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(1914-1918) WWI
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john hayward
Allenstown
NH USA
Posts: 816
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/3/2020 8:13:24 AM

The Battle of Neuve Chapelle March 10 -13 1915 was the first fully planned BEF offensive of WWI. The plan was for the 1st Army under Haig to breakthrough the German line, take Aubers Ridge and advance on to Lille. The RFC photographed the area and over 1500 maps were created and handed out. A study was done to determine which type of shells worked best against barb wire (shapnel vs high explosive)

After a 35 minute barrage the BEF achieved complete surprise and shattered the German line. Unexpected delays moving the reserves forward, breakdown between artillery and infantry and not reinforcing success led to the attack being stopped.

The India Corps with 2 Divisions and the 1st Canadian Division saw their first action here.

The battle was a tactical success but no long term strategic results were gathered

BEF losses 12,000 German 9,000
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4650
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/5/2020 7:11:01 AM

John,

Within a few days we’ll be on the 105th anniversary .

Are you sure that there were Canadians engaged in that battle ? I know they fought at Festubert, very close at hand, but that was in May .

My Great Uncle came to grief at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, dying of wounds a day or two after he was hit by shellfire.

He was a Rifleman in the London Regiment, attached to one of the Indian Brigades.

It was deemed necessary to stiffen up the Indian brigades by making sure that there were significant British cohorts within.

This was a truly remarkable battle, entailing an unprecedented intensity of artillery on a narrow frontage, aided and abetted by aerial reconnaissance and communication.

I think it speaks volumes about the skill and sophistication of the British army, within three months of the crisis of First Ypres, when it had literally been fighting for its life.

Regards, Phil



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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
john hayward
Allenstown
NH USA
Posts: 816
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/5/2020 2:14:34 PM

Phil
What I know is the 1st Canadian Division at Fleurbaix, several kilometres north-east of Neuve Chapelle, provided artillery support and machine-gun fire as a diversion to prevent the Germans from reinforcing the sector. I don't know if the infantry actually went over the top.

The attack appeared to do a number of things;
1. The French were impressed by the planning and the offensive ability of the BEF. It restored their faith in their partner.
2. It surprised the Germans. They felt that BEF was incapable of such of an attack and would only lengthen the amount of line the British held, freeing French troops for the offense.
3. The half-hour barrage should be longer. Sort of the more the better.
4. A problem with the reserves which would rear its ugly head at Loos.
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4650
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/7/2020 5:01:39 AM

John,

The Germans were indeed surprised, and went to great pains to expel the Anglo Indian troops from the lodgement they had made .

The German counter attack was roughly handled and goes some way to explain why the casualty exchange rate was so much more equal than was to be the case for all the other fighting between the BEF and the Germans in 1915.

Falkenhayn was especially exercised by this affair, I would imagine, because he had been arguing that German prospects were enticing in the West, by dint of eradicating the British and leaving the French unsupported. He had to argue against the HL duumvirate in the East, who couldn’t wait to get stuck into the Russians and had just, around that time, fought a hard battle in the Augustow Forest.

To have the British show that they could not only hold their own, but actually launch a fierce and effective foray, was just what Falkenhayn didn’t need at that juncture. No low hanging fruit, the BEF !

Regards, Phil

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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
john hayward
Allenstown
NH USA
Posts: 816
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/7/2020 7:06:57 AM

Phil

The German counterattack did bring the numbers closer in terms of casualties. Did the Germans actually need to counterattack? Did the Anglo-Indian troops take such a key position that it needed to be recaptured?

This battle showed that the BEF was a force that could not be ignored. A well planned battle that was part of a steep learning curve. Next up bigger attacks...Loos. Is Neuve Chapelle the first example of the bite and hold tactic?

Never understood the power of HL and the Eastern Front. To me there was no there, there. I have read Prit Buttar's 3 books and each time the vast distances, no truly key objectives seemed to work against the Germans. In the West, Paris, the possibility of knocking out one enemy appeared to be the better choice.

