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The Second Battle of the Aisne (French: Bataille du Chemin des Dames or Seconde bataille de l'Aisne, 16 April – mid-May 1917) was the main part of the Nivelle Offensive, a Franco-British attempt to inflict a decisive defeat on the German armies in France. The strategy was to conduct sequenced offensives from north to south, by the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and several French army groups. General Robert Nivelle planned the offensive in December 1916, after he replaced Joseph Joffre as Commander-in-Chief of the French Army. The objective of the attack on the Aisne was to capture the prominent 80 kilometres (50 mi) long, east–west ridge of the Chemin des Dames, 110 kilometres (68 mi) north-east of Paris and then attack northwards to capture the city of Laon. When the French armies met the British advancing from the Arras front, the Germans would be pursued towards Belgium and the German frontier. The offensive began on 9 April, when the British attacked at the Battle of Arras. On 16 April, the Groupe d'armées de Reserve (GAR) attacked the Chemin des Dames and the next day, the Fourth Army of Groupe d'armées de Centre (GAC), near Reims to the south-east, began the Battle of the Hills.

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>The Second Battle of the Aisne (French: Bataille du Chemin des Dames or Seconde bataille de l'Aisne, 16 April – mid-May 1917) was the main part of the Nivelle Offensive, a Franco-British attempt to inflict a decisive defeat on the German armies in France. The strategy was to conduct sequenced offensives from north to south, by the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and several French army groups. ⇒第2回「エーンの戦い」(フランス語:「シュマン・デ・ダムの戦い」、1917年4月16日‐5月中旬)は、フランス国内のドイツ軍に決定的な敗北を課そうとする仏英軍の試み「ニヴェーユ攻撃」の主要部をなす戦いである。その戦略は、英国遠征軍(BEF)とフランス方面軍の数個グループによって、北から南へ向って一連の攻撃を実行することであった。 >General Robert Nivelle planned the offensive in December 1916, after he replaced Joseph Joffre as Commander-in-Chief of the French Army. The objective of the attack on the Aisne was to capture the prominent 80 kilometres (50 mi) long, east–west ridge of the Chemin des Dames, 110 kilometres (68 mi) north-east of Paris and then attack northwards to capture the city of Laon. ⇒ロベール・ニヴェーユ将軍は、フランス方面軍の総司令官としてジョセフ・ジョフルの後を継いだあと、1916年12月に攻撃を計画した。エーンに対する攻撃の目的は、パリの北東110キロメートル(68マイル)にある、東西長が80キロメートル(50マイル)のシュマン・デ・ダム尾根の突出部を攻略し、それから北方へ進んでラオン市を攻略することであった。 >When the French armies met the British advancing from the Arras front, the Germans would be pursued towards Belgium and the German frontier. The offensive began on 9 April, when the British attacked at the Battle of Arras. On 16 April, the Groupe d'armées de Reserve (GAR) attacked the Chemin des Dames and the next day, the Fourth Army of Groupe d'armées de Centre (GAC), near Reims to the south-east, began the Battle of the Hills. ⇒フランス軍がアラス前線から進軍してくる英国軍と出会うとき、ドイツ軍をベルギーとドイツの国境方面へ追跡することになっていた。攻撃は、英国軍の「アラスの戦い」の攻撃をもって、4月9日に始まった。4月16日、フランス予備軍グループ(GAR)がシュマン・デ・ダムを攻撃して、その翌日、フランス中央軍グループ(GAC)の第4方面軍が、南東のランス付近で「ヒルズの戦い」を開始した。

