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Battle for Notre-Dame-de-Lorette


angelab

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I am trying to find the figure of French dead during the year-long battle for the ridge of Notre-dame-de-Lorette. I seem to have 100,000 from somewhere, but I am not sure if that is just French, or whether it is a total of French and German. Or wrong altogether.

I wonder if anybody out there knows......... :)

Angela

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I am trying to find the figure of French dead during the year-long battle for the ridge of Notre-dame-de-Lorette. I seem to have 100,000 from somewhere, but I am not sure if that is just French, or whether it is a total of French and German. Or wrong altogether.

I wonder if anybody out there knows......... :)

Angela

Not an exact answer, but the Notre Dame de Lorette Ossuary contains the remains of 20,000 and the surrounding cemetery has 20,000 graves.

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The French lost 102,000 of whom 35,000 died in the 2nd Battale of Artois May-June 1915; the Chapel was finally taken on 12/13 may. I suspect it would be very difficult to extract the casualties for ND Lorette per se from this figure; and the worst fighting for this position occurred throughout the previous winter.

Hope this helps

Chris

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Trutherw, thanks for the reply! But I think that's not going to very representative, since French dead were often repatriated to their towns and villages so the number actually buried there bears little relation to those who died.

Chris, that sounds more likely, from my reading of this French official site . I do find the figures they give on that site (and which are much-quoted elsewhere) rather strange though. They cite 100,000 dead and 100,000 wounded, whereas usually one seems to see figures for other battles as about two or three times more wounded than killed.

Angela

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There is a volume of Schlachten des Weltkriegs (Band 17 - Loretto) dedicated to the battle for the Lorette Spur. Fighting there lasted from 5 Oct 14 to roughly mid-June 15, though by then, as Chris says, most of the French gains had already taken place. Volume 17 has a German Roll of Honour, derived from a reading of the original war diaries and similar source material. The author admits that some names are not on it, but it is indicative of overall losses, which on the German side amount to 650 killed - give or take a few. One particularly interesting name is that of Kriegsfreiwilliger Paul Mauk, killed serving with IR 113 on 7 June 1915. According to the Roll of Honour, 'He had not completed his fifteenth year.' This makes him the youngest German casualty I know of. He is buried in the German cemetery of Lens-Sallaumines Block 11 Grave 268. I have never been there, but it is now on my list.

The 100,000 figure for the French must refer to at least a year of Battles in the whole of Artois. There is hardly enough on the disputed section of the Lorette Spur to swing a cat, never mind lose those many men.

Jack

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Angela

Thinking about it there is certainly something screwy about those figures. I shall try to do some work on them for you. I am beginning to think that the table was posted for a different reason. However, I would re-emphasise that Notre D de L was a very small battlefield, so if we are talking about deaths strictly associated with that area, the figures are not going to be enormous.

Jack

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There is a volume of Schlachten des Weltkriegs (Band 17 - Loretto) dedicated to the battle for the Lorette Spur. Fighting there lasted from 5 Oct 14 to roughly mid-June 15, though by then, as Chris says, most of the French gains had already taken place. Volume 17 has a German Roll of Honour, derived from a reading of the original war diaries and similar source material. The author admits that some names are not on it, but it is indicative of overall losses, which on the German side amount to 650 killed - give or take a few. One particularly interesting name is that of Kriegsfreiwilliger Paul Mauk, killed serving with IR 113 on 7 June 1915. According to the Roll of Honour, 'He had not completed his fifteenth year.' This makes him the youngest German casualty I know of. He is buried in the German cemetery of Lens-Sallaumines Block 11 Grave 268. I have never been there, but it is now on my list.

The 100,000 figure for the French must refer to at least a year of Battles in the whole of Artois. There is hardly enough on the disputed section of the Lorette Spur to swing a cat, never mind lose those many men.

Jack

Jack

The figure relates to the spring 1915 campaign which includes the near taking of Vimy Ridge; Carency and two German strongpoints; Ouvrage blanc and the Labyrinthe ( spelling ); THE Cemetery is one of the most important in France and guards for example; unknown soldiers from many wars, a deportee from WWIII etc; the fighting was bitter and prolonged over the winter 14/15 and there are over 42,000 French soldiers now there, about half in the Ossuaire. There are several other cemeteries in the area. There are more marked French graves here at ND Lorette than at Verdun

Chris

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Angela

Thinking about it there is certainly something screwy about those figures. I shall try to do some work on them for you. I am beginning to think that the table was posted for a different reason. However, I would re-emphasise that Notre D de L was a very small battlefield, so if we are talking about deaths strictly associated with that area, the figures are not going to be enormous.

Jack

Between October 1914 and October 1915 the French Army suffered 100,000 fatalities in the Artois sector with many more wounded - I believe German casualties were of the same order. The French attack in may comprised 21 Divisions of which the 21st Corps attacked Lorette itself - it may be a small area but the losses were not insignificant.Before that Lorette was assaulted by the French in October 1914; December and January 15; Besides many often successful counter attacks, the Germans launched a major attack in December 14 and took most of the villages around the spur. The fighting was prolonged; at very close quarters and quite savage - in dreadful weather conditions

Chris

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Interesting topic, this one and, having made the previous gaffe as a result of assuming that Ehrentafel had its usual meaning, I feel bound now to try to contribute some additional information. I have begun with an analysis of the casualties of Fusilier Regiment 40 which has a particularly detailed Roll of Honour. These fatal casualty figures are made up of killed, missing, (declared dead) and DOW. The casualties were all incurred on the Lorette Spur itself. There was a sprinklng of casualties in Feb 1915, a definite peak from 3-5 Mar, then again on 23 - 24 May 1915. The figures are as follows:

