Below are the key points of some major battles of World War I
- Germany vs. France
- Germans commanded by General Falkenhayn.
- French commanded by General Pétain, then General Mangin from 24 September.
- February to December 1916
- Verdun occupied a vital position on the heights above the Meuse River at the eastern extremity of the trench line in France.
- Great national symbol for France.
- Very intense German artillery bombardment of the outlying forts.
- French fell back to prepared positions.
- Germans captured a number of French forts.
- French gained control of skies in April
- September: French recaptured Douaumont and Thiaumont.
- French ended up with same land as before the battle.
- No strategic advantage to either side.
- French lost 350, 000
- Germans lost 330, 000.
- British and German Fleets
- Germans: Vice Admiral Scheer led High Seas Fleet Battle Squadron.
- Hipper commanded 5 battlecruisers and 4 cruisers.
- British: Admiral John Jellico led Grand Fleet squadrons; Admiral Beatty commanded squadron of battle cruisers
- Summer of 1916; 31 May and 1 June.
- North Sea, off the southwestern coast of Norway.
- Off the Danish coast of Jutland.
- Germans planned to ensnare British battle cruisers to stop supply blockade.
- Wanted to fight a small group of British ships to ensure victory.
- Britain intercepted and partially decoded German signal for beginning of operation.
- first 50 minutes British suffered severely, the Indefatigable was sunk.
- Beatty's battle cruisers joined in and German cruisers suffered.
- German destroyers sent to launch a torpedo attack.
- British Queen Mary sunk; lost the Germans.
- British found Germans and formed the horizontal line of a "T"
- Germans held up well; sunk the Invincible.
- Germans escaped through brilliant retreat manoeuvre
- 11 out of 110 German vessels lost.
- 14 out of 149 British vessels lost.
- 1545 German casualties.
- 6274 British casualties.
- German fleet made no further attempts to break the Allied blockade.
- Britain, France and Belgium vs. Germany.
- FIRST: 30 October-24 November, 1914
- SECOND: 22 April-25 May, 1915
- Ypres was in the way of the German path to the French ports of Calais and Dunkirk on the English Channel.
- SECOND: Ypres was the key point of an Allied salient that blocked a German approach to the English Channel.
- FIRST: British occupied Ypres.
- Germans attacked Ypres (bombardment).
- Allies outnumbered.
- November: Germans capture Messines-Wytschaete Ridge overlooking the Ypres Salient.
- Stemmed after 34 days of heavy fighting.
- SECOND: Germans used poisonous chlorine gas for the first time.
- Five weeks of fighting.
- Stalemate was reached.
- Germans ended the battle.
- FIRST: Initiated the long period of trench warfare on the western front.
- Ypres Salient formed.
- Great damage to Ypres.
- SECOND: Germans lost less men: 35, 000 but ended the battle.
- British had 60, 000 casualties.
- Ypres destroyed.
Passchendaele (Third Battle of Ypres)
- Allies (mostly Britain) vs. Germans.
- British commander-in-chief General Haig.
- Allies included Canada, New Zealand.
- 31 July - 10 November, 1917
- Village of Passchendaele, near Ypres, Belgium.
- British offensive directed against enemy installations.
- June: British forces take the strategically important village of Messines, the heights of which commanded miles of German-occupied territory.
- Prolonged rainfall
- Heavy Allied bombardment
- 31 July-Nov. 10: battlefield had been transformed into a swamp.
- Canadian infantrymen captured Passchendaele.
- Allies halted offensive
- German lines pushed back only 8km.
- Passchendaele turned into a swamp.
- Each side suffered some 250, 000 casualties.
- FIRST: France vs. Germany
- French commander in chief, Joseph Joffre; advised by Gallieni, military governor of Paris.
- SECOND: Allies (largely American) vs. Germany.
- Allied commander General Ferdinand Foch; Included several American divisions.
- Planned by German General Erich Ludendorff.
- FIRST: 6-9 September, 1914.
- SECOND: 15 July-4 August, 1918.
- Near the Marne River, NE France.
- SECOND: Marne and Château-Thierry.
- FIRST: Germans accidentally wheeled southeast.
- French took advantage of the exposed flank.
- SECOND: Part of the plan of General Erich Ludendorff.
- FIRST: Germans, on path to Paris, erred in decoding an order, wheeled SE.
- French attacked exposed German flank.
- Joffre ordered troops to front by all available means, including taxicabs.
- German armies retreated and quelled the threat to Paris.
- SECOND: Germans attacked to the east and west of Reims.
- Germans Crossed the Marne west of Reims.
- Fierce combat at Château-Thierry.
- German armies forced back across the Marne.
- FIRST: Halted the German advance into NE France.
- SECOND: Tipped the balance of power in favour of the Allied forces.
- Destroyed Ludendorff's plan for a massive attack in Flanders.
- Britain & France vs. Germany.
- FIRST: British Commander-in-Chief: General Douglas Haig.
- French Commander-in-Chief: General Joseph Joffre.
- German commanders: General Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff.
- SECOND: Germans commanded by General Erich Ludendorff.
- 26 March: French General Ferdinand Foch appointed C-in-C of Allies.
- FIRST: July-November 1916.
- SECOND: 21 March-30 March 1918.
- Strongly fortified German positions along the Somme River, France.
- FIRST: To relieve the German pressure on Verdun in northeastern France.
- SECOND: German attempt to drive a wedge in the Allied lines and to capture Amiens before proceeding to Paris.
- FIRST: Germans abandoned Verdun offensive on 16 July, 1916.
- Haig shelled the Germans for 5 days straight to destroy lines of wire.
- British went over the top.
- 60,000 British died in the first day after the shelling - mowed down.
- First use of the modern tank by the British; useless in rain & mud.
- End of November the Germans retreated to the Hindenburg Line.
- SECOND: British forced to retreat to the town of Amiens.
- Allied forces were skilfully manoeuvred into slowing then halting the German advance.
- Germans driven back to Hindenburg then further.
- FIRST: The attack failed because the Germans had the high ground and killed more British; also had stronger barricades than expected.
- Allies only gained 324 sq. km of territory at the Somme.
- Often considered the real turning point in the war for the Allies.
- Allies suffered about 600, 000 casualties.
- Germans had about 450, 000 casualties.
- SECOND: 200, 000 British casualties and 190, 000 prisoners
- 180, 000 German casualties.
- Russia vs. Germany.
- Germans: General Hindenburg; Second-in-command General Erich Ludendorff
- Russians: General Alexander Samsonov
- Russian attempt to divert the Germans from their offensive against France.
- Russian armies not properly equipped; commanders would not cooperate.
- Russian armies wiped out.
- Attack helped France, as German troops were taken from the Western Front.
- Probably helped prevent a German breakthrough in the West.
- Britain, France, Australia, NZ vs. Turkey.
- British: First Lord of Admiralty Winston Churchill; Sir Ian Hamilton (weak commander).
- Turkish: Mustafa Kemal
- 25 April 1915-8 Jan 1916.
- Dardanelles Strait and the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula near Istanbul (Turkey).
- Open up a new theatre of war to end French stalemate.
- Relieve Turkish pressure on Russian forces in the Caucasus.
- Provide a direct link with Russia via the Black Sea.
- Amphibious landing by Allies.
- 3 months of stalemate.
- Turks had the high ground.
- 205, 000 British casualties.
- 47, 000 French casualties.
- 250, 000-300, 000 Turkish casualties.
- Badly stained Churchill's reputation.
- Weakened Turks enough for the British to seize Palestine.
- Distracted Germans from another plan.