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1918(3) OFF MOD v.1

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New missions. 1918(3) August-November. At the beginning of August the initiative passed back to the Allied armies. In the British sector Haig was planning an assault on the Amiens front -an attack by the British Fourth Army and French First Army, with massed tanks and aircraft to replace the long preliminary bombardments of the previous year. Air activity was increased on all British sectors, to conceal the point of attack and push back German recon. aircraft from the front. Bomber squadrons, heavily escorted, were tasked to attack airfields and rail centres - activity that was to be strongly, if selectively, opposed by large numbers of German fighters flying in groups of 20 to 40 aircraft, above the low-flying two-seaters on ground attack, counter-battery and contact patrols. The British and French offensive was launched on 8th August, concealed by a heavy ground mist. The German Army was taken by surprise, and Allied forces advanced by up to 8 miles on the first day. The British two-seaters concentrated on contact patrolling, counter-battery work and bombing behind the lines, whilst the fighters were used for ground attack and close offensive patrols. By 11th August, however, German resistance and reinforcements had brought the Allied attack to a halt. The British and French armies had advanced 12 miles. At the end of August another British and French assault was launched - this time, towards Bapaume with an assault to capture the Arras-Albert railway line along 33 miles of front, and a French assault between the British sector and Soissons. The aim this time was to overwhelm German forces and drain them of the capacity to counter-attack by attacking along a wide front. Bapaume fell on the 29th August, Peronne on 1st September. This sustained assault forced the Germany Army to retreat back from the Drocourt-Queant line to prepared positions further back, with Lens abandoned on 3rd September. On 12th September US forces launched at attack on the St. Mihiel salient, which was captured after just two days of fierce fighting. This was followed by a lull in the fighting, as preparations were made for the final Allied assault to break through the Hindenburg Line. Air fighting was intense throughout this whole period, and up to the end of October. The assault was finally launched with an attack towards Cambrai on the 27th September, followed by an attack in Flanders between Dixmude and St. Eloi on the 28th, and on the Hindenburg Line between Cambrai and St. Quentin on the 29th. By the beginning of October the Germany Army was in retreat, in almost all areas, although the air above the battlefield was still being strongly contested by the German fighter wings. On the ground, however, resistance was now crumbling fast, and German columns were in retreat along the roads back to Germany....

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