Most soldiers were deployed by train, but that was not enough. The military governor of Paris, General Gallieni had the idea of mobilising Parisian taxis to quickly transport soldiers as reinforcements to the front at the Battle of the Ourcq.
Marne Taxi, Musée de l'Armée
(via Wikimedia Commons).
At this time, the vast majority of taxis were cars made by Renault. The 'compagnie française des automobiles de place' (G7) (Paris taxi company), founded in 1905, choose 8 hp, 2 cylinder Renault AG type cars for its fleet of Parisian taxis. In 1914, three quarters of the 12000 French taxis were Renaults. On 6 September 1914, 630 taxis were requisitioned and left the esplanade des Invalides each with 5 to 6 men on board. Consequently, 3000 soldiers of the 103rd and 104th Infantry Regiments arrived at Silly-le-Long and Nanteuil-Le-Haudouin at a speed of 25 km/h. Although it may well not have had the effect that it has since been attributed, the episode nevertheless had a considerable symbolic impact
TO FIND OUT MORE...
Book : Loic Di Stéfano, Jérôme Laune, L’épopée des taxis de la Marne les 6 et 7 septembre 1914, la Chasse au Snark, 1979.
Video : Images d’époque montrant le départ des taxis, disponible sur : http://www.ina.fr/video/AFE08001138/depart-des-taxis-de-la-marne-en-septembre-1914-a-paris-video.html