Battle of Amiens.
This combined air, artillery, infantry and tank offensive was prepared in utmost secrecy, with the aim of driving the German forces away from an area with vital railway links. Ludendorff famously described 8 August, the first day of the battle, as ‘the black day of the German army’. By 13 August, British and French forces had advanced up to 11 miles eastwards on a 47-mile front, killing, wounding or capturing 48,000 enemy troops.
Although the offensive, hampered by heavy tank and aircraft losses, slowed down as it reached the old battlefields of Somme, the psychological damage that it wrought within the German army was immense. Both Ludendorff and Kaiser Wilhelm II now concluded in private that Germany could no longer win the war.
Throughout the rest of August, in accordance with Douglas Haig’s new strategy, the Allied armies advanced across a wide front, forcing German troops under Crown Prince Rupprecht and Max Von Boehn into rapid retreat. They captured towns such as Albert (22 August) and (30-31 August) that had been in German hands for much of the war. The area that had witnessed the bloody stalemate of the Battle of the Somme two years earlier now fell within a matter of days.