Diary March 22, 1918

British soldiers gather at a plug-in tank.
British soldiers gather at a plug-in tank. The German spring offensive hits the Allied front with unexpected power.
World War One Diary for Friday, March 22, 1918:

Western Front

Somme – GERMANS OVERRUN MOST OF BEF BATILE ZONE. Masses of infantry advance; Germans ‘leapfrog’ fresh divisions through tired troops. British slowly pushed back, 25 tanks (16 lost) and 19th Division counter-attack well at Beugny. Germans capture Epehy and Roisel, cross Crozat Canal and reach Vaux. 2nd of Gough’s reserve divisors enters battle after midnight. Gough decides to fall back on positions east of Somme. Germans claim 16,000 PoWs and 200 guns.

Middle East

First Trans-Jordan ‘Raid’: Shea’s Force (85 casualties) cross swollen river at Hijla against 1,000 Turks with 6 guns for raid on Amman.

Sea War

North Sea: British minesweeping sloop Gaillardia (68 lives lost) mined and sunk due to too shallow-laid Northern Barrage mines. Laying not resumed until April 20. Destroyer HMS Kale mined and sunk (March 27).

Air War

Western Front: 17 Royal Flying Corps squadrons move bases back; operations almost all ground attack (RFC lose 30 to German 11). RFC night bombers destroy 2 ammo dumps.

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