The German High Command contrived a trap for Allied forces in Flanders in mid-October 1914. The anticipated eastward advance by British and French forces was to be checked by a German Army recently transferred from Lorraine, the size of which was not clearly appreciated by the Allied leaders. Simultaneously, a strong German attack was to be made westward along the Belgian coastal plain, with additional troops released from the siege of Antwerp - occupied by the Germans on 10 October - in search of a breakthrough to the Channel ports.
It was only the remarkable resilience of the remnants of the Belgian Field Army supported by French Marines that held the Germans back in a series of actions known collectively as the Battle of the Yser. Repeated German drives were repulsed and eventually King Albert of the Belgians sanctioned a policy of last resort by agreeing to the opening of the sea defences at Nieuport which gradually flooded the battle area and forced German offensive attentions inland towards Ypres.
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