Mar 24, 1918
Somme: First Battle of Bapaume(until March 25). Separation of BEF and French Armies threatened. Germans destroy 500-strong South African Brigade, cross Somme between Ham and Peronne; farther south they push back Allies and capture Chauny rail junction. At Villeselve 150 British cavalry(73 casualties)charge and inflict 195 casualties, take 3 MGs.
A shaken Petain orders Fayolle above all to keep ‘the solid connection of the French armies and then, if possible, to preserve contact with the British Forces’. At 2300 hours Petain visits Haig and refuses further reserves as he expects main German blow in Champagne at any moment. Haig enquires if he means to abandon BEF right flank and allow Germans to penetrate; Petain nods assent! Haig cables War Office for Wilson and War Minister Milner to come to France at once, emphasizing ‘unless General Foch or some other determined general is given supreme command of the operations … there will be a disaster’.
Western Front: Waves of 20-80 French bombers intervene in BEF’s Somme battle, Group Fequant from Soissons and Fareen-Tardenois, with Group Manard from Chalons (March 25), effort especially against German convoys continues (March 26-29). Captain J L Trollope in Sopwith Camel of No 43 Squadron Royal Fling Corps scores 6 victories. Royal Flying Corps lose 65 aircraft to claim of 42 German (17 in Flanders). German claim is 35 Allied for 14 lost. Germans night bomb Albert and Amiens (10 hours interruption to rail traffic).
Germany: Handley Page bomber makes first raid on Cologne since 1914(night March 24-25).
India – Northwest Frontier: 3 bombs kill 14 armed tribesmen at Marri district capital(submits April 19).
Palestine: 8 RFC aircraft bomb Amman.
Italian Front: 3 French divisions recalled to Western Front(until March 26); Corsican Graziani replaces Maistre as C-in-C.
Palestine: Anzac Mounted Division and Camel Brigade across Jordan, ride 9 miles on Amman in rain and mud; British 60th Division captures El Haud Hill with 3 guns. Now 9,600 British soldiers with 82 guns vs 5,500(maximum)Turks and Germans with c.26 guns.
By the Germans
1th victory of Christian Kairies(SFS): At 11.30 one Sopwith Camel(B3774)over Nieuport.
2th victory of Otto Creutzmann(Kest 4b): One D.H.4 over Anslingen.
15th victory of Otto Könnecke(Jasta 5 Albatros D.Va): One R.E.8.
12th victory of Fritz Rumey(Jasta 5 Albatros D.Va): One R.E.8.
5th victory of Wilhelm Seitz(Jasta 8 Albatros D.Va): One S.E.5a over Epenancourt.
Ltn Kesserling(Jasta 11 Fokker D.R.I)shot-down by AAA at Bapaume.
14th victory of Friedrich Altemeir(Jasta 24 Pfalz D.IIIa): At 15.45 one Sopwith Camel(C1554), NE of Chauny.
2th victory of Rudolf Stark(Jasta 34 Albatros D.Va): At 13.10 one Sopwith Camel, W of Barleux.
Gustav Gober appointed as CO of Jasta 37.
12th victory(and last)of Franz Schleiff(CO Jasta 56 Albatros D.Va): At 10.10 one S.E.5a over Villers-Carbonnel.
1th victory of Wilhelm Zorn(Jasta 60 Albatros D.Va): One Sopwith Camel.
Jasta 63 scored its first aerial victory.
12th, 13th and 14th victories of Rudolf Windisch(CO Jasta 66 Albatros D.Va): One Spad 2 over Bretigny and two Spads over Tergnier.
13th victory of Fritz Pütter(CO Jasta 68 Albatros D.Va): At 17.00 one Sopwith Camel over Assainvillers.
Linus Luger(Jasta 79 Pfalz D.IIIa)wounded in combat.
67th victory of Manfred von Richthofen(CO JG 1 Fokker D.R.I 477/17): At 14.45 one 41 Sqn S.E.5a(C1054 or C6399)over Combles.
10th victory of Robert von Greim(CO JG 10 Fokker D.R.I): At 13.14 one S.E.5a over Eterpigny.
