the Fourth Week of Lent
Battles in Champagne
1911 Encyclopedia Britannica
"BATTLES IN, 1914-8. CHAMPAGNE - At the end of thefighting after the battle of the Marne, the lines became stable along a front selected by neither of the opposing forces. On the sector W. of the Chemin des Dames, along the heights of Vailly Chavonne - Soupir - Moussy, the 69th French Div. had relieved British divisions, and its front line was, so to speak, hanging on to the slopes which dominate the Aisne, with the river in its rear,. and with all its communications under observation of the Germans, who were holding the fort of Conde.
I. Combats Of 1914-5 On The Soissons-Reims Front Vailly - Soupir, Oct. 30 - Nov. 2 1914. - On Oct. 29 the trenches. occupied by the French 69th Reserve Div. were strongly bombarded on the plateau of Rouge-Maison; on Oct. 30 the 137th.
Brigade was attacked with great violence; on account of the extent of its front it had no reserves and was compelled to retreat at 9 A.M. on the bridges of Vailly and Chavonne and to consolidate S. of the Aisne. On Nov. i the German patrols, which had pushed forward on the left bank, were driven off. On Nov. 2, however, at 8 A.M., after a violent bombardment the 138th Brigade was attacked in its turn and ceded one to two km. of ground, stopping the enemy advance in front of Soupir and Moussy. The 69th Reserve Div. suffered heavy losses: 78 officers and 3,800 men. This division was relieved by the I. Deligny Corps, which, during Nov. 6-12, failed to retake the lost ground.
The Engagement of Crouy
On the heights of Soissons - Missysur-Aisne the French position was rushed forward too far to the N. of the Aisne. The 5th group of reserve divisions, which occupied this position, had even been compelled to leave the greater part of its artillery on the south bank, whence it was unable to support the infantry effectively. Fearing a repetition of the defeat suffered at Vailly by the 69th Reserve Div., Gen. Maunoury, commanding the VI. Army, decided to improve his position - a position which only hung on to the edges of the plateau which overlooked the Aisne. On his instructions Gen. Berthelot, who had just taken over command of the 5th group of reserve divisions, on Dec. 7, worked out a plan of attack on the Plateau 132, which dominates Crouy, with the object of debouching later on towards Terny with his left, then towards Pont Rouge with his right.
The attack on Hill 132 was launched on Jan. 8 1915 at 8:45 A.M., after a bombardment which lasted an hour and a-half. It was supported by artillery of various calibre, in which slow-firing guns of old type preponderated: 60 guns of 75 mm., 24 of 95 mm., 4 of 105 mm., 8 of 120 mm., 10 of 155 mm. (short), 4 of 1 55 mm. (long). This concentration represented a great effort at that period of the war, but it was insufficient, more especially as the French attack ended in a German attack, and the battle extended over a front of io km. Out of six breaches which the engineers were to have made in the wire with battens filled with petards four only were passable, but the others were opened by the attackers themselves. The four attacking battalions, drawn up in ten columns, seized the German trenches in a few minutes without great loss. All the German counter-attacks, preceded by violent bombardments, were repulsed during the two days of Jan. 8 and 9. On the 10th the French attack made further progress, but on the 11th the Germans succeeded in regaining a footing to the N. of Crouy.
On the night of Jan. 11-12 a flood on the Aisne swept away all the bridges at Villeneuve and at Soissons, except the " bridge of the English " at Soissons, so named because it had been constructed by the British army after the battle of the Marne. This unforeseen occurrence greatly hindered the sending-up of reinforcements and rations. The Germans had received considerable reinforcements in infantry and artillery. On Jan. 12, after a violent cannonade, they attacked Hill 132 and retook all the ground gained during the preceding days. Gen. Maunoury put at Gen. Berthelot's disposal the whole of the 14th Cla y s Div., one brigade of which was commanded by Gen. Nivelle. He wished to hold fast on his right with the 55th Div. and the composite Klein brigade whilst the 14th Div. should attack on the left towards Terny. But on the 13th his right was strongly attacked in the direction of Montal and Ste. Marguerite; these troops were very exhausted after six days of hard fighting without rest, day or night. Moreover, the 14th Div. had only made very small progress. The German artillery with direct observation could fire at effective range on the bridge at Soissons and disaster might follow its destruction. In these circumstances to leave French troops on the right bank of the Aisne was no more than a useless act of imprudence, and Gen. Maunoury gave them the order to retreat to the left bank. That retreat was carried out in good order during the night of Jan. 13 -14, without being disturbed by the enemy. The losses totalled 161 officers and 12,250 men killed, wounded or missing.
On Jan. 25-26, after a very violent bombardment, which extended over several kilometres of front, the XVIII. French Corps attempted a local attack, which, in consequence of the collapse of a dug-out which buried several hundred men, lost the crest of Hurtebise on the Chemin des Dames. Then the positions became fixed on this part of the front until the French offensive of April 16 1917. (C. M. E. M.) II. THE Winter Battle Of 1914-5 The part of Champagne in which the winter fighting of 1914 took place consists of a vast, gently undulating plain between two ridges of hills and plateaus which form its northern and southern boundaries. The greater part of its surface is formed of white chalk covered by a crust of arable soil, often very thin and in some places non-existent. This chalky plain is in its southern part known as " dusty " Champagne, and in its northern part as upper Champagne. To the E. of it lies the hilly upland country bordering the Argonne, a clayey, broken district, covered with woods and well watered. Towards the N. the central plain is broken up by a series of small isolated hills, the principal of which are the hills of Brimont (170 metres), Berru and Nogent l'Abbesse to the N. and E. of Reims and that of Moronvilliers (260 metres) further to the E. To the E. the Champagne plain rises in like manner to the hilly zone of Remois and Tardenois. Ever since the beginning of the 19th century attempts had been made to improve this impoverished land by planting pines in geometrically formed clumps, which form a prominent feature of the landscape. After some 25 to 30 years at least the pine needles decompose into a kind of crust, and it is thus possible to cultivate with some prospect of success. To the N. of the Marne the Champagne plain is traversed by several streams; the Vesle running north-westwards from Somme-Vesle to the E. of Chalons; the Suippe practically parallel to it running from SommeSuippe to the Aisne near Conde en Suippe; the Tourbe flowing in the opposite direction and N.E. of Somme-Tourbe towards the Aisne at Servon; and the Dormois passing by Ripont, Rouvroy and Cernay en Dormois in the same direction. The Py and the Alin flow respectively to the W. and to the N.E. between Breer, the Aisne and St. Martin l'Heureux on the Suippe. Several old Roman roads cross this region, notably those from Chalons to Rethel by way of Souain and Somme-Py from St. Menehould to Vouziers along the valley of the Aisne, all running in a general direction from S. to N. They are crossed by the road from Reims to St. Menehould, which runs at the foot of the heights of Moronvilliers, Nogent l'Abbesse, and thence by St. Hilaire le Grand, Jonchery, Suippes and Somme-Tourbe. Villages are rare and of little importance; Souain, Perthes les Hurlus, Hurlus, Le Mesnil les Hurlus, Tahure and Massiges are all poor and illconstructed hamlets scattered over the vast plain.
