The Battles of Ypres, 1914 (First Ypres)

19 October – 22 November 1914: the Battles of Ypres, 1914. Often known as the First Battle of Ypres, this is a series of named battles that also form part of the outflanking encounter. It becomes a desperate epic fight east of the city of Ypres which finally results in stalemate and entrenched warfare. It takes place at the same time as the Battle of the Yser, fought nearby by the Belgian Army against the Germans, and the battles to the south at Messines, Armentieres and La Bassee.

Part of a map contained in the British Official History of Military Operations, France and Flanders, 1914 volume II. Crown copyright.

Part of a map contained in the British Official History of Military Operations, France and Flanders, 1914 volume II. Crown copyright.

By 18 October 1914 the British 7th Division, originally sent to Belgium to assist in the defence of Antwerp, has moved westwards and has now taken up a line just outside the city of Ypres (Ieper). To their north, the six Belgian Divisions hold the canal and the River Yser, assisted by a brigade of French Marins Fusiliers at Dixmude (Diksmuide). The situation is still fluid.British intelligence does not reveal the full extent of German forces which are now advancing towards Menin and Ypres. The rest of the British Expeditionary Force is now moving northwards from the Aisne and is beginning to deploy in French Flanders, with the Cavalry Division taking up positions south east of Ypres.

4.7 inch guns passing the Cloth Hall, Ypres, on the way to the forward area. Imperial War Museum image Q57303. Note that the famous Cloth Hall, in the rear of this image, is as yet undamaged.

4.7 inch guns passing the Cloth Hall, Ypres, on the way to the forward area. Imperial War Museum image Q57303. Note that the famous Cloth Hall, in the rear of this image, is as yet undamaged.

Phase: the Battle of Langemarck, 21-24 October 1914

I Corps (Haig): 1st and 2nd Divisions
IV Corps (Rawlinson): 7th and 3rd Cavalry Divisions

Phase: the Battle of Gheluvelt, 29-31 October 1914

I Corps (Haig): 1st, 2nd, 7th and 3rd Cavalry Divisions

The 2nd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment being transported by bus through Dickebusch on their way to Ypres, 6 November 1914. Imperial War Museum image Q57328

The 2nd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment being transported by bus through Dickebusch on their way to Ypres, 6 November 1914. Imperial War Museum image Q57328

Phase: the Battle of Nonne Bosschen, 11 November 1914

I Corps (Haig): 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 3rd Cavalry Divisions
7th (less 3rd Worcestershire Regiment) and 9th Brigades (of 3rd Division)
15th Brigade (less 1st Norfolks and 1st Dorsets) (of 5th Division)
2nd King’s Own Scottish Borderers and 2nd Duke of Wellington’s (of 5th Division)
14th London Regiment (London Scottish)

1st Cavalry Division entered the line on 12 November but did not participate in one of the identifiable battles above.

 

Links

Battles of the Western Front in France and Flanders

Downloadable copy of the British Official History volume covering First Ypres (archive.org)