Britain’s first major offensive of 1915 at Neuve Chapelle was originally planned as part of a pincer attack in coordination with French forces to the south, aimed at breaking the German lines around the Noyon salient. Although the French advance was cancelled due to lack of planned reinforcements from Ypres, the British attack went ahead as planned and initially saw impressive gain of territory assisted by aerial reconnaissance and massive artillery bombardment of German lines. Following the first offensive, poor communication from forces on the front line and a general lack of coordination between artillery support and infantry hampered further advance. Large losses were sustained during an unsuccessful push towards Aubers. On 12 March a large German counterattack of 16,000 men was rebuffed, resulting in a new British defensive trench east of Neuve Chapelle known as the Smith-Dorrien line, named after General Smith-Dorrien who ordered its construction.
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