The Fighting - this is a brief summary
The battles of Chemin des Dames are generally defined for three dates - 16 April 1917, 23 October 1917 and May to November 1918.
We examine the April 1917 Nivelle offensive that he had heralded as a forthcoming victory but which ended in failure and with his dismissal. Many French soldiers mutinied and some were executed though what had happened was kept secret for a long time. French battle casualties are estimated at 187,000.
The attack had involved around 1 million men, some 200 tanks and spotting and fighter aircraft. Unfortunately, despite the introduction of the 'Creeping Barrage' behind which this enormous force was to advance the Germans knew that it was coming. The Kaiser sent a message to the Crown Prince of Bavaria commanding the German defenders.
'The great French infantry attack is hourly awaited ... all Germany is expectantly watching her brave sons ...my thoughts are with them'.
In pouring rain and unprotected by the Creeping Barrage which had moved too quickly and outpaced the infantry, just two weeks later the French infantry began to mutiny.