Emgann Lorette, Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
In October 1914, the German troops of Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria failed to take Arras defended by the men of General Barbot. Refused further north, they set foot on the Vimy Ridge and the spur of Lorette between which is the town of Souchez crossed by the road Arras-Lens. From these heights, the German army gains a major strategic advantage: the relief forms a natural barrier between the Mining Basin which it occupies and the plains of Artois where the movements of the allied armies can not escape it.
On May 9, 1915, after six days of preliminary bombing, the French army launched a vast offensive against these German positions on the hills of Artois. If the French manage to retake the plateau of Lorette and Neuville-Saint-Vaast, they fail to seize the Vimy Ridge where they fail to consolidate the breakthrough of the soldiers of the Foreign Legion.
After the war, the French State undertakes the development of vast necropolis where each visitor must be able to take the measure of the sacrifice made by the Nation. In Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, on the plateau where was before the war a chapel dedicated to Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, the small cemetery created after the battle of May 1915 by the French soldiers will be chosen as site for the development a vast necropolis, where will be housed the remains from more than 150 cemeteries of the fronts of Artois, Flanders, the Yser and the Belgian coast. 20,000 identified bodies will receive an individual burial and the remains of nearly 22,000 unknowns will be grouped into eight ossuaries. Lorette becomes the largest national necropolis in France.
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