An epic timeline of WW1 battles.
Created by leanbe on Mar 15, 2011
Last updated: 03/17/11 at 11:43 PM
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US, BEF, France and Italy vs Germany The last major German attack of WW1. The German forces decided to launch at the Allied Forces, but failed to break through the Allies lines. The Allied Commander then ordered a counter attack, to eliminate the German forces along the French lines. The Allied attack was successful and the Germans retreated back to where they were at the beginning of the war. Casulties were high on both sides, France suffered 95,000 casualties, Germany 168,000, with Britain incurring 13,000 losses and the U.S. 12,000.
Britain vs. Germany A significant battle in WW1; the first battle in which tanks were used, alongside the strong powers of the heavy artillery and airpower, and where mobility played a role British General Douglas Haig decided to attack the town of Cambrai to utilize its strategic railhead. It was near the Hindenburg Line, a defensive position in which the Germans relied on. When the battle started, the British had the advantage with an intense artillery raid with the advancement of several tanks. The distance gained with the tanks and infantry was more than that gained in other battles of the war. However, the tanks had a problem crossing the St. Quentin Canal, and the other British units weakened. The German Army was able to counter-attack, with the British units isolated, and with the success of said counter-attack Haig withdrew from the battle, resulting the victory of the German Army. The British Army lost 44,000+ men, while the German Army lost around 45,000 men, nearly the same amount of casualties for both sides.
BEF vs Germany Unlike the first two battles, The Third Battle of Ypres was an allied offensive led by General Sir Douglas Haig. The main objective of the offensive was to destroy a German Sub Base that was devastating the British Navy. The assault began on July 31. The British began with bombardment on July 18 on the land surrounding Ypres. However, large rainfall amounts made it tough for British advances. The rain caused the British tanks to be ineffective and reduced the mobility of the infantry. Germany then began to use mustard gas against the advancing British Army. Nonetheless, the British army was able to to advance. The British then took control of a very strategic town, Passchendaele. The British suffered 310,000 casualtities and the germans 268,000.
Britain & France vs. Germany A major battle of WW1; it demonstrated the terrors of warfare and showed the nullification of Trench warfare. The Battle of Verdun had a strong negative impact on the French. Thus, they fought against Germany as a means of revenge and relieving the pressure on the French Army. ‘The necessity of relieving pressure on the French Army at Verdun remains, and is more urgent than ever. This is, therefore, the first objective to be obtained by the combined British and French offensive. The second objective is to inflict as heavy losses as possible upon the German armies.” - Sir William Robertson, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, after War of Verdun The battle was fought on the western front, Britain & France vs. Germany Trench warfare was used by the German Army, however was futile against the artillery shells from the Allies; “The enemy's position to be attacked was of a very considerable character, situated on high, undulating tract of ground. (They had) deep trenches....bomb proof shelters......wire entanglements forty yards broad often as thick as a man's finger. Defences of this nature could only be attacked with the prospect of success after careful artillery preparation” -Field Marshall Haig (British general) In the end, the British army lost 420,000 men, the French army lost about 200,000 men, and the German army lost 500,000 men. The Allied forces were able to advance a 30-mile front, and were considered the victors.
British Navy vs Germany Navy The only naval battle of WW1, fought between Germany and Britain, in which both sides had many casualties and both sides claimed that they were victorious. The British fleet lost more ships, but the German fleet was “never again to be in a position to put to sea and challenge the British Navy in the North Sea.”
France and BEF vs Germany The Battle of Verdun is considered the greatest and lengthiest battle in the history of the modern world, what makes it worse is the small piece of land on which the battle was fought on. In 1915, Germany had been doing well, and decided that it could spare some troops from the Eastern Front to help launch an all out attack on France in an effort to make France surrender and leave England with no choice but to do so also. General Erich von Falkenhayn, the German Commander in Chief decided that Verdun would be a good place to attack, first of all, the German Army had a good strategic position at Verdun and secondly, Verdun was historically important to France, so France would do everything possible to keep it from falling into German hands. He assumed that France would take an extreme number of casualties in defending Verdun and would eventually have to surrender. "The string in France has reached breaking point . . . the French General Staff would be compelled to throw in every man they have. If they do so the forces of France will bleed to death." Falkenhayn to Kaiser William II The French Commander Joffre did not anticipate this attack, so the German Army took Fort Doumont with little to no resistance. For the next months French and German troops poured into Verdun, with the Germans relentlessly attacking the French lines. Although the Germans had several chances to take Verdun, the first time bad weather kept the Germans at bay. The second time, purely by coincidence, a Russian attack forced Germany to divert troops from Veerdun to defend against the Russian attack lead by Alexei Brusilov. After this, the tide turned and the French eventually took back Fort Doumont, but at the cost of 360,000 men while the Germans lost nearly 340,000. The Battle of Verdun was a turning point in the war, had the Germans taken Verdun, France would most likely have surrendered and Germany would have won the war. Instead the war continued with the use of poison gas and propaganda surging after 1916.
