First Battle of Ypres


First Battle of Ypres

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=First Battle of Ypres


caption=
partof=the Race to the Sea on the Western Front (World War I)
date=19 October - 22 November 1914
place=Ypres, Belgium
result=Decisive Allied victory
combatant1=flagicon|United Kingdom United Kingdom
*
flagicon|France France
flagicon|Belgium Belgium
combatant2=flagicon|German Empire German Empire
commander1=flagicon|United Kingdom John French
flagicon|France Ferdinand Foch
commander2=flagicon|German Empire Erich von Falkenhayn
strength1=UK: 7 infantry divisions, 3 cavalry divisions
France: ?
strength2= Fourth and Sixth Armies
casualties1=UK: 58,000
France: 50,000
casualties2=20,000 killed,
80,000 wounded|

The First Battle of Ypres, also called the Battle of Flanders, was the last major battle of the first year of World War I (1914). This battle and the Battle of the Yser marked the end of the so-called Race to the Sea. This battle was the first battle of Ypres.Actually a series of battles, the battle starting on 19 October the battle finishes according to the various histories on 13 November (France), 22 November British and 30 November for the Germans. [20 November in some histories]

Included in the battle are the:
*Battle of Langemarck (1914) (21-24 October)
*Battle of Gheluvelt 29-31 October)
*Battle of Nonne Bosschen 11 November

Background

The British were building up for a push on Menin, but were unaware of a build up by the Germans for their own offensive.

Battle

The British Expeditionary Force, under the command of Field Marshal Sir John French, was redeployed north from the mobile fighting of the first two months of the war to join two divisions of reinforcements recently landed in Belgium. They advanced east from Saint-Omer, met and halted the German Army at the Passchendaele Ridge to the east of the Belgian town of Ypres. The First Battle of Ypres was preceded by the Battle of the Yser which ended when the Belgians opened the sluice gates of the river Yser to let in the sea into the low lying land to prevent further German advances [ [http://www.firstworldwar.com/battles/ypres1st.htm Battles: The First Battle of Ypres, 1914] ] . Both sides dug in for trench warfare. The town of Ypres was rapidly demolished by artillery and air attack.

The Germans called the battle "The Massacre of the Innocents of Ypres" (in German "Kindermord bei Ypern"). [ [http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_ypres1.html First battle of Ypres, 19 October-22 November 1914 ] ] Eight German units consisted of young volunteers, many of them enthusiastic students, suffered huge casualties during a failed attack on a smaller but highly-experienced British force, many of them veterans of the Second Boer War. The BEF was supported for the first time by battalions from the Army of India and the British Territorials, whose support was essential in holding the Germans at bay. The BEF was severely weakened at First Ypres, but the battle allowed the Allies time to strengthen their lines.

In 1917, the Mons Star was awarded to those surviving British troops who had served in France or Belgium prior to the end of the First Battle of Ypres; the last surviving holder of this decoration, Alfred Anderson, died in November 2005.

Many of the German student volunteers are buried at the Langemark German war cemetery.

See also

*Second Battle of Ypres
*Third Battle of Ypres
*Fourth Battle of Ypres

Notes and References

Further reading

* [Historical Section (Military Branch), Committee of Imperial Defence, translated by G.C. Wynne] "Ypres 1914: An Official Account Published by Order of the German General Staff" Constable, 1919
*N. Gardner, "Trial by Fire: Command and the British Expeditionary Force in 1914",Library of Congress Cataloguing-in-Publication, 2003.
*Martin Gilbert: "The Routledge Atlas of the First World War, second edition", Routledge 2002 ISBN 0-415-28508-9
*Paul Van Pul : "In Flanders Flooded Fields, before Ypres there was Yser", Pen & Sword Military, 2006 ISBN 1-84415-492-0

External links

* [http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/1stypres_joffre.htm General Joffre's report on the battle]
* [http://www.firstworldwar.com/battles/ypres1st.htm Battles: The First Battle of Ypres, 1914]


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