First Ypres

Ypres, a medieval town in Belgium, was taken by the German Army at the beginning of the war. However, by early October, 1914, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was able to recapture the town. The first major German attempt to regain Ypres took place on 15th October. Experienced BEF riflemen held their positions but suffered heavy losses.

German attacks took place for the next four weeks but with the arrival of the French Army the line was held. With the weather deteriorating, the Germans decided to abandon the Ypres offensive on the 22nd November. It is estimated that about 135,000 Germans were killed or badly wounded during the offensive. The BEF lost around 75,000 men and was effectively destroyed as a professional army. There were two more major battles at Ypres: 2nd Battle of Ypres (April-May, 1915) and Passchendaele (July-October, 1917).