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The idea of the Germans during the First World War was to advance quickly on the western front and then be able to focus on the Russian front. Belgium and Luxembourg were easily taken, but at the gates of Paris in the so-called first battle the Marne, in September 1914, the allied forces managed to stop the German offensive, thanks to the fleet of taxis in the French capital. For a week, two million French, British and German soldiers fought for more than 500 km in front. More than 400,000 soldiers died. The taxis of Paris in circulation were requisitioned to transport soldiers to the front of the Marne.

The battle of Marne:

The battle also contributed its legend, the Marne´s taxis ( cliquez ici ), which became like, the red pants of the French soldiers, the spiked helmet of the Germans, the British mace to finish off wounded horses (more than eight million horses died) or the wire and the trench, in one of the war icons of the Great War. Although the Marne taxis were not decisive, they barely transported 5,000 soldiers from the 7th infantry division, their presence at the most crucial battle breathed morale of victory to civilians and military. The columns of red cars, circulating at 25 km per hour, almost all Renault 8CV, loaded with four or five soldier on the way out and wounded, women and children, who picked up on the roads, on the way back, became one of the emblems of salvation of the French capital. The battle of the Marne (also known as the Miracle of the Marne) was a battle of the First World War that took place between 5 and 12 September 1914.

The result was an Allied victory over the German army. The battle was the maximum point of the German advance in France and of the persecution to which it subjected to the allied armies after the battles of the borders of August and that arrived until the outskirts of Paris. The counterattack of six French campaign armies and the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) along the Marne River forced the German Imperial Army to retreat to the northwest. The battle of the Marne was a strategic allied victory, since it supposed the failure of the Plan Schliefen that looked for a fast defeat of France. The German withdrawal that followed is known as the race to the sea and ended with the battle of the Aisne and the closing of the western front by the north, which meant the end of the war of movements and the establishment of a static continuous front that would lead to almost four years of trench warfare.

Why a taxi?

The idea of using them was attributed to general Gallieni, who faced with the desperate situation on the front, needed to transport a division that remained in the reserve. On September 6, between two and three thousand taxis that remained in circulation were requisitioned. The rest of the ten thousand drivers Parisian were mobilized.

The taxis of the Marne:

The Battle of the Marne was one of the more famous of the 1st World War that took place between 5 and 9 September 1914 near Paris. it was key to suppose the end of the War of Movements, 1st phase of the great war, and mark the break of the Schlieffen Plan with which the Germans intended to crush the Western front in record time. After invading Belgium the Germans arrived at the Marne, at the gates of Paris. The French under the command of General Joffre reorganized and prepared to defend themselves. The Sixth French Army under the command of Maunourybegan the battle against the 1st German Army of von Kluck. They managed to stop the Germans, defend Paris and maintain the western front, although for what really has gone down in history the Battle of the Marne is for its taxis.

General Joseph Gallieni, governor of Paris, gathered all the taxis in the city (approximately 600 Renault) to send reinforcements to Maunoury. Thus 6000 soldiers arrived at the battlefield. Desperate measures for a desperate situation. We are facing the first motorized infantry operation. This car model was created in 1906 with a two-cylinder engine and 9 HP of power. Curiously, it was the first taxi with a meter, which apparently was used at the request of the French government; The Renault can be proud, they contributed and very much to the allies winning the war. So relevant were they that since then they were called Renault Taxi Marne.

They won a battle:

At the end of August 1914, at the dawn of the First World War, the German Army prepared an imminent attack on Paris, through the well-known SchlieffenPlan, led by the Chief of Staff of the II Reich, and whose ultimate goal was to invade all of France from its western flank,along the River Marne in an operation that would mobilize about one and a half million soldiers, maintaining another half million in the east, to stop a possible attack by the Russians. French espionage could detect different radio transmissions, from the antenna located in the Eiffel Tower and alert superiors of German intentions. It was necessary, therefore, to move with the greatest urgency the French troops who were mostly in Paris with a battalion of 6,000 soldiers to the Marne River. The problem is that there were hardly any military vehicles for a quick displacement and that was when General Joseph Galliéni made a decision as unusual as Machiavellian and that would change the course of the battle.

At the end of World War II France was immediately confronted with the beginnings of the decolonization movement. The French army, which had employed indigenous North African spahis and tirailleurs in almost all of its campaigns since 1830, was the leading force in opposition to decolonization, which was perceived as a humiliation. In Algeria the Army repressed an extensive rising in and around Sétif in May 1945 with heavy fire: figures for Algerian deaths vary between 45,000 as claimed by Radio Cairo at the time and the official French figure of 1,020. Finally on September 9, the 6th Army, defeated, withdrew after the Marne. Von Kluck made the mistake of chasing him, as he made a fifty-kilometer breach with the 2nd Army of Karl von Bülow, which was on his right; Taking advantage of this situation, the 5th French Army and the two divisions of the British expeditionary corps penetrated attacking the two German armies by the flanks that had been uncovered.