The winter battle began at the end of 1914. After the battle of the Marne the pursuit initiated by the Allied armies was checked after a few days, principally owing to a shortage of artillery ammunition, and the opposing forces took up position and set to work to construct extensive lines of entrenchments of a kind that had not been seen since the 18th century. South of the Aisne the German front swung round to the E. of Reims, included the hills of Nogent l'Abbesse and the forts commanding them, and ran thence along the Roman road S. of the Moronvilliers heights, crossing the Suippe above Auberive and passing S. of Souain, Perthes and Massiges and N. of Ville sur Tourbe to the Aisne. The choice of this line was not dictated by either strategical or tactical reasons. The two adversaries installed themselves in face of each other by means of a series of successive engagements, the German object being to maintain an unbroken front as close as possible to Verdun and Reims.
The French Higher Command considered that, despite the munitions crisis, the offensive must be resumed. The moral of the troops might well suffer from the wearisome hardships inseparable from trench warfare, for a kind of Siege of Sebastopol on a large scale appeared ill-suited to the temperament of the French soldier. Moreover, the " home front " had also to be considered; and finally it was necessary to do something to divert the enemy's attention from the Russian front. The British had opened their offensive sooner than the Germans had be lieved possible, and had thus contributed in no small degree to the victory on the Marne. But though this result had been achieved the first promise of their operations had not been fulfilled, and their initial success had been followed by a crushing defeat. It was thus of the first importance to hold fast on the western front as many as possible of those enemy troops who might be diverted eastwards if the situation there permitted it.
French G.H.Q. was, however, deceived with regard to the hostile situation. It was believed that the Germans too were suffering as acutely as the Allies from shortage of munitions, while the supposed losses in men and wastage of material were much in excess of the truth. All these causes contributed to Gen. Joffre's decision to adopt offensive policy, which was expressed in a general order issued to his armies on Dec. 17. " The hour for attack has sounded," it ran. " We have hitherto checked the enemy's effort; and now it is a question of breaking it and definitely freeing our violated national territory." It seemed as if a general offensive was to be undertaken on the whole front from the Swiss frontier to the North Sea; but as a matter of fact all that took place was a few isolated operations, notably in Flanders, Artois and Champagne.
The IV. Army, under Gen. de Langle de Cary, this time held the line between the V. and III. Armies from Marquirez farm near Prunay to a point between Boureuilles and Chalad in the Argonne. From left to right the front was held by the XII. Corps (to which were provisionally attached the 91st and 96th Territorial Div.), the 60th Reserve Div., the XVII. Corps, the Colonial Corps, and the II. Corps.
The operations began on Dec. 20 after a short artillery preparation, and although they were carried out on a wide front from Prosnes to the Argonne the results were not great. The offensive continued on the 21st and met with no better success. The XII. Corps lost heavily and was compelled to cease its attacks; the XVII. and Colonial Corps continued their efforts on Dec. 22, 23 and 24, capturing a part of the first German line at the price of numerous casualties. On the 25th the operations were suspended, and the enemy in his turn delivered a series of counter-blows which were repulsed. Towards the end of the month the IV. Army was reinforced by the IV. Corps from Picardy, which for the time being was held in reserve. At this period portions or the whole of eight enemy army corps (III., V. Armies) were opposed to the Allies in Champagne; from left to right these were a fraction of the VI., the XII. Reserve, the VIII., the VIII. Reserve, the XVIII. Reserve, a fraction of the VI., the XIII. and the XVI. Corps, besides Landwehr formations.
At the beginning of 1915 the situation was still very delicate in the Argonne, where the Germans reported every day captures of men and material, which French communiqués were unable effectively to dispute. This succession of minor checks could not fail to exercise some effect on the position in Champagne and to hinder Allied progress there. The enemy's resistance was very stubborn, and he passed from defence to attack on more than one occasion. Up to the end of Jan. the Allies continued the same monotonous series of small attacks in the Perthes - Beausejour area, the net result of which was a small gain of ground to the N. of Beausejour and Massiges. Continual bad weather and fogs then induced the command to order their cessation. By 'held 15 the line had been pushed some 2,000 yd. to the N. of that held on Dec. 20; this had been effected after some 12 attacks and about 20 counter-attacks had been beaten off. In comparison with the terms of the general order for the offensive the smallness of the results achieved was striking, and the German High Command did not fail to use its opportunity of pointing this out, affirming that their opponents' losses on the whole front during this period were 26,000 dead and I 7,860 prisoners, and the total casualties, including the wounded, 150,000 men at least, while their own losses were less than a quarter of this figure. It was stated that the German estimate of Allied casualties was 100% too large; but it seems certain that even so they were much in excess of those suffered by the enemy.
From Feb. 1 to 4 the front in Champagne became even more active; the French continued to progress slowly in the Perthes district, but on the 3rd there took place three German counterattacks, to the W. of that village, N. of Mesnil and N. of Massiges, and in the last-named alone they met with some success,. breaking the French main position on a 2,000-yd. front, and capturing over 600 prisoners, 9 machine-guns and 9 guns of small calibre. On Feb. ro, by a misunderstanding, an isolated attack was delivered near Souain by the 60th Reserve Div. against Sabot wood; the enemy reconquered the lost ground in the afternoon and captured over 500 prisoners.
