2018 - Meeting Dates and Speaker Programme

 


Next Meeting - Monday, 30th April 2018

Speaker - Dave Dunham

Topic - The 1918 German Spring Offensive - the beginning of the end

Synopsis: 

 

The 1918 Spring Offensive was a series of German attacks along the Western Front during the First World War, beginning on 21 March 1918, which marked the deepest advances by either side since 1914. The Germans realised that their only remaining chance of victory was to defeat the Allies before the Americans fully entered the War. They also had the temporary advantage in numbers due to nearly 50 divisions freed by the Russian surrender under the terms of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk made in early March 1918.

There were four German offensives which were codenamed Michael, Georgette, Gneisenau, and Blücher-Yorck. Michael was the main attack, which was intended to break through the Allied lines, outflank the British forces which held the front from the Somme River to the English Channel and defeat the British Army. Once this was achieved, it was hoped that the French would seek armistice terms. The other offensives were subsidiary to Michael and were designed to divert Allied forces from the main offensive effort on the Somme.

No clear objective was established before the start of the offensives and once the operations were underway, the targets of the attacks were constantly changed according to the battlefield (tactical) situation. The Allies concentrated their main forces in the essential areas namely the approaches to the Channel Ports and the rail junction of Amiens, while leaving strategically worthless ground lightly defended.

The Germans were unable to move supplies and reinforcements fast enough to maintain their advance. The fast-moving stormtroopers leading the attack could not carry enough food and ammunition to sustain themselves for long and all the German offensives petered out, in part through lack of supplies.

By late April 1918, the danger of a German breakthrough had passed. The German Army had suffered heavy casualties and now occupied ground of dubious value which would prove impossible to hold with such depleted units. In August 1918, the Allies began a counter-offensive with the support of 1–2 million fresh American troops and using new artillery techniques and operational methods. This Hundred Days Offensive resulted in the Germans retreating or being driven from all of the ground taken in the Spring Offensive, the collapse of the Hindenburg Line and the capitulation and surrender of the German Empire that November.

 


 

Venue opens at 7:00 p.m. and the meeting commences at 7:30 p.m. For venue directions please click HERE.

 


The 2018 Branch Speaker Programme

Date Speaker Topic
January 29th Robert Elverstone Farewell to the Horse
February 26th David Humberston

Agents in Petticoats - Female Spies of the Great War

March 26th Mel Gould The Story of the Loughborough Carillon
April 30th Dave Dunham The 1918 German Spring Offensive - the beginning of the end
May 28th (BH) Derek Seaton Captain Robert Gee, V.C, M.C, M.P. - "A Remarkable Soldier & Politician"
June 25th Nigel Atter

2nd Leicesters in Mesopotamia

July 30th

John Stanyard

Under Two Flags – The Salvation Army in the Great War
August 27th (BH) Adam Lowe The Battle of Jutland
September 24th  Jim Beach British Intelligence & the German Spring Offensives

October 29th 

Greg Drozdz

Africa and the Great War

November 26th John Sutton The Unknown Warrior

(Wednesday)

December 19th

Jonathan Smith

Medals and Decorations of the Great War

(BH = Bank Holiday)

(TBC = To Be Confirmed)

Note:

Our meetings and speakers are sometimes subject to last minute changes for a variety of reasons, so please check back regularly for updates and/or changes.

 


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