Two trips with lights off

Galliéni ordered that all taxis in the French capital, some six hundred, be concentrated on the night of September 7 in the Square of the Invalids. From there they would move weapons, food and military to the front located about 37 kilometers. Most vehicles, Renault 8CV models, would make two round trips with the lights off – to avoid being seen by the enemy – and without water for human consumption – due to the exasperation that those dates had in the French capital – limitation that was countered with abundant wine for the drivers, that miraculously under thiscircumstance, they performed their work without accidents. The rate they would charge for their military support would be 27% of the amount marked in their released taximeters. Winning that first battle of Marne and ending the Great War, it is not surprising that Louis Renault, precursor of these cars along with the brave little taxis, were considered national heroes and that the vehicles were renamed the Renault Taxi Marne.

The Renault Taxi de la Marne (Marne Taxi) is an automobile manufactured between 1905 and 1910 by Renault and used as a taxicab. The name Taxi de la Marne was not used until the outbreak of World War I, when the fleet of Paris taxis was requisitioned by the French Army to transport troops from Paris to the First Battle of the Marne in early September 1914. It was the first car produced after Marcel Renault‘s death in 1903, along with another four models. A car-rental company in Paris ordered 1,500 cars in 1905 as a result of a new invention that automatically calculated how much the passenger had to pay. It was called a taximeter and had been invented in 1891. Soon the Taxi de la Marne was popular for the rest of the decade in Paris and also in London from 1907.

The history of the taxi:

In the history of modern public transport the first thing was the taxi, it exists since 1640. On this date the Frenchman Nicolas Sauvage, coachman of carriages, opened the first taxi company in the Parisian street San Martin. Despite not having a meter (device that calculates the rate that must pay the passenger), invention that would appear many years later thanks to the German Wilheim Bruhn, can be considered that the inventor of the Taxi is Nicolas Sauvage. Since the concept that any citizen could ride a means of transport and pay for a journey is the same. A few years later, the philosopher Blaise Pascal (inventor of the calculator) also had the idea of ​​public transport in large cities, so in the year 1661 proposed a system of carriages or floats that would travel on predetermined routes in advance with stops and fixed route according to the needs of Parisians; These vehicles would circulate at certain times and their price would be affordable. Something similar tothecurrentpublic bus transportservice.

The French king Louis XIV granted the permits in 1662 and the service was established between the center of the city and its suburbs. The first route linked the San Martin Gate and the Luxembourg Gate: four vehicles made the journey in both directions every eight minutes. Thelongestjourneycostfive salaries. The urban routes attracted attention, but they did not last long. Its success was ephemeral because the cars were bad and badly adapted to some very voluminous and rough wheels that made the user’s buttocks suffer; in addition, they were slow vehicles, and the clientele decreased. At the age of fifteen, the public transport company went bankrupt and turned to the taxi Nicolas Sauvage, who had started his taxi company with a mobile park of twenty carriages, came to know the success while the mass public transport of Blaise Pascal failed. Naturally, they were horse cars or the so-called BLOOD TAXIS.


70 kilometers to the east, in the fields where the ninth Gallic army commanded by General Foch confronted the troops of Von Bülow, closing the way to Paris from the south, Mondement-Montgivroux hosts the Commemorative Monument of the First Battle of the Marne: a huge sculpture of 35 meters high, erected in 1938 by the architect Paul Bigot and the sculptor Henri Bouchard a short distance from the Château the Monument. Two thousand tons of reddish cement, visible for miles around, at whose base Bigot and Bouchard decided to chisel the agenda dictated by Joffre on September 6, 1914: “When a battle is coming, on which the salvation of the country depends , it is important to remind everyone that it is no time to look back. Everything possible must be done to attack and repel the enemy. Every troop that cannot advance must, at all costs, maintain the conquered position and die if necessary rather than retreat. ” Here, more than anywhere, the centenary has a special meaning because Reims was devastated and occupies a place in history. Here the Germans signed their surrender in 1945 and here the Franco-German reconciliation took place in 1962 », says the mayor of the heroic city, Arnaud Robinet. “Now we have the duty to transmit this story to young people, who will preserve this legacy of peace and freedom in the future.”


First battle: Of the 5 to the 12 of September of 1914, in a front of 225 km. for lands of Champagne. It stopped the German advance on Paris and gave way to the war of trenches. The victory: General Von Kluck disregarded the ‘Schieliffen plan’ when he was 50 km away. of Paris to launch to the hunting of the British expeditionary body, moving away of the second army of Karl von Bülow. The head of the first German army underestimated the Parisian reservists and did not foresee that they could counterattack.

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