Taxi, Mec? (Cab Buddy?) For those who know their history, this cab on a Paris street made me laugh and think about….History.
September 6th (1914) wasn’t a great day to be in charge of the military protection of Paris. WWI was but a few weeks old and, shockingly, the Huns were threatening from the east…and seemed like The Invincible Foe…they were but 30 miles out and hell-bent for Paris: on Aug 29th a German plane flew over Paris, lobbing a few bombs below. People were packing and panicking.
Paris needed reinforcements, and quickly. Enter Gen. Joseph Gallieni (handling Paris’ defense), a straight-from-Hollywood-Central-Casting ramrod backed general who knew that General Joffre, at the front, needed troops. Pronto.
Long myth a tad shortened: during the night of 6 September 1914 thousands of French troops were gathered up in a succession of commandeered 1914 Taxis (Renault AG1 Landaulets!) and sent –at staggering speeds of about 20 MPH drove to/near Meaux. The first wave left from Invalides. Many cabs were from the G7 taxi company ….still in operation.
By morning, some 5,000 troops had been transported. Not a lot when the fighting involved millions, but sure good for morale and the hometown press. In fact most of the taxied troops were held in reserve.
What most probably DID change the tide of battle resulted more form: 1) German General von Kluck’s deciding to improv a tad on the German High Command’s plan a bit by setting off after retreating French forces. (They were not as he had assumed, “Beaten”). Bad move, that. He thus left his flank open into which stormed Joffre’s forces. The other factor was the result of what was probably a very emotive plea for help made by Frances’ Gen. Joffre to the English Military General (bizarrely named Field Marshall Sir John French!). French’s eyes apparently welled up from the plea —and soon the British Expeditionary Force entered the fray.
Result: (Kinda sorta) The Miracle of the Marne!
PS: Many of the cabs kept their meters running and were reimbursed by the Gov’t. You can see an authentic WWI taxi at Paris’ Musee de l’Armee.
Even Cooler?! You can see actual footage of Paris Taxi’s ferrying troops to the front here: http://www.firstworldwar.com/video/taxisofthemarne.htm