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Battle of the Lys (1918)
Published by Pen and Sword T he Americans launch their first operations; the beginning of the end for Germany at the Second Marne and Amiens; Austria signs armistice. The first independent American operation, an attack on a three-mile deep Germanheld salient in eastern France.
The Doughboys repulsed repeated counter-attacks. Simultaneous Austrian attacks on the Asiago Plateau and across the River Piave had early success but Allied counter-attacks drove the Austrians back to start lines. A two-phase battle that marked the beginning of the end for German hopes of victory. But forewarned, the French met the attack head-on and held it on the river.
Then on July 18 — in a curious echo of the First Marne battle in — a Franco-American force with tanks counterattacked the vulnerable German flank.
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A llied casualties: ,; German: , The first hugely successful blow in a new Allied strategy — designed by the French generalissimo Ferdinand Foch — to deliver a series of sharp, surprise attacks, each with a specific objective, and to halt them before the enemy brought up reserves. On August 8, spearheaded by Canadian and Australian troops, and supported by tanks and many horsemen, the British portion of the attack advanced eight miles on a mile front — the furthest one-day advance on the Western Front since — with the French mirroring this success to the south.
The British had used 50, troops, half as many as on July 1, , but they were better trained and with a huge advantage in firepower. When the advance slowed, the operation was ended on August 11, prompting Ludendorff to concede Germany could no longer win the war. Two-pronged assault by the newly formed American First Army with French assistance on the sq mile St Mihiel salient forced the Germans to evacuate. Bulgaria sues for peace. The road to Damascus was open. But resistance would stiffen in the days ahead. We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future.
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Telegraph News. August , Cer Mountain An invading Austrian army, surprised by Serbian forces, was forced to retreat. A ugust 20, Gumbinnen A Russian advanced guard repulsed an attack by two German corps near the East Prussian border, inflicting 8, casualties on a force of just 30, Sept 2-Nov 7, Tsingtao A tiny 4,strong German garrison in the Chinese treaty port of Tsingtao surrendered to a besieging force of 25, Japanese and 1, British. November 4, Tanga A disastrous British attack on the East African port of Tanga, when 8, men of the Indian Army were repulsed by a 1,strong German force, mostly African askaris.
March , Neuve Chapelle The British made an early gain by taking the village of Neuve Chapelle in Artois but reserves were slow to move forward and a breakthrough was thwarted.
Battle for Flanders
April May 25, Second Ypres Using chlorine gas for the first time, the Germans drove the Allies back to the outskirts of Ypres but lacked reserves and the town remained in British hands. Click here to watch the Gallipoli campaign explained. Sept Oct 14, Loos Using gas before the raid, the British made early progress but could not break into open country. Oct 5-Nov 23, Serbia Having twice repulsed Austrian offensives, the Serbians were overwhelmed by the combined forces of Austria, Germany and Bulgaria, with Belgrade falling on October 9. O ct Nov 3, Third Isonzo With better artillery preparation, the Italians made good ground on either side of the town of Gorizia but were stopped by fierce Austrian counter-attacks.
Feb , Erzurum The Russians defied snowstorms to capture the chain of mountain forts protecting Erzurum in eastern Anatolia, the gateway to the Turkish heartland.
The Battle for Flanders: German Defeat on the Lys 1918
Feb Dec 18, Verdun In the longest battle of the war, the German plan to wear down the French army and break civilian spirit failed. F ebruary April Hindenburg Line German forces south of Arras pull back up to 25 miles to a new, straighter line of defences — a response to their heavy casualties in On April 12 th the Germans made a concerted attempt to capture Hazebrouk, a major Allied logistics centre.
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- The Battle for Flanders - German Defeat on the Lys , Chris Baker.
- Objective Hazebrouck.
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The capture of this town would have been a major blow for the Allies. However, the town held out when the Australian 1 st Division halted the German advance five miles from the town centre. Initially Foch was unwilling to send reinforcements but on April 14 th he did just this.
The First World War: a complete timeline
While the Germans continued to advance and took several key targets Mount Kemmel and the Scherpernberg — both of which gave the Germans height advantage , the attack had started to stall by April 29 th with the arrival of French reinforcements. Luderndorff called a halt to the attack. The Battle of Lys cost the Germans dearly in terms of men lost. While the arrival of thousands of US troops boosted Allied manpower, the Germans could not afford such losses despite men arriving from the Eastern Front.
The Germans lost , killed, wounded or missing.