Casualties and Operations in the Battle of Ypres

  • A summary of the Battle of Ypres in World War I, including casualties and subsequent operations.
  • The Battle of Ypres resulted in significant casualties for all parties involved, including the Belgians, British, French, and Germans.
  • Following the initial battle, subsequent operations took place in the Ypres area, with the reorganisation of the defence of Flanders and a series of attacks on the Western Front.
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In 1986, Unruh, wrote that 40,761 students had been enrolled in six reserve corps, four of which had been sent to Flanders, leaving a maximum of 30 percent of the reserve corps operating in Flanders made up of volunteers. Only 30 percent of German casualties at Ypres were young and inexperienced student reservists, others being active soldiers, older members of the Landwehr and army reservists. Reserve Infantry Regiment 211 had 166 men in active service, 299 members of the reserve, which was composed of former soldiers from 23–28 years old, 970 volunteers who were inexperienced and probably 18–20 years old, 1,499 Landwehr (former soldiers from 28–39 years old, released from the reserve) and one Ersatzreservist (enrolled but inexperienced). Casualties In 1925, Edmonds recorded that the Belgians had suffered a great number of casualties from 15–25 October, including 10,145 wounded. British casualties from 14 October – 30 November were 58,155, French losses were 86,237 men and of 134,315 German casualties in Belgium and northern France, from 15 October – 24 November, 46,765 losses were incurred on the front from the Lys to Gheluvelt, from 30 October – 24 November. In 2003, Beckett recorded 50,000–85,000 French casualties, 21,562 Belgian casualties, 55,395 British losses and 134,315 German casualties. In 2010, Sheldon recorded 54,000 British casualties, c. 80,000 German casualties, that the French had many losses and that the Belgian army had been reduced to a shadow. Sheldon also noted that Colonel Fritz von Lossberg had recorded that up to 3 November, casualties in the 4th Army were 62,000 men and that the 6th Army had lost 27,000 men, 17,250 losses of which had occurred in Armeegruppe Fabeck from 30 October – 3 November. Subsequent operations Main article: Winter operations 1914–1915 Winter operations from November 1914 to February 1915 in the Ypres area, took place in the Attack on Wytschaete (14 December). A reorganisation of the defence of Flanders had been carried out by the Franco-British from 15–22 November, which left the BEF holding a homogeneous front from Givenchy to Wytschaete 21 mi (34 km) to the north. Joffre arranged for a series of attacks on the Western Front, after receiving information that German divisions were moving to the Russian Front. The Eighth Army was ordered to attack in Flanders and French was asked to participate with the BEF on 14 December. Joffre wanted the British to attack along all of the BEF front and especially from Warneton to Messines, as the French attacked from Wytschaete to Hollebeke. French gave orders to attack from the Lys to Warneton and Hollebeke with II and III Corps, as IV and Indian corps conducted local operations, to fix the Germans to their front.

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>In 1986, Unruh, wrote ~ Ersatzreservist (enrolled but inexperienced). ⇒1986年に、ウンルフは、40,761人の学生が6個の予備軍団に入隊し、そのうち4個がフランドルに送られ、フランドルで活動している予備軍団の最大30%が志願兵で構成されている、と書いた。イープルでのドイツ軍死傷者のうち若くて経験の浅い学生予備役は30%だけでその他は現役の兵士、ランドヴェル(後備軍)の高齢者、方面軍予備隊であった。第211予備歩兵連隊では166人の現役兵士が活動しているが、(その他の)23‐28歳の元兵士からなる予備隊299人、経験の浅い、おそらく18‐20歳の志願兵からなる970人、ランドヴェル(28‐39歳の予備隊上がりの元兵士)の1,499人、およびエルサッツレゼルビスト(登録されているが経験の浅い補欠予備兵)の1人、が配属されていた。 >Casualties  In 1925, Edmonds recorded ~ from 30 October – 3 November. ⇒死傷者  1925年、ベルギー軍は10月15日から25日までに負傷した10,145人を含み多数の犠牲を被ったとエドモンズは記録している。10月14日-11月30日の英国軍の死傷者は58,155人、フランス軍の損失は86,237人、11月15日-11月24日のベルギーやフランス北部におけるドイツ軍の死傷者は134,315人で、リースからゲルベルトまでの前線では10月30日-11月24日に46,765人の損失を被った。2003年、ベケットはフランス軍の死傷者50,000人-85,000人、ベルギー軍の死傷者21,562人、英国軍の損失55,395人、およびドイツ軍の死傷者134,315人を記録した。2010年、シェルドンは英国軍の死傷者54,000人、ドイツ軍の死傷者約80,000人を記録し、フランス軍が多くの損失を被り、ベルギー軍は影ばかりになった、と記録した。シェルドンはまた、フリッツ・フォン・ロスベルク大佐が、11月3日までの第4方面軍の死傷者は62,000人であり、第6方面軍は27,000人の兵を失い、そのうち17,250人が10月30日-11月3日に死亡したと記録した、と注記している。 >Subsequent operations Main article: Winter operations 1914–1915  Winter operations from November ~ the Germans to their front. ⇒後続の作戦 主要記事:1914年-1915年の冬季作戦行動  1914年11月-1915年2月のイープル地域における冬季作戦行動は、「ウィツシェトの攻撃」(12月14日)となって出来(しゅったい)した。11月15日から22日にかけて仏英軍によってフランドル防衛隊の再編が行われ、ジバンシーから北へ34キロ(21マイル)のウィツシェトまで同質の戦線を確保した。ジョフルは、ドイツ軍の数個師団がロシア前線に移動しているという情報を受けて、西部前線への一連の攻撃を手配した。第8方面軍がフランドルでの攻撃を命じられ、フランス軍は12月14日にBEFに参加するよう求められた。フランス軍がウィツシェトからホルベクにかけて攻撃していたとき、ジョフルは、英国軍がBEFの全前線に沿って、特にワルネトンからメシーヌまで攻撃することを望んだ。フレンチは、ドイツ軍を彼らの前線に固定するため、第IV軍団とインド軍団が局地の作戦行動を遂行するのに合わせて、リースからワルネトンとホルベクにかけて布陣する第II軍団と第III軍団への攻撃を命じた。





