Lys Offensive - April 1918

Andrew Rawson

Date Published :
June 2018
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
50 black and white maps
No associated books available.


This is an account of the British Expeditionary Force’s defensive battle in Flanders during April 1918. It begins with the planning for Operation Georgette, the second German offensive of the year. The attack on 9 April penetrated up to 6 miles on a 20 mile wide front across the Lys plain but further attacks resulted in the evacuation of the town of Armentières.

For three weeks First Army and Second Army fought to stem the onslaught as GHQ struggled to find reserves to help them. The situation became so desperate that Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig had to issue his famous ‘backs to the walls’ order on 11 April.

Reinforcements stopped the Germans reaching Hazebrouck rail center but they could not stop them reaching Bailleul. The French helped stem the tide but the battle climaxed with the loss of the Kemmelberg and the Scherpenberg, the two highest hills in Flanders.

Each stage of the battle is given equal treatment, with detailed insights into the most talked about side of the campaign, the British side. Fifty maps chart the day by day progress of each corps on each day. This is an insight into the BEF’s experience during this campaign. The men who made a difference are mentioned; those who led the advances, those who stopped the counterattacks and those who were awarded the Victoria Cross. Discover the Cambrai campaign and learn how the British Army’s brave soldiers fought and died fighting to achieve their objectives.

About The Author

Andrew Rawson is a freelance writer who has written over forty books covering many conflicts. They include eight books for Pen and Sword’s ‘Battleground Europe’ series and three reference books for The History Press’s ‘Handbook’ series. One covered all aspects of the British Army in the First World War. He has recently completed a ten part series on the British Expeditionary Force’s battles on the Western Front. He has a master’s history degree with Birmingham University.

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