17/11/1914 Ypres: the battle grinds to a halt

At Ypres the strain of the continuous fighting over the last month has left the British on the brink of collapse. But the weather has broken now and snow is falling on the battlefield. The Germans are wary of throwing more men at the British for no significant gain. The Germans call a halt to their offensives. Falkenhayn orders his men to dig into defensive positions, accepting that the war will not be won by the end of the year after all. Perhaps in the spring the attack will be renewed, but for now there is a halt to offensive operations on the Western Front. A line of trenches now stretches from the Belgian coast to the Swiss frontier.

The fighting at Ypres was ruinous. The Germans have suffered some 80,000 casualties. The British have lost some 54,000 men, a far higher proportion of the soldiers committed to the battle. In the fighting since they arrived in France the British Expeditionary Force has been almost wiped out. Regiments of over a thousand men have been reduced to a few score survivors. Ypres has been a victory for British (and French) arms, but it has been a terrible one.

image source (Wikipedia)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.