The battle marked the Germans’ first use of poison gas as a weapon. The third battle of Ypres, popularly known as Passchendaele, began on July 31, 1917, and continued until November. Formations in the salient were cautioned to expect an attack, but the intended use of gas was not communicated to the troops. The reinforcements arrived at the front line about 1:00 am. Most of these deaths were associated with the Second Battle of Ypres (22 nd April to 25 th May) and 90 of the deaths were from the 1 st /5 th Battalion of the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment. Edited 28 April by KernelPanic It marked the first time that Germany used poison gas on a large scale on the Western Front. British and Canadian units advanced throughout the morning, effecting a link with the French on the left. In addition, they had secured much of the high ground in the area. Artillery support for the counterattack was negligible, however, and casualties were so heavy that little ground was regained. However, the legacy was not easily earned as they had to pay the price of losing most of their troops who were either wounded, killed, or had went … The Second Battle of Ypres was a battle of the First World War fought from 21 April–25 May 1915 for control of the strategic Flemish town of Ypres in western Belgium, following the First Battle of Ypres the previous autumn. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Australian soldiers wearing gas masks during the Second Battle of Ypres, 1915. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Additionally, the French endured around 10,000. It was clear that the line on the left had broken, but the extent of the disaster was not realized at first. He painted this enormous work of art, with the canvas 371.5 by 589.0 centimetres, in his London studio. Shortly before midnight, two Canadian reserve battalions, the 10th and the 16th, began their advance on the wood. However, no German troops were ready to pass through. As such, he recommended withdrawing two miles to a new line in front of Ypres where his men could consolidate and re-form. The shock of the gas and its effects resulted in a breach of the Allied line. The second battle of Ypres was fought between April 22 and May 25 in 1915. Flares soared upward, rifle fire flickered from the parapet, and the two battalions charged. Though the Germans had failed the frontal assault on the Allies, they had gained the much needed high ground in the area. second battle of Ypres - battle in World War I (1915); Germans wanted to try chlorine (a toxic yellow gas) as a weapon and succeeded in taking considerable territory from the Allied salient battle of Ypres, Ypres Having endured earlier gas attacks, the British had developed new tactics such as shelling behind the cloud to strike at the advancing German infantry. Fear of the new weapon. Opposite the French, the Germans had added slightly to the ground they had captured west of the canal, in spite of the efforts of the French 87th Territorial Division reserves and fresh troops transferred from Nieuport (now Niewpoort) to stop them. In fact, the German XXIII and XXVI Reserve Corps, after a short artillery preparation, had attacked under cover of a discharge of nearly 200 tons (180,000 kg) of chlorine gas. Posted on May 8, 2015. The Battle of Ypres 1915 Cost 6000 Canadian Casualties, The Battle of Passchendaele - World War I, M.S., Information and Library Science, Drexel University, B.A., History and Political Science, Pennsylvania State University. The 10th Canadian Field Battery, by switching fire to the left rear, stopped the German advance in its sector before moving to a less-exposed position. However, by early October, 1914, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was able to recapture the town. Two German corps were to follow through the gap made by the gas cloud. Great War Blog On Facebook. On April 19 French pilot Roland Garros was forced to land behind the German lines east of Ypres; he and his plane were captured, and the Germans recovered Garros’s revolutionary machine-gun–synchronizing device. Omissions? On the British front, the counterattacks of the morning had made it possible to build up the long exposed Canadian left flank, and, but for a gap of about 1,000 yards (0.9 km) north of St. Julien, a solid line of defense now existed from the original Canadian left to the canal. The Second Battle of Ypres was a battle of the First World War. During World War I, the Second Battle of Ypres was fought from 22 April – 25 May 1915 for control of the strategic Flemish town of Ypres in western Belgium after the First Battle of Ypres the previous autumn. The first of these began on 22 nd April 1915 as a surprise attack by the German 4th Army on the French sector of the Allied Front Line. To