Military History
The Second Battle of Artois, May 1915: the new turning-point
Jonathan Krause (KCL)
24 May 2010

The Second Battle of Artois was a failure in the long term with initial victories by the French army draining away by the battles end leading to stalemate.  Fought in the spring of 1915 mainly by the French army under General Philippe Pétain (with the British contribution at the Battle of Aubers Ridge), the Second Battle of Artois was the final allied offensive in World War One until September 1915.  Back in May 2010 Jonathan Krause argued at the Military History seminar that this battle was a turning point in trench warfare, where the French worked out a strategy which held good until the Germans strengthened their fortifications later in the war.  Nevertheless, the doctrine behind French warfare of 1915 was largely rhetoric with little keen strategic knowledge.  Krause looks at Note 9579 to understand the strategy and beliefs behind the French push in the Second Battle of Artois.  In particular, Krause notes the importance given over to artillery as the primary means of weakening the enemy before sending in the soldiers.

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