• Tony Ashworth


The First World War on the western front began as a war of rapid movement, and this opening phase of less than four months contrasted vividly with the static trench warfare which ensued for nearly four years. Early in August 1914, the German armies swept through Belgium, checked but momentarily by a series of short, sharp battles with the Belgian, French and British armies. But by 24 August, the comprehensive retreat of the Allied armies from Mons to Paris had begun. Meanwhile, in Lorraine, Alsace and the Ardennes, the French armies had assaulted the Germans, but some initial success turned quickly to defeat, retreat, and then entrenchment. The German advance on Paris was halted in September by the four-day battle of the Marne, and there then followed the race for the sea, where, moving rapidly northwards to the Belgian coast, the French and Germans tried to outflank each other, but neither gained the advantage; for as one side brought up a new unit, the other had one to face it. At the outset of October, the B.E.F., entrenched near the Aisne, where it repulsed several German attacks, was transferred gradually to the north, entrenching along a line from Ypres to Bethune. At Ypres, the British army fought, in November, the last battle of the first phase of the First World War.


Fatigue Sewage Beach Expense Trench 


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© Tony Ashworth 1980

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  • Tony Ashworth

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