Third Battle of Artois
|Third Battle of Artois|
|Part of the Western Front of the First World War|
French attacks in Artois, September 1915
|Commanders and leaders|
| Victor d'Urbal
|Crown Prince Rupprecht|
6 British Divisions
|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 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. The German Official Historians of the Reichsarchiv recorded German casualties to the end of October as 51,100 men. Sheldon used figures taken from the French Official History to record 48,230 casualties which were fewer than half of the casualties of the spring offensive in May and June. J. E. Edmonds, the British Official Historian recorded 61,713 British and c. 26,000 German casualties at the Battle of Loos.[Note 1]
- BEF casualties in 1915 were 285,107.
- 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. History of the Great War Based on Official Documents by Direction of the Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defence. II Battles of Aubers Ridge, Festubert, and Loos. London: Macmillan. OCLC 58962526.
- 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.
- Sheldon, J. (2008). The German Army on Vimy Ridge 1914–1917. Barnsley: Pen & Sword. ISBN 1-84415-680-X.
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