<– Part 218 – September 22, 1918 | Part 219 – September 29, 1918 | Part 220 – October 6, 1918

Following the success of the Vardar offensive in Bulgaria, coupled with mass retreats, desertions, mutinies, and the rapid Allied advance has led to Bulgaria suing for an armistice, signed September 29 at Salonica. The Bulgarian army is ordered to demobilize, captured territories are returned, as is all captured equipment, and German & Austrian troops have to leave the country within 4 weeks. In return, the capital, Sofia, will remain unoccupied, though any strategic sites the Allies need to take will be held temporarily, and free passage for Allied troops is also required.

In Palestine, fighting at Megiddo ended September 25, with the British forces suffering around 5,500 casualties, while the entire Ottoman force, shy 6,000 escapees, has fallen – nearly 30,000 troops. All along the front, key positions have been captured by the Allies, including Nablus, Amman, Tiberias, the key port of Haifa, Samakh (which saw both mounted and dismounted charges), Damascus, and Deraa. The days following saw a failed cavalry charge at Irbi and the capture of Jisr Benat Yakub (Jacob’s Ford, across the Jordan River) on September 27. British forces now hold almost all territory west of the Jordan river.

An audacious Allied plan to launch four major attacks over four days kicked off September 26.

Canadian engineers building a bridge to cross Canal du Nord

An enormous offensive was launched September 26, the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which has nearly 1.2 million American and French soldiers assaulting 450,000 Germans. The Americans spent 3 hours firing artillery beforehand, at a cost of $1 million per minute, firing more than the entire amount of ammunition spent during their 4 years of fighting from 1861-1865. The initial American assaults, begun at 5:30am, saw mixed results with colossal casualties. In General Pershing’s own words, “We were no longer engaged in a maneuver for the pinching out of a salient, but were necessarily committed, generally speaking, to a direct frontal attack against strong, hostile positions fully manned by a determined enemy.” Nonetheless, the Americans continue to attack.

On September 27, Canadian and New Zealand forces launched an attack across Canal du Nord, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, near Cambrai, in an effort to tie down Germans, preventing them from reinforcing elsewhere. Crossing on secretly-constructed bridges at 5:20am, capturing the surprised defenders within hours.

The next morning, September 28, Belgian and British forces attacked at Ypres (the fifth battle there), following a 3-hour artillery bombardment. They advanced 6 miles, pushing Germans back and retaking land lost earlier in the year. By the next day, all the high ground had been taken.

British Brigadier General J.V. Campbell speaking to soldiers of the 137th Brigade, on Riqueval Bridge

The bridge in 2003, with now-overgrown banks

The final attack of the plan saw a devastating artillery bombardment at the St. Quentin Canal, with 1,600 guns firing nearly a million shells, specifically targeted at headquarters and German artillery, aided by captured maps of German defenses. On September 29, two American divisions and two Australian divisions, and 150 tanks began the assault, which made minimal progress on the flanks, slowing down the center as well, though it pierced the Hindenburg line in several places. British forces elsewhere captured the key Riqueval Bridge, preventing German engineers from destroying it.

Around Entente lines, large numbers of people have suddenly begun dying of a virulent strain of influenza. It’s possible this strain was brought by American forces to France and is the same as that ravaging the United States.



<– Part 217 – September 15, 1918 | Part 218 – September 22, 1918 | Part 219 – September 29, 1918

In Bulgaria, the Vardar Offensive continues its gains for the Allies, as the front is 16 miles wide and 4.5 miles deep by the end of September 16. The following morning, at 4 am, Greek forces scaled a cliff barehanded to take a key Bulgarian artillery and observation position on Mount Preslap. By the 18th, the advance had taken 9.5 miles.

On September 16, at Doiran, an artillery duel began, running 2 days until British forces attacked at 5 am on September 18. A pincer movement took prisoners, but was pushed back by artillery and a Bulgarian counterattack, losing all gains. At Dobro Pole, the Entente scored a victory, as the Bulgarians lost 5,700 (3,000 of them prisoners) to the Entente’s 2,200. At 4 am the next morning saw more shelling, and, finally, Doiran was taken after 5 hours of fighting. However, the offensive was halted due to a lack of manpower. Bulgaria has lost 1,500 casualties and 1,200 prisoners, while the Greeks have lost 2,400 and the British 3,900. On September 20, news that Dobro Pole has fallen reached the Bulgarian army, who began retreating (and deserting) to defend their homeland.

On September 18, at Épehy, the British attacked the Hindenburg line. Although they have lost 600,000 men in the past 6 months, 180,000 of them within the last 6 weeks, this is the first major offensive since they have rested, and comes on the heels of the victory at Havrincourt. The attack was launched at 5:20 am with a creeping barrage; the thrust is aimed at a fortified area 3 miles deep and 20 miles long. The center saw enormous success thanks to Australian divisions, who captured a mass of prisoners equal to their entire force, though suffering high casualties themselves. Due to the casualties, they refused to attack in support of a neighboring British unit, and were charged with being AWOL rather than desertion. The battle is an encouragement to the Entente, as it shows that the German defense is weakening and final success is possible. The British have suffered 1,300 casualties and captured 12,000 Germans.

