By Steve Miller
Britain’s first offensive of 1915 began a century ago today at Neuve-Chapelle. Although it might be deemed a minor success, major lessons of trench warfare were written here and reinforced by further battles in 1915. These included:
1. Loss of communications due to enemy shelling which destroyed the telephone lines.
2. Insufficient artillery preparation.
3. Immediate German counterattacks which might nullify any gains.
4. High casualties, on the order of 28 percent in this battle. I cite it as an early example of the futility of khaki uniforms and bayonets against barbed wire and machine guns.
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Neuve-Chapelle is southwest of Lille. The Memorial to the Army of India and its missing from 1914-18 is located at the roundabout intersection of the routes D171 & D947.
On the panels inside the monument itself are the names of 4742 Indians who have no known grave.