chapter  8
22 Pages

1915: Aubers Ridge

By late April 1915, there were signs that the cavalier and dismissive attitude the Germans had adopted towards the ‘mercenary’ British army – which almost led to serious underestimations of it at Neuve Chapelle – was giving way to more reasoned approaches. True, the British achievement there bore little resemblance to its optimistic goals, but the BEF had succeeded in piercing the German line and later posed enough of a threat to cause Rupprecht to request support against a potential break through. For publicity purposes, both sides drew satisfaction from Neuve Chapelle. But the Germans were at least smart enough not to accept their own publicity at face value. To Falkenhayn and Rupprecht, while the loss of the village was of no great consequence, there was reason for concern at the casualties suffered in their shambolic offensive of 12 March. Most casualty counts for Neuve Chapelle have the Germans losing fewer. But given the manpower potential of the Entente – which easily outnumbered that of the Central Powers – Falkenhayn correctly read Neuve Chapelle as an attritional defeat.