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    During the Battle of the Somme German forces suffered 537,919 casualties, of which 338,011 losses were inflicted by the French and 199,908 losses by the British. In turn German forces inflicted 794,238 casualties on the Entente. Doughty wrote that French losses on the Somme were "surprisingly high" at 202,567 men, 54% of the 377,231 casualties at Verdun. Prior and Wilson used Churchill's research and wrote that the British lost 432,000 soldiers from 1 July – mid-November (c. 3,600 per day) in inflicting c. 230,000 German casualties and offer no figures for French casualties or the losses they inflicted on the Germans. Sheldon wrote that the British lost "over 400,000" casualties. Harris wrote that total British losses were c. 420,000, French casualties were over 200,000 men and German losses were c. 500,000, according to the "best" German sources.

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    Mason wrote in 2000 that there had been 378,000 French and 337,000 German casualties. In 2003, Clayton quoted 330,000 German casualties, of whom 143,000 were killed or missing and 351,000 French losses, 56,000 killed, 100,000 missing or prisoners and 195,000 wounded. Writing in 2005, Doughty gave French casualties at Verdun, from 21 February to 20 December 1916 as 377,231 men of 579,798 losses at Verdun and the Somme; 16 percent of Verdun casualties were known to have been killed, 56 percent wounded and 28 percent missing, many of whom were eventually presumed dead. Doughty wrote that other historians had followed Churchill (1927) who gave a figure of 442,000 casualties by mistakenly including all French losses on the Western Front. (In 2014, Philpott recorded 377,000 French casualties, of whom 162,000 men had been killed, German casualties were 337,000 men and a recent estimate of casualties at Verdun from 1914 to 1918 was 1,250,000 men).

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    In May, Falkenhayn estimated that the French had lost 525,000 men against 250,000 German casualties and that the French strategic reserve had been reduced to 300,000 troops. Actual French losses were c. 130,000 by 1 May and the Noria system had enabled 42 divisions to be withdrawn and rested, when their casualties reached 50 percent. Of the 330 infantry battalions of the French metropolitan army, 259 (78 percent) went to Verdun, against 48 German divisions, 25 percent of the Westheer (western army). Afflerbach wrote that 85 French divisions fought at Verdun and that from February to August, the ratio of German to French losses was 1:1.1, not the third of French losses assumed by Falkenhayn. By 31 August, 5th Army losses were 281,000 and French casualties numbered 315,000 men.

