The attack of the 2nd Army (21st of March - 06th of
Please scroll to the bottom of the page for more
detailed eyewitness accounts of the fighting.
The moment the 5 hour long bombardment lifted and began
to move forward, von der Marwitz´s two armies flooded into no mans land.
Passing South of the Cambrai salient part of its task
was to encircle the salient meeting up with the 17th army on the other side. Crossing
the wastelands of the Somme battlefields its distant goal was Amiens.
On the Northern wing Gauche wood fell in spite of a
furious defense by the South Africans but Epehy to its left fought off wave after
wave of German attackers. Further to the South the advance made better
progress. The daunting Quarry of Hargicourt fell to the Hessens and the Schloss
and Priel forests fell to the Hessen and Garde divisions.
On the 22nd Epehy fell, Garde and Baden
units took le Verguier while Hesbecourt fell to the east Prussians.
Fins was taken by the Wuertembergers. Once again the
Southern wing was advancing faster than the Northern wing who had their hands
full with the Cambrai salient.
On the third day the salient fell but the British had
succeeded in evacuating the bulk of their troops. Behind the salient the 2nd
and 17th army joined hands.
During the day the 2nd army crossed the Tortille river
and by evening stood before the ruins of Peronne. Like her neighbor to the
South it did not manage to cross the Somme
On the following day, Palm Sunday, the river whose
name was a synonym for the bloody slaughter of 14-18 was still not crossed.
The divisions to the North were still struggling to
cross the wasteland of the infamous Somme
battlefield with the ghosts of 1916.
On Monday von der Marwitz´s 208. Infanterie Division
managed to cross the Somme and take La
Maisonette. To their right the Divisions continued their struggle across the
Somme Battlefields along with the troops from the neighbouring divisions of the
left wing of the 17. Armee. Together they fought their way to the source of the
While the air battles raged above the ground troops at
the Ancre took Albert. On the far side of the river the green fields on the way
beckoned. Victory was in sight... or so it seemed.
The opponent had recognised the danger and gathering
their last reserves they set up a defensive line blocking the path to Amiens.
To follow the path of the Southern Wing (18. Armee) click HERE
Friedrich Freise of the 74. Infanterie Regiment was wounded by a handgrenade splinter while engaged in mopping up British position in the wake of the 208. I.D. advance during the Michael Offensive/Kaiserschlacht. The division was on the left with of the 2. Armee. For awards and documents click HERE