Battles - The First Battle of Albert, 1914
Part of the so-called 'race to the sea', the First Battle of Albert was fought between 25-29 September 1914 in the wake of the First Battle of the Marne and the First Battle of the Aisne. As it became clear to both sides that a breakthrough was no longer possible - the French Plan XVII and German Schlieffen Plan having demonstrably failed - both sides attempted to outmanoeuvre each other in a northwards movement, begun by French Commander-in-Chief Joseph Joffre, moving de Castelnau's Second Army north-west across the Avre River so as to attack the exposed German right flank at Noyon.
De Castelnau launched a frontal attack against the German forces recently arrived from Reims on 25 September, meeting with immediate effective resistance, followed up with powerful counter-attacks. Obliged to retire beyond the town, de Castelnau determined to hold off further German attacks pending dispatch of a new Tenth Army under Maud'huy further north in a renewal of the attack in the First Battle of Arras.
Click here to view a map of the German retreat following the Marne battle and the subsequent race to the sea.
Photograph courtesy of Photos of the Great War website
Observation balloons were referred to as 'sausages'
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