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The western front thus became a continuous trench system of more than {{convert|400|mi|km}}. From the Belgian channel town of [[Nieuport]], the trench lines ran southward for some hundred miles, turning southeast at [[Noyon]] continuing past Reims, [[Verdun]], Saint-Mihiel and Nancy; then cutting south again to the northern Swiss border twenty miles (32 km) east of Belfort.
 
The western front thus became a continuous trench system of more than {{convert|400|mi|km}}. From the Belgian channel town of [[Nieuport]], the trench lines ran southward for some hundred miles, turning southeast at [[Noyon]] continuing past Reims, [[Verdun]], Saint-Mihiel and Nancy; then cutting south again to the northern Swiss border twenty miles (32 km) east of Belfort.
   
The BEF, left exhausted by the Aisne battle, remained relatively inactive. It was mainly the French who engaged the Germans in the "Race" but the British grew increasingly alarmed as the Germans advanced towards the coast. [[Winston Churchill]], First Lord of the Admiralty, determined to prevent the Germans from capturing other channel ports which could be used as bases to attack English shipping. In late September, he arrived in France to arrange the transfer of the BEF to the north. By October 10 all but one corps had reached their staging areas in the Saint-Omer–[[Hazebrouck]] area, where the last camouflaged move was not detected by air reconnaissance until October 8, too late to muster adequate forces against the British.
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The BEF, left exhausted by the Aisne battle, remained relatively inactive. It was mainly the French who engaged the Germans in the "Race" but the British grew increasingly alarmed as the Germans advanced towards the coast. [[Winston Churchill]], First Lord of the Admiralty, determined to prevent the Germans from capturing other channel ports which could be used as bases to attack English shipping. In late September, he arrived in France to arrange the transfer of the BEF to the north. By October 10 all but one corps had reached their staging areas in the [[Saint-Omer]]–[[Hazebrouck]] area, where the last camouflaged move was not detected by air reconnaissance until October 8, too late to muster adequate forces against the British.
   
 
Meanwhile, the Belgian Army became a growing threat to German communications as the battle shifted northward. The Germans made plans on September 28 to capture the port of Antwerp and crush the Belgian forces. This important maritime city was encircled by an obsolete fortress system that could not withstand even 6-inch shells. An outer ring of eighteen forts ranged from seven to nine miles from the city, an inner ring from one to two miles. Each fort was armed with two machine guns, but lacked telephone communications and means for observing gunfire. One 6-inch gun poked out at each mile, none of these forts had high explosive projectiles or smokeless gunpowder and several thousand surrounding acres had been cleared to provide unobstructed fields of fire.
 
Meanwhile, the Belgian Army became a growing threat to German communications as the battle shifted northward. The Germans made plans on September 28 to capture the port of Antwerp and crush the Belgian forces. This important maritime city was encircled by an obsolete fortress system that could not withstand even 6-inch shells. An outer ring of eighteen forts ranged from seven to nine miles from the city, an inner ring from one to two miles. Each fort was armed with two machine guns, but lacked telephone communications and means for observing gunfire. One 6-inch gun poked out at each mile, none of these forts had high explosive projectiles or smokeless gunpowder and several thousand surrounding acres had been cleared to provide unobstructed fields of fire.

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