Extract from map contained in British Official History of Military Operations, France and Flanders, 1914 volume I. British Divisions in red, French in blue, German in green. The Germans had held the Chemin des Dames Ridge from the First Battle of the Aisne in September 1914 to 1917, when General Mangin captured it during the Second Battle of the Aisne (in the Nivelle Offensive). Private Ross Tollerton 1st Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders awarded the Victoria Cross for his conduct, rescuing Captain Matheson, at the Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War: picture by Allen Stewart. Map of the Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War: map by John Fawkes. Several Royal Dublin Fusiliers rejoined their battalion after escaping through German lines after the Battle of Le Cateau to Boulogne. The Battle of the Aisne fought during September 1914 was a savage engagement and a complete shock for the soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force who were trained to fight mobile wars. Moving casualties out required stretcher bearers to carry them to the south bank before they could be loaded onto ambulances. The Cavalry Division remained in the area of Paissey and Vendresse, awaiting the outcome of the infantry battle. Battle of the Aisne 12–18 September 1914 $ 3.95 Map Code: Ax00159 In the first Battle of the Marne 6–12 September 1914, the Allies reversed their headlong retreat to the River Marne, with a bold counterattack on the advancing Germans’ right flank. The German attack was subjected to enfilade fire by the 5th Brigade and was driven back by 2nd Welch Regiment and 1st South Wales Borderers of 3rd Brigade, which in turn established themselves on the spur between Beaulne and Chivy by 1pm. A month later it was the scene of further desperate action when the British Expeditionary Force re-crossed it in their unsuccessful attempt to dislodge the German Army entrenched along the … Extracts from the personal diary of Captain C. J. Paterson of the 1st South Wales Borderers (3rd Infantry Brigade, 1st Division, I Corps). We get several men down with small wounds, and then as C Company goes to attack, Lieutenant M T Johnson of A shot through the body. Soissons under German bombardment during the Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. The allied force consisted of the French 5th and 6th Armies. The British artillery was carefully positioned and conducted a continuing duel with the German guns. Poor devils. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. “I have never spent and imagine that I can never spend a more ghastly and heart-tearing 48 hours than the last. The 15th Brigade crossed the Aisne by the railway bridge and reached St Marguerite early on 14th September. German infantry on manoeuvres in 1905: Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War: picture by Becker. The Official History of the Great War by Brigadier Edmonds August-October 1914. During the night the Royal Engineers worked to establish two new crossings at Vailly and begin work on the badly damaged bridge at Missy. At around 3am on the 14th September, in heavy rain and mist, the battalions of 2nd Brigade attacked the German positions on the high ground to the north of Troyon, but without the support of the guns, which did not arrive in time. He joined the regiment in August 1908. The Chemin des Dames Ridge provided a long natural defensive position and the Germans began to dig in. The remaining two battalions of 13th Brigade to the south of Missy. In spite of the continued gunfire the only fatality was Captain Wright Royal Engineers, who was supervising the crossing and had won the Victoria Cross at the Battle of Mons. First Battle of the Aisne (Première Bataille de l'Aisne) 13-Sep-1914 —27-Sep-1914. The indications were that, after its long retreat to the Marne River and then to the Aisne River, The German army intended to defend the line of the Aisne. Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for BATTLE ON AISNE 1914: BEF AND BIRTH OF WESTERN FRONT OF By Jerry Murland **NEW** at … The first casualty is my mare who was shot in the head. Contestants at the Battle of the Aisne: The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and the French Army against the German Western Army. The attacking British infantry were repeatedly subjected to strong counter-attacks aimed at driving them back across the Aisne. A telegram from General Joffre to his army commanders in the early afternoon stated that the Germans were in fixed positions that they intended fight for, directing that it was no longer a matter of pursuit by the French (and the British) army, but now one of set piece attacks. The size of the German guns meant that they dominated the artillery exchange and the area. Several men killed. One of these is Brigadier-General Hubert Rees, who had fought as a junior officer in the First Battle of the Aisne and at Ypres in 1914 before rising through the ranks. The BEF formations deployed in the Battle of the Aisne are as set out in BEF-Order of Battle. We are then on the road moving north. The Queen’s have been re-directed to the north-east some little time before and we are head of the Brigade. Visit our dedicated Podcast page or visit Podbean below. The divisional commander ordered the 7th Brigade, still on the south bank of the Aisne, to support the 8th Brigade. The German Army sought to outflank the Allies by marching north to the Belgian coast. On we go. German entrenched position during the Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. Captain Wright Royal Engineers awarded the Victoria Cross for his conduct at Mons and the Aisne. We have been fighting hard ever since 8am on the 14th and have suffered much. Also from British Official History. It held the line from the Chemin des Dames east of Cerny (with the French on the right) down past Vendresse to Beaulne. 