The Don't make shit up
softlink that appeared at the bottom of this node indicates that some noders may have difficulty believing the above write-up, However while the write-up contains a certain amount of exaggeration
it is essentially based on fact
The writer is probably referring to the mutinies that occurred in the French Army after the Nivelle Offensive
of April 1917.
General Robert Nivelle
, the newly appointed Commander in Chief
of French forces was determined to break the German line on the Western Front
and mounted a major offensive on April 16. He confidently predicted he would overrun the German line within 48 hours. The Germans were heavily dug in however and French gains were minimal despite horrendous
Despite this Nivelle refused to give in and continued to send French soldiers to their deaths until French units began to Mutiny
. Soldiers being transported to the front refused to board trains and entire divisions refused to go into battle. It is said that at its height half
the French Army was involved in the revolt.
At this point Nivelle was replaced by Henri Phillipe Petain
who had a much better reputation for concern for the troops under his care. Petain used a carrot and stick
approach to quell the mutiny. He stopped the offensive and decreed France would take a up a defensive
position, he improved soldiers rations, living conditions and doubled their leave. However, he also made an example of those involved in the mutiny to show that authority was to be obeyed. He had ringleaders executed
or sent to Devil's Island
, and it was reported that in some
rebellious units every tenth man was shot.
These tactics worked
and by mid-June the mutinies were over.