Who's Who - Charles Mangin

Charles Mangin Charles Mangin (1866-1925) epitomised the 'offensive spirit' mandated by the French Army high command prior to the start of war in August 1914, by figures such as Joffre and Lanrezac.  A graduate of Saint-Cyr, Mangin served in the Sudan under Jean Marchand and in French North Africa prior to the First World War.

Mangin's out and out aggression did not always pay dividends.  Despite renowned victories at, first, Charleroi, and then Verdun, his reputation plummeted following the disastrous Nivelle Offensive during April and May 1917.

Mangin's Sixth Army bore the brunt of the main attack during Second Aisne, the centrepiece of Robert Nivelle's bold assault; with the failure of the attack Mangin was, along with Nivelle, rapidly removed from effective command (Nivelle to North Africa).  Mangin suffered from being one of few senior French officers to publicly favour Nivelle's doomed strategy.

With Ferdinand Foch's promotion over the more cautious Petain as Allied Supreme Commander, Mangin was recalled from the wilderness and handed command of Tenth Army on the Western Front.

Despised by his troops and nicknamed "the butcher" - a consequence of his fixed strategy of the offensive - Mangin's Tenth Army nonetheless was responsible for the critical Allied counter-attack at the Second Battle of the Marne, an action that largely resurrected his military reputation.

He saw out the closing months of the war as part of General de Castelnau's Army Group East, driving towards Metz.

After the war Mangin became a member of the Supreme War Council and inspector general of French colonial troops.

Charles Mangin died in 1925.

Click here to read Mangin's official address of 7 August 1918 in which he praised the role of U.S. forces in the Allied counterattack at the Second Battle of the Marne.  Click here to read Mangin's view of the turning point of the Marne battle.

"Beachy Bill" was the name given to one of the Turkish guns which regularly shelled Anzac Cove.

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Who's Who