As mentioned before it is difficult for Americans to grasp the tremendous sacrifice GB and others made in WWI. 4 of my relations served in the CW, one was killed, but only 1 in WWI. My dad claimed we had relatives in the wood pile still left in GB that served. In my college class I use Vera Brinton and her losses to try and bring this point home
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4650
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/7/2020 10:18:12 AM

John,

The casualties of Haig’s 1st Army at Neuve Chapelle were very similar to those suffered by McClellan’s at Antietam.

Antietam was of mighty strategic significance, while Neuve Chapelle was not much more than a local flare up on the radar of the Great War.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
john hayward
Allenstown
NH USA
Posts: 816
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/8/2020 7:28:34 AM

Phil

Battles like Shiloh and Antietam shocked people and pictures published by Brady in NYC just after Antietam brought the horrors to Main St. Battles like Waterloo and Borodino also had large number but there were no veterans around in 1915 to remember them. In the US there was still are fair number still alive

By the beginning of the 20th C they were developing new and better ways to kill soldiers though few would admit it. The Russo-Japanese War should have been an eye opener but many especially in the US liked our "spendid little war" in 1898.
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4650
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/8/2020 4:19:49 PM

John,

For British people, the opening day of Neuve Chapelle was the worst day of land fighting since Waterloo.

Compared with what was to come in the following months and years, it pales....Loos and the Somme multiplied it fivefold , indeed, nearly twenty fold in terms of loss of life in a single day.

But 10 March 1915 - up until that date - was a uniquely bad day in terms of the number of British soldiers killed. On second thoughts, the number included significant Indian fatalities..perhaps the actual British death toll had been as high at Ypres on 31st October 1914, or in the Aisne fighting on 14th September , or - some doubt here - at Le Cateau on 26th August 1914.

There is an important thing to mention here : there had been two days in the war prior to that date which had cost more British lives, and they had both been naval actions...the sinking of three British cruisers in the North Sea on 22nd September 1914, and a disastrous engagement in the South Atlantic on 1st November 1914, the Battle of Coronel.

This indicates how large the Royal Navy loomed in terms of British military power....it was going to be difficult for Albion to reconcile to fighting a huge land war.

Neuve Chapelle marked an important watershed ( !) in this somber development .

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
john hayward
Allenstown
NH USA
Posts: 816
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/8/2020 8:48:40 PM

Phil

Would you agree that WWI and BEF was a huge departure for British war practice?
Spend money to support an ally, put as few as possible boots on the ground, and use the Royal Navy to carry the flag.
The War of Spanish Succession and Marlborough, The Seven Years War and Prussia, The Napoleonic Wars and Austria, Russia, and Prussia.
Fight a few colonial wars with the Army but not on the Continent.

I believe the British Govt and military used the losses at the Aisne to try to prepare the population for heavy casualties
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4650
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/9/2020 10:39:29 AM

Quote:
Phil

Would you agree that WWI and BEF was a huge departure for British war practice?


John,

Most wholeheartedly, yes !

The Great War was a monstrous anomaly for the British in this respect.

Traditional strategy had been to use maritime supremacy/superiority to exploit peripheral theatres which would consolidate colonial /imperial/ mercantile interests.

Money was lavished on this, as it was to prop up coalitions to do the dirty work in big European battles.

The Seven Years War being the best exemplar, with significant enhancement in the Napoleonic conflict , too. It had also happened in the War of the Spanish Succession, especially with the capture of Gibraltar .

The British tended to avoid large scale land warfare on the continent of Europe....although, it must be stressed, those contingents that they did deploy were extremely effective. Marlborough’s British - perhaps one should say English - cohorts were vital at Blenheim ; as were Wellington’s equivalents at Waterloo.

The Peninsular War saw some big British battles, some very bloody and intense, but even those did not compare with Wagram, Borodino or Aspern Essling in terms of scale.

Interesting to countenance that Marlborough and Wellington were both extremely successful as commanders of Allied armies....ironic, I suppose, that a nation seeking to avoid grand scale continental warfare furnished two eminently victorious leaders in that very realm.

The BEF that disembarked in France in August 1914 was tiny compared with its Continental counterparts ; although we must not forget that it was the biggest force of British soldiers that had ever deployed in one theatre when the war started. What’s more, it was under the aegis of the French, although there were emphatic statements that flattered national autonomy. In the event, Joffre was the boss.

