Third Battle of Artois

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Third Battle of Artois
Part of the Western Front of the First World War
French attack in Artois, September 1915.jpg

French attacks in Artois, September 1915
Date 25 September – 4 November 1915
Location Artois, France
50°30′N 2°45′E / 50.500°N 2.750°E / 50.500; 2.750Coordinates: 50°30′N 2°45′E / 50.500°N 2.750°E / 50.500; 2.750
Result German victory
United Kingdom United Kingdom
German Empire German Empire
Commanders and leaders
France Victor d'Urbal
United Kingdom John French
German Empire Crown Prince Rupprecht
French Tenth Army
10 Divisions
British First Army
8 Divisions
6th Army
9 Divisions
Casualties and losses
France 48,230
United Kingdom 61,713
German Empire c. 51,100

The Third Battle of Artois was on the Western Front of World War I, is also known as the Loos–Artois Offensive, including the major British offensive, known as the Battle of Loos.

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 centres 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.[1]


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 village of Souchez but the III and XII Corps had made little progress south-east of Neuville-St Vaast. The French failed to breach the German second line of defence 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.[2] The German Official Historians of the Reichsarchiv recorded German casualties to the end of October as 51,100 men.[3] Sheldon used figures taken from the French Official History to record 48,230 casualties, which was fewer than half of the casualties of the spring offensive from April–June.[4] J. E. Edmonds, the British Official Historian recorded 61,713 British and c. 26,000 German casualties at the Battle of Loos.[5][Note 1]


  1. ^ BEF casualties in 1915 were 285,107.[6]


  1. ^ Doughty 2005, pp. 157–158.
  2. ^ Doughty 2005, pp. 187–188, 195–201.
  3. ^ Humphries & Maker 2010, p. 320.
  4. ^ Sheldon 2008, pp. 126, 128.
  5. ^ Edmonds 1928, pp. 392, 401.
  6. ^ Edmonds 1928, p. 393.


  • Doughty, R. A. (2005). Pyrrhic Victory: French Strategy and Operations in the Great War. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press. ISBN 0-67401-880-X. 
  • Edmonds, J. E. (1928). Military Operations France and Belgium, 1915: Battles of Aubers Ridge, Festubert, and Loos. History of the Great War Based on Official Documents by Direction of the Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defence II. London: Macmillan. OCLC 58962526. 
  • Humphries, M. O.; Maker, J. (2010). Germany's Western Front: Translations from the German Official History of the Great War (1st ed.). Waterloo Ont.: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. ISBN 978-1-55458-259-4. 
  • Sheldon, J. (2008). The German Army on Vimy Ridge 1914–1917. Barnsley: Pen & Sword. ISBN 1-84415-680-X. 

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