Nivelle Offensive of 1917

Nivelle Offensive of 1917

 

an offensive strategic operation by Anglo-French forces in France between April 9 and May 5 during World War I, conducted by the French commander in chief General R. G. Nivelle with the objective of breaking through the German front.

Six French and three English armies (100 infantry and ten cavalry divisions, 11,000 guns, 192 tanks, and about 1,000 aircraft) took part in the attack on the sector of the front between Reims and Arras; two Russian brigades that had been sent to France in 1916 operated as part of the French forces. With powerful support from artillery and tanks, the Anglo-French troops were able to break through two enemy defensive lines, but their advance was halted by the Germans in front of the third line. The offensive continued by slowly “chewing up” the defense and involved enormous losses (more than 200,000). Nivelle’s “slaughterhouse” caused indignation in France and uprisings and riots in 16 corps, which were harshly suppressed by the government. On May 15, Nivelle was removed from his position as commander in chief.

References in periodicals archive ?
Whatever the explanation, the marginal improvement in morale was squandered in the Nivelle Offensive of 1917.