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Second Battle of the Aisne (Battle of Chemin des Dames)

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

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The Second Battle of the Aisne - the Battle of Chemin des Dames - was the largest and final assault of General Robert Nivelle's 1917 spring offensive. Chemin des Dames - the Ladies Road - ran along the high ground north of the Aisne River between Soissons and Reims that German forces had held since 1914. Nivelle expected that British and Canadian assaults at Arras and Vimy Ridge a week earlier would draw German forces from other sectors of the front, weakening the defensive line prior to the French advance.

On April 5, Nivelle began his preliminary bombardment. German aviators dominated the battlefield and disrupted French artillery registration, and poor weather repeatedly delayed the initial assault. On 16 April, Nivelle attacked with 1,400,000 French troops in 52 divisions under General Franchet d’Esperey. With machine gun and field guns defending against them, the French attacked up steep, difficult, wooded terrain, soaked by rain. In many places, the French took front line trenches, but were driven out by German counter-attacks.

Nivelle continued the offensive on the 17th, gaining some ground on his left wing. General Pétain launched a secondary attack east of Reims.

Having claimed to have found the secret to victory, and expecting a breakthrough in 48 hours, with his offensive failing on his own terms, Nivelle moved the French Tenth Army into position on the night of April 19-20 for another major assault. The government reined him in, promoting Pétain to chief of the general staff. Pétain began to limit the offensive, with a last attack on May 5. On May 15, he replaced Nivelle.

French casualties included 30,000 dead and 100,000 wounded. On May 3, some of the French units that had suffered most in the battle mutinied, a mutiny that extended to sixteen army corps in four armies.

1917-04-16

1917-05-05

Second Battle of the Aisne (Battle of Chemin des Dames) is part of The Nivelle Offensive.

Statistics for Second Battle of the Aisne (Battle of Chemin des Dames) (1)

Type Statistic
Killed, French 30,000 French killed