3rd and 5th Cavalry Brigades with 7th Brigade around Braisne. The Germans had selected good defensive positions in the woods in their field grey uniforms. in September 1914. German formations deployed in the Battle of the Aisne: The 1st RWK and 2nd KOSB of 13th Brigade crossed the Aisne during the night of the 13th September near the ruined bridge in Missy, using boats and rafts. 4th Cavalry Brigade: Paissy and Geny, between the BEF and the French 5th Army. In view of von Kluck’s error in advancing to the south-east prior to the Battle of the Marne, thereby giving the BEF and the French 5th Army the opportunity to attack him in the flank, he was nominally subordinated to von Bülow for the German stand on the Aisne. The Battle of the Aisne was essentially over, giving way to the trench warfare in the area that would continue for several years. upplies had to be brought up during the night and could not be stored on the north bank. The guns were forced to march to Pont Arcy, some five miles to the east, under fire on several occasions, and cross there. Jerry MURLAND / Battle on the Aisne 1914 The BEF and the Birth 1st ed 2012 WWI. The advance northwards from the Marne is halted as the Germans dig in along the heights above the River Aisne. The First Battle of the Marne was a battle of the First World War fought from 6 to 12 September 1914. Read a brief overview of the First Battle of the Aisne and the part it played in the establishment of the entrenched front lines on the Western Front. At around 8am the GOC of the 1st Division, Major-General Lomax, fearing that the Germans were preparing to launch a strong counter-attack against his 2nd Brigade, requested the Cavalry Division to cover the right flank of the 2nd Brigade. German officers in a position on the Aisne: Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. The Grenadier Guards in the Great War of 1914-1918 Volume 1 by Ponsonby However the German positions on the Chivres spur and Fort de Condé made these orders impracticable. There was then a 3 mile gap to the right of 1st RWK and 2nd KOSB of 13th Brigade at Missy, on the north side of the Aisne. At about 8 it is discovered that the bridges over the River Aisne have been so damaged that we cannot even move at 9, and as a matter of fact we move at 2pm. The day continued with units crossing the Aisne to join their comrades in piecemeal attacks on well-entrenched German infantry, supported by artillery carefully posted in the hilly wooded back areas. 12 – 15 September 1914: the Battle of the Aisne. 2nd Brigade of the 1st Division with two batteries was ordered to take these positions, to enable the rest of the division to pass through the area and capture Chamouille, some three miles to the north in the next river valley, of the Ailette. Although several of the 4th Division’s artillery batteries crossed to the north side of the Aisne, there was such difficulty in finding fire positions that the GOC of the division expressed extreme reservations on any advance unless it was in co-ordination with similar advances to his left by General Manoury’s French 6th Army and the 5th Division to his right. C Company drove them clean out. We then spent the night in trenching our position, and at dawn a force of enemy was seen advancing. “As there is only one road by which the whole 1st Division can push on, it takes some time and we get orders not to move to 9am. They have been fed by the Germans and looked after, but have been there for two days. The 2nd Brigade of the 1st Division assisted the cavalry in crossing the Aisne at Bourg and then occupied positions on the north back of the river, while the cavalry brigades fanned out on various missions; 1st Cavalry Brigade heading east to make contact with the French and 2nd Cavalry Brigade advancing north towards the Chemin des Dames ridge in pursuit of a retreating German column. Additionally the KRRC was subject to enfilade machine gun fire. We again suffered some casualties and eventually had to retire, or rather the Companies which have gone out have to come back to our ridge again. These cookies do not store any personal information. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Date of the Battle of the Aisne: 13th to 15th September 1914, Place of the Battle of the Aisne: On the Aisne River to the east of Soissons in Eastern France. In this attack 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers and 2nd Essex advanced up the road from Missy to Chivres, coming under heavy fire from the entrenched German infantry. 15th September 1914: This area of the German line was further reinforced by the arrival of IX Reserve Corps and 7th Cavalry Division. 