1st Bn (87)

of which

1st Coy 23

2nd Coy 37

3rd Coy 15

4th Coy 12

2nd Bn (94)

of which

5th Coy 26

6th Coy 34

7th Coy 17

8th Coy 17

3rd Bn (90)

of which

9th Coy 11

10th Coy 20

11th Coy 35

12th Coy 24

MG Coy 4

Total: 275

The casualties in early March were the result of a German assault on the French positions and the subsequent fighting to retain the captured sections of trench. Quite a number of the 3rd Bn casualties were caused by their participation in a failed assault under the command of RIR22 on 23/24 May 15. Clearly the number of German casualties on the Lorette Spur was not insignificant, but I do not expect it to become excessive. The sample figures quoted in this post demonstrate that even if a company was at the focus of a very heavy day of battle, the cost was rarely in excess of 20 - 25 men from one company. Of course the overall number of casualties incurred by the regiment whilst it was in the area is higher, but the above figures concentrate narrowly on events on the Spur itself.

Jack

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Here, to complete the details relating to the two regiments of 56 Brigade, 28th Infantry Division, are the results of an examination of the Roll of Honour of IR 111. The compilers noted that there were believed to be a number of cases of German soldiers wounded on the Lorette Spur in May 1915 and dying in French hospitals, without the fact being transmitted to the German authorities.

The earliest casualties appear to have occurred in Oct 14, then there are peaks within this regiment from the week leading up to Christmas 1914, when fighting was intense, the 16/17 January and 3 Mar 15. The heaviest casualties seem to have occurred on 9 May, the opening day of the major French Artois Spring Offensive. Hardest hit that day was the 2nd Bn. There were several casualties on 22-23 May 15 and the last of them occurred on 27 May 15.

In total the regiment suffered at least 565 fatal casualties. These included the CO of 1st Bn. Other losses were as follows:

1st Bn 147

of which

1st Coy 39

2nd Coy 41

3rd Coy 32

4th Coy 35

2nd Bn 232

of which

5th Coy 62

6th Coy 54

7th Coy 70

8th Coy 46

3rd Bn 182

of which

9th Coy 47 (several date to 16/17 Jan 15)

10th Coy 36

11th Coy 56

12th Coy 43

MG Coy 3

Taken together with Fus Regt 40, this accounts for 840 killed so, bearing in mind that these two regiments were involved at Notre D de L for a long period and lived through several major battles, this suggests that the German figures with end up in the low thousands (perhaps 2,000 - 3,000 - though that is a guess).

Jack

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Thanks for all that input, everyone.

Gosh! I hadn't realised I had asked such a difficult question. No wonder I was having trouble finding an answer b y my own efforts. :huh:

Angela

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Here, to complete the details relating to the two regiments of 56 Brigade, 28th Infantry Division, are the results of an examination of the Roll of Honour of IR 111. The compilers noted that there were believed to be a number of cases of German soldiers wounded on the Lorette Spur in May 1915 and dying in French hospitals, without the fact being transmitted to the German authorities.

The earliest casualties appear to have occurred in Oct 14, then there are peaks within this regiment from the week leading up to Christmas 1914, when fighting was intense, the 16/17 January and 3 Mar 15. The heaviest casualties seem to have occurred on 9 May, the opening day of the major French Artois Spring Offensive. Hardest hit that day was the 2nd Bn. There were several casualties on 22-23 May 15 and the last of them occurred on 27 May 15.

In total the regiment suffered at least 565 fatal casualties. These included the CO of 1st Bn. Other losses were as follows:

1st Bn 147

of which

1st Coy 39

2nd Coy 41

3rd Coy 32

4th Coy 35

2nd Bn 232

of which

5th Coy 62

6th Coy 54

7th Coy 70

8th Coy 46

3rd Bn 182

of which

9th Coy 47 (several date to 16/17 Jan 15)

10th Coy 36

11th Coy 56

12th Coy 43

MG Coy 3

Taken together with Fus Regt 40, this accounts for 840 killed so, bearing in mind that these two regiments were involved at Notre D de L for a long period and lived through several major battles, this suggests that the German figures with end up in the low thousands (perhaps 2,000 - 3,000 - though that is a guess).

Jack

Are these the only 2 Regiments which served on Lorette during this period, Jack? Still seems a little on the low side. There is a well known photo of a group of French soldiers attacking uphill on Lorette charging the German positions; some casualties evident although difficult not to believe the scene is stage managed; however; fortifications look like the old style sheep pen fences; and this was as you know typical revettment in French trenches. I suspect the French did indeed make many of these frontal attacks in their pre horizon bleu uniforms.

Angela; good question then and interesting topic; I would like to know more about many other hot spots on the old French line; like Moronvillers; Beausejour; Four de paris in the Argonne etc.

Chris

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Chris

No, by no means. It is, however a time-consuming exercise going through lengthy rolls of honour. I shall try to add some more, but it is also dependent on me having the correct history and that having a roll of honour in it. Nevertheless I shall do my best.

Jack

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  • 9 years later...
20 hours ago, Jerrymurland said:

does anyone know where exactly the original Chapel building was situated on the Notre Dame de Lorette spur?

 

jerry

 

At the exact spot that I've marked with a cross on this IGN extract, Jerry....

 

Dave

Image3.jpg

Edited by CROONAERT
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