<– Part 195 – April 14, 1918 | Part 196 – April 21, 1918 | Part 197 – April 28, 1918

Operation Georgette continues, with the German Fourth Army attacked towards Kemmelberg April 17, but called off the attack April 19 after a strong defense by the British.

The Red Baron

The Sixth Army attacked the British towards Bethune April 18, but likewise were repulsed.

The famed German aviator, Manfred von Richthofen, the “Red Baron,” was shot down April 21 over Vaux-sur-Somme and killed. He is the “ace of aces,” with 80 confirmed combat wins.

At Van, in Turkey, the Armenians were finally forced to withdraw, as control of the city switches yet again

<– Part 194 – April 7, 1918 | Part 195 – April 14, 1918 | Part 196 – April 21, 1918

“Backs to the Wall” order

Fighting at Lys began April 9 as the German Sixth Army began an advance towards Estaires. The advance progressed over 9 miles before finally being halted by floods of British reinforcements. On the 10th, the Sixth Army took Armentières.

At Messiness, the German Fourth Army took Messines, advancing 2 miles on a 4 mile front. The following day, the British situation “desperate,” General Haig issued his famous “backs to the wall” order (pictured to right).

On April 12, the German Sixth Army attacked south towards Hazebrouck, a key depot 6 miles south. They were stopped the next day at Melville, still 3 miles from their destination. Forces at Passchendaele were withdrawn, although the Germans did not discover this for several days.

April 13 saw a German thrust towards the middle, Bailleul, though British reinforcements arriving are slowing the German advance. However, fighting continues all across the front.

Ottokar Czernin

April 14, Austria-Hungary’s Foreign Minister, Ottokar Czernin, resigned following the “Sixtus Affair,” named after the Austrian Emperor’s brother-in-law, Prince Sixtus of Bourbon-Parma. On March 24 of last year, Sixtus was authorized by the Emperor to begin negotiations with the Allies for a separate peace, seeing the war entering its 4th year of massive casualties. The peace fell through, due to German refusal to participate in handing over Alsace-Lorraine, liberate Serbia, and give Constantinople to Russia (difficult, following the civil war). As Clemenceau was introduced as the new French Prime Minister, Czernin blamed him for the war ongoing; Clemenceau, in return, published the secret “Sixtus Letter,” forcing the Austro-Hungarian emperor to reassure his allies that the letter was a fake, and Czernin unauthorized to negotiate. Czernin, betrayed and on the edge of a nervous breakdown, resigned.

<– Part 193 – March 31, 1918 | Part 194 – April 7, 1918 | Part 195 – April 14, 1918

The month began with British combining the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service into the new Royal Air Force.

At Amman, British forces were ordered to withdraw on April 2, having destroyed miles of railway, but failing to deal a more serious blow.

The first stage of Germany’s massive offensive at the Somme, Operation Michael, ended April 7. Although advancing 40 miles, they failed to reach their objectives, despite a near-victory towards Amiens at the Avre. Altogether, the offensive saw a loss of 240,000 Germans and 260,000 Allied troops. Operation Georgette was launched that same day, with an attack towards the Lys River. An artillery bombardment began earlier this evening.

Isolated cases on influenza continue popping up around the United States.

<– Part 192 – March 24, 1918 | Part 193- March 31, 1918 | Part 194 – April 7, 1918

Germany’s Spring Offensive on the Western front continues. A British officer’s letter on the 25th is telling: “What remains in my memory of this day is the constant taking up of new positions, followed by constant orders to retire, terrible blocks on the roads, inability to find anyone anywhere; by exceeding good luck almost complete freedom from shelling, a complete absence of food of any kind except what could be picked up from abandoned dumps.” March 28, the Germans had advanced nearly 35 miles in the center of the thrust at Arras. However, massive casualties to that point have caused the offensive to lose steam, although fighting with marginal German advances continues elsewhere.

To facilitate cross-national maneuvers, French Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch was given “coordinating authority” over all allied forces, following a conference at Doullens on March 26.

At Khan Baghdadi, on the Euphrates, British forces launched another attack against the Ottomans. Since the normal series of events to date has had the victor advancing up the river while the loser withdraws, the British this time sent a flanking force around the Ottomans with armored cars, cavalry, and artillery. Following the frontal attack, the Turks retreated as usual – and encountered the new British force. The entire 5,000 man division surrendered. The British lost 159.

On March 27, at Amman, the exhausted Allied troops were pushed back to their locations at the beginning of the battle March 9 by a sustained Ottoman and German counter-attack. The attack was called off earlier today.


March 29 saw the most deadly attack by the Germans and their “Paris Gun” when a shell hit the roof of St-Gervais-et-St-Protais church during the Good Friday service, collapsing the roof and killing 91, wounding 68. An average of 20 shells have been landing each day. Although French aviators quickly located the entrenched artillery gun 75 miles away, they are unable to damage it.

<– Part 191 – March 17, 1918 | Part 192 – March 24, 1918 | Part 193 – March 31, 1918 –>

Map of the German Spring Offensive

The “Paris Gun,” which began shelling Paris from 75 miles away on March 21, 1918.

Germany launched an enormous offensive March 21, with an especial focus on the Picardy region of the western front. An enormous artillery bombardment dropped 3.5 million shells on the British over a period of 5 hours and across a 40-mile front. Most German armies were able to advance under cover of fog, helping them to take the front lines. 40,000 Germans were lost the first day, slightly more than the British. By the 22nd, the offensive had advanced nearly 10 miles in some places, and by the 24th, the Allied 5th Army had been shattered into pieces, and units were mixed & retreating piecemeal. Much of the Somme has been handed over to the Germans. The breakthrough has occurred just north of the British-French line, as the Germans attempt to push the British into the sea.


