Western Front

The Western Front was the major fighting front in Europe during the First World War, stretching some 700 kilometres through France and Belgium from the North Sea to the Swiss border.

© IWM (Q 50285) French troops in Fismes, September 1914.

Mons to the Marne

Within weeks of Great Britain declaring war on Germany in August 1914, their forces clashed for the very first time in Mons, Belgium.

© IWM (Q 57218) The First Battle of Ypres

The First Battle of Ypres

In the autumn of 1914, Allied and German forces fought for control of the city of Ypres, in Belgian Flanders. 

© IWM (Q 56693) Second Ypres

The Second Battle of Ypres

The Second Battle of Ypres began on 22 April 1915. It saw the first use of a new German weapon on the Western Front: poison gas. 

© IWM (Q 81620) THE INDIAN ARMY ON THE WESTERN FRONT, 1914-1918

Battle of Neuve Chapelle

The Battle of Neuve Chapelle was the first planned large scale attack by the British. Indian troops played an important part.

Column of wdd return from fighting at Hohenzollern Redoubt 1915 Oct 13 IWM Q 29005

Battle of Loos

In September 1915, the British Army launched a major attack against the German defences between the La Bassée Canal and the village Loos.

© IWM (Q 824) The Somme

The Battle of the Somme

Fought between July and November 1916, the Somme offensive was one of the defining events of the First World War for Britain.

© IWM (Q 6418) THE BATTLE OF ARRAS, APRIL-MAY 1917

Arras Offensive

On 9 April 1917, British Empire forces attacked German defences near the French city of Arras. The fighting continued for 39 days.

© IWM (Q 5463) Royal Engineers sappers digging a communication trench to Messines Ridge, 7 June 1917.

The Battle of Messines

The Battle of Messines began on 7 June 1917 when mines underneath the German lines were detonated by British forces.

© IWM (Q 3014) THE BATTLE OF PASSCHENDAELE, JULY-NOVEMBER 1917

The Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele)

At the end of July 1917, Allied forces launched an offensive which became known as the Third Battle of Ypres.

Battle of Cambrai

Best-known today for the role played by tanks, Cambrai saw infantry, aircraft, artillery and even cavalry working together in new ways.