Third Battle of Artois
|Third Battle of Artois|
|Part of the Western Front of World War I|
French attacks in Artois, September 1915
|Commanders and leaders|
| Victor d'Urbal
|Crown Prince Rupprecht|
|French Tenth Army
6 British Divisions
|German Sixth Army|
|Casualties and losses|
The offensive, meant to complement the Champagne offensive, was the last attempt by French commander-in-chief Joseph Joffre to exploit Allied numerical advantage over Germany. Joffre's plan was for simultaneous attacks in Champagne-Ardenne and Artois, with the goal being to capture German railborne supply centers at Attigny and Douai thus forcing a German withdrawal.
Joffre's plan was a series of attacks along the Western Front, with the Italians attacking across the Isonzo River and the British Expeditionary Force launching an attack near Loos. At first, Field Marshal John French and General Sir Douglas Haig were against such an operation, citing a lack of heavy artillery, ammunition and troop reserves. However, pressure from the British minister of war, Lord Horatio Kitchener, prompted French and Haig to agree to the military operation.
Following a four day artillery bombardment starting on 21 September, the French Tenth Army initiated their advance. By 26 September the XXXIII and XXI Corps had taken the town of Souchez, but the III and XII Corps had made little progress southeast of Neuville-St Vaast. The French failed to breach the German second line of defense and a breakthrough could not be achieved. In an attempt to rejuvenate the stalled offensive, Joffre sent the French IX Corps to assist the British in an attack on Loos but this action also yielded little of strategic value. The German Official Historians of the Reichsarchiv recorded German casualties to the end of October as 51,100 men.
- Doughty, R. A. (2005). Pyrrhic Victory: French Strategy and Operations in the Great War. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press. ISBN 0-67401-880-X.
- Reichsarchiv (1931 and 1933). Der Weltkrieg 1914 bis 1918: Die Militärischen Operationen zu land (Excerpts from volumes VII, VIII and IX as Germany's Western Front, Wilfrid Laurier University Press 2010 ed.). Berlin: Mittler & Sohn. ISBN 978-1-55458-259-4.
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