The general offensive which was to take place on this date was postponed to the 12th, and then to the 16th. The Russians had just been defeated in the Masurian winter battle, and their X. Army had been practically destroyed. French G.H.Q. considered it essential to assume the offensive on a considerable scale in order to hold fast the German troops on the western front; an easy victory was expected and Vouziers was given as the ultimate objective of the advance. On Feb. 16 3,000 yd. of trenches were captured between a point N.W. of Perthes and N. of Beausejour, with over 400 prisoners. The IV. Corps was held behind the XVII., ready to intervene. During that night ten German counter-attacks were repulsed; further progress was made on the 17th N.W. of Perthes, and prisoners were taken belonging to six different German corps - a singular mixture of units on so narrow a front. Two violent counterstrokes took place that night and the next morning between Souain and Beausejour, but met with no success; five further efforts were equally repulsed during the night of Feb. 18-19. Fighting continued all next day, the advancing French troops meeting everywhere with stubborn resistance; they succeeded, however, in capturing a redoubt N. of Beausejour, and another work N. of Le Mesnil. These partial attacks naturally proved unduly expensive in view of the results achieved; by the 27th the total of German prisoners taken since the 16th amounted only to i,000, and the initial hopes with which the operations had been begun had thus in no sense been fulfilled. Meanwhile a new corps, the XVI., had been brought up from the Ypres area, and it was for the moment intended to use it in a new and powerful effort on the left of the battle front.
After the capture of the redoubt N. of Beausejour on the 27th, units of the Prussian Guard which had recently arrived in Champagne delivered a night attack N. of Le Mesnil, but lost heavily and were defeated. French progress between Perthes and Beausejour continued and by March the crest of the ridge parallel to the front of attack was secured. On the 3rd again the whole of the German trench system was taken to a depth of 1,000 yd. on a front of 6,000. On the 7th there commenced a series of attacks against a small copse - Sabot wood - which continued till the 15th; every day saw the same monotonous repetition of partial attacks and counter-attacks, every gain of ground being dearly purchased from the stubborn enemy.
On March 10 the German High Command announced that the winter battle in Champagne was virtually at an end, and that it had brought no change whatever as far as concerned the final result of the war. The main object of the French, to relieve the pressure on the Russians, had not been realized, any more than the proposed penetration to Vouziers. The Germans had made more than 2,430 prisoners; they had certainly lost heavily, more heavily even than in the Masurian battles, but still hardly more than one-third of the French casualties, which exceeded 45,00 0; and the new front in Champagne was more firmly es- tablished than ever. French G.H.Q. affirmed not less definitely, in a note issued on March 12, that the operations had attained all their objectives both local and general; the French had advanced to a depth of some 2,000 to 3,000 yd. on a front of 7,000 and had obliged the enemy to throw in reinforcements equivalent to a new army corps.
Both these assertions are disputable. The principal French objective, the relief of the Russian front, had been only imperfectly achieved. What were these 20-odd battalions diverted to Champagne in comparison with the masses engaged on the two fronts? Vouziers was still far off. The effect of the French attacks was greater than the enemy were willing to admit, it is true, but they were out of all proportion to the sacrifices made. The truth is that the French methods had been found unsuited to the gaining of any real success; better artillery preparations, a larger scale of attack, not as hitherto a series of successive efforts on a narrow front, but an advance by large attacking waves along all the front of assault, and closer support of the infantry by the artillery, which should follow the advance and not remain tied to its first positions, were necessary.
The winter battle, however, was not yet over. On March 12 the offensive was resumed N.E. of Le Mesnil. By the 15th practically the whole of Sabot Wood was at last occupied. Operations continued in the next few days between Perthes and Souain, in the Perthes sector, N. of Beausejour and N. and N.E. of Le Mesnil. Every foot of ground was bitterly contested, as witness the fighting for Jaune Brule wood on March 18; but not till the 23rd did the French slacken their efforts. A letter of congratulation was addressed to the IV. Army by Gen. Joffre, and it was ordered to cease its attacks and consolidate its gains. One corps, the VIII., had alone lost close on 8,000 men, including 160 officers, between Feb. 16 and March 23.
Still the Champagne remained active. On April 8th, a violent German attack on Beausejour redoubt was repulsed after an initial success. Thenceforward the enemy had recourse in the Perthes-Beausejour area to mine warfare, with its alternative of long delays and sharp assaults. In May the French operations in Artois, and those of the enemy in Galicia which brought about the large-scale Russian retreat, threw the course of events in Champagne into the background. The only action of importance was the German repulse on May 16 at Ville sur Tourbe, of which their first communique made so much. In fact an assault delivered by two regiments in close order, following on the explosion of three large mines, resulted merely in the seizure of a few trenches, which were speedily recovered by the French Colonial infantry, with heavy losses for the enemy. (B. E. P.) III. THE Autumn Battles Of 1915 After the offensive in Artois in May and June, activity on the French side was transferred to the Vosges and the Argonne, where local attacks were delivered throughout the summer, in the vain hope of confusing the enemy's ideas as to the point of delivery of the forthcoming offensive. At the same time preparations were taken in hand for an attempt in Champagne on a larger scale than ever before, and for a simultaneous and powerful diversion in Artois. The situation seemed to favour it. The increase in the British strength had permitted Field-Marshal French to extend his front; the French defensive system had now been so perfected as to allow of a reduction in the garrisons of quiet sectors and a proportionate increase in the reserves available. New divisions had been formed, and methodical instruction of the troops destined for the attack had been taken in hand. Finally there had been a great increase in the available supply of guns and shells.
In Champagne the object aimed at was nothing less than the complete rupture of the German lines on the front BazancourtChalleranges, so as to outflank their left N. of Reims and their right in the Argonne. It was also hoped, as before, to disengage the eastern front. The plan was to attack on a front of 25,000 yd. between the Moronvilliers hills and the Aisne.
The German defensive position, both in Artois and Champagne, consisted of a continuous front system, with several successive lines of trenches, and further back centres of resistance, themselves immense closed works, with a maze of trenches, capable each of holding out against assault. As a general rule these were some 2,000 yd. apart, but their exact situation was modified in accordance with the ground. This front system, comprising from two to five separate lines, and some 300 to soo yd. deep, was followed by a second, traced on the ridge to the S. of the Py valley. It was carefully organized and provided with machine-gun positions and thick belts of wire sheltered on the reverse slopes.
