The Allies have been attacking the entrenched Germans along the line of the Aisne river. This sector acquires the colourful nickname of Chemin des Dames (way of the ladies), as two daughters of King Louis XV used to travel along a track here in the 18th century. The Allies are unable to break through the German positions. Now they too start to dig trenches.
Neither side is intent on just sitting here indefinitely, however. The frontline to the east is now static but there is open country to the north west. Entrenching in the Chemin des Dames allows troops to be sent to try and turn the enemy’s open flank.
If a decisive victory cannot be won now, each side hopes to achieve other goals that should guarantee victory in the medium term. The French and British want to link up with the Belgians in Antwerp, denying the Germans access to the Channel coast. And the Germans hope to seize the Channel ports, which will allow them to disrupt Allied shipping and prevent reinforcement of the British in France.