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    The rear edge of the German battle zone along the ridge, had been reinforced with machine-gun posts and the German divisional commanders decided to hold the front line, rather than giving ground elastically and few of the Eingreif divisions were needed to intervene in the battle. In 1939 Wynne wrote that the French lost 117,000 casualties including 32,000 killed in the first few days but that the effect on military and civilian morale was worse than the casualties. In the 1939 volume of Der Weltkrieg, the German official historians recorded German losses to the end of June as 163,000 men including 37,000 missing and claimed French casualties of 250,000–300,000 men, including 10,500 taken prisoner. In 1962, G. W. L. Nicholson the Canadian Official Historian, recorded German losses of c. 163,000 and French casualties of 187,000 men.[43] A 2003 web publication gave 108,000 French casualties, 49,526 in the Fifth Army, 30,296 casualties in the Sixth Army, 4,849 in the Tenth Army, 2,169 in the Fourth Army and 1,486 in the Third Army. In 2005, Doughty quoted figures of 134,000 French casualties on the Aisne from 16–25 April, of whom 30,000 men were killed, 100,000 were wounded and 4,000 were taken prisoner; the rate of casualties was the worst since November 1914. From 16 April – 10 May the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Tenth armies took 28,500 prisoners and 187 guns. The advance of the Sixth Army was one of the largest made by a French army since trench warfare began. The Battle of La Malmaison (Bataille de la Malmaison) (23–27 October) led to the capture of the village and fort of La Malmaison and control of the Chemin des Dames ridge. The 7th Army commander Boehn, was not able to establish a defence in depth along the Chemin-de-Dames, because the ridge was a hog's back and the only alternative was to retire north of the Canal de l'Oise à l'Aisne. The German artillery was outnumbered about 3:1 and on the front of the 14th Division 32 German batteries were bombarded by 125 French artillery batteries. Much of the German artillery was silenced before the French attack. Gas bombardments in the Ailette valley became so dense that the carriage of ammunition and supplies to the front was made impossible. German retreat from the Chemin des Dames, November 1917 From 24–25 October the XXI and XIV corps advanced rapidly and the I Cavalry Corps was brought forward into the XIV Corps area, in case the Germans collapsed. On 25 October the French captured the village and forest of Pinon and closed up to the line of the Canal de l'Oise à l'Aisne. In four days the attack had advanced 6 miles (9.7 km) and forced the Germans from the narrow plateau of the Chemin des Dames, back to the north bank of the Ailette Valley. The French took 11,157 prisoners, 200 guns and 220 heavy mortars. French losses were 2,241 men killed, 8,162 wounded and 1,460 missing from 23–26 October, 10 percent of the casualties of the attacks during the Nivelle Offensive.

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    The German strategic reserve rose to c. 40 divisions by the end of March and the Aisne front was reinforced with the 1st Army, released by Operation Alberich and other divisions, which raised the number to 21 in line and 17 in reserve on the Aisne by early April. The French Groupe d'armées du Nord (GAN) attacked the Hindenburg Line at St. Quentin on 13 April with no success and the "decisive" offensive, by the French Groupe d'armées de Réserve (GAR) began on 16 April, between Vailly and Rheims. The French breakthrough attempt was defeated but forced the Germans to abandon the area between Braye, Condé and Laffaux and withdraw to the Hindenburg Line from Laffaux Mill, along the Chemin des Dames to Courtecon. The German armies in France were still short of reserves, despite the retirements to the Hindenburg Line and divisions depleted by 163,000 casualties during the Nivelle Offensive and then replaced by those in reserve, had to change places with the counter-attack divisions, rather than be withdrawn altogether.

