attack of the 18th Army (21st of March - 06th of April)
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detailed eyewitness accounts of the fighting.
Hutier's army was to have an unexpectedly victorious run when they left their
trench at 09:40 on the 21st of March, but when it ended they to had failed to
achieve their final goal, the big breakthrough.
fog lay like milk over St Quentin and the plains on either side of the Oise River.
It was a battle against an invisible opponent. Von Hutiers right wing had been
held up by the allied troops in the Holnon woods while the middle fought for
and took the strong points of Urvillers, Grugies and Essigny. The left wing
attacked fort Vendeuil
while General von Gayls division stormed out of La Fere, over the Oise and making it into the British second line of defence.
second day saw advances beyond the Germans wildest expectations. Holnon wood
fell and was marched through, the strongpoint of Fantaine was taken by the men
of the Garde and in the South the Crozat canal was reached, in some places
British Southern army had disintegrated, over the next few days French troops
were rushed in piecemeal to try to stabilise the situation but the Crozat Canal
position had crumbled and the Germans took Golancourt and Noureuil.
was not in the North where the 17th Army had failed to take Arras. It was not in the centre where the 2nd
Army was struggling in the terrible wastelands of the Somme,
it was in the South that success seemed to be at hand.
it was not in the direction that the German high command wanted it to be: Over Amiens and on to the
Hutiers right win had bogged down on the Somme
along with the left wing of von der marwitz's Army.
the 24th Von Hutiers men managed to cross between Epenancourt and Ham while the
Southern wing overran Guiscard and Chauny on Palm Sunday.
The allies were
engulfed in panic and confusion, the French government prepared to evacuate Paris which was now
within range of the German long range artillery.
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