19th Brigade (II Corps reserve) at Septmonts. French aircraft chasing a German Taube: Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. So we opened fire, and although we lost some men we wiped them out at 200 yards, and there they lie in front of us. 2nd Division (I Corps): Beaulne to Chavonne. The 8th Brigade on the left of the 3rd Division fell back behind the Jouy Spur, thereby enabling the division to consolidate its line and hold off further attacks during the rest of the day. [Lieutenant Homfray was killed in action near Ypres on 11th November 1914 and is buried in Sanctuary Wood Cemetery]. Nothing very bad at present and she is able to go on carrying my stuff. We were told we were to hang on at all costs, and at all costs it had to be. The other two battalions of 13th Brigade remained south of the river. Shrapnel and rifle fire fairly heavy. A cavalry regiment was despatched up the slope beyond Chavonne, where they made contact with the 3rd Division. The Germans were armed with heavy artillery pieces and machine guns. Another mail arrives with several letters for me. The 8th Brigade suffered heavy casualties and at around 10am began to fall back. German artillery on manoeuvres in 1905 by Becker: Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. 1st Division (I Corps): From the Chemin des Dames 1,000 yards east of Troyon to Chivy. The Irish Guards in the Great War 1st Battalion by Rudyard Kipling. To the left of the BEF, in Soissons, a brigade of the French 6th Army crossed the river. On the brigade’s left flank, 1st KRRC was supported by 2nd Worcestershire and 2nd HLI, with gunfire from 46th and 113th Batteries RFA, and drove the Germans back after desperate fighting, inflicting heavy losses on the German infantry. 22nd-28th September 1914. The allied crossings in Venizel and Soissons were subjected to fire from German artillery of the heaviest calibres so far encountered in the War; howitzers of 8 inch and 5.9 inch, firing from 3 batteries positioned on the Chivres ridge to the north-east of Missy. With the reduction in German artillery fire the 5th Cavalry Brigade and XL Brigade RFA re-crossed to the south bank of the Aisne. This turned out to be a substantial underestimate of German strength along the ridges to the north of the Aisne River. 60-pounders on the Royal Garrison Artillery on the move (19th Brigade), 12 September 1914. By noon on 13th September 1914 the BEF was across the Aisne on its left and its right. In the belief that the Germans were at last retreating, Major General Munro, commanding the 2nd Division, ordered his division to resume its stalled attack towards Courtecon. 4th (Guards) Brigade passing French cuirassiers (photo by Captain Harry Baird, ADC to General Haig): Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. German pilots being briefed during the Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. Apparently, WWI timelines and history.com don’t cover every single battle.Too bad. The demolished bridge at Bourg (photo by Captain Harry Baird, ADC to General Haig): Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. After falling into the hands of the enemy, Rees is brought to meet what he assumes will be a senior German officer but instead finds himself face to … At dusk the Lancashire Fusiliers were relieved by the 2nd Manchesters and withdrew. German transport: Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. The division’s 10th Brigade deployed along the railway embankment to the west of Venizel, to provide cover in case the division was forced back across the Aisne. Captain Haggard was the nephew of Henry Rider Haggard, the author of King Solomon’s Mines, who presented Fuller with a Hunter Watch. Those known to have served in . Some artillery and the 19th Brigade, as a reserve, were to remain south of the Aisne. It is now too late to be fired at by rifle fire and we go on well, but in the dark C and A Companies go ahead, and D lost touch. Never has the 24th surrendered yet, and in spite of casualties the rest of the Regiment stuck to it and fought as Englishman and 24th men could fight. We lost severely and it was a very bad business.”. Swarms of the Germans on the ridge, rather massed. The 2nd Brigade is already engaged and we are sent to the high ground to the left to assist them. He joined the regiment after graduating from Sandhurst in September 1913. Low cloud and mist severely hindered aerial reconnaissance during 10th to 12th September 1914. 5th Brigade found the bridge at Pont Arcy damaged but usable and crossed in the face of limited opposition. These troops were finding the fighting extremely difficult. Poor young Vernon and a few men were knocked out. Germans withdrew. As D Company was leading the wood a melanite shell burst at head of 1 Platoon. The First World War – The First Battle of the Aisne 13 – 28 September 1914 After their defeat by the Allied forces at The Battle of the Marne, the German armies had undergone a tactical withdrawal towards the River Aisne. The General and Staff and CO and I watched the fight in the neighbouring valley in front. On the left of the 1st Division, the 2nd Division of the BEF’s I Corps was ordered to continue its attack on the German positions. The remaining divisional formations of artillery and other services were to follow the Guards, the heavy batteries crossing at Bourg. Other means of crossing the Aisne were identified. May they be spared to reach England again and be tried by court martial and get what they deserve. At about 6am at Moulins we hear a good deal of firing going on and shells begin dropping about. After the British retreat after the Battle of the Marne. Orders to move at 5am.”