Saturday, February 25, 2017


JFK+50:  Volume 7, No. 2231


British Headquarters in France (JFK+50) 100 years ago today, February 25, 1917, the German army conducted the "greatest retirement" of the fighting on the Western Front in two years.

The Chicago Daily Tribune reported on February 26, 1917 that the British army had taken five French towns.  They included Pys, Serre, Miraumont, Petit Miraumont and Butte de Warlencourt.

The Tribune said that it was estimated that the German retreat extended to a depth as far as three miles as British patrols harassed them.  The newspaper also speculated that there was the distinct possibility that the British would be able to force the evacuation of Bapaume* described as "the key to the German position since the beginning of the Battle of the Somme**."

*Bapaume, a farming & light industrial town, is located in northern France.  It was one of the strategic objectives of the Allies in 1916.  The city was occupied by Germans on Sept 26, 1914, by the British on March 17, 1917, & by the Germans once more on March 24, 1918.

**After the loss of a considerable amount of ground to the British 5th Army in Feb 1917, the German armies on the Somme were ordered to withdraw to reserve lines closer to Bapaume.


"Germans Lose Five Towns, Somme Lines Break Before British Drive," The Chicago Daily Tribune, February 26, 1917,

Germans Leave Bapaume
August/September 1918
German Federal Archives Photo

A Young German Sommekampfer
German Federal Archives Photo (1916)