BEFand France vs Germany Yet another German offensive into Belgium, led by Eric Von Falkenhayn. However, this time the main objective was to divert allied atention from the eastern front and for the testing of chlorine gas. Attacks on Ypres began in April, 1915. The first use of gas on the western front was used during this battle. In total 5,700 canisters were fired and 168 tons of chlorine gas released. Sir John French made a statement concerning the use of gas. “I much regret that during the period under report the fighting has been characterized on the enemy's side by a cynical and barbarous disregard of the well-known usages of civilized war and a flagrant defiance of the Hague Convention. All the scientific resources of Germany have apparently been brought into play to produce a gas of so virulent and poisonous a nature that any human being brought into contact with it is first paralyzed and then meets with a lingering and agonizing death.” The gas was extremely successful and caused the allied force to retreat. 10,000 troops were killed and 2,000 were captured during the gas attack. Germany did another gas attack on april 24 against canadian troops located a ridge surrounding Ypres. The canadian army suffered 5,975 casualities. The British General, Sir John French, and the French General, Ferinand Froch, ordered a retreat closer to Ypres. Germany gained more strategic land around Ypres from the retreat, but the allies still remained in control of the city. Germany suffered 35,000 casualities, France suffered 10,000 and Britain 59,000. The battle of Ypres allowed Germany to test chlorine gas, however the allies quickly developed masked to counter it.
BEF and France vs Germany Part of the German offensive, “Race to the Sea.” The offensive was led by Eric Von Falkenhayn .The main purpose of the German offensive was to allow Germany to have a port in the north sea. Germany had a lot of success up to the battle of Ypres. Germany was constantly causing allied retreats and gaining more land everyday. The attack on Ypres began with the German assault on Ypres on October 14. However, the British were bolstered by french reinforcements and were able to halt the German advance. The battle ended November 22 1914. Britain was able to remain in control of Ypres, however at the sacrifice of 58,155 casualties. France suffered 50,00 causalities and Germany 130,000. This battle was extremely influential in preventing Germany to have a port in the north sea.
France and BEF vs Germany According to the Schlieffen Plan, Germany decided to invade France, and attack Paris. Joseph Joffre, the French General, decided that the best way to defend Paris was to attack the Germans. The French attack was unexpected and caused the German Army to split into two, one marching towards Paris, the other facing the attacking French and BEF. The gap created poor communication between the two German Armies and Von Moltke, the German Chief of Staff, decided to order a retreat. The German Army was not expecting to retreat and thus had no plans for the for what to do during a retreat, so the Germans decided to dig themselves in and wait for the French and BEF. Unknowingly the Germans had begun trench warfare which would dominate the rest of WW1. The Allies saved Paris, but at a very high cost, both the French and German Armies lost around 250,000 men while the BEF lost 13,000 men. Germany’s Schlieffen Plan failed and Germany would have to fight a to-front war.
BEF & France vs. Germany Centered around the Mons Canal in Belgium, the BEF and French Army fought against General Kluck and the German Army. Facing the BEF first, the German Army had bigger numbers and more firepower by about double. Alas, the BEF performed better in comparison. "Well entrenched and completely hidden, the enemy opened a murderous fire...the casualties increased....the rushes became shorter, and finally the whole advance stopped....with bloody losses, the attack gradually came to an end." A German account of British troop fire at Mons When the French Army realized the greater numbers of the German Army, it withdrew. The BEF became more exposed, and thus had to retreat to lessen casualties, resulting the victory of the German Army.