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    On 16 April, patrols went forward during the morning and found the area between the old and new front lines to be empty, the Germans still apparently in ignorance of the retirement; one patrol captured a German officer scouting for observation posts who did not know where the British were. Only in the late afternoon did German troops begin to close up to the new line and the British troops in the Battle Zone easily repulsed the German infantry, the 4th Army diary recorded that patrols discovered the withdrawal at 4;40 a.m. that afternoon. Next day, the Belgian Army defeated an attack from Houthulst Forest (The Battle of Merckem) against the 10th and 3rd Belgian divisions from Langemarck to Lake Blankaart by the 58th, 2nd Naval and the 6th Bavarian divisions, with help from the II Corps artillery. The Germans captured Kippe but were forced out by counter-attacks and the line was restored by nightfall. On the afternoon of 27 April, the south end of the outpost line was driven in when Voormezeele was captured, re-captured and then partly captured by the Germans; another outpost line was set up north-east of the village. Battle of Bailleul (13–15 April) Bailleul バイユール From 13–15 April, the Germans drove forward in the centre, taking Bailleul, 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) west of Armentières, despite increasing British resistance. Plumer assessed the heavy losses of Second Army and the defeat of his southern flank and ordered his northern flank to withdraw from Passchendaele to Ypres and the Yser Canal; the Belgian Army to the north conformed. First Battle of Kemmel (17–19 April) The Kemmelberg is a height commanding the area between Armentières and Ypres. On 17–19 April, the Fourth Army attacked and was repulsed by the British. Battle of Béthune (18 April) Béthune ベテューヌ On 18 April, the Sixth Army attacked south from the breakthrough area toward Béthune but was repulsed. Second Battle of Kemmel (25–26 April) French marshal, Foch, had recently assumed supreme command of the Allied forces and on 14 April agreed to send French reserves to the Lys sector. A French division relieved the British defenders of the Kemmelberg. From 25–26 April, the Fourth Army made a sudden attack on the Kemmelberg with three divisions and captured it. This success gained some ground but it made no progress toward a new break in the Allied line. Battle of the Scherpenberg (29 April) On 29 April, a final German attack captured the Scherpenberg, a hill to the north-west of the Kemmelberg.

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    The objective was commanded by the higher ground on the south bank and it was not until the 50th Division captured the rise on the south side of the Cojeul that the village was taken. Several determined German counter-attacks were made and by the morning of 24 April, the British held Guémappe, Gavrelle and the high ground overlooking Fontaine-lez-Croisilles and Cherisy; the fighting around Roeux was indecisive. The principal objective of the attack was the need to sustain a supporting action tying down German reserves to assist the French offensive against the plateau north of the Aisne traversed by the Chemin des Dames. Haig reported, With a view to economising my troops, my objectives were shallow, and for a like reason, and also in order to give the appearance of an attack on a more imposing scale, demonstrations were continued southwards to the Arras-Cambrai Road and northwards to the Souchez River. — Haig At 04:25 on April 28, British and Canadian troops launched the main attack on a front of about eight miles north of Monchy-le-Preux. The battle continued for most of 28 and 29 April, with the Germans delivering determined counter-attacks.

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    The Battle of Morval, 25–28 September 1916, was an attack during the Battle of the Somme by the British Fourth Army on the villages of Morval, Gueudecourt and Lesbœufs held by the German 1st Army, which had been the final objectives of the Battle of Flers–Courcelette (15–22 September). The main British attack was postponed, to combine with attacks by the French Sixth Army on the village of Combles south of Morval, to close up to the German defences between Moislains and Le Transloy, near the Péronne–Bapaume road (N 17).

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    The British prolonged the Arras offensive into mid-May, despite uncertainty about French intentions, high losses and diminishing success as they moved divisions northwards to Flanders. The British captured Messines Ridge on 7 June and spent the rest of the year on the offensive in the Third Battle of Ypres (31 July – 10 November) and the Battle of Cambrai (20 November – 8 December). The difficulties of the French armies became known in general to the Germans but the cost of the defensive success on the Aisne made it impossible to reinforce the Flanders front and conduct more than local operations on the Aisne and in Champagne. The French conducted limited attacks at Verdun in August, which recaptured much of the remaining ground lost in 1916 and the Battle of La Malmaison in October, which captured the west end of the Chemin des Dames and forced the Germans to withdraw to the north bank of the Ailette. While the Germans were diverted by the British offensive in Flanders, French morale recovered, after Pétain had 40–62 mutineers shot as scapegoats and introduced reforms, such as better food, more pay and more leave to improve the welfare of French troops.