You make an interesting comment about the British Govt using the losses of the opening battles to prepare the population for great loss of life. Neuve Chapelle would certainly fulfil that criterion. Nine months after NC, Haig confided to his diary that the loss of one tenth of British manhood would be a price worth paying for the defeat of Prussian Militarism. So there we have it....countenancing the literal decimation of a generation of men. I wonder, when he wrote that, whether he actually believed that this was going to happen .


Regards, Phil




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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
john hayward
Allenstown
NH USA
Posts: 816
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/10/2020 6:55:20 AM

Phil

It seems things changed between GB and France with the crowning of Edward VII. The two countries drew closer with the signing of the Entente in 1903 and then "secret" meetings with the French General Staff and Henry Wilson. Slowly and in little steps the old idea of fighting an European war and putting "boots on the ground" change.

Wasn't part of the agreement that the Royal Navy guard the English Channel and the French Navy the Med.? Failure of the Asquith Gov't to "honor" their unwritten part in Aug 1914 would have affected more than just landing the BEF on the French's left flank
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4650
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/10/2020 7:32:48 AM

John,

You sum it up well, I think.

I note that some German soldiers who fought the BEF in the early battles were surprised at the quality and quantity of British equipment . They envied the British soldiers for their lavish supplies and the expensive material in uniforms and accoutrements. It’s surprising - and quite enlightening - to read these German accounts from 1914 ; in British perception, the BEF was cast into the maelstrom without the preparation that such a conflict warranted.

If Neuve Chapelle tells us anything, it speaks volumes about the material force that was deployed, entailing massive power on a small frontage : it really shocked the Germans.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Jim Cameron
Ossining
NY USA
Posts: 914
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/10/2020 3:54:39 PM

"Nine months after NC, Haig confided to his diary that the loss of one tenth of British manhood would be a price worth paying for the defeat of Prussian Militarism. So there we have it....countenancing the literal decimation of a generation of men. I wonder, when he wrote that, whether he actually believed that this was going to happen ."

Haig, I would think, no. Kitchener, perhaps, although I wonder if anyone could foresee the actuality.

Interesting about German expressions of surprise at the quantity and quality of British equipment. Granted, the German armies in the opening offensives had marginal transport, and soon outdistanced their rail heads. But all in all, my impression has always been that soldier for soldier, rifle for rifle, uniform for uniform, there wasn't all that much to choose between the British or the Germans. Or, for that matter, the French.

As to deployment of massive power on a small frontage, or for that matter, large frontage, I suspect that shocked everyone.
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Jim Cameron Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.
john hayward
Allenstown
NH USA
Posts: 816
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/10/2020 8:05:28 PM

Phil, Jim
"there wasn't all that much to choose between the British or the Germans. Or, for that matter, the French."

The soldiers on the Western Front though different nationalities showed a great tenacity to fight and die. Perhaps it accounts for the large casualties. History has shown that it is dangerous to assume and under estimate your enemy,

During the Antietam campaign it seems Lee did the same concerning McClellan and the soldiers of the AoP.

This battle did catch the Germans by surprise and was well planned by the British High Command. I'm not sure if the BEF learned the right lessons though. This plus the shell shortage led to the failure at Loos.
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4650
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/11/2020 9:40:53 AM

Jim/John,

High intensity warfare between evenly matched opponents : so often a recipe for carnage, whether it be Waterloo, Gettysburg or Verdun.

Too often huge casualties are attributed to poor generalship, when the equilibrium is the true reason. A slug fest between superb commanders can generate monstrous loss of life..... a statement of the bleeding obvious, I know, yet commentary insists on labelling the generalship of 1914-18 as singularly inept or callous.

The Neuve Chapelle attack was a special kind of shock for the Germans : not only because of the extreme weight of the artillery fire, but also because it emanated from an enemy that was considered rather marginal, and suited only to defensive operations.

Indeed, the German HQ in Lille was so panicked by this attack that arrangements were made to relocate, along with major hospital facilities .

Two thirds of the German loss, it is estimated, occurred in the counter attack of the 12th March: an indication, I suspect, of how galling Falkenhayn found this British incursion, particularly when he was advocating knocking the BEF out of the war as a means of dealing with the two front dilemma .

