Battle of Noyon-Montdidier, 9-13 June 1918

The Battle of Noyon-Montdidier, 9-13 June 1918, was the fourth of General Erich von Ludendorff’s great offensives of the spring and summer of 1918 that came close to breaking the Allied lines on the western front, but instead critically damaged the fighting capacity of the German army.

The first and third of those offensives (Second Battle of the Somme and Third Battle of the Aisne) had created two giant salients in the Allied lines. The Noyon-Montdidier offensive was designed to link these two saliants. This would straighten out the line and potentially threaten Paris. Two German armies – the Eighteenth under General Oskar von Hutier and the Seventh under General Max von Boehn were allocated to the attack. They were opposed by two French armies – the Third under General Georges Humbert and the Tenth under General Charles Mangin. The French also had access to American troops, who would play a part in defeating the offensive.

The French had sufficient warning of the German attack. On 9 June the German Eighteenth Army attacked the French Third Army from the north. Its attack was disrupted by a French counter-bombardment, but was still able to make some progress, although not on the same scale as in the earlier offensives.

The German Seventh Army joined the offensive on 10 June, attacking the French Tenth Army from the east. This attack failed to make any significant progress. The two armies were meant to meet at Compiègne, but only Hutier made any progress towards the rendezvous.

On 11 June the French and Americans launched a counter attack which pushed the Germans back from their most advanced positions. On 13 June the battle came to an end. It was a clear German failure, and was a clear sign that the German army was wearing down. It would launch one more offensive, on the Marne in mid July, but that would soon be followed by the great Allied counterattacks that would push the German armies back towards the French border.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (19 August 2007), Battle of Noyon-Montdidier, 9-13 June 1918 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_noyon_montdidier.html

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