Aisne 1914 The Dawn of Trench Warfare by Paul Kendall

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 educated to struggle cellular wars. once they reached the north financial institution of the Aisne the «Old Contemptibles» will be stopped through the Germans entrenched on excessive flooring armed with desktop weapons, supported via heavy artillery. The allied commanders might naively ship their troops into futile attacks up uncovered slopes, with out hide to assault the German strains dug into positions at the ridges alongside the Chemin des Dames and hid by way of forest.

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The Battle of the Aisne was fought on a 100-mile front from Compiègne to Tahure, east of Rheims. The French 6th Army led by General Maunoury held the line along the Compiègne-Soissons sector. The British Expeditionary Force led by Field Marshal Sir John French advanced upon the Soissons–Vauxcéré sector. General Franchet d’Esperey’s French 5th Army held the line between Vauxcéré and Berry-au-Bac; the 9th French Army commanded by General Ferdinand Foch advanced along the front near Rheims and the French 4th Army led by General Ferdinand Langle de Cary held the line close to the upper Suippe.

The European armies were dressed in the uniforms of the previous century. British officers, like French and German officers, continued to carry swords during the first months of the war. The officers and men serving with the French Army wore blue tunics, bright red trousers and red caps covered with a blue cover, easily identifiable targets for German machine gunners and snipers. Similarly, the German infantry were not dressed for trench warfare. The Pickelhaube helmet, originally designed in 1842 and made from leather, afforded no protection from flying shrapnel and made a good target.

On 26 February 1876 he was gazetted as a Lieutenant to the 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot. Smith-Dorrien fought in the Zulu War, distinguishing himself at the Battle of Isandlwana on 22 January 1879. As Zulu forces overwhelmed the British lines, Smith-Dorrien escaped from the battlefield and was recommended for the Victoria Cross for helping others to escape. He was one of approximately 50 survivors from this battle, but the recommendation for the prestigious award was never processed and he never received it.

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Aisne 1914 The Dawn of Trench Warfare by Paul Kendall
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