Defence of Festubert

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The Defence of Festubert was an engagement early in the First World War when Indian and British battalions of the 7th (Meerut) Division, Indian Army defended the village of Festubert against a German attack from 23–24 November 1914. It is notable for being one of the first actions in the war in which an attack was made against a prepared defensive position, thus foreshadowing the years of trench warfare which were to come.

The British and Indian regiments that took part were awarded the battle honour Festubert 1914.


23–24 November[edit]

The fighting around Ypres subsided in mutual exhaustion by 22 November and for about three weeks bad weather also inhibited operations apart from artillery-fire, bombing and sniping. At the end of the month the British made several night raids and on 23 November, the German Infantry Regiment 112 captured 800 yards (730 m) of trench east of Festubert in the Indian Corps area.[1] The Indians counter-attacked through the night and recovered the trenches. The Defence of Festubert was one of the first attacks on an organised trench system. Most notably a night attack also occurred, involving mainly Mazhabi Sikhs of the 34th Royal Sikh Pioneers Regiment and the 1st Battalion Manchester Regiment. The battle was a costly British victory, the lost trench was recaptured but there were many casualties in the Mazhabi Sikhs and the 1st Manchesters.[2]

Order of battle[edit]


  1. ^ All data from Edmonds, Military Operations, 1914, Part II, 1925.[3]


  1. ^ James 1924, p. 6.
  2. ^ Edmonds & Wynne 1927, p. 4.
  3. ^ Edmonds 1925, pp. 482–483.


  • Der Herbst-Feldzug 1914: Im Westen bis zum Stellungskrieg, im Osten bis zum Rückzug [The Autumn Campaign 1914: In the West until Position Warfare, in the East until the Retreat]. Der Weltkrieg 1914 bis 1918: Militärischen Operationen zu Lande. I (Die Digitale Landesbibliothek Oberösterreich ed.). Berlin: Mittler & Sohn. 2012 [1929]. OCLC 838299944. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  • Edmonds, J. E. (1925). Military Operations France and Belgium, 1914: Antwerp, La Bassée, Armentières, Messines and Ypres October–November 1914. 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 220044986.
  • Edmonds, J. E.; Wynne, G. C. (1995) [1927]. Military Operations France and Belgium, 1915: Winter 1914–15 Battle of Neuve Chapelle: Battles of Ypres. History of the Great War Based on Official Documents by Direction of the Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defence. I (Imperial War Museum and Battery Press repr. ed.). London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-89839-218-7.
  • James, E. A. (1990) [1924]. A Record of the Battles and Engagements of the British Armies in France and Flanders 1914–1918 (London Stamp Exchange ed.). Aldershot: Gale & Polden. ISBN 0-948130-18-0.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]