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The German offensive in Flanders in April 1918 came close to catastrophe for the British Armies, but ultimately ended in strategic defeat for the Kaiser’s men. Following closely on the heels of the devastating ‘Operation Michael’ attack in March on the Somme and around Arras, named as ‘Operation Georgette’, the offensive was aimed at strangling the vital railways and roads that supplied the British at Ypres.
Having assembled an overwhelming numerical advantage, the Germans attacked in thick fog on 9 April 1918. They faced tired British formations that had just been relieved from the earlier battle and which were receiving replacements, mainly in the form of 18 year-old conscripts. By the day’s end, the Germans had succeeded in gaining a crossing of the River Lys and were well on their way to the vital railway junctions at Hazebrouck. Several British divisions were deployed to stop the advance, only to be effectively destroyed in the attempt over the next few days. Gradually, fresher British, Australian and French reserves arrived and held their ground. With disappointing results, mounting casualties and a diminishing return for their efforts, the Germans abandoned the offensive and turned their attention further south.
What the British call The Battle of the Lys 1918 is a fascinating yet curiously neglected period of military history. Chris Baker examines this major battle from the strategic down to the platoon level, highlighting the key events, characters and acts of enormous bravery on both sides, both in a historical narrative and in a series of tours of the area.
This volume, one of two on the battle, concentrates on the southern half of the battlefield.
Reporting the Great War
By: Stuart Hylton
By: Nicholas Jellicoe
The Retreat from Mons 1914 : South
By: Jon Cooksey, Jerry Murland
By: Koos Stadler
A Naval History of the Peloponnesian War
By: Marc G DeSantis
Fifteen Rounds a Minute
By: Michael Craster
Valour in the Trenches
By: N.S Nash
By: Andrew W Field
FOCKE-WULF Fw 200 The Luftwaffe's Long Range Maritime Bomber
By: Chris Goss
Johnny: The Legend and Tragedy of General Sir Ian Hamilton
By: John Philip Jones
The Secret Lives of Codebreakers
By: Sinclair Mckay
ShipCraft 20: Scharnhorst and Gneisenau
By: Steve Backer
Intelligence Images from the Eastern Front
By: Col Roy Stanley II USAF
Dawn of Victory, Thank You China!
By: Jim Maultsaid
Edited by: Barbara McClune
1815: The Return of Napoleon
By: Paul Britten Austin