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.