On 27 May 1918, the German Army launched the third attack of its spring offensive. Here are nine things you need to know about the attack.
- Operation Blücher-Yorck was the third major attack launched by the German Army in spring 1918.
- The battle was fought in the Aisne sector, near the towns of Soissons and Reims.
- The Germans massed 23 divisions and over 6,000 guns ready for the first attack which began at 1 am on 27 May 1918.
- Five British divisions had been sent to this quiet part of the line to recuperate after fighting in the first two major German offensives of spring 1918.
- In the first few hours the Allied front line was overwhelmed and by the end of the first day German troops had advanced 12 miles.
- French, British and American troops were rushed forward to help hold the line and the Germans were finally stopped on the River Marne, just 20 miles from the outskirts of Paris.
- In 11 days of fierce fighting both sides had suffered an estimated 250,000 casualties; wounded, missing, killed, and taken prisoner.
- The offensive failed to draw in significant Allied reserves and further German assaults in this area were met with fierce resistance and tenacious counter-attacks.
- Across the former battlefields the CWGC commemorates British Empire service personnel who died during Operation Blücher-Yorck. The Soissons Memorial commemorates more than 3,800 servicemen who died in the region and have no known grave, 2,700 of whom died in May-June 1918.