seal the breach, the 1st Canadian Division of General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien's Second British Army was shifted to the area after dark. Pronunciation of second battle of Ypres with 1 audio pronunciation, 3 synonyms, 10 translations and more for second battle of Ypres. The Second Battle Ypres was fought April 22 to May 25, 1915, during World War I (1914-1918) and saw the Germans conduct a limited offensive around the strategic town of Ypres in Flanders. Additionally, the battle was the first time that a former colonial force (the 1st Canadian Division) … This focus ultimately resulted in the stunningly successful Gorlice-Tarnów Offensive in May. Two days later, on 24 April, a … This attack witnessed the first use of a new German weapon on the Western Front: a cloud of poisonous gas. The Second Battle of Ypres comprised the only major attack launched by the German forces on the Western Front in 1915, Eric von Falkenhayn preferring to concentrate German efforts against the Russians on the Eastern Front. Father and son who died on the same day in World War I The Second Battle of Ypres. In addition, the French incurred around 10,000. The situation of the defenders at the point of the new salient was becoming more serious by the hour. Late that morning Smith-Dorrien ordered the British 13th Brigade and other British units in the area to counterattack northward along the east side of the canal toward Pilckem. This resulted in the First Battle of Ypres which saw the Allies hold a salient around Ypres after brutal fighting. At daybreak on April 23 the Allies began the arduous process of establishing a continuous line along the Canadian flank to join the French on the Yser canal. The Second Battle of Ypres is also notable for being the engagement during which Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD composed the famed poem In Flanders Fields. The Second Battle of Ypres was the first mass use by Germany of poison gas on the Western Front. The Great War Blog. It was the first mass use by Germany of poison gas on the Western Front. That same day, German heavy guns, including a 17-inch howitzer, began the preparatory bombardment of Ypres, and an increase of tear gas dispersion in the forward area was an ominous sign of the coming battle. This plan was rejected by the Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force, Field Marshal Sir John French, who elected to sack Smith-Dorrien and replace him with the commander of V Corps, General Herbert Plumer. The Second Battle of Ypres, 22 April to 25 May 1915 War artist Richard Jack portrays the Canadian stand during the Second Battle of Ypres, which he did not witness. How to say second battle of Ypres in English? Older posts. Cassar deals with the entire 2nd Ypres. A dangerous method of dispersal, it resulted in numerous casualties among the German forces. The remainder of the Belgian army extended north through the area that had been flooded during the First Battle of Ypres. The effect of the gas on the French was greater than the German infantry had anticipated. These units were comprised of territorial and colonial troops from Algeria and Morocco. This was a great legacy for the Canadian forces. At 5:00 pm on April 22 a heavy greenish yellow haze rose from the German trenches opposite Langemarck and rolled southwestward on the gentle breeze of that sunny afternoon. Sweeping over the trench, the Canadians pressed on through the wood, recovering the four guns of the 2nd London Heavy Battery, but, instead of advancing northwestward toward the east side of Pilckem as planned, they lost direction and emerged to dig in along a hedge northeast of the wood. The use of poison gas had come as a tactical surprise to the Allies who roundly condemned its use as barbaric and reprehensible. It marked the first mass Williams and R. James Steel (2020). Having consolidated their position, the Allies were again attacked by the Germans on May 8. Though many neutral nations agreed with this assessment, it did not stop the Allies from developing their own gas weapons which debuted at Loos that September. After the Second Battle of Ypres, in August 1915, they were transferred to the 51st (Highland) Division as the divisional pioneers, and disbanded in March 1919 at Haddington The 1/9th mobilised at Edinburgh in August 1914, and moved to France in February 1915 with the 27th Division; when this moved to Salonika in November they remained in France, transferring to the 5th Division, and then to Third Army reserve. Ypres was the principal town within an important salient, or bulge, in the British lines on the Western Front during World War I.The Ypres salient was the site of three major battles—First Ypres (October–November 1914), Second Ypres (April–May 1915; marked by the Germans’ first use of poison gas as a weapon), and Third Ypres (also called Passchendaele; July–November 1917)—with total Allied and German … Chief of the General Staff Erich von Falkenhayn. This new technology provided an initial advantage, but the Germans were ultimately stopped after heavy fighting. It happened in the spring of 1915. Over subsequent weeks, the Germans proved unable to replicate the success of their initial gas attack, and casualties continued to mount on both sides. Updates? The Battle for Ypres, 1915' by J.L. This latter attack had been ordered by French Gen. Ferdinand Foch at about 8:00 pm on April 22 to regain the ground lost to the gas attack. At the first alarm, the Canadian garrison at St. Julien had rushed to man the half-made trenches north of the village, and the two brigades already in line had ordered their reserve battalions up to the left flank. As soon as Allied commanders received news of the breaking of the line on their left, they sent reinforcements to the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade to strengthen the line between St. Julien and the Bois des Cuisinièrs. Soon French troops were seen staggering back through a storm of high-explosive and gas shells, past the Canadian batteries and reserve infantry battalions. Second Battle of Ypres, (April 22–May 25, 1915), second of three costly battles in World War I at Ypres (now Ieper), in western Flanders. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. The 1st Battle of Ypres took place between 15th October and 22nd November, 1914. … By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Meanwhile, the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade prepared for a counterattack to capture the Bois des Cuisinièrs—an oak forest whose name the British and Canadians had translated as “Kitcheners’ Wood”—roughly 1,000 yards (0.9 km) west of St. Julien. Unprepared for such an attack, the French troops began retreating as their comrades were blinded or collapsed from asphyxiation and damage to lung tissue. Subscribe to Dispatches Support the Great … Though tear gas had been used against the Russians in January at Bolimov, the Second Battle of Ypres would mark the debut of lethal chlorine gas. The 16th Battalion extended toward St. Julien and dug in while the 10th held the left and patrolled the wood. Though the Germans had not achieved a breakthrough, they succeeded in bringing Ypres within range of their artillery. Beginning before dawn on May 24, the German assault sought to capture Bellewaarde Ridge. Moving forward, the Germans entered the Allied lines but their exploitation of the gap was slowed by darkness and a lack of reserves. In early April 1915 the Allied forces on the Ypres front comprised (from south to north) elements of the two corps of the British Second Army—which included the 1st Canadian Division—commanded by Gen. Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien, the French 45th (Algerian) and 87th Territorial divisions under Gen. Henri Putz, and the Belgian 6th Division under Maj. Gen. Armand de Ceuninck. Between the Algerians’ position and St. Julien, a distance of over a mile, was a gap through which the Germans had penetrated, and a German machine gun swept the unprotected rear of the Allies’ old front line. Background . It was the first time that Germany successfully used chemical weapons on a large scale on the Western Front. During World War I, the Second Battle of Ypres was fought from 22 April – 25 May 1915 for control of the strategic Flemish town of Ypres in western Belgium after the First Battle of Ypres the previous autumn. If the French could not recover the ground on the left, an extensive withdrawal would be necessary, and converging German attacks might break down the apex before the withdrawal could be completed. The Second Battle of Ypres was the first time Germany used poison gas on a large scale on the Western Front in the First World War and the first time a former colonial force pushed back a major European power (Germans) on European soil, which occurred in the battle of St. Julien-Kitcheners' Wood. The Second Battle of Ypres was the Great War battle in which … Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The British sought to break the German line, but, bogged down by mud … In the fighting at Second Ypres, the British suffered around 59,275 casualties, while the Germans endured 34,933. Overseeing German operations, Chief of the General Staff Erich von Falkenhayn preferred to focus on winning the war on the Western Front as he believed that a separate peace could be obtained with Russia. Shortly after 3:00 am on April 23, conditions were further improved by the arrival of the bulk of the Canadian 7th Battalion, which moved westward to dig a north-south line some 700 yards (0.6 km) long. As a result, the decision was made to focus on the Eastern Front in 1915. The second battle of Ypres continued for another month after the Canadians were relieved, fought largely by British units  and by a battalion of the Princess Patricias Canadian Light Infantry  who re-established control of the Ypres salient. Reinforced by two platoons and a machine gun from the Canadian 13th Battalion, this force formed a short but effective flank. Several types of gas soon became widely used by both sides, and though it never proved a decisive, battle-winning weapon, poison gas became one of the most-feared and best-remembered horrors of the war. He has appeared on The History Channel as a featured expert. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/event/Second-Battle-of-Ypres, The Canadian Encyclopedia - Canada and the Second Battle of Ypres, Government of Canada - The Second Battle of Ypres (22 April-25 May 1915). This attack began at 5:00 pm, and the right advanced to the thin line of the 1st Canadian Brigade; the left, briefly assisted by a French battalion, came up abreast and extended to the canal. Post navigation. The Canadians held the old front line and the flank along the St. Julien–Poelcappelle road in the hope that a counterattack would restore the shattered left. canisters of chlorine gas to the front opposite Gravenstafel Ridge which was occupied by French 45th and 87th Divisions. Though the Canadian troops attempted to improvise protective measures such as covering their mouths and noses with water or urine-soaked handkerchiefs, they were ultimately forced to fall back though they exacted a high price from the Germans. As the withdrawal began on May 1, the Germans again attacked with gas near Hill 60. The Second Battle of Ypres, as it is known in British military history, encompassed four battles in the northern sector of the Ypres Salient. Before daylight the Canadian line was withdrawn to the captured trench south and east of the wood. On April 14 reliable and detailed information was received at British and French headquarters that the Germans intended to use a new weapon, asphyxiating gas discharged from cylinders, opposite the northern edge of the Ypres salient at Langemarck (now Langemark). Though Germany had elected to follow an "east-first" approach, Falkenhayn started planning for an operation against Ypres to begin in April. The Second Battle of Ypres April and May 1915 saw 121 Lancastrians killed, making them the worst two months of the War for the town. Finally reaching the coast, the Western Front became a continuous line stretching to the Swiss frontier. As the two sides sought an advantage, they clashed in Picardy, Albert, and Artois. [57] [58] Tanks were first … The Second Battle Ypres was fought April 22 to May 25, 1915, during World War I (1914-1918) and saw the Germans conduct a limited offensive around the strategic town of Ypres in Flanders. The French 153rd Division was being brought up, but it took some time to gather fresh troops, and three Belgian battalions were lent for the attack. Thus far, the counterattack had been a remarkable success, but German machine guns placed near the southwest corner of the wood still commanded the southern approaches. Most infamously, this battle also served as a testing ground for releasing chlorine gas as a weapon of mass destruction. Subsequent British counterattacks over the next two days failed to retake St. Julien and the units engaged sustained heavy losses. The offensive was to begin on the night of April 15–16 or with the next favourable wind thereafter. Although the Belgian and Canadian hinges held firm, the gates to Ypres had been thrown open. During the Second Battle of Ypres, Lt. Col. John Alexander McCrae M.D. It is historically significant because it was the first time a colony defeated Europe in a battle fought on their soil. Canadian forces would return to the Ypres salient in 1917 for the Battle of Passchendaele  also known as the Third Battle of Ypres a bloody conflict that resulted in 15,654 Canadian casualties (including over 4,000 killed). In a brutal battle, they succeeded in reclaiming the area from the Germans but sustained high casualties in the process. This might be a better book if you're more interested in the first attack on April 22nd, since that's its main focus. The first gas attack came on 22 April. It was fought for control of the town of Ypres in western Belgium. Conditions to the left of the Canadian front were precarious from the first, but some 200 Algerians, although gassed, took up a position near and parallel to the road between Ypres and the village of Poelcappelle (now Poelkapelle) to the northeast. Moving in the open by short rushes and under devastating fire, the 3rd Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, carried