VI. The World Wars and the Interwar Period, 1914–1945 > Military Summary > The Western Front, 1918
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
The Western Front, 1918
March 21–April 5
The great March offensive. After cleverly concealed preparations, the Germans began with a bombardment of 6,000 guns and a heavy gas attack. They advanced from St. Quentin in a thick fog, which recurred for several days. The Germans captured Péronne, Ham, Bapaume, Chauny, Noyon, and even Montdidier, before being checked.  1
April 9–29
Battles of the Lys. The second great German blow, delivered south of Ypres on a short front. The Germans opened up a wide breach in the British front, but a lack of reserves made it impossible for them to take full advantage of the situation. The Germans stormed Messines Ridge and took Armentières.  2
May 27–June 6
(Third) Battle of the Aisne. Ludendorff, in order to draw the French reserves from Flanders preparatory to the main offensive there, arranged an attack upon the French between Soissons and Rheims, along the strong and therefore weakly held Chemin des Dames. The French were taken by surprise and driven back 13 miles on the first day. The Germans took Soissons (May 29) and on May 30 reached the Marne River, only 37 miles from Paris. The new salient was 40 miles deep.  3
June 4
American forces at Château-Thierry (second division), collaborating with the French, managed to break the German advance.  4
June 9–14
Battle of the Matz. The Germans advanced about six miles, but the move had been hastily prepared and the French were able to contain it.  5
July 15–Aug. 7
(Second) Battle of the Marne. Ludendorff threw his weary troops into yet another attack. East of Rheims no progress was made, and west of the city, though the Germans crossed the Marne, they made but little progress against strong French and American forces. On July 18, Foch ordered a counterattack, in which nine American divisions took part. The Germans were forced back over the Marne to the Vesle River, while the French retook Soissons (Aug. 2).  6
Aug. 8–11
Battle of Amiens. The British attacked with 450 tanks. They advanced about eight miles the first day, after which the German lines tightened.  7
Aug. 21–Sept. 3
Second battles of the Somme and of Arras. The British and French gradually extended their attacks. They took Roye (Aug. 27), Bapaume (Aug. 28), Noyon (Aug. 28), and Péronne (Aug. 31), and obliged the Germans to fall back to the Hindenburg Line.  8
Sept. 12–13
American forces, attacking on both sides of the St. Mihiel salient, pinched out that area, capturing some 15,000 of the enemy.  9
Sept. 26–Oct. 15
Battles of the Argonne and of Ypres (Sept. 28–Oct. 2). Foch's plan was to execute a pincer movement with an American thrust north through the Argonne and a British thrust eastward toward Cambrai and farther north toward Lille. If successful, this would have cut the main lateral German railway and forced a general withdrawal. But at both ends the advance was much slower than expected. By mid-October. the Americans had gotten through part of the Argonne, while the British had taken St. Quentin, Lens, and Armentières (Oct. 1–2).  10
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.