The British had some success March 21, with swimmers crossing the Jordan and erecting pontoon bridges as they continue their conquest of the Transjordan. The rest of the British force is advancing towards Amman, but German and Ottoman reinforcements are arriving from the North on the Hedjaz railway.

The Germans have a new weapon of terror – the “Paris Gun,” able to launch artillery on Paris from 75 miles away.


<– Part 190 – March 10, 1918 | Part 191 – March 17, 1918 | Part 192 – March 24, 1918 –>

The influenza outbreak at Fort Riley, Kansas, has infected nearly 500 soldiers, and similar cases have now been reported in Queens, New York.

Fighting ended at Tell ‘Asur March 12, with the British securing their positions along the heights. A total gain of 5 miles across a 14 mile front has had minimal casualties (approximately 1,300). The front facing the Transjordan has been secured.

The Czechoslovak Legions at Bakhmach also secured a victory against Germany on the 13th, forcing a truce that will allow them to evacuate deeper into Russia. The Legions lost approximately 500, with the Germans closer to 1,000.

<– Part 189 – March 3, 1918 | Part 190 – March 10, 1918 | Part 191 – March 17, 1918 –>

American soldiers stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, have been falling ill with influenza this week. Beginning with Private Albert Gitchell on March 4, nearly 100 soldiers are now sick.

21 men of the American 165th Infantry Regiment were killed at Rouge Bouquet on March 7, when an artillery shell landed atop the roof of their trench dugout, burying them alive. A regimental sergeant, Joyce Kilmer, wrote a poem memorializing it, which has spread across American newspapers the following weeks.

British and Ottoman forces continue fighting in Palestine as the British secure their flank near the Jordan, with fighting across nearly the entire front beginning March 8, but especially focused at Tell ‘Asur. The tide of battle has steadily been swinging in British favor.

Advancing German forces in Ukraine encountered the Czechoslovak Legions March 8, elements of the Russian Army, on March 8 at Bakhmach. Fighting has erupted, as any captured Czechoslovaks receive a summary execution as deserters from Austria-Hungary. Fighting peaked earlier today, with the Germans surprisingly receiving the bulk of the losses.

<– Part 188 – February 24, 1918 | Part 189 – March 3, 1918 | Part 190 – March 10, 1918 –>

Territorial gains in the treaty

After 3 years, 6 months, and 14 days, fighting on the eastern front has finally ended.

The German advance into Russia continues, with Kiev firmly in their hands. On March 3, the Treat of Brest-Litovsk – this time between the Central Powers and Russia herself – was signed, with Leon Trotsky on the Soviet side. Russia defaulted on all commitments to the allies, ceded the Baltic states to the German Empire as princely vassals, parts of the Caucasus to the Ottomans, and recognized an independent Ukraine. The terms have been seen as shockingly harsh; Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine have all been lost.

Additionally, the ceasefire signed 2 months ago between Romania and the Central Powers is more easily established, as there are no longer hostile forces within Romanian lands.

Russian forces in the Caucasus – consisting of about 1000 cavalrymen – have been assisting the British forces, in defiance of the new government.

In Mesopotamia, British troops captured Hit and Khan al Baghdadi, continuing their advance, although it is expected that troops will be transferred to Palestine soon.

<– Part 187 – February 17, 1918 | Part 188 – February 24, 1918 | Part 189 – March 3, 1918 –>

Turkish trenches at the Dead Sea

Australian Light Horse Regiment advancing down a hill

Negotiations have broken down between the Central Powers and Russia, with Germany & Austria-Hungary demanding full annexation of all occupied territories, and the Soviet leadership countering that they consider the war over and negotiations finished. On February 18, the day after the ceasefire was to have lapsed, a major Central Powers offensive was launched, and captured several key cities in the last week, including Pskov, Minsk, and Zhitomir. German forces are now within 100 miles of Petrograd, the Soviet capital, and the Soviets have moved their headquarters to Moscow. The German advance has met little resistance, and has primarily been conducted on trains using Russian railroads, from point to point.

In Palestine, the winter pause allowed the British to consolidate their positions; now, fearing the possibility of a flanking attack on the right, General Allenby launched an attack towards Jericho on February 19. Following several days of fighting though hills, cliffs, valleys, and rivers, British forces entered Jericho the morning of February 21. The British line stretches from the Dead Sea and Jordan river to the Mediterranean.

<– Part 186 – February 10, 1918  | Part 187 – February 17, 1918 |  Part 188 – February 24, 1918 –>

French sub Bernoulli

US President Woodrow Wilson delivered his “Four Principles” speech to the US Congress on February 11, further outlining his ideal terms for peace. They were, in summary: 1) All part of the final settlement should be solely focused on preserving peace within its context, 2) “people and provinces” will not be used as “mere chattel” in the peace context, moving from party to party, 3) all territorial settlements should ultimately benefit the citizens of the territory, and not national interests, and 4) all settlements should be used to benefit all nations involved, and avoid heavy punishment, as much as possible, to prevent another breakdown of peace.

On February 13, the French submarine Bernoulli was sunk in the Adriatic Sea after hitting a mine.

On Europe’s Eastern Front, Polish forces within the Austro-Hungarian army, dissatisfied by last week’s Treaty of Brest-Litovsk because of its failure to establish a Polish state, and especially upset by the transfer of Chelm province (heavily inhabited by Poles), mutinied en masse on February 15, attempting to cross the front lines to join Russia’s Polish First Army Corps. Although some of the Polish Legionnaires made it, many were captured by their Austro-Hungarian neighbors, who captured nearly 4,000 of them. Trials will begin soon, although Austro-Hungarian Emperor Charles is expected to delay them until the war’s conclusion.