At the beginning of Sept. the Germans had 70 battalions in Champagne, belonging to the III, Army (von Einem) and to the 50th Div., XIV. Corps, and XII. and VIII. Reserve Corps. During the artillery preparations which preceded the French attack they brought up 29 more (a division of the III. Corps, the 183rd Brigade, and half of the 43rd Reserve Div.), making in all 99 battalions on the first day of the battle. Ninety-three further battalions had to be put into line to fill up the gaps, so that their forces were practically doubled during the fighting; these were drawn either from the units at rest, such as the X. Reserve Corps, brought from Russia, or from the reserves of neighbouring sectors. In all, then, the Germans engaged 192 battalions. Their reinforcements came into line, not as large units with a view to being used for counter-attacks, but by small driblets thrown in hastily as need arose; no doubt the command, fearing a break through, parried the danger as best it could by using these troops in single battalions or even half battalions. There thus resulted a regular " hotch-potch," to use Col. Feyler's expression, on Oct. 2, between La Main de Massiges (Hill 199) and Maisons de Champagne, on a front of 12,000 yd., of 32 battalions belonging to 21 different regiments. The 5th Div., for instance, had one regiment near Massiges, one battalion of another regiment near Tahure, and one of a third at Trou Bricot.
On the Allied side the arrival of a new British army, the III., in the Albert area, and the extension of the VI. French Army's front to the N., had rendered possible the transfer of Gen. Petain's II. Army from Artois to Champagne. Under the supreme direction of Gen. de Castelnau it was to attack in conjunction with the right of the IV. Army under Gen. de Langle de Cary, and the left of the III. under Gen. Humbert, which was opposed by the German V. Army. On the left of the III. French Army, the V., under Gen. Franchet d'Esperey, faced the I. and VII. German Armies. The Allied fighting forces in Champagne numbered in all 35 divisions, or 420 battalions, at least, more than double the German forces engaged. So little effort had been made to keep the forthcoming attack a secret that, as early as Aug. 15, an order issued by Gen. von Ditfurth announced that it was expected; and on Sept. 22 Gen. von Fleck foresaw a " desperate effort " on the part of the French High Command.
Thanks to the efforts put forward to provide the French army with the heavy artillery and munitions it had lacked hitherto, the preliminary bombardment began on the morning of Sept. 22 and continued for three days and three nights without cessation, and was directed against the whole of the German front as far back as the second position. At the same time long-range fire was carried out against the hostile headquarters, billeting areas, and supply depots, and the Bazancourt to Challeranges railway. The effect was on the whole considerable, certain enemy units being left for 48 hours without rations as a result of the bombardment.
On the 22nd and 23rd the weather conditions favoured observations of fire, but on the 24th heavy clouds blew up. Next day, at 9 A.M., broke in rain, which lasted for several days. This had no little influence on the result of the battle.
At 9:15 A.M. (zero hour) the assault took place along the whole of the long front, and the first infantry waves, in an irresistible rush, broke into the enemy's trench system. On the left the attack was directed against a salient between Auberive and the St. Hilaire-St. Souplet road; the first trench was taken but the attack was held up by uncut wire in front of the second line I,000 yd. in rear. At the same time a counter-attack from Auberive, supported by the fire of the heavy artillery on the Moronvilliers ridge, took the French in flank; the left was forced back but the right held its ground. This first phase was very short, and thanks to weak resistance the French suffered little.
The enemy had another strongly fortified redoubt, E. of the St. Hilaire-St. Souplet road. Astride this road to the left of it the French infantry broke into the first hostile trench system, but were checked by machine-gun fire. To the right the assaulting units carried four lines of trenches, covered by belts of wire and sheltered in the woods, capturing 700 prisoners and 7 guns and penetrating the hostile lines to a depth of 2,700 yd. In the Souain valley, which marked the right boundary of the IV. Army area, the advance was pushed forward rapidly in three different directions; to the W. it reached the wood of William II., 2,000, yd. from its starting point, while in the centre in less than an hour it was seen to be approaching Cabaret de Navarin farm, over 2,500 yd. from Souain.
The Moroccan division (II. Colonial Corps) carried the first German line in the first rush and penetrated into the wood near the Souain - Tahure road. Parties of the 28th Div.
(XIV. Corps) took part in this whirlwind attack. In 17 minutes they had reached Trou Bricot, more than i,000 yd. from their jumping-off trenches; by noon they had passed the SouainTahure road and reached the slopes to the W. of this latter village, having advanced some 4,000 yd. and made considerable captures of material (to guns were taken by a single regiment). At this point they reached the hostile second position, which for the most part was sited on reverse slopes and was thus invisible save at a short distance. Before an attempt could be made to carry it a new artillery preparation was necessary.
In the Perthes gap French progress was quite as rapid. Two thousand yd. to the N. of the village the infantry reached the camp of Elberfelds, and captured some officers in their beds; they thus turned the left flank of the stormy redoubt N. of Le Mesnil; but the Germans held out in a switch trench for several days.
The XX. Corps attacked on the right of the XIV., the I I th Div. to the left, the 39th on the right and the 153rd in Corps reserve. The objectives of the iith Div. were the Cuisines ravine and Le Mesnil hill, involving an advance to a depth of 3,000 yd. on a front of 3,000. After carrying these defences it was to push a further 4,000 yd. to the Dormois valley.
The first part of this programme was speedily accomplished but the right of the XIV. Corps, held up by uncut wire, left the flank of the nth Div. in the air, and several enemy battalions, sheltered in two tunnels, running N. and S. under Le Mesnil hill, came out as soon as the French troops had passed on and fired into their rear; the left of the iith Div. was thus enveloped and destroyed in a desperate fight against superior numbers. An attempt was then made to push forward the right and turn the hill on the E., but the reinforcements asked for arrived too late.
To the right of the II th Div. the 39th had attacked, with its left moving on Maisons de Champagne. The crest on which this farm stood was taken and several enemy batteries surprised and captured. To the W., towards Bois Allonge, other batteries were rushed while in the act of limbering up. Further on two squadrons of mounted hussars intervened in a very unexpected manner; crossing the first enemy line despite a heavy barrage they debouched.rapidly, attracting to themselves all the attention of the enemy, who to the number of 600 were then captured by the infantry who profited by the diversion caused by the cavalry.
On the extreme right the I. Colonial Corps was to capture La Main de Massiges, a complicated tangle of ridges, covered with trenches and dugouts. In the first rush the Colonial troops reached in 20 minutes the crater on the summit of Hill 191; the enemy counter-attacked but without success. The mopping-up of the captured ground was then begun and continued for several days. In the evening eight enemy trench lines had been taken, and on the Index, it was said, as many as nineteen.
