<– Part 161 – August 19, 1917  | Part 162 – August 26, 1917 |  Part 163 – September 2, 1917 –>

French attack at Verdun, August 20-26 1917

The Romanian armies at Oituz and Mărășești have held their ground. The Germans and Austro-Hungarians have shifted the full offensive away from Oituz, but have had no luck breaking the Allied line.

On August 21, near Hill 70, at Lens, a Canadian offensive was interrupted by German one; armies met between objectives for hand-to-hand fighting, eventually forcing the Canadians back to their starting lines. A series of

Russian General Lavr Georgiyevich Kornilov in 1916

counter-attacks had minimal results, although several Canadian units did manage to gain ground, creating a salient in their line. The Allies suffered 10,000 casualties to the German 26,000.


The Italians continue to press their attack on the Isonzo, though the Austrians are inflicting heavy casualties on them.

At Verdun, a French offensive delayed since August 11 by poor weather was launched August 20, in the face of heavy German artillery, mustard gas, and strong defenses. By August 26, the French had gained some ground, taking 11,000 prisoners, while suffering 14,000 casualties of their own.

In Russia, an attempted coup by General Lavr Kornilov has failed. Initially ordered by the Provisional Government to bring troops to Petrograd to pacify the capital, Kornilov saw it as an opportunity to overthrow the left-wing government seen as weakening the Russian military and nation. Kornilov took advantage of “ambiguous communications” to launch his assault on both the government and the Petrograd Soviet. Only an armed resistance, led by the Bolsheviks, was successful in foiling Kornilov’s plot.

Fighting in Flanders continues, near Passchendaele, as both sides fight on the Gheluvelt Plateau.

<– Part 160 – August 12, 1917  | Part 161 – August 19, 1917 |  Part 162 – August 26, 1917 –>

At Mărășești, the Romanians have assumed full control of the joint forces with Russia and have completely halted the German-Austrian advance, while beginning their own. At nearby Oituz, the elite Romanian mountain troops, the “Vânători de munte”, arrived following a 100-mile forced march. After a 20 minute rest, they assaulted the mountain peak and broke through enemy defenses. Elsewhere, however, Romanian reinforcements failed to achieve ground against the defenders. Yet the Allies seem to be halting the Central Powers’ advance, which is losing steam.

On August 15, at Ypres, Canadian forces were sent to capture Hill 70 to draw German soldiers away from the Ypres salient. Attacking at 4:25 A.M., they reached their second line of goals within two hours and began defensive preparations. German counter-attacks were repelled later that morning. Since then, the past few days have seen attacks and counterattacks, with neither side gaining much ground, despite German use of Yellow Cross mustard gas. Both sides have halted the past day, no doubt revising their plans.

At Langemarck, near Ypres, the Allies have launched a large offensive August 16 to drive German forces back and keep the pressure on them at all sectors. The new Allied plans call for sophisticated artillery calculations, allowing infantry to advance much closer to the barrage, be shielded by smoke screens when halting, and to form flanking units when adjacent units are slowed by defenders. The British have made some advance, although the German Fourth Army halted any significant gains. FIghting seems to have ended two days later.

<– Part 159 – August 5, 1917  | Part 160 – August 12, 1917 |  Part 161 – August 19, 1917 –>

Following the Romanian victory at Maresti, the German and Austro-Hungarian forces have launched a counter-offensive August 6 towards Mărășești. So far, the Romanian and Russian defenders have held their line, forcing the Germans to turn their offensive slightly north-western, while suffering moderate casualties.
Two days later, the Central Powers launched another offensive just to the north, near Oituz. Here too the Romanian defenders have held the line, although a series of breakthroughs and counterattacks from both sides of the fighting have caused the defense to be much more lively.

The fighting at Rumbo, German East Africa has ended August 10 with a British-Portuguese victory. The Allies suffered nearly 400 casualties, while the Germans had 1,500 killed and 600 captured.

<– Part 158 – July 29, 1917  | Part 159 – August 5, 1917 |  Part 160 – August 12, 1917 –>

Lines at Ypres

German defensive lines

The Allies launched a major offensive at Passchendaele at 3:50am on July 31, the third major battle near Ypres. An artillery barrage began the fighting, with infantry advancing closely behind the advancing bombardment. The Second Army front lines advanced approximately 600 years along a front of 2,500, less than hoped for due to seasonal rains and German counterattacks. The Allied  Fifth Army, however,advanced nearly 3,500 yards in the center of the front and achieved its objectives. French forces also achieved their goals, although intense rains are still slowing the advance. Altogether, 13 Allied divisions lost 33,000 men, while the defending 7 German divisions lost 30,000, with an additional 5,500 taken prisoner. British General Haig has praised the low number of casualties and the success of a 3,000 yard advance. German counterattacks have been halted, but British forces in the center are exposed to heavy enfilading fire.

Details of German lines


On August 1, the Romanian forces at Marasti achieved a large victory the largest offensive advance of the war.

On August 2, a combined British-Portuguese force of 6,000 defeated German defenders at Rumbo, in German East Africa.

The German warship SMS Seeadler, a merchant raider, has wrecked in French Polynesia. Her captain and 5 crewman have sailed for Fiji, while the rest of the crew has been left to scuttle the vessel.


German pillbox diagram in Flanders

SMS Seeadler