It is extraordinary that the British fired a weight of shells - assessed on a yardage of front - that was not to be equalled until 1917. All the more so since it was delivered at a time when the naval operation against the Dardanelles was underway, and the competing demands of the different theatres were bound to impinge. I actually wonder whether there was an agenda here.....try and make a significant advance in Flanders as a kind of statement before other options deprived the BEF of men and munitions.

In a sense, the British were the victims of their own success at NC. It came as such a nasty surprise to the Germans that they re-deployed and re-assessed their defences, making it harder for the attackers to make the same headway. Future attacks made by the British were to demonstrate this all too bloodily.

As for failure to learn lessons, there is something that I want to say. I think that lessons were always being learned.....what is dreadful is that those lessons were not applied. It’s the same in so many aspects of humanity, isn’t it ? How often do we hear that platitude lessons have been learned , only to see that there is a failure to turn that learning to proper account ?

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4650
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/11/2020 3:56:41 PM

From Falkenhayn's Memoir, this is his summary :

In the first half of March the English attempted in dense formations to over-run the very weak German forces of the 6th Army, which opposed them south-west of Lille, by a massed attack.

He doesn't even mention the name Neuve Chapelle.

He does, however, allude to the numerical odds against the Germans here at being sixteen to one : the premise being that 48 British and Indian battalions attacked 3 German.

Interestingly, the account of Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria, the German Army Gruppe commander in that sector of the Western Front, mentions Falkenhayn getting " extremely worked up by the loss of Neuve Chapelle", but goes on to say that his boss was also agitated by the counter attack, which he thought was a mistake.

Why, I wonder, was Falkenhayn so upset by the loss of that insignificant village, and yet so against mounting the counter attack ?

Regard, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
john hayward
Allenstown
NH USA
Posts: 816
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/12/2020 7:03:40 AM

Phil
Perhaps Falkenhayn was upset because a weak non-aggresive BEF would fit will into his plans to focus on the French. Was he already planning Verdun? And what was happening in the East and with H-L?

Never understood the idea of counterattacking over every piece of lost ground. Nueve Chapelle is a great example of losing men over what, an insignificant village?

Didn't Nueve Chapelle bring up the shell shortage and lead to the fall of Asquith's gov't and Lloyd George's rise?
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4650
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/14/2020 2:39:17 AM

John,

Sorry about delay in replying : a few distractions at present.

Falkenhayn was so secretive. Rather like the cantankerous Braxton Bragg, who was so argumentative that he was said to have argued with himself.....it’s tempting to quip that Falkenhayn was so secretive that he kept things from himself !

A brief look at his memoirs conveys the impression of a mind so professional that he even refers to himself in the third person.

Was he already planning Verdun ? Not specifically, I would have thought ; but, in general terms, I imagine he was beginning to reconcile himself to that mode of approach as a feasible way for Germany to cope with her strategic predicament .

Neuve Chapelle was an insignificant village....but it occupied the base of the Aubers Ridge. Almost imperceptible in terms of height, that ground was a commanding feature in the dismal, flat, French Flanders landscape. It bestowed great advantage and the Germans were all too adept at exploiting it. A loss of a tiny place in such a landscape was amplified thereby.


Two months after NC Haig’s army attempted to wrest Aubers from the Germans, and were horribly repulsed, losing eleven thousand men in a single day without inflicting one fifth of that loss upon the enemy. It was this affair, I think, that gave rise to the most bitter recrimination about shell shortage.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
john hayward
Allenstown
NH USA
Posts: 816
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/14/2020 7:52:59 PM

Phil
Hope all is well with you. Stay safe

The Battle of Aubers Ridge was launched by the BEF on May 9 1915. The battle was part of the British contribution to the Second Battle of Artois, a Franco-British offensive intended to exploit the possible German movement of troops to the Eastern Front. This battle was a complete disaster for the British army. No ground was won, no tactical advantage gained and 11,161 casualties. It is doubted if it had the slightest positive effect on assisting the main French attack 15 miles to the south. The battle was renewed slightly to the south, the Battle of Festubert. I believe it was here that the Canadians saw their 1st combat.

