Discussion in 'World War 1' started by Michel Knockaert, Dec 30, 2008.
Michel ... is this picture La Couture ?
Hard to say Annie ...
but very possible considering the state of destruction, this photograph reminds me of the village's main street.
Perhaps the gray mass, at the end of the street, is what remains of the church in ruins.
It is up to three hundred meters from my home ...
I will try to find the building that has remained almost intact on the right first.
I think yes Annie...
I know all this places...
Have a look on the map on post n° 47.
Anticipating some such attack, Haig had deemed it wise to relieve the two Portuguese divisions which held part of the front between the Lys and La Bassée of their arduous responsibility; but he could only replace them by weary British divisions, and the change had only been half effected when, on 9 April, Ludendorff's attack began after the usual bombardment with gas and high-explosive on the 8th. The Portuguese broke fairly soon, the British flanks on either side were turned, and the whole centre had gone in a few hours. By night the Germans had captured Fleurbaix, Laventie, Neuve Chapelle, Richebourg, and Lacouture, and were on the Lys from Bac St. Maur almost as far as Lestrem. But the key-position at Givenchy was splendidly held by the 55th Division, which set a permanent limit to the German success and prevented it from obtaining anything like the dimensions of the March offensive. It continued, however, to develop on the north. On the 10th Bois Grenier fell, Armentières was evacuated, and the Germans poured across the Lys, taking Estaires, Steenwerck, and Ploegstreet and threatening the Messines ridge. That, too, followed on the 11th, while farther south the Germans secured Neuf Berquin and Lestrem. On the 12th they got into Merris and Merville and advanced to the La Bassée canal, threatening to cross it and outflank Béthune on the north-west. Here, however, they were held up in front of Robecq, between the canal and the forest of Nieppe, and turned to exploit their advantage farther north.
German Spring Offensive of 1918 (The Ludendorff Offensive)
Spring Offensive that happened in 1918 was a series of German attacks along the Western Front during the First World War. The Spring Offensive was huge, but unfortunately unsuccessful.
German general Erich Ludendorff was responsible for the offensive.
The main goal to be achieved by this offensive was to divide French armies and British Empire, and defeat them before the arrival of American support.
In the autumn 1918, The Allies demanded armistice terms only to be rejected by the German Empire who insisted to continue war.
There were four German operations with codenames: Michael, Georgette, Gneisenau, and Blücher-Yorck. One of their main goals was: to draw the British away from the Channel, in order to limit their access to supplies, and then command their ports and other ways of communications.
The first operation called Michael started on 21, March 1918 with an attack against British Empire forces, towards the rail junction at Amiens. For the first time the manoeuvre appeared to be successful since 1914. The battle continued.
Germans defeated the British Empire and French Empire by using novel infiltration tactics. The German army used artillery in small groups, attacking French and British in their weak points and isolating from others. That allowed German army to isolate French and British from each other and destroy opponent’s troops.
Ludendorff ‘s plan was to push the British back against the channel coast forcing them to retreat from France as well as form a gap between the French and British armies, through which his troops could advance unimpeded. In order to achieve this, he planned to use smoke and poisonous gas.
Erich Ludendorff, the third of six children, was born near Posen on 9th April 1865. His father, August Wilhelm Ludendorff (1833-1905), was a landowner. He was educated at the Cadet School at Plön. An intelligent student he was placed in a class two years ahead of his actual age group.
In 1885 Ludendorff was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 57th Infantry Regiment. He later served with the 2nd Marine Battalion and the 8th Grenadier Guards. In 1893 he attended the War Academy and the following year was appointed to the General Staff of the German Army. By 1911 he was promoted to the rank of colonel.
Ludendorff worked with General Alfred von Schlieffen on what became known as the Schlieffen Plan. Schlieffen argued that if war took place it was vital that France was speedily defeated. If this happened, Britain and Russia would be unwilling to carry on fighting. Schlieffen calculated that it would take Russia six weeks to organize its large army for an attack on Germany. Therefore, it was vitally important to force France to surrender before Russia was ready to use all its forces.
Schlieffen's plan involved using 90% of Germany's armed forces to attack France. Fearing the French forts on the border with Germany, Alfred von Schlieffen suggested a scythe-like attack through Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg. The rest of the German Army would be sent to defensive positions in the east to stop the expected Russian advance.
Ludendorff used his influence to persuade the Reichstag to increase military spending and to adopt a more agressive foreign policy. This upset the Social Democratic Party and in January 1913 Ludendorff was dismissed from the General Staff and was forced to return to regimental duties and was given the command of the 39th Fusiliers at Dusseldorf.
On the outbreak of the First World War was appointed Chief of Staff in East Prussia. Working with Paul von Hindenburg, commander of the German Eighth Army, Ludendorff won decisive victories over the Russians at Tannenberg (1914) and the Masaurian Lakes (1915).
