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ExcerptEdit

By July 1918 the German army had total control of the Soissons-Château-Thierry roads. These were vital lifelines for the German soldiers based in the Marne salient. Fearing an offensive in this region, the French planned to force the Germans out of this area. They would make use of one this war's most brilliant new weapons: tanks.

IntroductionEdit

Narrator/Announcer: By July 1918, the German army had total control of the Soissons-Château-Thierry roads. These were vital lifelines for the German soldiers based in the Marne salient. Fearing an offensive in this region, the French planned to force the Germans out of this area. They would make use of one this war's most brilliant new weapons: tanks.

SoissonsEdit

French RepublicEdit

IntroductionEdit

French Soldier 1: (in French) As we ate, we saw Schneiders, St Chamonds and FT tanks rolling up the hill.

French Soldier 2: (in French) We wait for orders to attack, lazing in the sunshine. Some get fresh fish by throwing hand grenades into the nearby ponds.

French Soldier 3: (in French) Even from one hundred feet we could see that their lines had been wired so heavily that only a rabbit could get through.

French Soldier 4: (in French) ...the tank takes all these obstacles with the greatest of ease.

French Soldier 5: (in French) They say that General Foch has promised us peace in August. I say it is not in the least likely to come about, but I admire his determination. We soldiers talk of war lasting two years more.

BriefingEdit

EAST OF SOISSONS 1918

French Officer: Commander Foch has given us the go. Our tanks will move swiftly across these fields to secure the German defenses in Chaudun, then continue up Soissons road to take the Chateau de Pernant. Once secured we will quickly move on to this airfield on the road to the ammo depot by Vierzy. The railroad connects to Soissons and will allow us to push the Germans back over the Aisne river.

First Battalion LostEdit

French Officer: Yes, the attack failed, but do not lose heart. It is the last five percent of possible exertion that often wins the battle. At them again!

Second Battalion LostEdit

French Officer: The assault was a failure again. But too much French blood has been spilt to give up now. Let us at them one last time!

Third Battalion Lost (Defeat)Edit

French Officer: We lost this fight men, but we will never stop fighting. Inaction is atrophy, paralysis, and death.

VictoryEdit

French Officer: Victory men! Your magnificent courage has routed the Germans from the salient. Let us pursue them as they fall back towards the Aisne river.

German EmpireEdit

IntroductionEdit

German Soldier: (in German) From our a window in the chateau we can see their tanks gathering, lumbering forward in the half light of dawn, their huge fascines on top making them appear even more like monstrous prehistoric animals, animals ready to consume men and material alike. What has become of mankind when he creates only to destroy. It will all be over soon, they say. Yes, in a bloodbath of flesh and steel.

BriefingEdit

EAST OF SOISSONS 1918

German Officer: Our salient is threatened. We are going to have to fight smart to stop their tanks from running over us. First, defend Chaudun. We will then retreat up the Soissons road and defend Chateau de Pernant. If we cannot hold this position, we need to fall back to our stations at the airfield and ammo depot by Vierzy. If we lose this, Soissons will fall and we will have to retreat back towards the Aisne river. There we do, or die.

​First Battalion DefeatedEdit

German Officer: Good job holding the defenses men. Their advance has been crippled. Now guard yourselves, for they will come again.

​Second Battalion DefeatedEdit

German Officer: Victory is again ours! And though they are weak now, they will come one last time! Hold these defenses men! For the Kaiser!

Third Battalion Defeated (Victory)Edit

German Officer: A glorious victory for the empire, your valiant hearts have showed that you are the true defenders of its values!

DefeatEdit

German Officer: Our defenses have been lost. Good men, brave men, loyal men have fallen, but not in vain. Let us retreat to the Aisne river. There we shall make our stand.

IntermissionEdit

Narrator/Announcer: After the Germans lost Soissons, they retreated back to where they had launched the great Spring Offensive of 1918, at the abandoned battlefields by the Aisne-Vesle rivers. The French were now in the ascendancy, the summer was coming to an end, and so was the war.

