Thursday, February 7, 2013
First Battle of the Marnes
In early September of 1914, the German army had overrun Belgium and was pushing through France, threatening Paris. British and French forces had already taken heavy casualties trying to stop the Germans, and it seemed that Paris would fall to the German forces. Desperate to stop the German advance, British and French forces consolidated on the Marnes river, just outside Paris. The Allies were finally able to halt the German push into France in a counterattack against the Germans by six French field armies and one British army, causing heavy casualties to the German army and forcing them to abandon the Schliffen plan and retreat, in a event that came to be known as the “Miracle on the Marnes”. Despite the Allied victory, the battle was a costly one; the Allied forces suffered 263,000 casualties, and the Germans 220,000. Also, the battle forced the Germans to retreat and then consolidated and begin building fortifications, causing the Allies to respond and leading to the bloody trench warfare that would characterize the Western Front.