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1918(20 OFF MOD v.1

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New missions, May-July 1918. The German offensives on the Aisne, the Matz, and the Marne. During this period the technological pendulum started to swing back towards the Garman air service once again, as increasing numbers of the new types, and particularly the Fokker D.VII, started to give the German pilots an edge at high altitude over the Allied pilots. At the same time, however, the close infantry and combined armes support doctrines being developed and practised by both side brought the main focus of this air fighting right down to ground level, where the decisive moves were now being played out. After the failure to make a decisive breakthrough against the British Army in the north, the German focus of attention switched to the French sector. On the 27th May 1918 the German Army attacked the French and British positions on the Aisne. Within a few hours the Germans had punched a large hole in their line, crossing the Aisne and advancing for 12 miles, supported by ground attack and contact patrols flown by Schlachtstaffeln under an umbrella of near complete air supremacy provided by the Jastas flying above them. By the 29th May the German advance had reached Soissons, and was heading for Paris - only to be brought to a halt by US reinforcements rushed in to the defence at Chateau Thierry. This was followed by an Allied counter-attack at Bellau Wood on the 4th June, one that completely halted the German advance. The Germans once again shifted their focus of attack, and on the 9th June they launched their attack on the Matz. Once again they made swift early progress, 6 miles on the first day, but the French were ready for them this time and launched a counter-attack on the 10th July that halted the German advance. The Allied recon. and photo.recon work was intensified, as a further attack was anticipated, and the bombing of German rail centres began again, to try and disrupt the movement of German troops. When the third and final German attack was launched, it came on the 15th July, on the Marne against the French army around Rheims. But once again the attack was brought to a halt, on the 18th July, by an Allied counter-attack that pushed the German forces back right across the Marne. By the beginning of August Soissons had been recaptured and the initiative was once again in the hands of the Allies...

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