Generally speaking the day had been highly successful, although at certain points the Germans still maintained their first positions. Almost everywhere the French had advanced some 2,000 to 4,000 yd., and Gen. de Castelnau believed that the road to Vouziers would soon be opened. But the French line was very sinuous, some units facing E. and some W. and the rest N. In the region of Perthes and Souain, Sept. 26 and 27 were devoted to straightening the line and in feeling forward up to the second German position on a 12,000-yd. front. The advance went especially well between Auberive and Souain, N. of the Roman road, where the VII. Corps did brilliantly. By the 28th the total area reconquered from Auberive to the western slopes of the Souain valley measured 16,000 yd. sq., and 3,000 prisoners and 44 guns had been taken.
To the E. the French troops succeeded in linking up, on the 27th, with those operating against Hill 193, W. of Tahure, surrounding and capturing a body of the enemy 2,000 strong; the camp of Sadowa and Hill 201 facing Tahure hill were taken also.
On the remainder of the front, as far as the Aisne valley, the pressure of attack continued by means of violent bombardments, bombing attacks and local offensives. But on the 26th the 39th Div. was driven from Maisons de Champagne, and a fresh attack by the 153rd Div. on the 27th in the same region only partially succeeded.
On La Main de Massiges the Germans received reinforcements drawn particularly from the XVI. Corps, and French progress henceforth became more difficult. None the less the I. Colonial Corps continued to advance between the 25th and the 30th. To the N. it reached Mont Tetu (Hill 199), and pushed down towards Ville sur Tourbe, capturing prisoners and material.
By Sept. 28 contact was made with the German second position on a front of 13,000 yd. from S. of St. Souplet and SommePy. Westwards the line bent back towards Auberive, which was still in enemy hands, as was also the hill of Le Mesnil and the neighbouring woods to the E. But progress towards Tahure and Ripont and possession of La Main de Massiges secured the envelopment of this last position on both flanks.
On Sept. 28 and 29 the French succeeded in setting foot in this second hostile position at certain points such as to the W. of Le Mesnil hill and Navarin farm. In this last sector they had even breached this line, but on such a narrow front that the enemy easily succeeded in preventing any further penetration. All hope of a break-through had disappeared. The V. Cavalry Corps, which had been brought forward in view of seizing any chance of exploitation, returned on the 28th to St. Remy, without even having gone into action. A general order dated Sept. 30 announced the close of the operations, the results of which included the capture of 25,000 prisoners of whom 350 were officers, 150 guns and a large amount of material of war.
On Oct. 6 the second German position was almost intact; the attack was held up in front of it in extremely difficult conditions; the French troops were in poor and half-finished trenches, hastily dug on bare slopes and exposed to flanking and enfilade fire. The attacks which continued till Oct. 8 were difficult to carry out and cost many men. Tahure hill and the two Mamelles (Hill 187) N. of Le Mesnil were, however, taken, but Le Mesnil hill remained in enemy hands. Several attacks and counterattacks took place at the end of Oct. and the beginning of Nov. without resulting in any material change in the situation.
According to Gen. Mangin the 'Sept. offensive in Champagne cost the French 80,000 killed and missing and Ioo,000 evacuated sick or wounded. It was therefore extremely costly, and one cannot say that the results achieved were in proportion to the sacrifices and efforts. The Allies had engaged in Champagne and Artois 52 French and 13 British divisions, more than were put into line at the battle of the Marne. These masses were supported by 1,300 French and 300 British heavy guns. The consumption of munitions by the II., IV., and X. Armies attained enormous proportions-3,980,000 rounds for the 75's and 987,000 for the heavy artillery. It was admitted that this last figure especially was too small for good results to be achieved; the Allied fire had been insufficient to destroy the enemy's accessory defences or the trenches of the second and third lines, especially on the reverse slope. Finally the front of attack, 25,000 yd., was not wide enough to prevent effective flanking fire.
In short, the offensive had not all the character of suddenness, rapidity and continuity that was desirable, and it went on too long, involving heavy losses without hope of decisive results. Thus there arose the conception of offensives with limited objectives, which when adopted as a general policy became fatal. In some quarters there became observable a tendency to adopt an even simpler method, that of " nibbling " at the enemy by partial attacks; it was forgotten that by this means the Allied troops used up their moral and physical strength at least as rapidly as that of their adversaries.
(B. E. P.) IV. THE French Offensive On The Aisne, 1917 Plan of the Offensive. - The Allied plan of campaign for 1917 was drawn up, like the preceding one, at a conference which assembled at Chantilly, on Nov. 18 1916, together with the commanders-in-chief, Joffre and Sir Douglas Haig, and all the heads of the British, Italian, Russian, Belgian, Serbian and Rumanian Missions.
The formation of new German divisions led it to be supposed that there would be a repetition of an attack during the early days of the spring, probably on the western front. It was therefore decided that active operations should be pushed forward on each front in every possible way compatible with climatic conditions. " In order to deny to the enemy the initiative in resuming operations, the Allied armies will be ready to make a joint offensive from the first half of Feb. 1917, with all the available forces at their disposal." The beginning of the offensive would be fixed according to circumstances and by common consent of the commanders-in-chief, who would maintain between themselves the " closest liaison." The Russian High Command declared its willingness to undertake the task of putting Bulgaria out of action; the Allied army in Salonika, brought up to a strength of 23 divisions, should cooperate. The mutual support that the Allies gave each other during the preceding year should continue, and the Franco-British and Italian staffs should jointly study questions of transport and the cooperation of troops.
General Joffre therefore drew up from Nov. 27 a general plan of attack. From Feb. r the French armies were to be ready to attack between the Somme and the Oise, at the same time as British forces between Bapaume and Vimy; from Feb. 20, the group of armies forming the centre would attack in their turn in Champagne between Pontavert and Reims.
The method of these attacks is detailed in instructions dated Dec. 16 and based upon experience gained both at Verdun and on the Somme. They were to take place on as large a front as possible, to aim at carrying the enemy's artillery positions in order to disorganize the defence by the capture of their guns, and to follow each other with the shortest possible delay in order to gain the whole advantage of any results obtained. The break-through was to be exploited boldly and vigorously; for it is the strength and rapidity of attack which ensures success. The tactical development, which must be indicated in operation orders, is to be realized by the grouping of forces according to the lie of the ground, the strongest forces being reserved for those sectors where progress can be most rapid. The preparation of attacks with artillery support is moreover studied in detail in these instructions; they indicate clearly, however, a change of method and consider the possibility of being able to break the enemy front by mass attack rapidly executed, carefully prepared and studied in its smallest detail.
