Who's Who - Georges Humbert

Georges Humbert Louis Georges Humbert (1862-1921) served in active field command positions within the French army during World War One.

When war broke out in August 1914 Humbert led the Moroccan Division at St Gond.  Subsequent campaigns saw him at the head of the French Third Army at both the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and along the Oise in 1918.

In early 1918 British Commander-in-Chief Sir Douglas Haig agreed (under pressure from his French counterpart Henri-Philippe Petain) to relieve Humbert's Third Army on the French line with the British Fifth Army under Hubert Gough.  He did so on the express understanding that should Fifth Army find itself in difficulties Humbert's force would return to provide assistance.

With the great German push of Spring 1918, launched on 21 March, Fifth Army found itself very much in the firing line.  Haig therefore called upon Petain to return Humbert's Third Army to the line as agreed.

However Petain, having dispatched units of Third Army to defend Paris, delayed issuing orders to Humbert.  Third Army was finally deployed to the right of Gough's Fifth Army four days later only after Haig had applied pressure at the highest level.

Despite the ill-feeling caused by the delay in deploying his force at a critical juncture Humbert proved himself a most competent commander, with his army succeeding in stabilising Fifth Army's flank.

A 'Woolly Bear' comprised a German shrapnel shell, which burst with a cloud-like explosion.

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