Amiens, city behind the lines
DURING THE GREAT WAR, THE FRONT LINE IN THE SOMME MOVED AS DIFFERENT OFFENSIVES TOOK PLACE. THE WEST OF THE DEPARTMENT, AND THE CITY OF AMIENS, IN PARTICULAR, WAS BEHIND THE LINES.
AMIENS IS BLEEDING FROM 1000 WOUNDS. THE ANCIENT PICARD CITY, ONCE SO JOYFUL, HAS BECOME THE CITY OF RESIGNATION AND SILENCE.
Located about 30 km from the main combat zones in the department, the city of Amiens constantly maintained a strong link with the battlefield. Although under threat from the German army for more than four years, Amiens was only occupied for eleven days – in early September 1914, and suffered two months of intense bombardment in the spring of 1918. The latter caused significant material damage to the city.
The people of Amiens remember the 12 hostages demanded by the Germans during their brief occupation of the city in September 1914. However, the significant material destruction caused by intense German bombardments in the spring and summer 1918 are the principal after-effects of the conflict that took place there.
Being the rear base of the Allied armies during the Battle of the Somme, Amiens was at the forefront of the fighting from which it welcomed the wounded for treatment.
Life behind the lines
As the Allied armies' rear base of the during the Battle of the Somme, Amiens was at the forefront of the fighting as the city treated the wounded. Amiens was filled with soldiers from all over the world, as the front was just 30 km away. As soon as they could, soldiers and officers got away from the front line trenches.
War correspondent Philip Gibbs described these young people who liked to spend lavishly before they died. They bought soap, razors, shirts, records, and blushed as they flirted with the bright-eyed girls behind the counter. Other were more adventurous and frequented prostitutes.
Amiens hit hard by German bombardments
In March 1918, threatened by the German assault targeting Amiens, the city was gradually emptied of its inhabitants, who fled to Paris or Rouen.
At the end of March, the German armies reached Moreuil, southeast of Amiens, just 17 km from the city. But on April 25th, Australian troops retook Villers-Bretonneux and marked the end to German plans to retake Amiens. In the memoirs he later wrote, Ludendorff expressed his bitterness at not having been able to take Amiens.
Having failed to take the city, the Germans subjected it to an intense and methodical artillery bombardment.
Old French woman in front of her house in Amiens
South African soldier
Royal Scots Regiment mascot
English French American
Chinese labour company