The question of exploiting a successful attack is not forgotten, and its rapidity should embarrass the enemy and anticipate the arrival of his reserves; the attacks have a definite objective, but they are no longer forced to limit themselves to this objective.
M. Briand's Government strongly urged decisive offensive for the spring of 1917; political parties supported this. The effect produced on the public mind by the prolongation of hostilities and by a war of attrition was exaggerated; it was feared that German submarines would prevent the import into France of food and raw materials; lastly, the maintenance of combatant forces was, it was stated, becoming difficult. In the Chamber of Deputies the War Commission in Dec. handed to the Government the report of M. Violette supporting its conclusions: " If we are wise, we shall recommence active operations from the end of Feb.. .. the initiative in the great battle is a question of life or death for France." It was in these circumstances that Gen. Nivelle took over the command of the French armies, in order to carry out the operations decided upon by the Allied Governments, drawn up by the Allied general staffs, and in which the plan of attack had been decided upon in general instructions issued by his predecessor. He considered that the front of attack might be slightly extended, and that there would be a great advantage for the progress of the offensive in Champagne in capturing the Chemin des Dames, a formidable position which overlooked the whole plain, and which assured him a bridgehead on the right bank of the Aisne.
Furthermore, the attack on the Somme and that on the Aisne must be simultaneous, and not successive, as in the original plan. The Anglo-French offensive in the N. was to begin with a considerable straightening out of the British front.
Sir Douglas Haig was to attack Vimy with his I. Army, at the same time the III. and V. Armies should reduce the pocket left between Arras and Bapaume after the success of 1916. Following this, a concerted action should be undertaken in conjunction with the northern group of French armies, which was to operate between the Somme and the Oise. General d'Esperey had relieved Gen. Foch of his command, the latter having been unjustifiably placed in disgrace after the battle of the Somme, the results of which were misunderstood.
On the Aisne the French offensive was to stretch from Vailly to Reims; Gen. Petain, having been consulted by the new commander-in-chief regarding the offensive that had been planned, had very frankly expressed his criticism, which made it difficult to employ him in carrying out the operations. General Nivelle therefore entrusted their preparation to Gen. Micheler, who at this moment was strongly in favour of a lightning mass attack. The V. Army under Masel, which had occupied the front of the attack since 1914, closed up on its right in order to make way for the VI. Army, of which Gen. Mangin had just assumed command; the X. Army under Duchesne was held in reserve in order to exploit any success after the line had been broken.
The operation plans were drawn up for the various branches of the command according to the usual procedure. The general officer commanding, Gen. Nivelle, gave directions and indicated the form of attack; the commander of the group of armies, Gen. Micheler, fixed the objectives; the commanders of the armies, Masel and Mangin, shared the task amongst their army corps, and the instructions which were given to them were strictly limited to the role of their armies in the battle. It could not be otherwise, the commander-in-chief alone is in a position to conceive and draw up the plan of an offensive on a grand scale, as this presupposes a thorough knowledge of the general situation, of the possible cooperation of Allied armies, of the strength and resources of the national armies and of the enemy armies, as well as the instructions issued by the various war commissions - and finally of the intentions of the Government.
General Nivelle had decided on a smashing attack, aiming with the first assault to capture the enemy positions and the entire zone occupied by the artillery; this idea was in accord with the orders issued on Dec. 16 and signed by his predecessor, carried out on two occasions under his orders at Verdun. Such an operation appeared quite feasible, and no one raised any objection to it. He foresaw also, immediately after the breakthrough, the possibility of rapidly exploiting his success; the breach made would be immediately enlarged on both sides and the " armee de manoeuvre" brought into action: " the later development of the operations having as its object to bring the main forces as rapidly as possible in a northerly direction: the main pivot Craonne-Guise." General Micheler, in transmitting these directions, added that, in his opinion, the whole of the operations could be accomplished either on the day of attack or at the la test on the morning of the following day. As the objective to be reached he sketched a line passing to the farther side of the hills which overlook the north bank of the Ailette, reaching the plain of Laon to the N. and pushing in an easterly direction beyond the fort of Brimont. The first schemes of the operations called forth exchanges of opinion, as is always the case under similar circumstances. The only reservations were made by Gen. Mangin, who asked that preparations for attack, followed by this actual carrying out, should take place on several other sectors of the front, in order to obtain at the very least a relative surprise; he asked for exceptionally powerful artillery in order to shorten the period of preparation without endangering the actual task of destruction; and he added: " Seasonable weather is of great importance; march rapidity demands good going of the roads; the development of the operation would be assisted when the days are long and the nights clear. It is to be hoped that operations carried out prior to the main attack will have denied to the enemy freedom of movement and initiative in attack, and that we shall be able to hope for the splendid day when we shall be able to bring into action our colonial forces." He pointed out to the commanderin-chief that, on a front of attack so difficult, without direct ground observation, it would be very nearly necessary to wait for fine days, when aerial observation is good and the ground hard.
These requests and observations were submitted to the High Command as an appreciation to be examined and compared with all others and to affect the final decision, which was the responsibility of the commander-in-chief alone.
General Nivelle never ceased repeating that it was necessary " to go on as far as possible " after the day of attack; Gen. Micheler fixed a first line to be reached in three hours and a second line three hours after. He went into too minute details which did not allow any initiative to his subordinate commanders; some differences arose which Gen. Nivelle had to smooth over.
To go on as far as possible implies that the attack continues until it encounters an obstacle which it cannot overcome without the help of new and methodical preparation; it is not by orders issued that the attack will be stopped, but by the action of the enemy; the High Command prepares itself to profit by the confusion brought about so often at various points of the field of battle, and, with this end in view, prepares its subordinates by pointing out very distant objectives. This is a principle second to none, and its application in 1918 brought victory to the French after giving the Germans their victories in March and May.
The necessity of foreseeing the exploitation of any success after a break-through is obvious; it was particularly evident in 1917. It was necessary to compel the general staffs and cadres of all formations to study the requirements demanded in a war of movement (which for a long time were lost to view), to think out the equipment of the foot soldier and the lightening of kit, the formation of columns, their march and supply, to decide upon the grouping of the heavy artillery which should rejoin in succession each army corps and army, to study natural obstacles, the network of roads, etc.