that part of the line to the lower slopes of Pilckem Ridge, a short distance from the new German trenches. The promised French attack did not materialize, however, and the survivors of the Middlesex Regiment, too few to hold their advanced position, were forced to fall back. Although the gas attack opened a wide hole in the Allied line, the Germans failed to exploit that advantage. The warning to the Allies was timely. It was during this time that Canadian officer John McCrae penned the first lines of the poem “In Flanders Fields” as a tribute to a friend who had been killed in the fighting. The Second Battle of Ypres is historically significant for being the only major offensive initiated by the German military at the Western Front. In the spring of 1915, the Germans were preparing a major offensive against Russia, but the development … It is estimated that about 135,000 Germans were killed or badly wounded during this offensive. For the first time, a former colonial force (the 1st Canadian Division) defeated a European power (the German Empire) on … The greatest handicap was lack of artillery support: the Canadian frontage was 300 yards (roughly 275 metres) per gun. As the gas was denser than air it quickly filled low-lying areas, such as trenches, forcing the surviving French defenders into the open where they were susceptible to German fire. In short order, a gap of around 8,000 yards opened in the Allied lines as around 6,000 French soldiers died from gas-related causes. Drifting across the lines, the grey-green cloud struck the French 45th and 87th Divisions. These activities diverted the Allies’ attention from the northern face of the salient, where the first German blow would strike the junctions of the British, French, and Belgian forces. Three hundred yards (some 270 metres) from the German trench covering the southern approach to the wood, the German defenders detected movement. It was a weapon that, when used in the second battle of Ypres, destroyed any romantic notions of conflict. The gas attack on the first day of the battle became one of the conflict's great missed opportunities. With the German defeat at the First Battle of the Marne in September 1914 and the unraveling of the Schlieffen Plan, both sides commenced a series of flanking maneuvers in northern France and Flanders. Meeting heavy resistance, they released a gas cloud on May 10. Had the assault been backed with sufficient reserves, it may have broken through the Allied lines. The left flank of this line was in contact with the St. Julien garrison, whereas the right bent back some distance from the old front line. Illustration for John McCrae's “In Flanders Fields” from a limited-edition book (1921) containing the poem. When he volunteered at age 41 for service in the First World War, McCrae wrote to a friend that “I am really rather afraid, but more afraid to stay at home with my conscience.” In April 1915, McCrae and a young friend, Alexis Helmer,…, …a 6-km (4-mile) front at Ypres, Belgium, on April 22, 1915, creating a wind-borne chemical cloud that opened a major breach in the lines of the unprepared French and Algerian units. The unusual noise of traffic behind the German lines caused so little alarm that three of the eight Canadian field batteries at Ypres would be caught while rotating troops from the front line to the rear. The Second Battle of Ypres consisted of four separate engagements: The Battle of Gravenstafel: Thursday 22 April – Friday 23 April 1915 The Battle of Saint Julien: Saturday 24 April – 4 May 1915. During the course of the battle, the Germans debuted the use of poison gas on the Western Front. The Second Battle of Ypres was fought from 22 April to 25 May 1915 on the Western Front of World War I when the Imperial German Army launched an offensive against the Entente forces at the Ypres salient in Flanders, Belgium.Ypres was the first battle in history to feature the use of chlorine gas. Background. It targeted a 4-mile stretch of the Allied line on the north side of the salient, held by French and Algerian troops. Between that position and St. Julien, the 13th Battalion’s two supporting platoons suffered heavy losses while countering the German effort to penetrate behind the trench line and roll it up. Though the Germans had failed to break through the Allied lines, they reduced the Ypres Salient to around three miles which allowed for the shelling of the city. By nightfall the XXIII Corps had crossed the Yser canal and the XXVI had advanced some 2 miles (3 km), capturing the high ground at Pilckem (later called Mauser) Ridge and approaching the town of St. Julien (now St. Juliaan), some 2.5 miles (4 km) northeast of Ypres. Between them, they suffered 41,000 of the 59,000 British casualties and the battle was to be the last major action