See animated map of the battle

Since the end of autumn 1914, the Germans controlled the whole plateau of the Chemin des Dames, excepting a little area around the farms of Hurtebise and the Creute. The German attack, which objective and success were vital to continue the war on the Chemin des Dames, started on 25th January 1915.

The assault started at 2 pm (French hour), after a short but intense preparation of the artillery with 150 cannons and 11 minnenwerfer that bombarded a 500-meter-large area.
The assault was mainly led by the Saxon troops. The 103rd Infantry Regiment (I.R 103) was in the centre; the 102nd (I.R 102) was on the left around Hurtebise farm; and on the right towards the tree of Paissy, a mixed regiment composed by 2 batalions of the 159th Prussian regiment and a Saxon battalion.


At 2.30 pm, the German soldiers reached the edge of the plateau that dominated the Aisne Valley .
Soldiers from the 18th Infantry Regiment were besieged in the quarry of the Creute farm (today’s Cave of the Dragoon), where they had found refuge. They finally withdrew the next day around 2 am.
Fights continued on 26th January, around Hurtebise farm defended by the 34th Infantry Regiment and in the West of the Creute farm defended by the 6th Infantry Regiment.

On the 27th at daybreak, the Germans gained the control of all the former French positions in the plateau of the Chemin des Dames.
This German victory would be celebrated in with the name of “ Battle of the Craonne”, in reference to the battle that had taken place on 7th March 1814 between Napoleon I’s soldiers and the Russian troops of Blüchler’s army.

But the 25th and 26th January’s fights were particularly deadly: more than 2,000 people were killed (at least 850 Germans and maybe 1,500 French) in two days. 1,100 French were captured.

The regiments who have participated at this Battle 

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