The British lost 16,648 casualties from May 15 to 25 with the Canadian Division losses 2,204 casualties and the 7th (Indian) Division at 2,521 casualties. The German defenders had about  5,000 casualties
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4650
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/15/2020 8:40:45 AM

John,

The Canadians first experienced really intense and large scale combat at Ypres, attempting to contain the German attacks that had been assisted by the chlorine gas. This was in late April, nearly one month before Festubert.

It was here that British and Canadian soldiers - without any gas masks - were told to piss in their handkerchiefs and cover their mouths.

A remedy that might be useful here and now, if this virus takes more grip !

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
john hayward
Allenstown
NH USA
Posts: 816
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/15/2020 10:08:36 AM

Phil

It seems that I keep trying to get the Canadians in the war but keep missing the mark. Knew about the pissing on the hankerchiefs and how the Canadians and British troops stood their ground during the gas attack at Ypres.

Amazing how the British High Command could put together a great plan at Neuve Chapelle then totally miss the bus a month later at Auber Ridge and Festubert. What could have change? I know they tried a longer barrage which led to Repington's article in The Times on the shell shortage and lack of effectiveness.

Read somewhere about the large number of duds and discovered they were stamped "Made in the USA"
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4650
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/15/2020 2:03:19 PM

So much of all this was on a wing and a prayer, John.

We see the dates, and assemble our narrative, and it’s so easy to forget the sheer chaos and pressure of events.

NC was something of an anomaly : it stands out as a singularly well planned affair.

You’re right to ask what changed.

I suspect the pressures of coalition warfare played a crucial part here : especially the huge German offensive against the Russians....too easily overlooked by people who, like myself, tend to focus on the Western Front.

Joffre was a good coalitionist, and he was keen to help the Russians, as well as do the obvious and expel the Germans from French and Belgian soil.

Italy was entering the war ; the British and French were fighting an intense battle at Gallipoli and it was incumbent on the Entente powers to throw everything they could into the pot in France and Flanders.

And, just to make the cup run over, the Germans launched that nasty attack at Ypres. The hand of Falkenhayn is apparent here....keep it local, keep it tentative - experimental, even, with that chlorine gas - and upset the enemy’s plans and equilibrium. Do everything possible to inflict casualties at minimum cost. Compel the enemy to launch expensive counter attacks. Use new weapons : poison gas, flame throwers and intense artillery and heavy mortar concentrations on small sectors . Everything possible must be done to substitute metal and technology for flesh and blood. This is where he gets his Verdun plan from, I reckon. Apart from Ypres, there were constant local attacks by the Germans in the Argonne. I remember visiting a particularly sinister spot at the Butte de Vauquois, where there is a plaque commemorating the first French troops to be “ martyred” by flamethrowers : I think that was also in May 1915.

No coincidence that the Lusitania was sunk around that time.

The Germans were calling the tune ; the Allies were desperately trying to cope, and fighting reactively, taking the most terrible punishment .

Aubers and Festubert were symbolic of this hideous time : the British suffered 65,730 battle casualties in France and Flanders in May 1915 ; the French three or four times as many....and the Russians some appalling total in the hundreds of thousands .

A bloody nightmare, if ever there was one.

Regards, Phil

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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
john hayward
Allenstown
NH USA
Posts: 816
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/15/2020 6:06:17 PM

Phil
I believe many of us overlook 1915, feeling it is the lull between the Marne and the bloodbath of Verdun and the Somme. Kitchener's New Army and the PALS, failure at Gallipoli, and the sinking of the Lusitania all occurred in 1915 yet it still doesn't grab one's attention. Poison gas, flamethrowers, better fighter planes, immense barrages, huge casualties.

Here in the US most Americans believe that we immediately declared war upon the sinking of the Lusitania. No idea
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
scoucer
Berlin
 Germany
Posts: 2778
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/15/2020 6:42:47 PM

Quote:
Jim/John,
In a sense, the British were the victims of their own success at NC. It came as such a nasty surprise to the Germans that they re-deployed and re-assessed their defences, making it harder for the attackers to make the same headway. Future attacks made by the British were to demonstrate this all too bloodily.Regards, Phil


Quote:
Phil
Amazing how the British High Command could put together a great plan at Neuve Chapelle then totally miss the bus a month later at Auber Ridge and Festubert. What could have change?


