Second Battle of Marne
American Troops before the battle
The Second Battle of the Marne was the last German offensive of the war. It was the first battle that fresh American troops took part. The German offensive failed and the Allies counterattacked.
The Second Battle of the Marne was the last German offensive of the war. The Germans hoped to make a breakthrough before large numbers of American troops could arrive.
The German were hoping for a breakthrough and their attack began on July 15th when 23 divisions of their First and Third Army attacked east of the Reims River. At the same time an additional 17 division from the German Seventh Army attacked to the west of the river.
The attack by the First and Third Army’s were stopped on the first day. The attack to the west of the river was more successful. The Germans successfully established a bridgehead. The German advanced 4 miles on a front that was 12 miles wide. The British and the Americans rushed troops to stem the German advance. They were successful. By July 17 the advance was stopped.
The Allies launched a counter offensive that included eight American divisions and 350 tanks. The offensive was launched on July 18th. By July 20th the Germans ordered a retreat to the lines that they had begun the offensive.
The Battle Marne was a turning point in the war. Besides marking that last German offensive of the war, it marked the entry of American troops into the war. By all accounts despite their lack of experience they equipped themselves bravely in the battles. More importantly the arrival of fresh American troops unburdened by years of warfare strengthened all of the Allies giving the average soldier a feeling that the war might end.