The Ypres Salient - CWGC

Advancing towards Mauser Ridge in broad daylight, the highly visible attackers were immediately and disastrously cut-down by rifle, machine-gun and heavy shell fire. Camouflaged 18 pdr, Dickebusch, May 1915The British Official Historian in his later analysis of the doomed action was unequivocal in his criticism of the decision to undertake it: 'The attack to which the Second Army was committed by G.H.Q. order at the request of the French never had any prospect of success...Owing to the short time available, there was practically no preparation, no reconnaissance by battalions; even the enemy's exact location was uncertain, and little could be done to arrange communication with artillery.' ('Military Operations. France and Belgium, 1915' (Volume I), Brigadier-General J E Edmonds and Captain G C Wynne, London, Macmillan, 1927, pp.203-204).

The consequences of the action were sternly summarised: '...the attack had been a magnificent display of discipline and courage: the offensive at all costs carried to an extreme. It certainly had the effect of stopping the enemy's advance in this quarter, but the price paid had been very heavy, and actually no ground was gained that could not have been secured, probably without any casualties, by a simple advance after dark to which the openness of the country lent itself.' (Ibid, p.207).

Casualties for the action were extremely high, amounting to around 2,000 (killed, wounded or missing).


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