By mid-1915, the Great War in Europe had become stalemated on the western front. Both sides had hunkered down in the hundreds of miles of trenches dug across French and Belgian countryside.
In September, British and French forces attempted a game-changing attack. On Sept. 25, they launched an attack at what came to be known as the Battle of Loos. For two weeks, the battle flowed and ebbed. The battle was notable for the tunneling operations the British undertook under No Man’s Land to plant bombs and the use of poison gas by the British for the first time (the Germans had already used it). The combined British and French forces came close to victory on the battle’s first day, Sept. 25, but the Germans counterattacked and by Oct. 8, when the battle officially needed, has recovered all lost ground.
More than 59,000 British soldiers died in the battle, compared to between 26,000 and 29,000 German soldiers. It was a staggering loss of men – about one fourth of all the British soldiers who died in the entire war. One of the British casualties was poet Charles Sorley (1895-1915).
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