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By Paul Kendall

The conflict of the Aisne fought in the course of September 1914 used to be a savage engagement and a whole surprise for the warriors of the British Expeditionary strength who have been expert to struggle cellular wars. after they reached the north financial institution of the Aisne the «Old Contemptibles» will be stopped via the Germans entrenched on excessive flooring armed with desktop weapons, supported through heavy artillery. The allied commanders may naively ship their troops into futile attacks up uncovered slopes, without conceal to assault the German strains dug into positions at the ridges alongside the Chemin des Dames and hid via wooded area.

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The British Army were late in realising the potential of the machine gun. When war broke out there were only two Vickers machine guns allotted to each infantry battalion. The Vickers machine gun was an advanced, lighter version of the Maxim, with improved mechanisms. However British soldiers did not receive adequate training in how to operate the Vickers. 303 ammunition and could fire 450 rounds a minute, but with few of these guns available, being operated by inexperienced soldiers, they did not make any impact during the early stages of the war and especially at the Aisne.

Von Kluck was not aware that the French General Michel-Joseph Maunoury had assembled and organised the French Sixth Army in Paris. On 1 September a French patrol had seized a German dispatch car with a map containing General von Kluck’s plans showing he had discarded the original Schlieffen Plan and was advancing southeast. Bypassing Paris, the German First Army and Second Army were exposed during September as General Maunoury’s French Sixth Army and General Louis Franchet d’Esperey’s French Fifth Army seized the opportunity to attack and defeated them at the Marne.

French was appointed commander of the British Expeditionary Force on 4 August 1914. He sailed from Dover aboard HMS Sentinel arriving in Boulogne on 14 August. Within ten days his force was engaged with the German Army at Mons. Vulnerable to being overrun by the far larger German army, French became unnerved and ordered a retreat from Mons. Another battle was fought at Le Cateau on 26 August and the BEF continued its retreat to the Marne. Devastated by the casualties at Mons and Le Cateau, French decided to preserve his force and retire from the area of operations to buy time to refit and reorganise.

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Aisne 1914 The Dawn of Trench Warfare by Paul Kendall


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