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Osprey Campaign 58 : First Ypres 1914 : The Graveyard of the Old Contemptibles

In the autumn of 1914 the original British Expeditionary Force (BEF), aided by French troops under Foch, stood against a heavily reinforced German drive. Field Marshal Sir John French, the British Commander-in-Chief had sent his men north in an attempt to take the fight into open ground in Flanders, so his men could fight across open ground as they had been trained to do. History tells us that this was not to be the case. David Lomas covers the first of the trench-warfare battles, where lines that would remain almost static for the rest of the war were established. Although the Germans would fail to reach the channel ports, the death knell had rung for the BEF. It was virtually wiped out in this brave defence, to be replaced later by Kitchener's mass of volunteers. However, in spite of its loss of 58,155 all ranks killed, wounded and missing, the BEF and its French allies did manage to inflict at least 134,315 casualties on the Germans and halt their offensive. On 17th November Falkenhayn decided to cut his losses and abandon his attack. With the battle's end went the last chance, for four years, for a war of movement. Static trench warfare now became the reality on the Western Front and the towns of La Bassée, Armentières, Messines and Ypres would remain prominent in the fighting until the end of the war. Illustrations by Ed Dovey.

    Contents
  • The Road to Battle
  • Opposing Commanders
  • Opposing Armies
  • Opposing Plans
  • The Campaign
  • The Battle of First Ypres
  • The Battle for Ypres and the Salient
  • The Finale
  • The Battlefield Today
  • Wargaming First Ypres
  • Further Reading

 

Osprey Campaign


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