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The Nivelle Offensive

Memorial to Louis Astoul along the Chemin-des-Dames of the 70th Senegalese Regiment who was killed April 16, 1917, the first day of the Second Battle of the Aisne, the Battle of Chemin-des-Dames.
Text:
1914–1918
A la mémoire
de notre fils bien aimé
le S-Lieutenant
Louis Astoul
du 70eme Sénégalais
Tombé glorieusement
dans ces parages
à l'âge de 24 ans
au cours de l'assaut
du 16 Avril 1917
et de ses camarades

In memory
of our beloved son
Second Lieutenant
Louis Astoul
of the 70th Senegalese
Fallen gloriously
in this area
at the age of 24 years
during the assault
of April 16, 1917
and his comrades

Memorial to Louis Astoul along the Chemin-des-Dames of the 70th Senegalese Regiment who was killed April 16, 1917, the first day of the Second Battle of the Aisne, the Battle of Chemin-des-Dames. © 2014 by John M. Shea

Image text

Text:

1914–1918

A la mémoire

de notre fils bien aimé

le S-Lieutenant

Louis Astoul

du 70eme Sénégalais

Tombé glorieusement

dans ces parages

à l'âge de 24 ans

au cours de l'assaut

du 16 Avril 1917

et de ses camarades



In memory

of our beloved son

Second Lieutenant

Louis Astoul

of the 70th Senegalese

Fallen gloriously

in this area

at the age of 24 years

during the assault

of April 16, 1917

and his comrades

Other views: Larger

French General Nivelle insisted he had found the key to victory, and that his 1917 spring offensive that would lead to a breakthrough. His plans called for three offensives, one by the British at Arras, a second by the Canadians at Vimy Ridge, and a third a week later by the French at Chemin des Dames. The initial attacks were intended to draw German reinforcements from that at Chemin des Dames. Despite the German strategic retreat, Nivelle made few modifications to his plans.

Under General Allenby, the British attacked on April 9 at Arras marshaling a force as large as that at the Somme a year before, but with significantly greater artillery support. They met with some initial success, but losses mounted over several days. They continued to try to break through in the same sector, as the defenses strengthened.

The same day [April 9], the Canadians attacked at Vimy. In two days they seized the Ridge that had cost the French thousands of casualties in the previous years.

The offensive continued as resistance stiffened.

The British suffered 150,000 casualties in Arras; the Germans, 100,000.

As the offensive at Arras continue, on April 16, Nivelle attacked in Champagne towards Chemin des Dames between Soissons and Reims with 1,400,000 French troops in 52 divisions under General Franchet d’Esperey. His troops faced steep, difficult, wooded terrain and solid German defenses. He theorized that the earlier British and Canadian attacks would have drawn German reinforcements from the sector. The high ground was dotted with caves, and the German defenders were well entrenched. The assault failed.

1917-04-16

1917-05-17

Events within The Nivelle Offensive (2)

Click to View Start Date End Date
Battle of Arras 1917-04-09 1917-05-17
Second Battle of the Aisne 1917-04-16 1917-05-05