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The Battle of Marne

Within weeks, the German Schlieffen plan was failing as resistance in Belgium had been greater than expected and more soldiers than expected had been needed to fight the Russians who had mobilised their army very quickly.

The Battle of Marne started on 5th September 1914 and took place alongside the River Marne near Paris as the Germans began their assault on the city.

Approximately six hundred Parisian taxicabs were commandeered by French authorities to transport thousands of French troops to the battle and it is this action which many have described as being critical in forcing the Germany army to abandon it's planned attack on the capital of France.

Musee-de-lArmee-IMG 0987

With their army exhausted and many of their best forces killed, on the 9th September, the Germans began retreating. This marked the abandonment of their Schlieffen Plan.

The French and British pursued them, but after 40 miles both sides dug holes (as was standard practice at the time to protect themselves) and built trenches to stop them being forced to retreat further. A stalemate followed where no side had a clear sign of victory.

French soldiers ditch 1914

Both sides produced a matching pair of trench lines from the Swiss border in the south to the North Sea coast of Belgium.


Trench warfare began on the Western Front from 16th September 1914.

The German plan for a swift victory had gone and all hope of a short war was lost.