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First Battle of Ypres - 1914

October 19 – November 22, 1914

Ypres, Belgium – Western Front

Allied Powers – France
Allied Powers – Britain
Allied Powers - Belgium
Central Powers - Germany

The First Battle of Ypres and the Battle of the Yser were the last battles fought between the Allied Powers and Germany in the Race to the Sea.

By early October 1914, the German troops occupied Antwerp, Belgium and the Allied troops held Nieuport, near Ypres in the North Sea. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) under the command of Field Marshal Sir John French, reinforced the French-Belgian troops at Ypres. The battle commenced on October 19, 1914, with the Flanders Offensive orchestrated by German Chief of the General Staff, Erich von Falkenhayn. Falkenhayn ordered his troops to simultaneously engage the Belgian troops at Yser.

Falkenhayn ordered the German Fourth Army, under the command of Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria and General Albrecht of Wurttemberg, to attack the Allied troops and take the city of Ypres. The attack on October 31 was a two-pronged assault on the BEF from the north and the south. The Germans were repelled by the expert riflemen of the First Corps. Again on November 11, the Germans attacked the British troops in Nun’s Wood, but a regiment of untrained soldiers beat them back. By November 22, 1914, the grueling Belgian winter forced a break in the battle. At this point the German troops decided to withdraw, leaving the Allies a decisive victor.

In the First battle of Ypres the German Army recorded over 134,000 casualties. The BEF reported over 7,900 soldiers killed, about 29,000 wounded and over 17,800 missing. The loss of 21,500 soldiers to the Belgian Army was steep. The First Battle of Ypres and the Battle of the Yser marked the end of the Race to the Sea. The trench line firmly drawn, the battles of the Western Front proved costly to both sides, in terms of the lives lost.

  Major Battles of World War I  
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First Battle of Marne – 1914Second Battle of Arras - 1917
First Battle of the Masurian Lakes – 1914Battle of Messines – 1917
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First Battle of Ypres - 1914Battle of Caporetto - 1917
First Battle of Arras – 1914Battle of Cambrai - 1917
First Battle of Ypres – 1914German Spring Offensive - 1918
Gallipoli Campaign – 1915Hundred Days Offensive - 1918
Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes – 1915Battle of Mons - 1914
Battles of Isonzo – 1915Second Battle of Somme - 1918
Loos-Artois Offensive - 1915Second Battle of Marne - 1918
Battle of Verdun - 1916Battle of St Mihiel - 1918
Battle of Messines - 1917 
First Battle of Ypres - 1914Battle of Vittori Veneto - 1918