On September 19, the British began an offensive against Turkish forces in Palestine. Called the “Battle of Megiddo” by a British officer with a fancy for BIblical proportions, it was intended to be smaller, but actions by T.E. Lawrence to destroy Ottoman raillines saw 3,000 tribesmen rise up in revolt, drawing Turkish soldiers away to put them down. At 1 am, a British bomber destroyed the telephone line connecting the Turk’s headquarters from the forces in the field. At 4:30, the artillery barrage began, with the infantry attacking 20 minutes later. The Desert Mounted Corps is advancing up the coast with little opposition. In the words of Lt. Col. Rex Osborn, “From 10.00 hours onwards, a hostile aeroplane observer, if one had been available, flying over the Plain of Sharon would have seen a remarkable sight – ninety–four squadrons, disposed in great breadth and in great depth, hurrying forward relentlessly on a decisive mission – a mission of which all cavalry soldiers have dreamed, but in which few have been privileged to partake.”

The next days have seen ports, villages, and cities captured by the rapid British attack, and the last Ottoman army west of the Jordan river withdrew September 21. At Nablus, a retreating Turkish army was bombed and strafed by British airplanes every 3 minutes for an hour, destroying the entire unit. T.E. Lawrence wrote that “the RAF lost 4 killed. The Turks lost a corps.” Nablus was captured later that day, and the Jordan river crossings the next. The entire British force is now occupying miles of Turkish territory unopposed, as the lightning advance of infantry, cavalry, and airplanes seems to be heralding a new era of lightning-fast war.

In the Adriatic, the French sub Circé was sunk on September 20 by a torpedo fired from the Austro-Hungarian sub U-47.

<– Part 216 – September 8, 1918 | Part 217 – September 15, 1918 | Part 218 – September 22, 1918

US General John J. Pershing

French forces approached the Hindenburg Line on September 10 near Savy-Dallon, and at the Battle of Vauxaillon four days later. The British are also nearing the German defensive position, piercing it at Havrincourt September 12.

Plan of battle for US forces at Saint-Mihiel

On September 12, American forces under General John J. Pershing attacked the retreating Germans at Saint-Mihiel, a salient in the lines, in an attempt to push through at retake fortified Metz. Combined with artillery and air support, this is the first battle led primarily by the Americans, who scored a significant victory against the unprepared Germans, who staged a fighting retreat for a day, until the salient was closed. The victory is attributed in large part to Pershing’s exquisite planning, which saw the Americans planning down to “H-hour” and “D-day,” two terms created for this battle. The Americans suffered 7,000 (4,500 killed) casualties, to the Germans’ 22,500 (included 15,000 prisoners).

At Baku, in Armenia, the beleaguered defenders were helped September 12 by a deserting Arab officer, warning them of an assault to come in two days. The attack did begin the night of the following day but was halted by a counterattack. Fighting continued all day the 14th before the defenders evacuated the city. The Ottomans lost 2,000 soldiers to 4000 Armenians and 200 British.

On September 15, at 5:30am, an Entente force of Serbs, French, and Greek forces attacked Bulgarian trenches in Dobro Pole, part of Serbia. Preceding by a day of artillery bombardment from 566 guns, paired with airial bombings and strafings, the end of the saw nearly 1/2 of all Bulgarian forces engaged as casualties; of the 12,000 attacked, 3,000 were captured and 2,700 killed. The Entente lost a total of 1,900.

Several German subs have been reported sunk by the North Sea Mine Barrage, a minefield laid from the Orkneys to Norway by US minelayers.

<– Part 215 – September 1, 1918 | Part 216 – September 8, 1918 | Part 217 – September 15, 1918

German wire at the Drocourt-Queant line

By September 2, the Germans had been forced back to the Hindenburg, the initial start of their Spring Offensive. One decisive battle was at the Drocourt-Queant Line, a defense line between the two French towns. A combined assault of infantry, tanks, and aircraft, broke the German position and helped force them back 40 miles to the line.

The damaged Mount Vernon under escort by an allied ship laying a smoke screen

On September 3, the Austro-Hungarian forces in northern Italy launched operation “Gemse.” A large artillery bombardment against Punta San Matteo, followed by infantry, retook the peak they had last 3 weeks earlier. The Italian, fearing the peak would be taken, began shelling while their forces were still defending, causing friendly-fire casualties. In all, 10 Italians and 17 Austrians were killed. To the north, the Australians have fully taken Mont Saint-Quentin, losing 3,000 over three days, but forcing the German withdrawal.

Damage to the hull from the torpedo

American naval forces had an engagement in the Atlantic ocean off Brittany. on September 5. The Mount Vernon, a formerly German boat (SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie) that was interned at the outbreak of war, and then captured and converted to an auxiliary cruiser when America entered the war, was attacked by the sub U-82. The sub’s periscope was spotted and fired upon, scoring a hit, after which the sub surfaced, fire a torpedo (also a hit), and then withdraw seeing the approaching fast destroyers.

