Following the Germany’s failure to achieve a decisive victory against France by invading through Belgium in 1914, a series of outflanking battles north towards the English Channel with the French Army and British Expeditionary Force had led to stalemate on the Western Front and both sides suffered a bitter winter in the trenches through to the spring of 1915.
Despite political plans to break the deadlock by taking the fight to Dardanelles, the Allies knew that the Germans had been moving a number of their Divisions away to fight against the Russians on the Eastern Front, therefore General Joffre and Field Marshal Sir John French aimed to exploit this apparent weakness by conducting an Anglo-French attack to break through the German Defences and beyond. Overstretched, the French had to withdraw from the plan.
On this tour we will therefore be taking you back to the very first independent British offensive action of the Great War which took place at the Battle of Neuve Chappelle in March 1915.
If the British and Indian Troops tasked to advance onto Aubers Ridge and down to the Plain of Lille could achieve their aims, major rewards beckoned. Speed would be a key factor if enough troops and artillery could be massed to punch through the sparsely defended German lines; but were the British taking on too much too soon?