The Ypres Salient - CWGC

The pattern for Western Front offensive operations was established early on in the German attacks on defensive positions around Ypres, a preliminary artillery bombardment being the normal prelude to an infantry assault, often in massed formation, with the intention of 'closing with the bayonet'. This pattern was repeated in exhausting day and night actions. British battalion reports regarding the fighting around Langemarck between 22 and 23 October make reference to German troops advancing in 'thick lines', to 'very heavy attacks' and to the Germans being repulsed with great loss. The 'shoulder to shoulder' human wave tactics employed by the Germans offered large mass targets to the defending forces who reacted with disciplined, solid and sustained defensive fire with rifle and machine-gun.


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