four major battles of Ypres took place in 1914, 1915, 1917
18 October 1914, at the end of the 'Race to the Sea', the
Germans launched their 4th and 6th Armies against the BEF
at Ypres. Little advantage was gained by either side and eventually
heavy rains brought the contest to an end on 11 November.
2. On 22 April 1915 the Germans, using poison
gas in quantity for the first time in the war, attacked
the north-eastern edge of the Ypres Salient. Despite initial
panic amongst the French Colonial troops who bore the main
brunt of the gas, stubborn resistance by the Canadians and
by British county regiments prevented a breakthrough.
3. In 1917
the British offensive, generally known as 'Passchendaele',
began on 7 June with the capture of the Messines Ridge. Not
until 31 July was the assault continued towards Passchendaele
itself which was eventually occupied some 16 weeks later after
fighting which had taken place in almost continuous rain.
4. The fourth battle of Ypres was part of the final German offensive
known as the 'Kaiser's Offensive'
which had begun on 21 March 1918. By 9 April the Germans had crossed
the River Lys and were heading north of Armentieres. British
politicians called for help from the French and the Americans,
and General Haig issued his 'Backs to the wall' message. By
29 April tiredness on both sides led to Ludendorff calling
off the campaign.
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