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The Second Battle of Ypres

German postcard map of the Western Front in Flanders, looking south and including Lille, Arras, Calais, and Ostend. In the Battle of the Yser in October, 1914, the Belgian Army held the territory south of the Yser Canal, visible between Nieuport, Dixmude, and Ypres (Ypern). Further north is Passchendaele, which British forces took at great cost in 1917.
Text:
Der Kanal
Straße von Calais
The English Channel and the Strait of Calais
Reverse:
Panorama des westlichen Kriegsschauplatzes 1914/15 Von Arras bis Ostende.
Die Panorama-Postkartenreihe umfaßt mit ihren 9 Abschnitten Nr. 400 bis 408 den gesamten westlichen Kriegsschauplatz von der Schweizer Grenze bis zur Nordseeküste.
Panorama of the western theater of operations 1914/15 from Arras to Ostend. The panoramic postcard series includes nine sections, with their No. 400-408 the entire western battlefield from the Swiss border to the North Sea coast.
Nr. 408
Wenau-Postkarte Patentamtl. gesch.

German postcard map of the Western Front in Flanders, looking south and including Lille, Arras, Calais, and Ostend. In the Battle of the Yser in October, 1914, the Belgian Army held the territory south of the Yser Canal, visible between Nieuport, Dixmude, and Ypres (Ypern). Further north is Passchendaele, which British forces took at great cost in 1917.

Image text

Der Kanal

Straße von Calais



The English Channel and the Strait of Calais



Reverse:

Panorama des westlichen Kriegsschauplatzes 1914/15 Von Arras bis Ostende.

Die Panorama-Postkartenreihe umfaßt mit ihren 9 Abschnitten Nr. 400 bis 408 den gesamten westlichen Kriegsschauplatz von der Schweizer Grenze bis zur Nordseeküste.



Panorama of the western theater of operations 1914/15 from Arras to Ostend. The panoramic postcard series includes nine sections, with their No. 400-408 the entire western battlefield from the Swiss border to the North Sea coast.



Nr. 408

Wenau-Postkarte Patentamtl. gesch.

Other views: Larger, Larger, Back

On 22 April, 1915, a five-mile long cloud of greenish-yellow gas drifted from the German line at Ypres. The Allied trenches were held by newly-arrived Canadian troops and a French colonial division. The Germans released the gas from cylinders, and it was subject to the wind.

Although a German deserter had warned of the use of poison gas as a weapon on April 13, and had delivered a German gas-mask, the Allies were unprepared.

With many dead and dying, the French abandoned their line within an hour, leaving behind 50 field guns. The Canadians to their right were exposed, but held their position until reserves filled the gap and re-established contact with the French.

Attacks and counter-attacks continued through the night, during which the Germans succeeded in capturing a bridge over the Yser Canal and gaining a foothold on the Allied side. Much of the Allied effort in the remainder of the battle was an attempt to restore the original line.

The Allies remained under artillery fire through April 25. The loss of the French guns in the initial assault limited the Allies' ability to respond. The Allies renewed attacks on April 26 and 27, frequently subjected to poison gas, and made some advances, but could not regain their original line.

In the battle, the British, Canadians, and Indians suffered 16,000 casualties, the Germans 5,000.

The German attack was in part a diversion. Preparing for a major offensive — Gorlice Tarnow — against Russia, German Commander Falkenhayn was covering his withdrawal of units from the Western Front for redeployment to the east.

1915-04-22

1915-05-25