By the Aviation Militaire
17th victory of Gabriel Guérin(Spa15 Spad VII): One balloon(Drachen)over forêt de Saint-Gobain.
1th victory of Armand Berthelot(Spa15 Spad VII): One EA over forêt de Saint-Gobain.
Cne Georges Madon appointed as CO of Spa38.
2th victory of Léon Calmon(Spa49 Spad VII): One DFW C of FlAbt 282A forced to land by the French lines. Shared with Ltt Jacques Augier de Moussac.
1th victory of Jacques Augier de Moussac(Spa49 Spad VII): One DFW C of FlAbt 282A forced to land by the French lines. Shared with Léon Calmon.
2th victory of Yves Barbaza(Spa77 Spad XIII): One ballon(Drachen), N of Quessy. Shared with CO Cne Pierre de Mouronval and Ltt John Pierre Battle.
2th victory of Pierre de Mouronval(CO Spa77 Spad XIII): One ballon(Drachen), N of Quessy. Shared with S/Lt Yves Barbaza and Ltt John Pierre Battle.
1th victory of John Pierre Battle(Spa77 Spad XIII): One ballon(Drachen), N of Quessy. Shared with CO Cne Pierre de Mouronval and S/Lt Yves Barbaza.
2th victory of Roger Brétillon(Spa79 Spad VII): One EA over Germaine. Brétillon was awarded same day with the Médaille Militaire.
1th victory of Jean Godric(Spa79 Spad XI): One EA over Sain-Simon. Shared with Cpl Jean Vilbois(Observer)and Sgt Edouard Cournaud.
1th victory of Edouard Cournaud(Spa79 Spad VII): One EA over Sain-Simon. Shared with Cpl Jean Godric and Cpl Jean Vilbois(Observer).
By the RNAS
14th victory of Arthur Whealy(RNAS 3N Sopwith Camel B7220): At 15.30 one Albatros D.V over Vaulx. Shared victory.
14th victory of Leonard Rochford(RNAS 3N Sopwith Camel B7203): At 17.15 one Albatros D.V near Beaumetz.
13th victory(and last)of Frederick Armstrong(RNAS 3N Sopwith Camel B7218): At 15.30 one Albatros D.V over Vaux. Shared victory.
9th victory of Edmund Pierce(RNAS 3N Sopwith Camel B7227): At 15.30 one Albatros D.V over Vaux. Shared victory.
7th victory(and last)of William Chisam(RNAS 3N Sopwith Camel B7223): At 17.15 one Albatros D.V near Beaumetz.
6th victory of Edwin Hayne(RNAS 3N Sopwith Camel B7231): At 16.55 one Albatros D.V over Vaux. Shared victory.
4th victory of Louis Bawlf(RNAS 3N Sopwith Camel B7192): At 15.30 one Albatros D.V over Vaux. Shared victory.
4th victory of Ronald Berlyn(RNAS 3N Sopwith Camel B7224): At 15.30 one Albatros D.V near Vaux. Shared with Frederick Armstrong.
2th victory of Frederick Britnell(RNAS 3N Sopwith Camel B7228): At 15.30 one Albatros D.V near Vaux. Shared victory.
11th victory of Albert Enstone(RNAS 4N Sopwith Camel N3841): At 11.40 one Albatros D.V, S of Thorout.
16th and 17th victories of William Alexander(RNAS 10N Sopwith Camel B7215): By 09.20 two Albatros D.V over Menin-Roulers.
9th and 10th victories of Harold Mellings(RNAS 10N Sopwith Camel): Two Pfalz D.III.
1th victory of Lawrence Coombes(RNAS 10N Sopwith Camel B6358): At 09.20 one Albatros D.V over Menin-Roulers.
6th victory of George MacKay(RNAS 13N Sopwith Camel B7186): At 11.00 one Pfalz D.III, 2 mi N of Ostend.
3th victory of John Greene(RNAS 13N Sopwith Camel B3999): At 10.30 one Pfalz D.III, E of Middelkerke.
