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The way to the Western Front – Chemin des Dames

After loosing the Battle of the Marne, the German offensive according to the Schlieffen plan had failed. The exhausted First Army had to retreat and entrenched north of the Aisne river on the slope of the Chemin des Dames (Ladies path) ridge.

The allied forces soon attacked the position without success and entrenched as well. This was the end to the war of movement.

Marker on the Chemin des Dames memorial route
Marker on the Chemin des Dames memorial route

Four weeks had passed since the fall of Liége and the begin of the march through Belgium. The route the soldiers walked is about 400 km long and they had to carry all their gear through a hot summer month only to find out that they failed to beat the French.

For those who survived the initial four weeks however, this was only the beginning. From the entrenched positions on the Chemin des Dames, stalemate developed all along the front from the Swiss border to the North Sea. It became the Western Front of the war and it would be a horrifying place for another four years until the armistice was signed at Compiégne on 11. November 1918.

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This post is part of the series “The way to the Western Front”. Explore the full content here..

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