Battles of French Flanders & Artois, France

View looking due south from St. Mary's A.D.S. Cemetery of the Double Crassier slag heap, one of the landscape characteristics of the Loos battlefield in Artois. Ninth Avenue British Military Cemetery is in the foreground.

By late September 1914, as the German Armies and Allied French and British Armies attempted to outflank one another during the series of battles known as “The Race to the Sea”, the fighting of the First World War arrived in French Flanders and Artois.

In 1914-1915 the Front Line trenches ran from the east and north of Arras, up over the high ground of the ridge at Notre Dame de Lorette, down onto the plain of Douai, through the mining area around Lens and across the flat, fertile plain to Armentières and the Belgian border. By the end of 1915 the French had pushed the Germans off the ridge of Notre Dame de Lorette, and the Front Lines was established a little further east on the ridge at Vimy.

Major, large-scale battles were fought in this region in each year of the war except for 1916, when particular actions were fought, such as at Fromelles. The toll of casualties on all sides in this sector of the Western Front was very high. This area is the location of a number of military cemeteries and national memorials dedicated to thousands of military losses.

French Flanders & Artois Battles 1914

French Flanders & Artois Battles 1915

French soldiers advancing towards the German lines near Arras. GWPDA
French soldiers advancing towards the German lines near Arras.

French Flanders & Artois Battles 1916

French Flanders & Artois Battles 1917

Shells bursting around Canadian positions near Arras. GWPDA
Shells bursting around Canadian positions near Arras.

French Flanders & Artois Battles 1918

Related Reading

Cover of Cheerful Sacrifice

Cheerful Sacrifice: Battle of Arras, 1917 (paperback)

by Jonathan Nicholls

Recommended as a study of the Battle of Arras in the spring of 1917 including many eye-witness accounts. 272 pages. Published by Leo Cooper Ltd (19 Nov 2005). ISBN-10: 1844153266; ISBN-13: 978-1844153268

Cover of Vimy Arras by Nigel Cave

Vimy Ridge: Arras (Battleground Europe) (paperback)

by Nigel Cave

Recommended guidebook in the Battleground Europe series. 208 pages. Published by Pen & Sword Books Ltd; Reprint edition (20 Nov 1995); ISBN-10: 0850523990; ISBN-13: 978-0850523997

Cover of Monchy le Preux book

Monchy le Preux - Arras (Battleground Europe) (paperback)

by Colin Fox

Recommended guidebook in the Battleground Europe series. 160 pages. Published by Pen & Sword Books Ltd. (7 Mar 2000). ISBN-10: 0850527384; ISBN-13: 978-0850527384

Cover of Underground War

The Underground War: Vimy Ridge to Arras: 1 (hardcover)

by Philip Robinson and Nigel Cave

Volume 1 of a planned 4 volume set. 360 pages. Published by Pen & Sword Military; First Edition edition (19 May 2011). ISBN-10: 1844159760; ISBN-13: 978-1844159765

Cover of Arras Panoramas

Arras: The Spring 1917 Offensive in Panoramas including Vimy Ridge and Bullecourt (hardcover)

by Peter Barton

304 pages. Published by Constable (24 Jun 2010). ISBN-10: 1845294211; ISBN-13: 978-1845294212

Cover of Walking Arras by Paul Reed

Walking Arras (Battleground Europe Series: Arras) (paperback)

by Paul Reed

Excellent guidebook in the Battleground Europe series. 240 pages; Published by Pen & Sword Battleground (30 April 2007); ISBN-10: 1844156192 and ISBN-13: 978-1844156191

Cover of Germans at Arras

The Germans at Arras (Images of War) (paperback)

by David Bilton

160 pages. Published by Pen & Sword Military (18 Sep 2008). ISBN-10: 1844157687; ISBN-13: 978-1844157686

Related Topics

Dud Corner Cemetery and Loos Memorial on the Loos Battlefield.
Dud Corner Cemetery

Visiting French Flanders & Artois Battlefields

Cemeteries on the French Flanders & Artois Battlefields

Preserved trenches at the Canadian Nationl Vimy Memorial Park on the Vimy Ridge.
Preserved trenches at the Canadian Nationl Vimy Memorial Park on the Vimy Ridge.

Monuments & Memorials on the French Flanders & Artois Battlefields

Museums on the French Flanders & Artois Battlefields

Battle Remains on the French Flanders & Artois Battlefields

Acknowledgements

(GWPDA) Photographs with grateful thanks to the Great War Primary Document Archive: Photos of the Great War.