The fact is recalled here because it illustrates what in this campaign has proved a well-marked feature of German strategy. It has been proved, that is to say, that whenever the Germans found it necessary to resist very heavy pressure they seized some point capable of obstinate defence, and, even if pushed back to right and left, kept their grip as long as possible, using the position as a general hold-up along that section of the front.

Thus their grip on Condé and the Chivres bluff was essential to their retention of the Aisne ridge.

They had a similar position at Prunay on the[Pg 160] railway between Rheims and Chalons. 원주교정 The village of Prunay is at the point where the theatre of hills narrows into the upper valley of the Vesle. The position jutted out like an angle from the German line, and it commanded the valley.

Figuratively taking these positions of Condé-sur-Aisne on the one side and Prunay on the other, we may imagine the German army like a man clinging to a couple of posts or railings and so defying the effort to move him.

That is the aspect of the matter so far as defensive tactics go. For offensive tactics grip on such positions is obviously a great aid to pressure on a hostile line lying between them. A military salient serves exactly the same purpose as a wedge. It is a device for splitting the opposition. Here, then, were two wedges in the Allied front, and the object was manifestly to break off the part of the front intervening. On that part of the front with Rheims as its main advanced base the Allied line, all the way round from beyond Noyon to Verdun, structurally depended.

Such was the German scheme. But the Allies on their part had a wedge or salient driven into the German front at Craonne, and as they were there two-thirds of the way along the road from Rheims to Laon, the main advanced base and communication centre of the German line, that salient was extremely awkward. They were intent, on their part, in hammering in their wedge, because it meant a collapse of the whole[Pg 161] German right flank from the Aisne ridge to the Belgian frontier.