Nord (French department)
Nord is a department in the far north of France. It was created from the western halves of the historical counties of Flanders and Hainaut, the Bishopric of Cambrai; the modern coat of arms was inherited from the County of Flanders. Nord is the country's most populous department, it contains the metropolitan region of Lille, the fifth-largest urban area in France after Paris, Lyon and Toulouse. Within the department is located the part of France where the French Flemish dialect of Dutch is still spoken as a native language. Like Dutch, the dialect of Ch'ti is still spoken. Tribes of the Belgae, such as the Menapii and Nervii were the first peoples recorded in the area known as Nord. During the 4th and 5th Centuries, Roman rulers of Gallia Belgica secured the route from the major port of Bononia to Colonia, by co-opting Germanic peoples north-east of this corridor, such as the Tungri. In effect, the area known as Nord became an isogloss between the Germanic and Romance languages. Saxon colonisation of the region from the 5th to the 8th centuries shifted the isogloss further south so that, by the 9th century, most people north of Lille spoke a dialect of Old Dutch.
This has remained evident in the place names of the region. After the County of Flanders became part of France in the 9th century, the isogloss moved north and east. During the 14th Century, much of the area came under the control of the Duchy of Burgundy and in subsequent centuries was therefore part of the Habsburg Netherlands and the Spanish Netherlands. Areas that constituted Nord were ceded to France by treaties in 1659, 1668, 1678, becoming the Counties of Flanders and Hainaut, part of the Bishopric of Cambrai. On 4 March 1790, during the French Revolution, Nord became one of the original 83 departments created to replace the counties. Modern government policies making French the only official language have led to a decline in use of the Dutch West Flemish dialect. There are 20,000 speakers of a sub-dialect of West Flemish in the arrondissement of Dunkirk and it appears that this particular sub-dialect will be extinct within decades. There is, however. Nord is part of the current Hauts-de-France region and is surrounded by the French departments of Pas-de-Calais and Aisne, as well as by Belgium and the North Sea.
Situated in the north of the country along the western half of the Belgian frontier, the department is unusually long and narrow. Its principal city is Lille, which with nearby Roubaix and Villeneuve d'Ascq constitutes the center of a cluster of industrial and former mining towns totalling over a million inhabitants. Other important cities are Valenciennes and Dunkirk; the principal rivers are the following: Yser, Escaut, Sambre Nord is the most populated department, with a population of 2,617,939 and an area of 5,743 km². The President of the Departmental Council is the unaffiliated right-winger Jean-René Lecerf; the first President of the Fifth Republic, General Charles de Gaulle, was born in Lille in the department on 22 November 1890. At the forefront of France's 19th century industrialisation, the area suffered during World War I and now faces the economic and environmental problems associated with the decline of coal mining with its neighbours following the earlier decline of the Lille-Roubaix textile industry.
Until the department was dominated economically by coal mining, which extended through the heart of the department from neighbouring Artois into central Belgium. Cantons of the Nord department Communes of the Nord department Arrondissements of the Nord department French Flemish Université Lille Nord de France INSEE Prefecture website General Council website Nord at Curlie
Auberchicourt is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. Communes of the Nord department INSEE commune file
Masnieres British Cemetery
Masnieres British Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery is a small Commonwealth War Graves Commission burial site for British Empire troops killed during the First World War Battle of Cambrai between September–October 1918. It contains a number of German graves, although these are unidentified; the cemetery is located 1 kilometre southeast of the village of Marcoing, 4 miles southwest of Cambrai. Opened by the III Corps Burial Officer in October 1918, the cemetery covers an area of 995 square metres and is enclosed by a stone rubble wall, its grounds were assigned to the British Empire in perpetuity by the French state in recognition of the sacrifices made by the Allies in the defence of France during the war. The Masnières Newfoundland Memorial, which commemorates the Royal Newfoundland Regiment's losses in 1917 in the Battle of Cambrai is located nearby, but is not a part of the cemetery; the Royal Newfoundland Regiment are honoured by 5 overseas memorials: the Beaumont Hamel Memorial, the Gueudecourt Memorial, the Monchy-le-Preux Memorial and the Masnières Memorial.