Command of the air. Before and during NC, the RFC , who had made amazing progress, were able to map and observe and provide intelligence for the artillery. Before Aubers Ridge and Festubert, the RFC were forced on the defensive trying to prevent the Germans observing the Allied build up. Not only were the Germans able to reassess their defences but were able to prevent the Allies being aware of it. Lessons learned for Verdun which became an artillery battle where the battle in the air was fought to gain vital advantages for the artillery.

Trevor
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`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.
john hayward
Allenstown
NH USA
Posts: 816
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/15/2020 9:17:58 PM

Trevor
The Allies should have still had an edge in the air up to May possibly June. The British Vickers Gun Bus and French Morane still were the top machines in service. It is not to the beginning of July that the Fokker Eindekker makes its appearance. By August the Fokker Scourge is in full swing.

The weather that spring was not good especially in the run up to Festubert.
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4650
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/16/2020 4:54:41 AM

John,

This is hard to be certain about, but I’m convinced that 1915 was the worst year of the war in terms of overall loss of life.

Huge battlefield massacres, East and West , massacre of Armenians, the Serbs crushed and routed by the enemy and typhus.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
john hayward
Allenstown
NH USA
Posts: 816
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/16/2020 9:02:41 AM

Phil

Yes like you I tend to focus only on the Western Front. There was a lot more going in 1915 than just in France. Some of the numbers from the East were staggering, Gallipoli was failing, the Italian Front was just opening up and unrestricted submarine warfare was just beginning.

The Somme and Verdun in 1916 are the big attention getters
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4650
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/16/2020 11:30:50 AM

John,

Gorlice Tarnow makes Aubers more understandable .

Joffre was acutely aware of the need to keep Russia in the war.

Russian Poland was essentially overrun, and with it a million Russian POWs, and an awful displacement of the civilian population attendant on this catastrophic defeat and retreat.

The sufferings of the Russian population in this conflict have not been properly fathomed.

For the Ottoman Empire, 1915 was to bring the shame of the Armenian massacres, and Turkey’s Finest Hour at Gallipoli .

A Turkish soldier at Gallipoli was more likely to be killed than a French soldier at Verdun in 1916, which is saying quite a lot.

The Germans came out very much on top by the end of 1915, although they themselves lost more than one and a half million men that year ; the Austro Hungarians were ruined by their losses in the Carpathians, and they had to face the Italian onslaught , too.

German successes on the battlefield were countered by losses in the propaganda war : poison gas, liquid fire, the Lusitania and the execution of Nurse Edith Cavell did not enhance the Kaiser’s reputation .

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
scoucer
Berlin
 Germany
Posts: 2778
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/16/2020 5:47:54 PM

Quote:
Trevor
The Allies should have still had an edge in the air up to May possibly June. The British Vickers Gun Bus and French Morane still were the top machines in service. It is not to the beginning of July that the Fokker Eindekker makes its appearance. By August the Fokker Scourge is in full swing.

The weather that spring was not good especially in the run up to Festubert.


Maybe they had the edge but they were not able to turn it into useable intelligence.

Trevor
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`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.
john hayward
Allenstown
NH USA
Posts: 816
Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915
Posted on: 3/16/2020 6:01:09 PM

Trevor
The BEF was on top of things when it came to using the RFC in the planning for Neuve Chapelle. They failed to do the same for Aubers and Festubert. Do you think it was a hastily planned assault compared to Neuve Chapelle? Or perhaps it wasn't their plan? It was designed to assist the main French assault. Stated before bad weather hindered Festubert.

Phil,
The Gorlice–Tarnów Offensive was initially conceived as a minor German offensive to relieve Russian pressure on the Austro-Hungarians to their south on the Eastern Front, but resulted in the Central Powers' chief offensive effort of 1915, causing the total collapse of the Russian lines and their retreat far into Russia. The continued series of actions lasted the majority of the campaigning season for 1915, starting in early May and only ending due to bad weather in October. One result besides the huge losses suffered by the Russians was the Central Powers asking Denmark to help begin peace talks. The Czar refused vowing not to desert his Allies.
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