Learning Curve, The Great War
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Useful notes: Source2
Extracts from battle reports during the second Battle of Ypres in April 1915
(Catalogue ref: CAB 45/154)
  • These extracts came from reports sent to commanding officers by the officers in charge of particular units in different areas around the town of Ypres in April 1915.
  • The second battle of Ypres began in April 1915 and lasted until early May. It was one of the largest German attacks on the western front. The Germans made a rapid advance at first, helped by chlorine gas. However, Allied troops regrouped and dug new trenches. This enabled them to stop the German advance and then drive the Germans back.
  • As a result of the battle, the beautiful medieval town of Ypres was reduced to rubble. The battle was also famous as the first time that poison gas was used.
  • The town became known as 'Wipers' to British troops. As they settled into their trenches, they produced their own (not very serious) newspaper called the Wipers Times. By this stage of the war, troops had begun to form bonds of loyalty that would see them through the war. Most soldiers agreed that the key to surviving the war was to stick together with your mates in your unit.
  • The two reports describe contrasting experiences in different parts of the line. They also contain a number of abbreviations. Bn means Battalion. Div means Division. Bde means Brigade. OC refers to the officer who was in charge. The references to C12b etc are map references to grids on the British Army maps.
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