The Diminishing Threat
The German onslaught on the Allied front, which began with Operation Michael on 21 March 1918, caused high consternation within both military and political circles. The attack was not unexpected but the initial German success against Fifth Army resulted in a frantic reassessment of the available manpower and how best it might be utilized. Lloyd George’s policy of depriving Field Marshal Haig and the Expeditionary Force of what they considered to be adequate numbers of troops even to hold the line was, of necessity, reversed. The priority was now to despatch reinforcements to the beleaguered armies and stem the German flood. Boys from Graduated battalions and the Training Reserve, experienced soldiers barely recovered from wounds, and long-serving instructors in Training and Reserve battalions of the home army, were hurried overseas to make good the losses of March and April.1 FM Sir John French accepted the need for his home forces to be further denuded for the sake of maintaining the front but, as his command continued to dwindle in size, attention once again turned to the feasibility of increasing the remit of the Volunteer Force by creating a full-time element with extended, non-territorial deployment.
KeywordsCyclist Unit Thames Estuary Special Reserve Vulnerable Point Protection Company
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