on the Western Front fought predominantly by British ‘Old Army’ units. By 8:00 pm there were no formed bodies of French troops east of the canal, all their batteries in that sector had been captured, and the entire left flank of the 1st Canadian Division lay exposed to attack. Continuing pressure on the northern part of the Ypres Salient, the Germans released a second gas attack on the morning of the 24th as part of an effort to take St. Julien. Following the defeat of a small counter-offensive led by General Ferdinand Foch, French directed Plumer to begin the planned retreat. After a pause of eleven days, the Germans resumed the battle by releasing their largest gas attack to date across a 4.5-mile section of the front. The situation of the troops in the salient remained desperate, however. In two days of fighting, the British bloodied the Germans but were still forced to concede another 1,000 yards of territory. The Germans use chlorine gas on the Western Front for the first time, tearing a four-mile gap in the allied lines. After the effort against Bellewaarde Ridge, the Germans brought the battle to a close due to a lack of supplies and manpower. Great War Blog On Kindle. Published in Punch 8 December 1915, the poem is still recited on Remembrance Day and Memorial Day. The Germans wished to gain an advantage over the Allied Forces at the Eastern front where defeating the Russians … Opposite the Allies was the German Fourth Army under Albrecht, duke of Württemberg. After the northern portion of the Ypres Salient was subjected to the world’s first poison gas attack in April, ... Britain, Canada, Germany, Second Battle of Ypres, trenches, Ypres. Hedges and ditches made it difficult to keep order in the darkness, but the Canadians pressed on. The Germans were not prepared to exploit the opening, which gave the French and Algerians time to rush reinforcements…. Intended as a limited offensive, he sought to divert Allied attention from troop movements east, secure a more commanding position in Flanders, as well as to test a new weapon, poison gas. Assaulting the Allied lines, they were met by fierce resistance from the British survivors, including many from the 1st Battalion of the Dorset Regiment, and were turned back. Simultaneously, a second advance moved down the open slopes of Hill Top Ridge toward the German trenches on Pilckem Ridge. The Battle of Frezenberg: 8–13 May 1915 The Battle of Bellewaarde: 24–25 May 1915 The scene of the battles was the Ypres salient on the Western Front, where the Allied line which followed the canal … The position of the front line at nightfall on April 23 was little different from that of the morning. Their first move was to be securing a bridgehead across the Yser (Ijzer) canal. This approach clashed with General Paul von Hindenburg who wished to deliver a decisive blow in the East. On 22 April 1915, at the Second Battle of Ypres, the Germans (violating the Hague Convention) used chlorine gas for the first time on the Western Front. Gas was not a new weapon in 1915 but the Second Battle of Ypres was the first time chlorine gas was used and the first time it was employed on such a scale. Second Battle of Ypres in Southern Victory Edit. Fritz Haber, a German chemist who proposed the use of the heavier-than-air chlorine gas as a weapon … However, the Canadian left, now strengthened by the Canadian 1st Battalion, had stabilized. This was done by opening the gas cylinders by hand and relying on the prevailing winds to carry the gas towards the enemy. It also marked the first time a former colonial force (the 1st Canadian Division) defeated a European power (the German Empire) in Europe (at the Battle of St. Julien and Battle of Kitcheners' Wood). In October, the Germans attempted to breakthrough at the town of Ypres in Flanders. The Second Battle of Ypres was Canada’s first major engagement in the First World War set in Flanders in the Ypres Salient – a section of the front line surrounding the town of Ypres, Belgium. The leftmost Canadian units pushed on for an additional 700 yards (0.6 km), where they found about 200 French soldiers with a machine gun who were occupying elements of a trench and in contact with the enemy. Lachlan Roche Mr. Whitfield Social Studies 17, April 2015 The Second Battle of Ypres The Second Battle of Ypres was the first time a former colonial force defeated a European power on European soil. On April 24 a second German gas attack hit the Canadians directly, but, although some units were forced to fall back, the 1st Division held the line until reinforcements could be rushed to the front. Opening with a heavy artillery bombardment, the Germans moved against the British 27th and 28th Divisions southeast of Ypres on Frezenberg Ridge. 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