The cemetery contains the grave of Thomas Neely VC MM, killed in action just south of Cambrai on 1 October 1918, three days after his Victoria Cross action. A second Victoria Cross holder, Henry Tandey VC, DCM, MM, had his ashes interred in the cemetery at his request following his death in 1977. Cemetery details. Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Arleux is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. The Sensée River joins the Canal du Nord at Arleux. Communes of the Nord department INSEE commune file
Anstaing is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. The name is of Germanic origin, meaning "village of Anst". Communes of the Nord department SourcesINSEE commune fileNotes
Ligny-en-Cambrésis is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. Communes of the Nord department INSEE commune file
Battle of Cambrai (1917)
The Battle of Cambrai was a British attack followed by the biggest German counter-attack against the British Expeditionary Force since 1914, in the First World War. The town of Cambrai, in the département of Nord, was an important supply point for the German Siegfriedstellung and capture of the town and the nearby Bourlon Ridge would threaten the rear of the German line to the north. Major General Henry Tudor, Royal Artillery of the 9th Division, advocated the use of new artillery-infantry techniques on his sector of the front. During preparations, J. F. C. Fuller, a staff officer with the Tank Corps, looked for places to use tanks for raids. General Julian Byng, commander of the British Third Army, decided to combine both plans; the French and British armies had used tanks in mass earlier in 1917, although to less effect. After a big British success on the first day, mechanical unreliability, German artillery and infantry defences exposed the frailties of the Mark IV tank. On the second day, only about half of the tanks were operational and British progress was limited.
In the History of the Great War, the British official historian, Wilfrid Miles, modern scholars do not place exclusive credit for the first day on tanks but discuss the concurrent evolution of artillery and tank methods. Numerous developments since 1915 matured at Cambrai, such as predicted artillery fire, sound ranging, infantry infiltration tactics, infantry-tank co-ordination and close air support; the techniques of industrial warfare continued to develop and played a vital part during the Hundred Days Offensive in 1918, along with replacement of the Mark IV tank with improved types. The rapid reinforcement and defence of Bourlon Ridge by the Germans, as well as the subsequent counter-stroke were notable achievements, which gave the Germans hope that an offensive strategy could end the war before American mobilisation became overwhelming. Proposals for an operation in the Cambrai area using a large number of tanks originated from Brigadier Hugh Elles of the Tank Corps, the reliance on the secret transfer of artillery reinforcements to be "silently registered" to gain surprise came from Henry Hugh Tudor, commander of the 9th infantry division artillery.
In August 1917, Tudor conceived the idea of a surprise attack in the IV Corps sector, he suggested a artillery-infantry attack, which would be supported by a small number of tanks, to secure a breakthrough of the German Hindenburg Line. The German defences were formidable. Tudor's plan sought to test new methods in combined arms, with emphasis on combined artillery and infantry techniques and see how effective they were against strong German fortifications. Tudor advocated using the new sound ranging and silent registration of guns to achieve instant suppression fire and surprise, he wanted to use tanks to clear paths through the deep barbed wire obstacles in front of German positions, while supporting the tank force with the No. 106 Fuze, designed to explode high explosive ammunition without cratering the ground to supplement the armour. Two weeks before the start of the battle, the Royal Flying Corps began to train its pilots in ground-attack tactics. Before the ground offensive, the RFC was assigned sets of targets to attack, including trenches, supply points and enemy airfields.
The battle began at dawn 06:30 on 20 November, with a predicted bombardment by 1,003 guns on German defences, followed by smoke and a creeping barrage at 300 yd ahead to cover the first advances. Despite efforts to preserve secrecy, the Germans had received sufficient intelligence to be on moderate alert: an attack on Havrincourt was anticipated, as was the use of tanks; the attacking force was six infantry divisions of the III Corps on the right and IV Corps on the left, supported by nine battalions of the Tank Corps with about 437 tanks. In reserve was one infantry division in IV Corps and the three divisions of the Cavalry Corps. There was considerable success in most areas and it seemed as if a great victory was within reach. On the right, the 12th Division advanced as far as Lateau Wood before being ordered to dig in; the 20th Division forced a way through La Vacquerie and advanced to capture a bridge across the Canal de Saint-Quentin at Masnières. The bridge collapsed under the weight of a tank halting the hopes for an advance across the canal.
In the centre the 6th Division captured Ribécourt and Marcoing but when the cavalry passed through late, they were repulsed from Noyelles. On the IV Corps front, the 51st Division was held at Flesquières, its first objective, which left the attacking divisions on each flank exposed to enfilade fire; the commander of the 51st Division, George Montague Harper had used a local variation of the tank drill instead of the standard one laid down by the Tank Corps. Flesquières was one of the most fortified points in the German line and was flanked by other strong points, its defenders under Major Krebs acquitted themselves well against the tanks 40 being knocked out by the Flesquières artillery. The common explanation of the "mythical" German officer ignored the fact that the British tanks were opposed by the 54th Division, which had specialist training in anti-tank tactics and experience against French tanks in the Nivelle Offensive