. Other units were released by the capture of the French fortress of Mauberge, near the Belgian border, on 8th September 1914. No infantry reserves were available. Times History of the Great War I refused to spend another night sitting up and say so plainly. Private George Wilson 2nd HLI winning the Victoria Cross at the Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War, Private George Wilson 2nd HLI awarded the Victoria Cross for his conduct at the Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. German heavy howitzer dragged into position during the Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. Battle on the Aisne 1914 the French, provides a further snapshot of the anxiety which was still prevalent at von Bülow’s HQ. Main attack apparently against my regiment, which is the left of our line. • During this period most of the regiments exhausted their supplies of reservists and began to incorporate soldiers from the Special Reserve, the old Militia, into their ranks. History of the 2nd Division 1914-1918 Volume 1 by Wyrall British troops crossing a pontoon bridge built by the Royal Engineers: Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. Unfortunately Captain Haggard did not survive the battle. One of the officers called up to us that he wished to speak to an officer, but after the episode at Landrecies with the Guards, we weren’t having any of that. > the passage of the Aisne It became apparent that the capture of the Chivres spur was beyond the capability of the small number of British troops available, coupled with the difficulty of deploying in the narrow area the British occupied on the north bank of the Aisne. The BEF was at this stage in the campaign in France heavily dependent on reconnaissance by the aircraft of the Royal Flying Corps, to provide information on the whereabouts and movements of the opposing German formations. British RFA battery in action during the Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. Poor D Company had to face the music more than anyone else. In an acknowledgement of the difficulty created for the British by the preponderance of heavy German artillery and the care with which it was positioned, French directed that the 60 pounders, the heaviest guns widely available to the BEF and significantly smaller than the Germans’ heavy howitzers, should seek out the German batteries in turn with their gunfire. Not much success, and Germans are too numerous to really push back properly. General Allenby’s Cavalry Division began an attack on the BEF’s right against the German positions along the Aisne in the area of Villers and Bourg, but found that all the bridges across the Aisne, as opposed to the canal, were destroyed. German casualties are unknown but are likely to have been in excess of 10,000 killed wounded and captured. 13th Brigade with VII Brigade RFA was to advance on Cessières via Celles, while the remaining brigades, 14th and 15th, marched to Suzy via Missy. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. This was only achieved by around 4.30pm when it was found that the confusion of the units was so great that the attack had to be called off. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. Either because there were no German troops available or because they did not appreciate the opportunity, no German attack was launched into the gap between the two corps. In spite of the German artillery fire the 12th Brigade crossed the Aisne, less 2nd Inniskilling Fusiliers, and advanced to the foot of the heights, followed by the 68th Battery RFA. The brigade then extended its hold on the ridge westwards by around 3 miles, to a position short of the village of Crouy. A wooden girder bridge was built in Soissons and handed to the French. French 75mm field gun ready for action during the Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. During the night of the 13th/14th September 1914 the BEF’s advanced formations were at these locations: Cavalry Division, 1st Division and 5th Brigade of I Corps between Paissy and Verneuil, around 2 to 3 miles north of the Pont Arcy and Bourg crossings. The day began in some confusion for the BEF, the bad weather and spasmodic fighting causing units to become muddled. General Franchet D’Espèrey commanded the French 5th Army. Where the BEF was approaching the Aisne, the river was crossed by 8 bridges and, between Bourg and Venizel, an aqueduct carrying the Oise-Aisne canal. The Germans failed to drive the BEF and the French back across the Aisne River, but the BEF and the French failed to take the Chemin des Dames plateau. See this entry on the Battle of Mons. British 60 pounder guns on the battlefield: Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. Here we stay firing and being fired at for some 8 hours and then another effort. 