The Battle of La Bassé was a vicious battle of the Great War, fought between the Imperial German Army and the Allied troops, from October 14 to November 2, 1914, during what was called the “race to the sea”, at and near the town of La Bassé, in Northwest France. It began with British attacks on the enemy lines, but the Germans counter-attacked, capturing and retaining this French town. With 7,000 dead and wounded, they suffered  half the number of casualties the British and French had, which was around 14,500.

With the German defeat at the First Battle of the Marne in September 1914, the Imperial German Army offensive against France, conceived in the Schlieffen Plan, had failed. From then on, the opposing armies would attempt to outflank each other by piercing the enemy lines as they moved north, with the Germans trying to capture the French and Belgian ports on the English Channel. Arras, La Bassé, Lille, Ypres, and Paschandeale were the towns for which the contending forces would fight ferociously, suffering thousands upon thousands of casualties, but gaining little terrain as the dynamics of the war would change to a static, stalemale warfare, characterized by attacks and counter-attacks upon long lines of trenches.

Opposing forces

Germany: 4th Army elements, under Rupprecht Ferdinand von Bayern, Crown Prince of Bavaria.

Allies: 2nd Cavalry Brigades (British Expeditionary Force), supported by French units, commanded by Sir James Willcocks.

Below: Map marking the site of the Battle of La Bassé

battleoflabasse_map

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