9th to the 13th September 1914, after the Combined British/French victory at the Marne River, German forces fall back to a defensive line on the Aisne River, where the BEF attacked them. After a brutal and costly battle for both sides, Gen Sir John French admits.. "We have entered a new sort of war where the spade will be as great a necessity as the rifle".
The 151ème Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne at the Battle of the Marne
29 August: After 48 hours rest, the 151 embarks by railway in the direction of Reims, arriving on 30 August. The 42nd D.I., now under the command of General Grossetti, is given the objective of protecting the withdrawing elements of the 4th Army in the area south of Rethel at the Retourne River.
1 September: The 151 is given the mission of defending the passage of the Retourne at Esperance Farm. The regiment holds back the German forces all day but is then ordered to break off contact and yield ground.
3-5 September: From the morning of 3 September, the 151 begins its retreat, billeting at Ay on the 3rd and Loisy en Brie on the 4th. At noon on the 5th, it reaches Villeneuve les Charleville, where it is ordered north to meet the enemy once again.
6 September: At dawn the 151 faces the village of Corfélix and is ordered to attack Charleville. The 2nd Battalion bears the initial shock of the assault in violent fighting that degenerates into close quarter combat. The 3rd Battalion is also heavily engaged and successfully repulses five separate German attacks. At nightfall, Villeneuve and Charleville are in French hands.
8 September: The 151 retakes the offensive, with the 3rd Battalion reaching les Culots and the 2nd Battalion taking the woods of l'Homme Blanc and the woods of the village of Corfélix. But the gains cost the regiment dearly: 600 men were lost in the fighting. The 151 is relieve in place by the 233rd R.I.
9 September: The 42nd D.I., in order to parry an enemy movement, slides to the right and takes up position in the area of Fere Champenoise. It is a theater of fierce battle, of bloody hand-to-hand fighting where no mercy is shown. The Germans are checked on all fronts, and having suffered heavy losses, are forced to retreat.
10 September: The French offensive is retaken once again. The 151, now greatly depleted, tails after the German rear-guard and captures numerous prisoners and material. The Germans are successively driven from the Connantre windmill, Connantray, and Fontaine d’Ivoire. In the evening, the 151 comes in view of Villeseneux. 300 meters from the village, the 3rd Company (in flank-guard), is met by a fusillade of bullets and shells. The regiment pulls back but is personally reassembled a few hundred meters to the rear by Col. Deville, who has come to see what has stopped their advance. The village of Villeseneux is strongly held by the enemy. The regiment, which has lost contact with the other formations of the 42nd D.I., is forced to halt it's progression.
11 September: The 151 continues it's advance and seizes Villeseneux. Near Auberive, the regiment is engaged in seven days of violent fighting. But with the Germans dug in and heavy downpours slowing their advance, the regiment is forced to halt it's attacks and rests in place.
21 September: Col. Deville takes command of the 84th Brigade and is replaced by Commandant Monphous.
24 September: The 42nd D.I. is ordered to attack the entrenched German line north of Sillery. Despite several heroic and spirited attempts, the division is unable to make any headway and returns to it's original positions.
Patrice Hernández 151ème Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne (Régiment de Verdun) Vive La République Française, le Lebel et le Poilu Verdun 1916: "Ils ne Passeront pas" "On les aura!" Fusil de Infanterie Modèle 1886 Modifié 1893 dit "Lebel"
September 1, 1914, 95 Years ago...With the German army in pursuit, General Joffre, chief of the French Army's general staff and known to his troops as "Papa Joffre", orders the armies to fall back south of Paris as far as the Seine.
September 2, 1914, 95 years ago...French Government secretly evacuated to Bordeaux by train.
September 3, 1914, 95 years ago...Galician Battles - Fall of Lemberg - The Austro-Hungarian Third Army, heavily defeated following a battle with two full-strength Russian armies, withdrew from Lemberg as the Russians occupied it....Western Front - French aerial reconnaissance spots a large crucial gap between German armies advancing to the Marne.
September 5, 1914, 95 years ago....Retreat to the Marne - French 6th Army attacks right flank of German 1st Army. Start of the Battle of the Ourcq....Galician Battles - Aerial Warfare - Russian gunfire brings down a German Zeppelin over Lemberg....Aerial Warfare - London - British planes begin night patrols over London.
September 6, 1914, 95 years ago....Retreat to the Marne - The BEF and French 5th Army halt, turn round and advance to the Marne. Start of the Battle of the Marne.
September 7, 1914, 95 years ago....East Prussia - German Army advances to Masurian Lakes region to drive the Russian 1st Army out of East Prussia....Battle of the Marne - French 9th Army under Foch in fierce fighting in the St. Gond marshes. Kluck orders German III and IX Corps north of the Marne to participate in a counterattack against the French 6th Army.
September 8, 1914, 95 years ago....Serbia - After a failed invasion following defeat by Serbian forces at the Jadar River on August 19, the Austro-Hungarian Army invades Serbia for the second time....Battle of the Marne - Surprize attack by French 5th Army across Morin River forces Bulow to pull back right flank. German attack in St. Gond Marshes forces Foch's army to retreat 3 miles back.
