Page 3591

3591 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

artillery and annihilate the infantry of

a force thus handicapped.

Let us now come back to the progress

of events on the Western Front. General

Joffre's policy was described by him as

one of "nibbling." He would make no

grand attacks, but would confine his

efforts to taking a position here and

another there, to harassing the enemy

continually, gradually forcing him back

and ultimately so weakening him by the

process of attrition that the overwhelming

resources of the Allies in men would ultimately give them the victory. Following

the halting of his efforts in Alsace, he

directed his chief attention against the

German positions in Champagne, and

managed to make some advances, though

the Germans, then as later, fought desperately, and not infrequently, by counter offensives, were able to recover all that they

had lost in a given locality, or even more.

The activity of the French in Champagne served to draw some of the Germans

from Flanders, and in the second week

in March, Sir John French undertook

an offensive movement. The objective

of this attack was the little village of

Neuve Chapelle, at the junction of several

highways, one of them leading north from

La Bassee. The British hoped to inflict

heavy losses upon the enemy, to gain

ground, to effect a diversion favorable to

the Russians, and also to cultivate an

"offensive spirit" among their men. More

than three hundred cannon were concentrated along a narrow front, and the

German positions subjected to a terrific

blast which leveled the village of Neuve

Chapelle, wrecked many German intrenchments, and cut many of the wire entanglements. In fact, during this bombardment

more ammunition was expended than had

been shot away during the whole Boer War.