By the RFC
3th victory of Acheson Goulding(17th Sqn S.E.5a B690): At 07.00 one Albatros D.III over Tolos(Macedonian front).
19th and 20th victories of John Leacroft(19th Sqn Sopwith Dolphin C3829): At 10.50 one Albatros D.V, W of Menin and at 10.55 a second at the same location.
19th victory of Albert Carter(19th Sqn Sopwith Dolphin C4017): At 10.40 one type C, W of Roulers. Shared with Lt Gordon Irving.
1th victory of Gordon Irving(19th Sqn Sopwith Dolphin C3838): At 10.40 one type C, W of Roulers. Shared with Maj Albert Carter.
4th and 5th victories of Frank Weare(22th Sqn Bristol F.2b C4828): By 11.15-11.20 two Albatros D.V over Cherisy and Vis-en-Artois. Observer was Lt George Hayward.
3th and 4th victories of William Harvey(22th Sqn Bristol F.2b A7286): By 13.15 two Albatros D.V, SE of Arras. Observer was 2th Lt Hugh Moore.
13th and 14th victories of James Fitz Morris(23th Sqn Spad XIII B6856): At 14.00 one type C over Canizy and at 14.15 one Pfalz D.III over Viefville.
7th victory of Harold Redler(24th Sqn S.E.5a B7824): At 10.10 one Rumpler C over Pithon, near Ham.
9th victory of William Harrison(40th Sqn S.E.5a B196): At 10.25 one Albatros C over St.Leger.
7th and 8th victories of Frank Taylor(41th Sqn S.E.5a C1752): At 09.00 one Albatros D.V over Vaulx and at 09.50 one balloon over Fontaine les Croiselles.
3th and 4th victories of Alfred Hemming(41th Sqn S.E.5a B8235): At 08.45 one Fokker D.R.I over Vaulx and at 14.55 one Fokker D.R.I, SW of Havrincourt.
11th and 12th victories of Henry Woollett(43th Sqn Sopwith Camel D6402): By 11.00 two DFW C, SE of Arras.
1th victory of James Dewhirst(45th Sqn Sopwith Camel B6282): At 10.30 one Berg D.I, 8 mi NW of Asiago.
11th victory of Donald MacLaren(46th Sqn Sopwith Camel): One balloon.
8th victory of Harry Robinson(46th Sqn Sopwith Camel B5425): At 16.30 one Albatros C over Sailly-Saillisel.
4th victory of Sydney Smith(46th Sqn Sopwith Camel D6407): At 16.00 one type C over 57C I 17C.
9th victory of Thomas Colvill-Jones(48th Sqn Bristol F.2b C4864): At 13.40 one LVG C, E of Ham. Observer was 2th Lt Wishart-Orr.
14th victory(and last)of Maurice Mealing(56th Sqn S.E.5a B182): At 13.15 one Pfalz D.III, W of Tincourt. Arthur Mealing was KIA same day.
3th victory of Thomas Purdom(62th Sqn Bristol F.2b): One Albatros D.V. Observer was Lt Percival Chambers.
2th victory of Gerald Birks(66th Sqn Sopwith Camel B2497): At 11.45 one type C(69.81), SE of Conegliano(Italian front).
2th victory William Stephenson(73th Sqn Sopwith Camel B6421): At 10.40 one LVG C over Poeuilly.
1th victory of Robert Chandler(73th Sqn Sopwith Camel B9261): At 10.45 one Albatros D.V over Vraignes.
By the AFC(Australian Flying Corps)
4th victory of Roy Phillipps(No.2 Sqn S.E.5a C9541): At 12.55 one Albatros D.V, NE of Bapaume.
2th victory of Alexander Clark(No.2 Sqn S.E.5a B4895): At 12.30 one Albatros D.V over Vaulx-Bourlon Wood.
By the Italian front
9th victory(and last)of Georg Kenzian(Flik 55J Albatros D.III): One Sopwith over Val d’Assa.
5th victory of Alvaro Leonardi(80a Hanriot HD.1): One Albatros D.III(153.138)of Flik 42J over Follina.