plain candour wise behind them, with the of the Field-Marshal's charfarthest tip of the fan forty aoter. Dealing with the miles away, Von Hutier had 19 Thursday fighting, the deother divisions. These were spatohes say, “It became both brought ap in the night be possible and necessary to coltween the 20th and the 21st, lect additional reserves from and the whole 23 were swung the remainder of my front and against a front, just in front burry them to the battleof St Quentin, of 3 or 4 field”; also, "My plans for British divisions.

colleoting reserves from other On this first day the casu. parts of the British front were alties of the Fifth and Third put into immediate exeoution." British Armies were estimated This is true; but it is not a at 40,000; bat Gough, complete story.

During the though his line was badly course of the Thursday Gough dented in three places, was appealed for help. He was by no means broken. The told not to expeot any British Germans were still “firmly assistance for seventy-two held in the battle zone." The hours—that is, until Sunday; British troops, as the German and the first British reinforceoommuniqués announced, had ments that reached the Fifth resisted with their “usual Army were a few brigades of tenacity.” But no soldiers the 8th Division, that had could struggle against this come all the way from St avalanche of numbers without Omer, and which reached the reinforcements. All Gough's battlefield late on

late on Sunday divisions had been engaged on afternoon,


Then there were the French, as possible the front held by Potain with his 97 divisions the Fifth Army south of who had had no serious fight- Péronne, and for the conooning for nearly a year. "On tration of a strong force of different oooasions, 88 the French divisions

the battle developed, I disoussed southern portion of the battle with him the situation and front." But Ludendorff did the polioy to be followed by not wait on these arrangethe Allied armies," say the ments : Von Hutier's army had despatches. This is the cour- been sweeping forward during teous expression of a disagree- Friday and the morning of able faot. British G.H.Q. and Saturday, driving before it the Grand Quartier - General Gough's army, whioh was losing did begin disoussing how its cohesion more and more. many Frenoh divisions Petain At midday on Saturday the would give, but Petain main- Germans had found a gap at tained that this attaok was Ham and crossed the Somme, not Ludendorff's main attack, 80 that the sector it was dewhich was to be towards cided on Saturday afternoon Rheims, where a violent prelim. that the Frenoh should take inary bombardment had taken over had already been ooouplaos. On Saturday morning pied by the Germans when the the two commanders-in-chief decision was taken. Petain, were still arguing, and Petain however, did not hurry. had not got further than grant- Daboney, who was to command ing 3 divisions. Meanwhile, the “strong force of French on Friday morning, Gough’s divisions,” was brought all the front had given way under way from Lorraine and rethe pressure of the enormous ceived his instructions on the masses in front of him, and Sunday afternoon, and did not had began to retreat, necessar- reaoh the battlefield till Monily bringing baok wards with day afternoon. Two Frenob him the Third Army, who had divisions, the 9th and 10th, not been moved by the Ger- did oome into action on Gough's mans. Mr Lloyd George, at right on Saturday afternoon the Saturday meeting of the and another on Sunday, but War Cabinet, expressed his they were carried away in the regret over the General Reserves torrent. Only the “usual ten80 bitterly and emphatioally aoity” of the British troops that the secretary made & had kept Von Hutier till Satrecord of it.

urday evening from reaching On the afternoon of Satur- the objeotives assigned to his day the 23rd, the commanders- troops for Thursday evening. in-obief finally agreed. “As Still, during the week-end the result of a meeting held in they drove on towards Amiens, the afternoon of 23rd Maroh,” pushing before them the shreds say the despatches, "arrange- of Gough's army, If they ments were made for the reached Amiens the British Frenoh to take over as rapidly and Frenoh armies were separ

« ZurückWeiter »