6/12/1915 Chantilly: Allied generals meet to plan for 1916

1915 has not been going too well for the Allies. The Western Front is deadlocked, the Eastern Front has seen a succession of victories for the enemy and the Gallipoli campaign against Turkey has proved a bloody failure. Italy’s entry into the war has not made any obvious difference to the balance of power and now Serbia is being wiped off the map thanks to the triple invasion of the Germans, Austro-Hungarians and Bulgarians.

Some kind of new thinking is clearly needed. France’s General Joffre summons Allied military leaders to his headquarters in Chantilly to discuss plans for combined operations in 1916. Joffre’s prestige is now riding high. He has triumphed over his rival, the war minister Joseph Gallieni, and has recently been appointed commander in chief of all French armies, save those in North Africa.

All the Allied nations are represented at Chantilly, even the embattled Serbs. Britain is represented by Sir John French, commander of British forces in France and Belgium. This will be one of French’s last official engagements. Failures at Loos and Neuve Chapelle have been blamed on him and he has been obliged to tender his resignation to his political masters.

image source:

Council of War (Wikipedia; note, the illustration may be from an earlier conference)

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