Lys Offensive

After the Somme Offensive unsuccessfully ground to a halt at the beginning of April, General Ludendorff, refusing to quit, turned his attentions further north to the opposite side of Vimy Ridge, to the plains of Flanders. The Allied line here was weakly defended by the First and Second British Armies, separated by the River Lys. The objective was the Allied rail centre of Hazebrouck.

The initial assaults, made after a 36 hour artillery bombardment, smashed the left wing of the First Army, the front there was quickly pushed back four miles. The following day the battle was extended all across the line, and General Plumers Second Army was thrown backwards. The battered Allied armies, already in a state of shock from the first German drive, were shocked again by the sudden loss of the village of Passchendaele, captured in 1917 but at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dead and maimed, and now seemingly recaptured with almost no effort by the German army, and morale in the BEF and French armies almost collapsed.

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