|Third Battle of Artois|
|Part of the Western Front of World War I|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Crown Prince Rupprecht|
French Tenth Army|
6 British Divisions
|German Sixth Army|
|Casualties and losses|
The offensive, meant to complement the Champagne offensive, was the last attempt by French commander-in-chief Joseph Joffre to exploit the Allies' numerical advantage over Germany. Joffre's plan was for simultaneous attacks in Champagne-Ardenne and Artois, with the goal being to capture German railborne supply centers at Attigny and Douai thus forcing a German withdrawal.
Joffre's plan was a series of attacks along the Western Front, with the Italians attacking across the Isonzo River and the British Expeditionary Force launching an attack near Loos. At first, Field Marshal John French and General Sir Douglas Haig were against such an operation, citing a lack of heavy artillery, ammunition, and troop reserves. However, pressure from the British minister of war, Lord Horatio Kitchener, prompted French and Haig to agree to the military operation.
Following a four day artillery bombardment starting on 21 September, the French Tenth Army initiated their advance. By the 26th, the XXXIII and XXI Corps had taken the town of Souchez, but the III and XII Corps had made little progress southeast of Neuville-St Vaast. The French failed to breach the German second line of defense, and a breakthrough could not be achieved.
In an attempt to rejuvenate the stalled offensive, Joffre sent the French IX Corps to assist the British in an attack on Loos, but this action also yielded little of strategic value.
- The European powers in the First World War: an encyclopedia, Ed. Spencer Tucker, Laura Matysek Wood and Justin D. Murphy, (Taylor & Francis, 1999), p. 80.
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