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    By the time the offensive began in April 1917, the Germans had received intelligence of the Allied plan and strengthened their defences on the Aisne front. The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line (Operation Alberich) left a belt of devastated ground up to 25 miles (40 km) deep in front of the French positions facing east from Soissons, northwards to St. Quentin. Operation Alberich freed 13–14 German divisions, which were moved to the Aisne, increasing the German garrison to 38 divisions against 53 French divisions. The German withdrawal forestalled the attacks of the British and Groupe d'armées du Nord (GAN) but also freed French divisions. By late March, GAN had been reduced by eleven infantry, two cavalry divisions and 50 heavy guns, which went into the French strategic reserve. When Hindenburg and Ludendorff took over from Falkenhayn on 28 August 1916, the pressure being placed on the German army in France was so great that new defensive arrangements, based on the principles of depth, invisibility and immediate counter-action were formally adopted, as the only means by which the growing material strength of the French and British armies could be countered. Instead of fighting the defensive battle in the front line or from shell-hole positions near it, the main fight was to take place behind the front line, out of view and out of range of enemy field artillery.

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    The Battle of the Somme was an Anglo-French offensive of July to November 1916. The opening of this offensive (1 July 1916) saw the British Army endure the bloodiest day in its history, suffering 57,470 casualties, including 19,240 dead, on the first day alone. The entire Somme offensive cost the British Army some 420,000 casualties. The French suffered another estimated 200,000 casualties and the Germans an estimated 500,000. Protracted action at Verdun throughout 1916, combined with the bloodletting at the Somme, brought the exhausted French army to the brink of collapse. Futile attempts using frontal assault came at a high price for both the British and the French and led to the widespread French Army Mutinies, after the failure of the costly Nivelle Offensive of April–May 1917.

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    The Battle of the Hills (French: Bataille des Monts) also known as the Battle of the Hills of Champagne and the Third Battle of Champagne, was a battle of the First World War that was fought from April–May 1917. The offensive was intended to be an auxiliary to that of the Groupe d'armées du Nord (GAN) along the Chemin des Dames, in the Second Battle of the Aisne. General Anthoine, commander of the Fourth Army had originally planned a supporting attack but this was rejected by Nivelle, who required a more ambitious effort. Anthoine replaced his draft plan, with a proposal for a frontal attack by two corps on an 11-kilometre (6.8 mi) front, intended to break through the German defences on the first day and commence exploitation the following day. The battle took place east of Reims, between Prunay and Aubérive, in the province of Champagne, along the Moronvilliers Hills. On the left of XII Corps east of the Suippes, the 24th Division established a flank guard, by attacking through Bois des Abattis towards Germains and Baden-Baden trenches. On the left flank of the division, the part of Aubérive east of the river was rapidly captured. On the west bank of the Suippes, battalions of the 75th Territorial Regiment attached to the Moroccan Division, made appreciable progress round the main part of Aubérive.

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    On 17 April the Fourth Army on the left of Groupe d'armées de Centre (GAC) began the subsidiary attack in Champagne from Aubérive to the east of Reims which became known as Bataille des Monts, with the VIII, XVII and XII Corps on an 11-kilometre (6.8 mi) front. The attack began at 4:45 a.m. in cold rain alternating with snow showers. The right flank guard to the east of Suippes was established by the 24th Division and Aubérive on the east bank of the river and the 34th Division took Mont Cornillet and Mont Blond. The "Monts" were held against a German counter-attack on 19 April by the 5th, 6th (Eingreif divisions) and the 23rd division and one regiment between Nauroy and Moronvilliers. On the west bank the Moroccan Division was repulsed on the right and captured Mont sans Nom on the left. To the north-east of the hill the advance reached a depth of 1.5 miles (2.4 km) and next day the advance was pressed beyond Mont Haut. The Fourth Army attacks took 3,550 prisoners and 27 guns. German attacks on 27 May had temporary success before French counter-attacks recaptured the ground around Mont Haut; lack of troops had forced the Germans into piecemeal attacks instead of a simultaneous attack along the whole front.