Spring Offensive

1918 series of German attacks along the Western Front during the First World War

The 1918 Spring Offensive or Kaiserschlacht (Kaiser's Battle), also known as the Ludendorff Offensive, was a series of German attacks along the Western Front during World War I, which marked the deepest advances by either side since 1914. The German authorities had realised that their only remaining chance of victory was to defeat the Allies before the overwhelming human and matériel resources of the United States could be deployed. They also had the advantage of nearly 50 divisions freed by the Russian surrender (Treaty of Brest-Litovsk).

German Spring Offensive, 1918
Part of the Western Front of World War I
Date21 March – 18 July 1918
Result Tactical German success
Operational/Strategic German failure
 German Empire

France France

United Kingdom United Kingdom

 United States

Portugal Portugal
Commanders and leaders
 German Empire Erich Ludendorff France Ferdinand Foch
United Kingdom Douglas Haig
France Philippe Petain
United States John Pershing
Portugal Tamagnini de Abreu
Casualties and losses
688,341[1] 418,374 British[2]
433,000 French[3]
Total: 851,374

The first and most important part was called Operation Michael. It used new infiltration tactics. After the offensive, not enough German soldiers were still alive to win the war anymore.


  1. Churchill, "The World Crisis, Vol. 2". German casualties from "Reichsarchiv 1918"
  2. Churchill, "The World Crisis, Vol. 2". British casualties from "Military Effort of the British Empire"
  3. Churchill, "The World Crisis, Vol. 2". French casualties from "Official Returns to the Chamber, March 29, 1922"