At the start of 1918, it was by no means certain what the outcome of the war was going to be. France and Britain were just about hanging on. Although the USA had come onto the war, they had yet to make any impact on the Western Front. In the east, the Germans had effectively won the war.against an enemy, Russia, which had undergone a communist revolution and was ready to make peace at almost any price. The Russians ally Rumania had collapsed. .
In March 1918, the Germans began a sweeping assault which saw them break through Allied lines. They swept forward, captured thousands of prisoners and came within striking distance of Paris. But by November of the same year, the asked for an end to the fighting (an armistice). Why was this? .
The German Spring Offensive which began on the 21st March 1918 saw them make swift progress. Whereas before this attacks had consisted of slow-paced infantry walking over no-man's-land after days of artillery bombardment, the new pushes consisted of stormtroopers leading the way. Especially trained for the purpose of capturing trenches, they were flexible and quick, attacking points in the line repeatedly, finding a weakness and spilling into it, in small detachments. They were expert at knocking out machinegun emplacements and taking advantage of low morale and disorganization of British and French troops. They took 70,000 prisoners within 7 days, and had captured 1,100 artillery cannons. But they moved so quickly, breaking through trench after trench and speeding deep into Allied territory that their supply lines could not keep up. Artillery support was left behind, and a huge salient was created, plunging into France. Eventually, the attack began to slow as the elite stormtrooper force was depleted and tired. They were left with no artillery, short on supplies, with huge amounts of land which they could not defend. They were also not prepared for Allied tactics in combating the offensive.