NEWS SHEET By CORPS INTELLIGENCE
27th March 1918
The following is a short Summary of the German Offensive up till the evening of 26th March ’18.
Before the attack commenced, the enemy had brought to the Western Front 192 Divisions. Of these, about 110 were needed to hold the line, leaving 82 Divisions in reserve. The majority of this reserve was collected centrally in the area behind LAON, at the junction of the French and English, so that it could be thrown either in the direction of St. QUENTIN against the English or in the direction of RHEIMS against the French.
As a preliminary an attack was started on the morning of the 21st against the British Right from about ROISEL to LA FERE, 1 our Corps being in the centre of the area of attack. The object of this preliminary attack was to attract both our own and the French Reserves towards threatened points, and to leave us in doubt as to where the main attack would take place. This attack was launched in great strength and with masses of Artillery and Trench Mortars. On our Corps front alone 13 German Divisions were identified by actual contact. The weight of this attack forced a retirement on the front attacked, although it did not come up to German expectations, which were to force the line of the SOMME through HAM on the first day.
The attack however, had sufficient success to justify the continuation of the German Plan which was to drive a wedge between the French and British Armies to force the former in a South West direction, and the latter in a North Westerly direction to push through the gap thus made in the direction of AMIENS, to take AMIENS, and cut off the whole British Army in the North Western corner of France. On the 22nd therefore, a heavy attack was launched on the front ROISEL to the SCARPE near ARRAS.
This attack also had a preliminary success forcing the British forces holding the front to give ground.
Each day, the enemy has continued to pour in fresh forces, over 70 Divisions having already been identified as taking part.
In no place has he succeeded in his object of breaking through, as the British forces have fought their way back step by step, and caused the enemy heavy casualties. Every day we are holding him more and more and every day his advance is less. The general line on the evening of the 26th instant is shewn on the Map.
Meanwhile, everyday that our troops hold out gives time for more and more of our own and the French Reserves to be brought to the scene of action and to cause the enemy to use up more troops.
The enemy is out to finish the war by one great blow, and is throwing every available man into the scale. He has already used up practically the whole of his reserve, whilst everyday we are getting stronger.
The whole essence of his plan is a swift and sudden knock out blow as it was in Russia and in Italy, but this time his calculations have gone wrong.
To judge from the statements of Prisoners captured during the last few days by the Corps, his men are getting very tired, and looking the whole time for relief.
He has outstripped his heavy guns, and he still finds the road to AMIENS blocked. There is no doubt that he will go on pouring his troops until the last man has been put in as he is out to win or lose during the next few weeks, so that if we can only keep calm, kill Germans and to prevent a break through until our Reserves can come into play, the result is certain. Above all, we should be on the guard against believing and spreading rumours which are put about by German Spies, and are all part of his plans to get our tails down and to cause alarm and despondency.