In the battle of Flanders, the most violent and the most stubbornly contested of the whole war, the Allies continue to gain ground. The French official communiqué, issued at Paris on Sunday afternoon, stated that between the North Sea and the Lys fighting has become less violent.
Towards Dixmude and to the north-east of Ypres several partial attacks by the enemy have been repulsed. In this region the Allies have now taken the offensive in their return, notably to the north of Messines.
The British troops are reported to have made slight progress around Armentiéres, and between La Brassée and Arras the enemy’s attacks have been repulsed.
A marked advance is reported around Soissons, in the region of Vailly, and on the right bank of the Aisne, says the communiqué, “we have consolidated our progress to the north of Chavonne and Soupir”.
A later statement issued on Sunday night reported that in the north the enemy appeared to have concentrated his activity in the region of Ypres, without any result, however.
“Everywhere,” says the communiqué, “we hold our own.”
In a message on Sunday, the Times special correspondent in Northern France says that there is renewed activity along the battle line, particularly east of Ypres and between Lille and Arras.
“Under the heavy gun fire which they have maintained since their defeat at Ypres, the Germans have found time to reorganise and reinforce their shattered forces. At one point, some five miles east of Ypres, they obtained some temporary success. Our men have been in the trenches for nine days. They were relieved by others of the Allied troops, so that they might retire for much-needed rest.
“The new troops had scarcely got into the trenches before they were assailed in overwhelming numbers. They were unable to hold the position and retired beyond a wood in the rear of the trenches. The exhausted men who had been relieved were ordered to return to retake the position.
“Tired as they were they did it magnificently. Advancing under cover of the mist in the early hours of yesterday morning, they drove the enemy out of the wood after furious hand-to-hand fighting. The enemy retired to our trenches and tried to stay our men. They were driven out of the trenches at the bayonet’s point. In less than an hour the position had been regained. The enemy fled, leaving the field strewn with their dead and wounded. Their rifle fire was poor; they would not stay to oppose bayonet with bayonet. Our men suffered most from machine gun fire, but took four of these weapons.”