Winter operations, 1914-15 (Western Front)

23 November 1914 – 6 February 1915: Winter operations, 1914-15. French orders for a major offensive in December lead to disastrous piecemeal British attacks. Localised operations seeking tactical advantage continue through winter. The defence of Festubert, 23-24 November 1914 Order of battle: Indian Corps (Willcocks): Meerut Division The Meerut Division beats off a determined enemy attack. […]

Gazetteer of the Western Front

This is a section of the Long, Long Trail that I hope to build up over time. Each page gives location, historical background and some travel notes concerning locations in France and Flanders. I will add pages as the fancy takes me, and not in any particular order. Abeele Achicourt Bailleul Beuvry (then and now) […]

Battles of the Western Front in France and Flanders

Historical framework The definition of the non-stop war in France and Flanders shown below is that from the Report of the Battles Nomenclature Committee of May 1921, with a few of the names being slightly modified by the accepted regimental battle honours listed in 1924. It incorporates only those battles in which British and Commonwealth […]

Actions in the Spring of 1916 (Western Front)

14 February – 13 June 1916: actions in the Spring of 1916. Localised operations seeking tactical advantage. They include fighting when the Germans first used Phosgene gas, a major German attack at Vimy Ridge, and the loss and recapture of high ground east of Ypres in the Battle of Mount Sorrel. Changes in British command […]

Advice on visiting the Western Front battlefields of the Great War

The battlefields of the Great War are evocative and fascinating places to visit. This section of the Long, Long Trail will be helpful for anyone planning a trip to the sacred ground of the Western Front in France and Flanders. General tourist advice My guides to each area of the Western Front give you specific […]

Gazetteer of the Western Front: Biaches

Biaches is a village in the Somme department of the Hauts-de-France region. It lies on the south bank of the River Somme, facing the town of Péronne. Background Biaches can trace its history back at least as far as the founding of a Cistercian Abbey in 1235 but has never developed as more than a […]

Gazetteer of the Western Front: Bois-Grenier

Location Bois-Grenier is a village south of Armentières in the Department of Nord in the Hauts-de-France region of northern France. Lat: 50.65° N Lon: 2.87° E The area in which it is situated is often known locally as the Pays de Weppe or the Pays L’Alloeu. Although the land is generally very flat, Bois-Grenier is […]

Gazetteer of the Western Front: Brandhoek

Location and background War comes to Brandhoek Fighting came to this area in October 1914. See the Long, Long Trail’s pages on the First Battles of Ypres 1914 Although the Ypres-Vlamertinghe-Poperinge and Vlametinghe-Ouderdom-Reninghelst roads were important supply and evacuation routes during the battle, it does not appear that Brandhoek came into any specific use by British […]

Actions in the Spring and Summer of 1915 (Western Front)

15 June – 9 August 1915: actions in the Spring and Summer of 1915. Localised operations seeking tactical advantage. After the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, the French high command came to believe that the British could undertake an offensive action, not just fight a dogged defence. The prestige of the British in that operation, which […]

Gazetteer of the Western Front: Le Havre and Harfleur base

Le Havre, a French port on the English Channel used by the British Expeditionary Force throughout the Great War, developed into a primary base. The map below shows its 1914 railway connections to the area of the Western Front. It lies, as an example, 280km from Arras. Le Havre had been agreed as the main base […]