General Micheler obviously went rather far when he contemplated a threat on the enemy communications, " who would then be squeezed up between the Ardennes and the southern point of Holland," but this anticipation, realized in the following year, did not go beyond the general staff of the armies.
The preparations for the offensive were in full swing when, on March 14, the withdrawal of the German line on the Hindenburg position commenced; this extended, on March 19, to the front between the Oise and the Aisne. The pursuit was immediate and vigorous. The Germans were hustled on to a prepared line, a line at which they had prepared to limit their withdrawal and to allow themselves time to organize at leisure the Hindenburg position. The completion of their field works, hampered by artillery fire, cost them considerable losses.
The German retreat had long been thought out and prepared. Only a small quantity of booty fell into the hands of the Allied armies. The evacuated zone had been systematically destroyed. It was not to be wondered at that all the roads of communication had been destroyed - that was war; to destroy inhabited places which could be used as a shelter for troops and which were near to the firing line is admissible, although this practice is straining severely the demands of war necessity. But to devote a large quantity of explosive to blow up stately ruins, like those of the castle of Coucy, and much manual labour to cut down the fruit trees - that is savagery.
It is essential to point out that important means of destruction were thus diverted from military use; by blowing up larger stretches of road, by felling a larger number of trees planted along their line of retreat, the Germans could have hindered to a great extent the advance and supply of the French troops. But not only against the Allied armies did the Germans wage war, but against the people of France, struck at in their past as in their future, in their artistic, industrial and agricultural wealth.
The plan of operations drawn up by Gen. Nivelle was necessarily modified by the withdrawal of the German line; the prepara tions in full course of execution of the army group under Franchet d'Esperey fell through, and on this front it was necessary to be satisfied with pushing the enemy in the direction of St. Quentin. But the British attack took up the greater part of its strength. On the Aisne, between Vailly and Neuvilette, the French attack retained all its power to operate; Gen. Mangin pointed out that during the withdrawal the German line had formed a rightangled salient in the direction of Laffaux mill and that an attack to the N. of this salient, directed vigorously, would take the Chemin des Dames in rear. General Micheler, commanding the group of armies of reserve, after some difficulty transmitted this suggestion to Gen. Nivelle, who accepted it and sanctioned the employment of two divisions. The remainder of his unattached troops were employed in a new attack to the E. of Reims on the Moronvilliers massif, which the IV. Army under Anthoine prepared to attack. General Nivelle calculated that the German withdrawal, which was a confession of weakness, only confirmed his desire to attack the German armies as soon as possible with all his forces. The modifications on the front of attack were sufficiently important, but on the whole he thought that they would improve a situation already favourable for an offensive.
But two new events called into question even the principle of an offensive. On the demand of the German High Command, unrestricted submarine warfare had been decided upon by the Imperial Government, in spite of the formal declaration of President Wilson that the United States would look upon it as a definitely hostile act. All parties, even the most extreme, had approved of that resolution; the only reservation, entirely platonic, was made by the Socialists, and that was to throw the responsibility for it upon the Governments of the Entente who had rejected the German offers of peace.
The Central Powers faced the entry of the United States into the war with their eyes wide open; they calculated that their army would never be of more than very mediocre value and that its transport to Europe would be very difficult.. The declaration of unrestricted submarine war was made to the United States on Jan. 30. On Feb. 3 President Wilson declared solemnly to Congress that relations with Germany were broken off; on April 5 and 6 the Senate and the House of Representatives recognized the state of war with Germany.
Almost at the same time the Russian revolution broke out. The Tsar Nicholas II., who had opened the Hague Peace Conference, and who had granted to his people their first franchise, suppressed alcohol, and, during the war, had shown himself to be a faithful ally whose help had often been invaluable, had fallen under the influence of the Empress, a German by birth; and she was under the control of the monk Rasputin and of German influences. The Tsar had become more and more detached from his people. From March 7 to 12, disorders broke out and grew in intensity; the provisional Government, which had been formed, collapsed with the imperial throne, and Russia fell into the hands of a power both erratic and weak, incarnated in the person of Kerensky. He proclaimed loyalty to the Alliance, but his military power appeared to diminish with the loss of discipline in the army. The Allies could no longer count on the Russian offensive scheduled for the spring.
Whilst this was going on, an incident took place on March 20 at a sitting of the Chamber which led to the resignation of the Minister of War, Gen. Lyautey, and, in consequence, of the Briand Cabinet. His successor, M. Ribot, chose as his Minister of War M. Painleve, who, backed up by an important party in Parliament, had refused to enter the Briand combination because he disapproved of the nomination of Gen. Nivelle as commander-in-chief, because he was not in favour of that system of war which Gen. Nivelle, to his mind, typified.
M. Painleve questioned those army commanders whom he presumed capable of being able to provide him with arguments against the intended offensive, but not the others. He increased their hesitation without even understanding it. These conferences took place without the commander-in-chief, who was informed by his subordinates but not by the minister. General Nivelle was also aware that a superior officer had been deputed at the ministerial office to draw up a dossier against the offensive scheme, and he was disturbed about it. Nevertheless, none of the generals interrogated recommended that the offensive should be given up; they did not believe that it would lead to all the results foreseen by their chief, but they did not take the responsibility of advising its abandonment. Their opinion, therefore, was limited to absolutely sterile criticism.
On March 24, M. Painleve also consulted Sir Douglas Haig and a number of British officers; without going into details of method, their unanimous advice was " to strike rapidly, with full force, a great blow at the enemy "; and he became convinced at the beginning of April, after the Russian revolution and the entry of the United States into the war, that the British were resolutely in favour of the great offensive.
It would have seemed that the Minister of War would be satisfied with that. But, on April 3, a conference took place at his instigation at the Ministry of War between M. Ribot, President of the Council, the Minister of War, the Minister of Marine Adml. Lacaze, the Minister of Munitions M. Albert Thomas, the Minister for the Colonies M. Maginot, and Gen. Nivelle.
The question for discussion was to examine if the offensive, the date of which was fixed for April 8, should take place in the new situation following the German withdrawal, the Russian revolution, and the entry of the United States into the war.
This conference, which took place five days before the date fixed for the offensive, was useless; it was unable to decide anything, unless it were the meeting of the War Committee to examine the same question - that is to say, if there was any reason to interfere with the British, in order to modify the plans drawn up in agreement with them and of which M. Painleve had just learnt that they were firm supporters. Worried by questions concerning the way in which the attack would be unfolded, the commander-in-chief affirmed his unshaken belief in a rapid break-through, followed immediately by the foreshadowed exploitation which would, in the course of about three days, bring the group of armies under Micheler up to the Serre, 30 km. from his position of attack. In the course of the discussion, the necessity of destroying the first and second lines was pointed out, as well as the advantage of attacking when the weather was favourable.
