Battlefield Guides

French Flandres

French Flandres saw many set-piece battles fought across its flat lands during the Great War.  On this tour we provide a snap shot of the varied battles that where fought in this region of France with the aim of broadening your knowledge on an often overlooked area.

Firstly, we look at the March 1915 Battle of Neuve Chapelle; it was the first planned British offensive of the war.  Success was localised but very limited with lessons learnt for the next offensive.

Next we study the May 1915 Battles of Aubers Ridge and Festubert, planned to coincide with larger French offensives twenty miles to the south.  The attacks were disasters with no tactical ground gained.  Here, after orientation, your guide will explain the failure of the British attack and why the lack of artillery ammunition was blamed.

Moving south we look at the Battle of Loos, fought from September – October 1915, renowned not only for its huge casualty figures but as also as the first occasion that the British employed gas against the Germans.  This battle was a larger affair, known as a `Big Push`. Initial phases were successful; however the offensive soon became bogged down, deteriorating into mutual attrition.  Whilst on the battlefield we look at the use of gas in war along with studying individual actions of courage and defiance against the odds.

For our fourth and final battle of the tour we visit the small village of Fromelles, scene of a disastrous 24 hour battle, launched by British and Australian troops in July 1916.  We explore the battlefield around the `Sugarloaf` salient and discuss the catastrophic events that took place on this extremely costly diversion attack in which the Australians suffered over 5,500 killed, wounded and missing. We will also visit Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery; the first new war cemetery to be built by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in fifty years.

Our full day French Flandres Orientation tour starts at £255 for up to 4 people.
For variations to the itinerary or larger groups please email or see our Tour Options/Prices page.