September 9, 1914, 95 years ago....Siege of Antwerp - Belgian sortie from Antwerp reaches Louvain....Battle of the Marne - Exploiting a gap found between the German Armies, the BEF and French forces move in; the BEF advances accross the Marne, dividing the German 1st and 2nd Armies, while French forces begin unapposed advance to the Aisne. Bulow orders German 2nd Army to retreat.
September 11, 1914, 95 years ago....Galician Battles - His Austro-Hungarian 4th Army narrowly escaping encirclement by the Russian 5th Army, Austro-Hungarian commander-in-chief, Conrad von Hotzendorf orders his 4th Army to fall back behind the San River, beginning the disorderly withdrawal of the Austro-Hungarian Army for a span of over 100 miles. The Austrians send an appeal to their German allies for help.
September 12, 1914, 95 years ago....Battle of the Aisne - German 1st Army takes up positions behind the Aisne, establishing a rudimentary trench sytem on the ridge north of the river. To the north, the newly formed German 7th Army moves in to plug the 18 mile gap between the 1st and 2nd Armies.
September 13, 1914, 95 years ago....Galician Battles - German I Corps strikes a damaging blow to Rennenkampf's Russian First Army, which is ordered to retreat. Although Rennenkampf was able to avoid encirclement, his army was driven out of East Prussia by the Germans.
September 14, 1914, 95 years ago....Battle of the Aisne - Helmuth von Moltke dismissed as German chief of staff and replaced by Prussian war minister, Erich von Falkenhayn. Germans halt Anglo-French offensive along the Aisne; British and French forces attack enemy positions across the river, but to no advantage, and begin to entrench. First use of aircraft radio to direct artillery.
September 15, 1914, 95 years ago....Battle of the Aisne - Aerial photography utilized for the first time by the Royal Flying Corps for ground forces.
September 16, 1914, 95 years ago....Aerial Warfare - A Japanese Farman bombs a German warship at Tsingtao, making this attack the first to use sea-based aircraft.
September 17, 1914, 95 years ago....Second Austrian Invasion of Serbia - The Austro-Hungarian Army is stopped in it's tracks by Serbian counterattacks, but manages to hold on to small gains on the border with Bosnia....Galician Battles - In response to an appeal for help from Austria, Germany sends it's newly formed 9th Army by rail from East Prussia to reinforce Austrian forces in the south.
September 18, 1914, 95 years ago....Galician Battles - The German 9th Army, newly formed from reconstituting four of the 8th Army's corps, arrives in the Katowice-Cracow area to assist the battered Austro-Hungarian Army, which has suffered some 350,000 casualties during the opening battles on this front.
September 21, 1914, 95 years ago....Race to the Sea - The French and Germans have been engaging in unsuccessful attempts to outflank the other, beginning in the Noyon region on September 18 and moving to the upper Somme. Each failed attempt to sidestep the enemy's forces extended the entrenched front line further to the north, towards the English Channel, and became known as the "Race to the Sea".
September 22, 1914, 95 years ago....Race to the Sea - Start of the Battle of Picardy....War at Sea - U9 sinks three British Cruisers off the Dutch coast....Aerial Warfare - First British air raid into Germany; the Zeppelin sheds at Dusseldorf and Cologne take direct hits during bombing by British Tabloid aircraft.
September 23, 1914, 95 years ago....Race to the Sea - German and French forces fail to outflank each other due to the fact that neither side could secure advantage of position and numbers during the second day of the Battle of Picardy.
September 24, 1914, 95 years ago....China - British troops, arriving at Laoshan Bay on September 22, support Japanese attack on Tsingtao. The Japanese have been preparing for this attack since their arrival September 2 on the Shantung peninsula....Galician Battles - Russians besiege the fortress town of Przemysl and attack Carpathian passes in preparation for their invasion of northern Hungary.
September 25, 1914, 95 years ago....West Africa - French Army takes the town of Kousseri in the north of Kamerun....South Pacific - German naval squadron under Admiral Graf von Spee sails for the South Atlantic after attacking Papeete in Tahiti on September 22. Japanese naval forces mop up German naval bases in the Caroline and Marshall Islands. The Australians and New Zealanders view this as Japanese expansionism.
September 26, 1914, 95 years ago....Race to the Sea - French Army is Driven out of Peronne by German forces at the Somme. Indian troops arrive in Marseille. Battle of Picardy comes to an inconclusive end....China - German commander, Meyer-Waldeck, facing 60,000 Japanese troops with fewer then 5,000 men, trains the heavy guns of the Tsingtao port fortifications landward to meet the enemy.
September 27, 1914, 95 years ago....Race to the Sea - Start of the Battle of Artois....West Africa - German Kamerun (Cameroon) capital and main port, Douala, falls to French Senegalese troops and British forces.
September 28, 1914, 95 years ago....Galician Battles - Final transfer of German 9th Army by rail to Katowice-Cracow region completed....Siege of Antwerp - German artillery begins bombardment of the forts surrounding Antwerp.
Christopher Laguna aka Heinrich Kohler Infanterie-Regiments von Winterfeldt, (2. Oberschles.) Nr. 23 "Mein Schlesierland, mein Heimatland"