It was decided that " the commander-in-chief should attack on the front which he had selected, at a time when he judged his preparations were complete, and on a day to be chosen by him." He had accordingly a free hand.
Everything appeared to be settled, and Gen. Nivelle free at last to prepare for the coming offensive, when Gen. Messimy, Deputy and formerly Minister of War, commanding one of the brigades which was going to take part in the offensive, approached M. Ribot, president of the Council, and handed him a report which, he said, expressed accurately " the opinion of officers of the highest repute in the French army and notably even that of the general who was to direct the coming offensive, Gen. Micheler." This report called for the immediate despatch of eight French and British divisions to the Trentino, and affirmed that only limited results could be obtained from the offensive and only at the price of important losses. The report said further that the order should be given immediately to wait for fine weather before beginning offensive operations in France, and in conclusion the commanders of groups of armies should be listened to, either singly or together, commencing with Gen. Micheler.
This report did not bring out anything new, and it was fatal as in the end the irresolution of the Government communicated itself to the subordinate staffs. It was sufficient, however, to bring about the assembly at Compiegne on April 6 of an extraordinary council of war; the President of the Republic, the president of the Council, together with the three Ministers of National Defence, the commander-in-chief and the generals commanding army groups, Micheler, Petain, d'Esperey, were present. General. Foch, who held the rank of commander of an army group, had been sent hastily the day before to Italy and was therefore not present. The Minister of War asked if the new situation did not modify the circumstances of the offensive. General Nivelle pointed out the necessity for an immediate offensive, carried through to the end; the commanders of army groups were all of his opinion on this point, and Gen. Micheler, in direct contradiction to the memorandum which had brought about the war council, got up and said: "It is necessary to attack as quickly as possible, as soon as we are ready and the weather is favourable." All expressed however, in different ways, their doubts concerning an immediate break-through.
General Petain was particularly explicit: there were sufficient forces to pierce the enemy front but not to develop success. General Nivelle thereupon said: " Since I am not in agreement with either the Government or with my subordinates, nothing remains for me to do except to place my resignation in the hands of the President of the Republic." Everyone then protested that it was impossible to change the commander-in-chief on the eve of an attack of which all had admitted the necessity, and Gen. Nivelle, after some hesitation, refrained from sending his letter of resignation. The net result was that the council of war broke up without deciding anything except the necessity of the offensive. Before the commission of inquiry into the operations on the Aisne, which was called together in July 1917, Gen. Foch expressed himself thus: " Nivelle indeed acted thoughtlessly in accepting the invitation to be present at the conference at Compiegne; but I return to the point that the Government, having heard the opinions expressed at this conference, invited Gen. Nivelle to carry through the operations." General Retain, having recalled the fact that he had pronounced an opinion unfavourable to the offensive, first to the Minister of War and later to the president of the Council, concluded by saying: " The Government, fully informed, took no notice. The chief responsibility therefore rests on their shoulders." The report of the commission, which comprised Generals Brugere, Foch and Gouraud, is severe on the conference: " The doubt which had crept into the minds of the chief actors would not have been dissipated by the meeting on April 6. They did not give that mutual confidence and that belief in success which give to the commander-in-chief that energy and incentive that enable him to overcome events." The report records that there was no intervention taken to counteract the action of the commanderin-chief nor to weaken his orders, although the majority of those who met at Compiegne considered them as unrealizable. General Nivelle was allowed a free hand, with the reservation which was not clearly expressed, that if, after 24 hours of fighting, the results were indecisive and losses too heavy, the operation should be broken off. General Nivelle, however, reiterating his belief in a rapid penetration, declared that he did not wish to offer battle in half-measure, and that he did not know what form the struggle would take, once it was engaged. However, the two officers that Gen. Nivelle had taken with him to draw up the report had been dismissed and no written statement had been made. Everything remains, therefore, confused concerning this " extraordinary " council of war, the reason of the meeting, the debates and the conclusion. The memorandum of Gen. Messimy asked that the army group commanders might be consulted " either separately or together," but it did not ask that they should be confronted with their commander-in-chief before the foremost leaders of the State; it is necessary to point out, as well, a regrettable difference between this memorandum, which was based chiefly on the observations of Gen. Micheler, and the attitude of that general before the conference; all the army group commanders had been consulted by the Minister of War, at the instigation of Gen. Messimy, who had received satisfaction without being aware of it. The raison d'etre of the conference thus vanished.
All the army group commanders considered that the offensive was absolutely necessary, and they thought that Gen. Nivelle anticipated from it results which it was not reasonable to hope for. They had spoken of this at the Ministry of War; they repeated it at the conference with different variations which, however, did not affect the essence of their declarations. With what object, then, to reproduce them? The Government are responsible for the general conduct of the war, but the commander-in-chief, their choice, has the command and the responsibility for the operations. The Government considered that the offensive was necessary and repeated their view on April 3. If they no longer had confidence in the commander-in-chief - let them remove him. Even if this confidence continues or if it diminishes after a change of command on the eve of an attack, why take away so much of its chance of success by undertaking so hazardous a thing?
Assembled without rhyme or reason, this " extraordinary council of war " killed the confidence between the commanderin-chief and his subordinates, a confidence already affected; this ordeal, which had never before been inflicted upon a military commander, threw Gen. Nivelle into a state of anxiety, however impassive he might be before the enemy in battle.
In accordance with the instructions of Gen. Nivelle, the British offensive commenced on April 9 before Arras and was continued until April 14 with great success.
It is true it had not effected a break-through but the advance was important and the booty taken considerable: 14,000 prisoners and 104 guns. The battle continued on this front. On April 14, the army group under d'Esperey had felt the Hindenburg line at the approaches of St. Quentin and had recognized its strength without being able to make any impression with the weak effectives available.
Fixed for April 12, postponed to the 14th and then to the 16th on account of bad weather, the offensive on the Aisne had been prepared in minute detail. First of all, it had been necessary to develop the lines of communication between the Marne and the Vesle and from there up to the front lines. A hundred and ten kilometres
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Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Battles in Champagne'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​bri/​b/battles-in-champagne.html. 1910.