Battles - The Battle of Arras, 1914

Ruins of Arras cathedral Together with the Battle of Albert, the Battle of Arras formed an attempt by the French to outflank the Germans in a north-westerly movement towards the English Channel - the 'race to the sea'.

Designed to outflank the German forces by advancing along a line between Arras and Lens, the attack began on 1 October once sufficient troops had been collected to comprise Maud'huy's new Tenth Army.

Whilst initial progress towards Douai was good, effective counter-attacks by Crown Prince Rupprecht's Sixth Army, transferred from Lorraine, obliged Maud'huy to order a withdrawal.

Nevertheless, in the face of heavy attacks by three corps of the German First, Second and Seventh Armies, the French managed to hold on to Arras, although Lens was lost to the Germans on 4 October, by which time fighting had subsided and the line begun to stabilise once again.

With the failure of French outflanking manoeuvres at Albert and Arras, activity moved further north towards Flanders, where the Germans saw success.

Click here to view a map of the German retreat following the Marne battle and the subsequent race to the sea.

Photograph courtesy of Photos of the Great War website

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