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Second Battle of Champagne
Part of the Western Front of World War I
Western front 1915–1916
Western front 1915–1916
Date25 September – 6 November 1915
LocationChampagne, France
Result German victory
Belligerents
France France German Empire German Empire
Commanders and leaders
France Philippe Pétain
France Joseph Joffre
German Empire Erich von Falkenhayn
German Empire Karl von Einem
Strength
French Fourth Army
450,000 men in 27 divisions
German 3rd Army
220,000 men in 19 divisions
Casualties and losses
145,000 dead or wounded 72,500 dead or wounded
25,000 captured

The Second Battle of Champagne was a French offensive against the invading German army beginning on 25 September 1915, part of World War I.

Battle[edit | edit source]

On 25 September the offensive was successful and the Germans lost ground. Artillery fired a heavy bombardment for 3 days and then the advance began. 2 miles (3 km) were gained. The next day, reinforcements arrived for the Germans and the offensive lost momentum until it finally ended on October 6. Due to intervention, the offensive was restarted but never really got on track again. The Germans counterattacked on October 30 and managed to reclaim all the territory lost to the French. The Plan was finally abandoned on November 6.

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

Analysis[edit | edit source]

Trench in Champagne, 1915

The battle had led to Verdun being stripped of its artillery, drawing the attention of the German commanders. French success was due largely to the weakness of German defense in the Champagne region. The offensive had given the local German commanders a severe fright as their defences were overwhelmed but prompt reinforcement contained the French advance and it was noticed that the improvised positions of fresh artillery and machine guns had a greater effect on French attacks than the original ones, a finding that was incorporated into German defensive thinking as was the ability of relatively small bodies of troops to hold ground when supported by enough artillery and machine guns. The course of the battle added to Falkenhayn's pessimism about the feasibility of a breakthrough on the western front. The strategy pursued at Verdun was a consequence.

Casualties[edit | edit source]

The offensive had been disappointing for the French. Despite their new 'attack in echelon' they had only made quick progress during the time it took for the Germans to strip reserves from elsewhere and rush them up. They had lost 145,000 Men, while the Germans lost 72,500 men, although Foley gave 97,000 casualties based on the German Official History.[1] The French had taken 25,000 prisoners and captured 150 guns.

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. Foley 2005, p. 97.

References[edit | edit source]

  • Foley, R. T. (2005). German Strategy and the Path to Verdun : Erich von Falkenhayn and the Development of Attrition, 1870–1916. Cambridge: CUP. ISBN 978-0-521-04436-3. 

External links[edit | edit source]


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