- Western Front
Western Front (disambiguation)for other meanings." Western Front was a term used during the First and Second World Wars to describe the "contested armed frontier" between lands controlled by Germanyto the East and the Alliesto the West. A "contested armed frontier" during a war is called a "front".
World War I
Western Front (World War I)"
From the end of the
First Battle of Ypres, at the end of the Race to the Sea, until the last few months of the summer of 1918, the Western Front consisted of a relatively static line of trench systems which stretched from the coast of the North Seasouthwards to the Swiss border. In their efforts to break through the opposing lines of trenches and barbed wire entanglements, the opposing forces employed huge artillery bombardments followed by attacks of tens of thousands of soldiers. Battles typically lasted for months and lead to casualties measured in the hundreds of thousands for attacker and defender alike, such as the Battle of the Somme, wherein 20 000 men died on the first day. Battles on this front were also typified by poor advance planning and the application of 19th century warfare tactics, such as direct frontal assaults on enemy positions, that were doomed to failure in the face of modern technology, such as the machine gun. The general result of these huge expenditures of effort was only a small shift, measured in a few kilometres, in a short section of the front.
The principal adversaries on the Western Front, who fielded armies of millions of men, were
Germanyto the East against Franceand the United Kingdomto the West, with sizable contingents from the Allied empires, especially the British Dominions. The United Statesentered the war on the side of the Entente Powersin 1917 and by the summer of 1918 had an army of around half a million men, this rising to a million by the time the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918.
Alpine Frontbetween Italy, which was a member of the Allies, and Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was a member of the Central Powers, is usually considered to be a separate front.
World War II
Western Front (World War II)"
Percentage of German Army: approximately 40% in 1944.(Counting France and Italy in respect to the Eastern front-Source:Axis History Factbook Axis order of battle 1944.)Counting the Balkans-53%
In early 1943 (till July or September) 40% of all axis forces (not German Army) were deployed against the western allies. (The count includes all fronts except the
Balkans, which would be counted as the western front. Allies of Germany are excluded in the 1944 statistic as a result of there being almost no foreign allies by this point in significant strength (strategically) on any front.) -Same Source
The Western Front of World War II was generally restricted to the same geographic regions as during World War I. During the war the front moved much further, as far West as the
English Channeland as far East as the line which would become the Iron Curtainduring the Cold War. Although fighting took place in Norwayand Italy these are not usually included as part of the Western Front but as separate campaigns.
The Western Front had three distinct phases during World War II.
The first phase lasted from September 1939 until 1940. It started with the
Phony Warwith the allies taking up positions which created a front similar to that held during most of World War I. The first phase lasted until the Germans attacked and won a stunningly fast victory in June 1940. The British had to withdraw the British Expeditionary Forceto Britain with an evacuation through Dunkirk Operation Dynamo and France was forced to capitulate.
The second phase from the late summer of 1940 until the early summer of 1944 consisted of a stalemate along the English Channel where neither side were strong enough to invade the other's territory with anything more than
commandoraids. The main action during this period was happening in the Eastern Front.
The third and final phase started on
June 6 1944with the invasion of Normandy on the D-Dayof Operation Overlord, When an allied force consisting of American British and Canada Army Groups (with units from many other nations), successfully gained a beach head in Normandyin northern France. By the early autumn of 1944 the front was approximately where the World War I front had been. It ended on May 8 1945with the unconditional surrender of Germany. By that time western allied forces were on a front which stretched from the Baltic east of Denmark, southwards along the river Elbe, through the German/Czechoslovakia border into Austriaand North Italy. This was a great delay in the war.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Western Front — the Western Front an area in northern France and Belgium where many battles of World War I were fought. The armies of the ↑Allies (=Britain, France etc) and of Germany were based in ↑trenches (=long, deep holes in the ground) and suffered… … Dictionary of contemporary English
Western Front — noun The belt of land, running SE from the coast of Belgium through Rheims to Verdun, which lay between the German and Allied Forces in World War I • • • Main Entry: ↑west … Useful english dictionary
Western Front — /wɛstən ˈfrʌnt/ (say westuhn frunt) noun the line of battle in Europe during World War I; the area of land across which the armed forces of Germany and the Allies faced each other, extending from Nieuport on the Belgian coast to Belfort in… … Australian English dictionary
Western Front (World War II) — Western Front Part of World War II … Wikipedia
Western Front (disambiguation) — Western Front may refer to one of the following:*Western Front, a front to the West of Germany during World War I and World War II. **Western Front (WWI) **Western Front (WWII) *Soviet Western Front, an army group of the Soviet Union. *Western… … Wikipedia
Western Front, the — the area in France and Belgium where many of the most important battles of World War I were fought between 1914 and 1918 … Usage of the words and phrases in modern English
Western Front (World War I) — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Western Front partof=World War I caption=For most of World War I, Allied and German Forces were stalled in trench warfare along the Western Front. place=Belgium and northeastern France date=1914 ndash; 1918… … Wikipedia
Western Front (Soviet Union) — The Western Front was a Front (military subdivision) of the Soviet Army, one of the Soviet Army Fronts during the Second World War. This sense of the term is not identical with the more general usage of military front which indicates a geographic … Wikipedia
Western Front Society — The Western Front is an artist run centre located in Vancouver, Canada. It was founded in 1973 by a multidisciplinary group of artists who purchased the former Knights of Pythias lodge hall in which the centre still resides. More than 2,000… … Wikipedia
Western Front (band) — Infobox Musical artist Name = Western Front Img capt = Img size = Landscape = Background = group or band Alias = Origin = Portland, Oregon, United States Genre = Alternative country Years active = 1985 ndash;1986 Label = Associated acts = The… … Wikipedia