Allied Forces, 430,000
General Joffre, Commander-in-Chief
French Army Group—280,000
General Foch, Commander
General Sir John French, Commander
General Sir Douglas Haig
General Sir Henry Rawlinson
General Sir Herbert Plumer
German Forces, 600,000
Bavarian Army — Prince Rupprecht
Wurttemberg Army — Duke Albert
Prussian Army — General Buelow
The hopes of the Allies, during the early spring of 1915, were centered in the Franco-British offensive which Gen. Foch was preparing to launch in May. In deciding upon this offensive, General Foch had kept two objects in view.
First, he hoped to erase the Lens salient by ejecting the enemy from their powerful trench positions on the heights to the west of Lens and driving the Germans across the Artois plain toward Douai. The immediate effect of this operation would be to relieve Ypres from the German pressure.
Second, by pounding the Germans hard on the Western front, he expected to compel them to withdraw several corps from the Eastern front, thus succoring the Russians at a moment when they were facing disaster.
The Battle of Artois, as Foch's spring offensive came to be known, consisted of simultaneous attacks against the German line, by the French and British, launched at separate points. The French Army had for its objectives the strongly fortified heights known as Vimy Ridge and Notre Dame de Lorette. Supporting this operation, the British Army was to assault the German position on Aubers Ridge, further north.
The combined strength of the Franco-British forces was 430,000, while the German armies opposed to them, carried 600,000 rifles. The Germans held the advantage in their strongly fortified positions on the heights. General Foch thought to offset this by a concentration of artillery on a scale never before attempted on the Western front. The French alone had 1,100 cannon directed on the German positions.
Battle of Notr...