Under repair

With Bapaume taken, the British forces are resting, while their compatriots keep the Germans at the Hindenburg line. At Baku, the defenders are sending out regular airplane patrols, awaiting the next Ottoman advance.

At Ufa, Russia, a group from several different ideologies and political parties have begun meeting in conference, attempting to form a “Provisional All-Russian Government.”

<– Part 214 – August 25, 1918 | Part 215 – September 1, 1918 | Part 216 – September 8, 1918

1899 – Nogales, Sonora to the left, and Nogales, Arizona to the right

August 27 saw the simmering tensions along the Mexico-United States border, made fraught due to the Zimmermann telegram and the Mexican Revolution (which saw an American killed by a stray bullet from across the border), erupt at “Ambos [Both] Nogales,” the cities of Nogales, Sonora, and Nogales, Arizona, separated only by “International Street.” A Mexican carpenter walked past the U.S. Customs Office into Mexico, who suspected him of smuggling weapons and ordered him to stop. The Mexican customs officials ordered him to continue. A US Army Private fired a warning shot, and the carpenter dove to cover, causing the Mexican forces to think he had been shot, thereby shooting and killing the US Private. Gunfire between army forces and armed civilians began, with US forces entering the city to secure the heights overlooking the town, which had seen trenches and machinegun nests dug in the weeks prior. The Mexicans called a ceasefire that evening, though the US army had 32 casualties (4 dead) and several American civilians injured (with 2 dead); the Mexicans had 30 soldiers and 100 civilians killed, with 300 wounded; 2 Germans were also found among the dead. Orders have been given for a permanent border wall to be erected.

Captured German A7V tank at Frémicourt on August 31

At the Second Somme, part of the “Hundred Days Offensive,” the Allied First Army widened the front at the Second Battle of Arras; the German lines have begun to break and the Allies advance is more widespread.

New Zealand Riflemen in Bapaume shortly after they captured it

At Bapaume, a second attack against the city made some advances on August 26, moving 1000 yards and encircling Bapaume to the north, but miscommunications weakened the British attack as they attempt to force the German withdrawal with a full encirclement, rather than a direct assault. A lack of German gunfire was noted the morning of August 29, and Germans spotted withdrawing east.  New Zealanders entered the town and began deactivating booby traps. Their advance continued the next morning at 5 am, with Frémicourt taken in 90 minutes, but were forced to withdraw as their neighboring units had not yet moved up to the flank. Reiencourt fell the next day, and they again advanced September 1 to sweep the Bancourt Ridge, but were again forced to withdraw to allow neighboring units to catch up.


Ragged German askaris in East Africa

The Australian Corps crossed the Somme river August 31. Key to the Australian advance was their rapid taking of Mont Saint Quentin, a strategic observation and artillery post holding the Somme. Failing to advance through marshes, the Australians redeployed, stormed the mountain “screaming like bushrangers,” to which the Germans quickly surrendered, and then took the trenches, before taking Peronne the next day. British General Henry Rawlinson called the Australian advances of 31 Aug – 4 Sep the “greatest military achievement of the war.”



The well-supplied King’s African Rifles, Lettow-Vorbeck’s enemy

Canadians at the Scarpe took Monchy-le-Preux and Wancourt over August 26-30, along with 3000 prisoners.


At Baku, in Azerbaijan, ethnic, religious, cultural, political, and historical tensions have erupted, as the newly-formed Azerbaijan Democratic Republic has allied with the Ottoman Empire and attacked Baku, held by the Baku Commune with Soviet Russian assistance, and supported by the Armenians, British, and White Russians. The Azerbaijani-Ottoman alliance launched its attack August 26 and has slowly pushed back the defenders over the last few days, before halting this morning to rest and reinforce.


The Schutztruppe withdrawal, showing the rough terrain that hindered communications, reconnoitering, and caused the German sub-units to separate.

In Africa, the German Schutztruppe under Paul Lettow-Vorbeck has begun advancing back towards German East Africa, having raided most of the supplies in Portuguese East Africa. The unit, having evaded and defeated Allied forces for the past 4 years, has dwindled from its strength of 15,000 to only 1,600, due to deaths, desertions, and surrenders. Nonetheless, the remaining experienced African soldiers are intensely loyal to their German commander. Unbeknownst to Lettow-Vorbeck, the British have begun an encirclement of his troops as he has had to move around several reinforced British supply depots. At Lioma, on


August 30, the Germans began their attack shortly after noon, underestimated the British preparations, and launched several moderately successful attacks before halting around 10:30pm. They then withdrew east, while the British moved to encircle them. The German rearguard was attacked the next day but captured askari (native African recruits) greatly exaggerated the German strength, discouraging the British to press their attack, and allowing the Germans to escape. Despite failing to destroy them, the British still count a victory, as the Germans were deprived of supplies (and forced to expend what they had), lost many NCO’s and senior officers, and lost 100-200 troops, to the British 100.