Paul von Hindenburg replaced Erich von Falkenhayn as Chief of Staff of the German Army in August, 1916. Hindenburg appointed Ludendorff as his quartermaster general. Soon afterwards, Ludendorff and Hindenburg became the leaders of the military-industrial dictatorship Third Supreme Command. Ludendorff supported unrestricted submarine warfare and successfully put pressure on Kaiser Wilhelm II to dismiss those in the armed forces that favoured a negotiated peace settlement.
Ludendorff gradually became the dominant figure in the Third Supreme Command and after the resignation of Theobald Bethmann Hollweg in July, 1917, took effective political, military and economic control of Germany. After the withdrawal of Russia from the war in 1917 Ludendorff was a key figure in the Brest-Litovsk negotiations.
With the Spring Offensive Ludendorff expected to breakthrough on the Western Front. When this ended in failure Ludendorff realised that Germany would lose the war. On 29th September 1918, the Third Supreme Command transferred power to Max von Baden and the Reichstag. By the end of October, Baden's government was strong enough to force Ludendorff's resignation.
After the signing of the Armistice, Ludendorff moved to Sweden where his wrote books and articles claiming that the unbeaten German Army had been "stabbed in the back" by left-wing politicians in Germany. He also published his memoirs, My War Memories, 1914-1918 (1920).
Ludendorff eventually returned to Germany where he participated in both the Kapp Putsch (March, 1920) and the Munich Putsch (November, 1923). The following year he became one of the first supporters of the Nazi Party in the Reichstag. Ludendorff was the right-wing Nationalist candidate in the 1925 Presidential Elections but won less than 1 per cent of the vote.
Erich Ludendorff died on 20th December 1937.
I have a 1st edition English language copy of this madmans final book..."The Coming War" at home; I'll try and post some pages later once my compost, sorry computer corner has been re instated!
It is utter drivel and poorly written, but an interesting insight and historical document nonetheless
Don't know who it was that said it .... but I guess somebody liked him !!
Seems to me ( what little I've read of him ) Ludendorff passes the blame for Germany's defeat onto everybody else !!
And apparently he had an excitable and highly strung temperament .... he was strong-willed and proved a difficult subordinate !!!!!
the same place this morning...
On the right the building is today the Post Office...
Sounds like an inadequate psychopath to me....
Oh my ! ... I just realised you posted a picture Michel .... ! so it is Lacouture ? .... and that building is still there !
and I passed by at least four times a day ...
Oh My GOODNESS !I have just caught up with this thread ... I have been in bed with flu for 10 days so I can hardly believe all of this ... you guys are truly amazing.... truly amazing ... Michel ... it was your destiny I am sure ... to find this soldier... It seems that You and Annie and everyone else who has provided so much information should really be in the " Detective" business. Maybe Robert Stead has been guiding you as you helped to find him for us all ...I AM JUST SO IMPRESSED ... The quality of the artefacts is just almost unbelievable .. Well done everyone I cant wait to hear even more .
Sorry you've been poorly Poll .... get better quick so you can jump in too !!
Yes Poll, it's nice to see you back on your feet again.
I've also not been around much myself.While I've been waiting on phone calls and emails etc, I have amused myself by searching the interent and found this interesting article which is probably worth a thread on it'sown but I'm putting it here for the encouragement of anyone else looking into this mystery.
So, if Robert Stead wasn't enough of an inspiration, this should be.
I found a few other things while playing around on the National Archives website.
I just kept putting in names like Bassee, Flerbaix, Lys etc and ended up with a load of Cabinet papers including some of the twice daily updates issued by the War Office on the state of the battle. There is also an interesting memo from General H S Horne commanding the British First Army explaining why the troops retreated.
The memo lists a number of British units - 40th Division, 119, 120 and 121st Infantry Brigades along with the 18th Bn Welsh Regt, 13th East Surrey and 21st Middlesex which got me thinking. Is there a list anywhere of all the British units in the area? I could have a look at the war diaries in Kew in case they say something like "we captured 5 prisoners from XYZ regiment". Not sure how much help it would be but it could help identify other German units there.
PS The Cabinet papers are free downloads from Documents Online but if anyone can't find them, PM me an email address and I'll send them on.
I thought you were gone already Glen !.......
I found this ..... but I'm looking to see which regiments were the 55th and 40th .... I'll be back !
EDIT .... I meant to say the picture is British 55th (West Lancashire) Division troops blinded by tear gas during the battle, 10 April 1918 !
Hi AGAIN ... thanks folks .. I'm better now ...Hi ANNIE.I have a list of the regiments with those Divisions and the Order of Battle for the Battle of the Lys April 1918... IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT? Before I spend time typing them... Just want to be sure it's info that you want...?
Yes please Poll ! ... then Glen can take a look !!
i JUST TYPED ALL OF IT OUT AND WHEN I posted I had to log in again as it had timed out!! I am a slow typist!! gRRRR CANT FIND IT ANY WHERE.... How do I stop being times out when answering again ?
Separate names with a comma.