24/7/1918 Foch meets the Allied commanders, calls for them to go on the attack #1918Live

On the Western Front the tide appears to be turning in favour of the Allies. The German Marne-Champagne offensive has failed and now a French-led counter-attack is recapturing lost ground in the Marne sector. Meanwhile the balance of forces is becoming ever more favourable to the Allies as thousands of US troops continue to arrive in France every day while tanks and aircraft pour out of British and French factories.

Today Allied military leaders meet at Bombon, the headquarters of Foch, the Western Front generalissimo. Foch and Weygand, his chief of staff, greet Haig, Pétain and Pershing, the three Allied commanders. Weygand and Foch argue that the time has come for the Allies to go on the offensive, proposing a rolling series of assaults to push the Germans away from vital railway lines and pave the way for eventual Allied victory.

Haig and Pétain are both wary, fearing that their armies need to lick their wounds further before they can launch major offensives against the enemy. Pershing meanwhile is more keen to attack, but he remains insistent that American units must fight independently and not be incorporated into British or French armies (he had only with reluctance supplied US troops to support the French counterattack on the Marne).

Foch and Weygand are unable for now to bend Haig and Pétain to their will, but they manage to avoid a complete rejection of their proposals. Instead the Allied commanders will bring them to their own staff officers and issue a more considered reply in coming days. Foch remains confident that his fellow commanders will come round to his way of thinking. Soon the Allies will attack and seize the initiative permanently from the enemy.

image sources:

Philippe Pétain, Douglas Haig, Ferdinand Foch, & John Pershing (Wikipedia Commons)

Map (1 is the Marne counterattack currently underway) (The Long, Long Trail: The Battles of the Marne, 1918)

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