The Ypres Salient - CWGC

A feature of the fighting at Second Ypres was the 'step by step' tactics adopted by the German infantry: objectives would first be drenched with shells and cloud Cameronians in reserve dugouts, the Bluff, Ypres, March 1915gas before a strictly time-tabled and physically defined advance took place. Following the destruction of British and French positions the attackers would occupy objectives and then 'dig-in'; they would then wait for their heavy artillery to re-register on more forward targets to pave the way for further forward movement. The British, concerned to demonstrate their commitment to French requests 'to regain lost ground' saw that the only possible way of stemming this remorseless tide was by attacking the newly dug-in Germans before they could consolidate their newly won positions. These constant counter-attacks, often undertaken without adequate preparation (and certainly lacking the necessary artillery support) cost the British dear. Contrary to accepted notions of the strength of the defensive, it was a fact that the fighting at Second Ypres saw the 'defenders' repeatedly losing more men than the attackers.


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