FLEEING BEFORE THE INVADERS
The "quiet sector" of the Franco-British front from Reims to north of Soissons saw a terrific burst of fire at one A. M. on May 27, 1918. At 4:30 A. M., an overwhelming tide of gray swept over the trenches in the greatest surprise attack of the war. The American Intelligence Division had warned the French of the impending attack on May 14, only to be ridiculed. The sector was defended by four French and three British divisions, with only four divisions in reserve. As their remnants fled before the fifteen German divisions, with nine in reserve, five hundred thousand residents of the territory fled from their homes in panic.
SHELLS SCREAMING OVERHEAD
The Americans advanced down roads choked with the debris of the French-English army and the civilians, forced to leave their old homes between sunrise and sunset. A stream of weary humanity--old men--little children--women carrying babies--trudged on with horror in their eyes, clutching a few odd household effects which they had picked up.
These poor unfortunates had no destination--no plans. Behind them the great German army, advancing ten miles per day, surged as a tidal wave, over 650 square miles of territory, engulfing everything in its path. In front of them every bit of shelter was occupied. Two million homeless refugees were in the exodus of 1914--Now another half million--No homes to go to--No schools for the children--No doctors for the sick--No extra supplies of food to meet the unusual demand--Sorry was the plight of the refugees.
Table of Contents
Back to Legacy