Battle of Arras 9 April to 16 May 1917

The Battle of Arras, also known as the 'Arras Offensive', was fought in northern France from 9 April to 17 May 1917. The Allied plan for 1917 was for a major French offensive on the Western Front on the Aisne river, 120km south-east of Arras, to begin in mid April. The British agreed to launch an attack at Arras a week earlier to draw German reserves away from the French attack. The Battle of Arras began on an 18km front from Vimy ridge in the north to Neuville-Vitasse in the south. When it ended on 17 May, the British had advanced up to 10km eastwards. The offensive was hailed as a success, although the larger French offensive was a failure. Twice during the Battle of Arras, Australians attacked near the town of Bullecourt, on the southern flank of the main advance and 12km south-east of the city of Arras.

A building with the roof destroyed
A shell crater in a street at Arras in September 1917, with the damaged 'Metaux' building in the background. AWM E02050

Last updated: 20 December 2019

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DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2019), Battle of Arras 9 April to 16 May 1917, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 25 October 2020, http://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/wars-and-missions/ww1/where-australians-served/western-front/battle-of-arras
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