Operation Georgette mirrored the trajectory of its precursor Operation Michael, with spectacular early successes progressively foiled by a mix of last ditch Allied defence, overextended supply lines and mounting casualties. The German High Command aimed to overwhelm the British 1st Army and race to the coast to capture the northern French ports of Calais, Dunkirk and Boulogne. Rapid victories at Estaires and Messines led to a famous communiqué from General Haig to his troops affirming, ‘with our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end’. The Germans went on to capture Bailleuil and Merville, but Marshal Foch (the new Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces) ordered in French reinforcements and the attacks on Armentières and surrounding villages were repulsed. Realizing a breakthrough was now impossible, the Germans halted the offensive on 29 April.
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