RuptureEdit

French RepublicEdit

IntroductionEdit

French Soldier 1: (in French) The march to the river was difficult in the dark, hampered by the arrival of a sudden rain storm. The roads were turned into muddy quagmires.

French Soldier 2: (in French) Returning to those places, we saw that whole villages had disappeared, woods had vanished, the battlefield was now a lunar landscape.

French Soldier 3: (in French) Everyone seemed to be on the move, every kind of man, animal, and vehicle. It is as if all were aware that the end of the war was coming.

French Soldier 4: (in French) As we passed through the village we could hear a gramophone playing the most wonderful music — the mightiest I have ever heard.

French Soldier 5: (in French) Even the lame walked faster now, while on every face you could be read the determination and expectation of victory.

BriefingEdit

FISMES 1918

French Officer: The Germans have dug into their old defensive positions on the trench line at Hill 60 near Bazoches. We need to secure them before we can cross the Aisne river and attack their new trenches on the Notre Dame Ridge Line. After this we must launch an offensive along the railway track to secure Fismes. This will force the Germans to retreat out of this region once and for all. Make no mistake, this is the end for them.

First Battalion LostEdit

French Officer: Our attack has failed. Too much blood has been lost for no gain. Stand tall men! For we must fight again, and fight harder!

Second Battalion LostEdit

French Officer: This is a grave loss for our great nation. Remember, all of France and Allied Europe is depending on us. Let us go at them one last time.

Third Battalion Lost (Defeat)Edit

French Officer: This defeat is a sad day for France. Four years of war has taught us little. We must pray we will have another chance to fight.

VictoryEdit

French Officer: Victory! Soissons once again is blue, white, and red. The Germans are in retreat across the river, and my heart knows, we will not face them again! All of Europe will rejoice!

German EmpireEdit

IntroductionEdit

German Soldier: (in German) With our war so close to being over I am more scared than ever before. At last I can imagine a future. Not one with Germany as victors but one where I see my family once again. So now the thought of dying terrifies me. And I pray for a small leg wound and a cart ride all the way back to Berlin.

BriefingEdit

FISMES 1918

German Officer: We must not let the French cross the Aisne river. We have only recently built our defenses here. We need to defend these old trenches near Bazoches. If we cannot hold them we must fall back across the river using the bridge to our new positions on the Notre Dame Ridge Line. If they are lost, god forbid, we will have to fall back to Fismes. That will be our last chance to keep our influence in this region.

​First Battalion DefeatedEdit

German Officer: A well-deserved victory soldiers! These poilu are no match for our elite forces. Now stand strong! For they will come again!

​Second Battalion DefeatedEdit

German Officer: Our defenses are strong. You brave soldiers embody the spirit of our great empire and will not be beaten. And when they come for the last time, we will be ready for them!

Third Battalion Defeated (Victory)Edit

German Officer: We have held our defenses. Victory is ours! So rest men, for I am sure we will soon be marching towards Paris with the great German eagle flying above us!

DefeatEdit

German Officer: This is a disaster for us men. We have lost our salient, our positions on the Aisne river. This is what the French had hoped for. The future of the German Empire feels most uncertain.

ConclusionEdit

French Republic VictoryEdit

Narrator/Announcer: For the first time in the war, the German army was decisively defeated by well planned combined arm surprise attack. Victory in this battle allowed the Allies to enter a new phase of successful and unrelenting offenses on the Western Front, that would eventually lead to the November Armistice.

German Empire VictoryEdit

Narrator/Announcer: By 1918, the Germans had perfected the art of defending in depth. But at Marne, the French proved that a new type of war could waged, that favored the attacker, and not the defender. A war that used mobile and mechanized combined arms. If the Germans had found success, and mimicked these Allied tactics, perhaps further assaults on France in the capital would have been possible, changing the course of the war.

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