Vintage Video - Taxis of the Marne, September 1914

With German forces close to achieving a breakthrough against beleaguered French forces outside Paris between 6-8 September 1914, a decision was taken by French military authorities to despatch emergency troop reinforcements from Paris.

Extraordinarily these were despatched - on 7 September - using a fleet of Parisian taxi cabs, some 600 in all, ferrying approximately 6,000 French reserve infantry troops to the front.

The tactic worked and Paris was saved - barely.  The incident quickly gained legend as "the taxis of the Marne".  Events at the ensuing First Battle of the Marne led to a throwing back of German forces, ensuring Paris' safety - and military stalemate and with it the onset of trench warfare.

Use the player above to view footage of the Paris taxis carrying French soldiers in defence of the city.

A 'corkscrew' was a metal post for supporting a wire entanglement, with a twisted base enabling it to be screwed into the ground, removing the need for a hammer, the use of which could attract enemy fire.

- Did you know?

Vintage Audio

Vintage Video