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The Battle of Loos

Map of the plan for the Allied Offensive in France showing the situation on September 24, the eve of the infantry assault. An Anglo-French would attack eastward in Artois (with the British at Loos) as the French attacked northwards in Champagne. From 'Military Operations France and Belgium, 1915, Vol. II, Battles of Aubers Ridge, Festubert, and Loos' by Brigadier-General J.E. Edmonds.
Text:
Situation, 24th September 1915
Showing direction of the Allied offensive

Map of the plan for the Allied Offensive in France showing the situation on September 24, the eve of the infantry assault. An Anglo-French would attack eastward in Artois (with the British at Loos) as the French attacked northwards in Champagne. From 'Military Operations France and Belgium, 1915, Vol. II, Battles of Aubers Ridge, Festubert, and Loos' by Brigadier-General J.E. Edmonds.

Image text

Situation, 24th September 1915

Showing direction of the Allied offensive

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The British effort in General Joffre's Champagne-Loos-Artois Offensive for the fall of 1915, the Battle of Loos included the first men of Kitchener's Army, who had signed up in the first months of the war. The joint offensive included two French armies attacking in the Battle of Champagne, and a French and a British army simultaneously advancing in Artois. General Ferdinand Foch led a French army on a front from Lens south to Arras in the Third Battle of Artois. Both French offensives met with some success.

To Foch's north, Field-Marshall Sir John French commanded thirteen British divisions that had replaced French forces in August. The terrain across which they attacked was gently sloped with some steeper ridges and little cover for the advancing troops. Mines, mine towers, and slag heaps dotted the area, with the latter serving as observation posts.

The Allies opened with a four-day bombardment, but the British had only half the guns for each mile of front as the French, and British shell production was less than a quarter of that of France. The bombardment forewarned the Germans of the attack, but the British added an element of surprise with their first use of poison gas.

Their attack began on September 25. The gas caused some defenders to panic, but they regrouped, and the British troops, advancing in columns of 1,000 men, were slaughtered by German machine guns. Despite that, the British advanced.

On the night of the 25th, the Germans counter-attacked, suffering heavy losses.

The death toll at Loos exceeded that of previous battles, with the British losing 50,000 men to 20,000 Germans. The "First Hundred Thousand" of Kitchener's Army suffered heavily.

1915-09-25

1915-10-08

The Battle of Loos is part of The Champagne-Loos-Artois Offensive, Autumn 1915.

Statistics for The Battle of Loos (2)

Type Statistic
Casualties, German 20,000 German casualties
Casualties, British 50,000 British casualties