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World War I History

Second Battle of Ypres, 1915

The Second Battle of Ypres was the only major attack launched by the Germans on the Western Front in 1915. Eric von Falkenhayn, the Chief of the Imperial German General Staff, preferred to concentrate German efforts against the Russians on the Eastern Front. Second Ypres is generally remembered for the first use of gas on the Western Front. It had been introduced on...

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Battle of Loos, 1915

The Battle of Loos began on 25 September and was called off in failure on 28 September. It was part of the wider Artois-Loos Offensive conducted by the French and British in autumn 1915 and is sometimes referred to as the Second Battle of Artois. Douglas Haig (pictured left) presided over the battle and was persuaded to launch the Loos offensive despite serious...

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Battle of Verdun, 1916

Verdun was the longest battle of the First World War. The German Chief of Staff, Erich von Falkenhayn sent a letter to the Kaiser, Wilhelm II, on Christmas Day 1915. In it he stated that he that the key to winning the war did not lay on the Eastern Front but on the Western Front and that if France could be beaten in a set piece battle then Great Britain would seek...

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Battle of the Somme, 1916

The Battle of the Somme comprised the main Allied attack on the Western Front during 1916 and is famous for the 58,000 British casualties (one third of them killed) taken on the first day of the battle on 1 July 1916.  The attack took place on a 25 mile front and lasted until 18 November 2016. Originally intended as a joint French-British attack, the French...

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Battles of the Somme – Delville Wood

The battle for Delville Wood was fought from 15 July until 3 September 1916. The wood remained in German hands after the capture the town of Longueville on 9 July by the 9th Scottish Division. The wood had to be taken and cleared of Germans before a further attack could be launched on the notorious German Switch Line. The task of capturing the wood was handed to the...

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Battles of the Somme – Guillemont

The attack on Guillemont was launched at midday on the 3 September under the protection of a creeping barrage (of 25 yards per minute) and was part of a wider attack. The Battle of Guillemont was primarily intended to distract German attention away from the Romanian front where the Romanians were coming under increasing pressure. However, the capture of Guillemont...

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