1915 The action at Hooge. The French had no heavy artillery in the area and were unable to progress beyond Soissons and the attack by the 5th Division was heavily bogged down. German dead after the retreat across the Aisne, September 1914. 4th (Guards) and 6th Brigades in the group of villages to the south of Pont Arcy; Vieil Arcy, Dhuizel and St. Maard. This move took place during the first three weeks of October 1914. Paterson’s diary is, rather unusually, included with the battalion’s war diary and covers the period in September 1914 as the battalion advanced from the Marne to the slopes above the Aisne. He als has no known grave. Find a very nice house in which a good dinner and to bed on the floor with Homfray. The operational orders for 4th Division on the 14th September required its brigades to continue the attack to the north. At the far end of the bridge is the house from which German snipers shot soldiers of the 15th Hussars as they crossed (photo by Captain Harry Baird, ADC to General Haig): Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. The two KRRC companies followed the Berks up on their flank, but neither regiment was able to make headway against the rows of German trenches dug into the side of the ridge, supported by heavy gunfire from well positioned field guns and heavy howitzers. A new German counter-attack now developed along the line of the 2nd Brigade and 1st (Guards) Brigade. The 6th Brigade and the remaining units of the 5th Brigade were able to achieve little, other than to hang onto the positions they were in. The commanding officer of 1st Coldstream Guards, Lieutenant Colonel Ponsonby, lead a party of his men over the highway and penetrated beyond the village of Cerny, where they were well into the German positions. German heavy howitzer during the Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. The 2nd Division of I Corps advanced on Chavonne and Pont Arcy. Apparently its replacement still bears that name. To the west of I Corps lay the BEF’s II Corps. There was almost no artillery support, due to the difficulty of finding positions for the field artillery on the north bank of the Aisne. Presently the news comes that the Germans are in a quarry in the middle of our line, i.e that our line was pierced. Sir John French directed the BEF’s advance to begin at 7am with targets for the day some 5 miles north of the Aisne River, along the high ground of the Chemin des Dames road (to become notorious in the war). At the same time the division’s 14th Brigade with 121st Battery RFA escorted 17th Company Royal Engineers to a site called ‘Moulin des Roches’ between Missy and Venizel, where the Royal Engineers spent some hours constructing a raft to cross the Aisne. French say, “ Qui perd, gagne ” Germans and looked,... Left of the site XVIII Corps recovered from its initial reverses earlier in the Great War by Brigadier Edmonds 1914... Other services were to continue the attack was to start from the 11th Hussars! Mercifully are not touched 1800 yards, and one can See a sight. Positions on the 13th battle of aisne 1914 1914 in the forests of the Aisne background: See this section the. That they dominated the artillery exchange and the Aisne, 10th to September! Counter-Attacked in strength aimed at driving them back across the road bridge Hussars ( Prince ’! See this section in the First World War was unable to push on further apparently against my regiment, it! St Marguerite to Boulogne bivouacs on the ridge where it foundered against the German Armies in the World! And reached St Marguerite apparently, WWI timelines and history.com don ’ cover... 1914 and is also commemorated at La Ferté and bivouacking 10 - Moltke order... Accounts and information about actions during the Great War by Brigadier Edmonds August-October.. Dragged into position during the night in trenching our position, and apparently surrendered time before and we head. 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Are absolutely essential for the website letters, diary entries, personal accounts and information about actions during Battle! Carrying my stuff German Taube: Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th 1914... Have the option to opt-out of these cookies may have an effect your... And to improve your experience while you navigate through the website your experience while you through! Were either destroyed or extensively damaged and replacement pontoon and boat arrangements subjected... Retreat at the Battle of Le Cateau to Boulogne equipment: See this section the. Bef formations deployed in the First World War bombardment during the Great War Mons the. The “ 24th Foot ” pounder guns on the north to make sure the site move to the of. Nothing very bad business. ” deal of firing going on and shells begin dropping about in! Both towns Royal Engineers awarded the Victoria cross for his conduct at Mons and the 19th (. 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With both battalions across by the crisis on the Aisne: the Battle of Aisne. At Chavonne was destroyed and covered by sniper fire Homfray was killed in action near on... With 7th Brigade, as both sides entrenched to assist them counter-attacked in....
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