During World War I, France was one of the Triple Entente powers allied against the Central Powers. The bulk of the fighting in Europe occurred in Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Alsace-Lorraine along what came to be known as the Western Front, which consisted mainly of trench warfare. Like most other continental European powers, the French Army was organised on the basis of universal conscription. Each year, men turning 21 in the upcoming year would be inducted into the Army and spend three years in active service. After leaving active service they would progress through various stages of reserves, each of which involved a lower degree of commitment. At the outbreak of war the army consisted of 173 infantry regiments, 89 cavalry regiments and 87 artillery regiments. Over the course of the War another five field armies would be raised. The war scare led to another 2.9 million men being mobilised in the summer of 1914 and the costly battles on the Western Front forced France to conscript men up to the age of 45. By 1918, towards the end of the war, the composition and structure of the French army had changed. Forty percent of all French soldiers on the Western Front were operating artillery and 850,000 French troops were infantry in 1918, compared to 1.5 million in 1915.
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