Ludendorff‘s first two phases of his spring offensive have battered the Allies, particularly the British, but they have not broken them. And the offensives have been costly for the Germans, who have lost many of their elite stormtroopers. The numerical advantage nevertheless remains with the Germans, whose numbers have been buttressed by men brought from the Eastern Front since the peace with Russia. But this advantage will not last forever: there are now some 430,000 American troops in France and more arriving every day.
Ludendorff knows that he has to defeat the Allies soon before the balance of forces shifts decisively against him. But where should he attack? He still sees the British as the more vulnerable of his enemies. In Flanders they lack strategic depth: a breakthrough here could throw them into the sea. But thanks to Ludendorff’s recently concluded Georgette offensive Flanders is awash with Allied troops, with French soldiers reinforcing the British. Another attack in Flanders now would just turn into an attritional bloodbath, something Ludendorff needs to avoid at all costs.
Nevertheless, Ludendorff is fixated on Flanders: an offensive here offers his best chance to destroy the British. But first his men will stage diversionary attacks further south against the French in the Chemin des Dames sector, site of the disastrous French offensive last year. These limited attacks will draw the French down there, after which the main blow will hit the British in Flanders.
This means that for now there will be a lull, as it will take a few weeks for the Germans to get their men and guns in place to attack in the Chemin des Dames. In that lull the Allies will just have to wait nervously as they wonder where the blow will fall.
map (Mental Floss WWI Centennial: “With Our Backs To The Wall”)