The Ypres Salient - CWGC

The bombardment which rained down on British positions between the Menin road in the south and Mouse Trap Farm, half a mile north of Wieltje, included large quantities of high-explosive (HE) shells - which had a terrible Camouflaged 18 pdr, Dickebusch, May 1915effect on British defenders crouching helplessly behind their woefully inadequate earth defences. In massive and dispiriting contrast the British had scarcely any HE ammunition and the means of delivering it was pitiable: only six 60-pounders and twelve 4.7-inch guns (later reinforced by two batteries of outdated 5-inch howitzers) offered support at the outset of the fighting to the three Divisions of V Corps. The British artillery was never able to suppress the opposing German guns.

German artillery dominated the fighting at Ypres throughout April and May 1915. Its unmatched firepower blasted a path through defences and 'conquered ground' which the German infantry, following-up, occupied by digging-in; a step-by-step process which foreshadowed, though on a smaller scale, the aggressive co-ordinated infantry-artillery tactics employed against the French at Verdun from February 1916.


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