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    Local operations, 12–22 November Langemark, October 1914 The weather became much colder, with rain from 12–14 November and a little snow on 15 November. Night frosts followed and on 20 November, the ground was covered by snow. Frostbite cases appeared and the physical strain increased, among troops occupying trenches half-full of freezing water, falling asleep standing up and being sniped at and bombed from opposing trenches 100 yd (91 m) away. On 12 November, a German attack surprised the French IX Corps and the British 8th Division arrived at the front on 13 November and more attacks were made on the II Corps front from 14 November. Between 15–22 November, I Corps was relieved by the French IX and XVI corps and the British line was reorganised. On 16 November, Foch agreed with French to take over the line from Zonnebeke to the Ypres–Comines canal. The new British line ran 21 mi (34 km) from Wytschaete to the La Bassée Canal at Givenchy. The Belgians held 15 mi (24 km) and the French defended some 430 mi (690 km) of the new Western front. On 17 November, Albrecht ordered the 4th Army to cease its attacks; the III Reserve Corps and XIII Corps were ordered to move the Eastern Front, which was discovered by the Allies on 20 November. Both sides had tried to advance after the "open" northern flank had disappeared, the Franco-British towards Lille in October, followed by attacks by the BEF, Belgians and a new French Eighth Army in Belgium. The German 4th and 6th armies took small amounts of ground at great cost to both sides, at the Battle of the Yser (16–31 October) and further south at the Battles of Ypres. Falkenhayn then tried a limited goal of capturing Ypres and Mount Kemmel, from 19 October – 22 November. By 8 November, Falkenhayn had accepted that the coastal advance had failed and that taking Ypres was impossible. Neither side had moved forces to Flanders fast enough to obtain a decisive victory and both were exhausted, short of ammunition and suffering from collapses in morale, some infantry units refusing orders. The autumn battles in Flanders had quickly become static, attrition operations, unlike the battles of manoeuvre in the summer. French, British and Belgian troops in improvised field defences repulsed German attacks for four weeks in mutually costly attacks and counter-attacks. From 21–23 October, German reservists had made mass attacks at Langemarck, with losses of up to 70 percent. Industrial warfare between mass armies had been indecisive; troops could only move forward over heaps of dead. Field fortifications had neutralised many classes of offensive weapon and the defensive firepower of artillery and machine-guns had dominated the battlefield; the ability of the armies to supply themselves and replace casualties kept battles going for weeks. The German armies engaged 34 divisions in the Flanders battles, the French twelve, the British nine and the Belgians six, along with marines and dismounted cavalry.

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    General Max von Gallwitz the 2nd Army commander, noted in early October that so many of his units had been moved to the 1st Army north of the Somme, that he had only one fresh regiment in reserve. The German counter-attacks were costly failures and by 21 October, the British had managed to advance 500 yards (460 m) and take all but the last German foothold in the eastern part of Staufen Riegel (Regina Trench). A French offensive during the Battle of Verdun on 24 October, forced the Germans to suspend the movement of troops to the Somme front. From 29 October – 9 November, British attacks were postponed due to more poor weather, before the capture of 1,000 yards (910 m) of the eastern end of Regina Trench by the 4th Canadian Division on 11 November. Fifth Army operations resumed in the Battle of the Ancre (13–18 November).

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    In The World Crisis, Winston Churchill used figures from French parliamentary records of 1920, to give French casualties from 5 August to 5 September 1914 of 329,000 killed, wounded and missing, German casualties from August to November of 677,440 men and British casualties in August and September of 29,598 men. By the end of August, the French Army had suffered 75,000 dead, of whom 27,000 were killed on 22 August. French casualties for the first month of the war were 260,000, of which 140,000 occurred during the last four days of the Battle of the Frontiers. In 2009, Herwig recorded that the casualties in the 6th Army in August were 34,598, with 11,476 men killed and 28,957 in September with 6,687 men killed. The 7th Army had 32,054 casualties in August, with 10,328 men killed and 31,887 casualties in September with 10,384 men killed. In the 1st Army in August there were 19,980 casualties including 2,863 men killed and in the 2nd Army 26,222 casualties. In the last ten days of August, the 1st Army had 9,644 casualties and the 2nd Army had losses of 15,693 men. Herwig wrote that the French army did not publish formal casualty lists but that the Official History Les armées françaises dans la grande guerre gave losses of 206,515 men for August and 213,445 for September. During the battle, French casualties were c. 260,000 men, of whom c. 75,000 men were killed.

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    In 1925, the British Official Historian J. E. Edmonds, wrote in the History of the Great War that from 13 to 31 October, the twelve 3rd Division battalions had been opposed by thirteen German infantry regiments, four Jäger battalions and 27 cavalry regiments. The British troops had succeeded in repulsing German attacks through endurance and fire-discipline, which had multiplied the effect of a small number of troops. The German 6th Army had been reinforced and originally been intended to break through from Arras to La Bassée and Armentières, until 29 October when all available heavy artillery was transferred north for the Battle of Gheluvelt. Attacks against II Corps were reduced to holding operations and the front opposite the French at Arras was kept passive. When the Indian Corps took over, the German offensive in the area had almost ended. Edmonds wrote that in defence, soldiers sheltered in improvised positions with little protection from artillery and little barbed wire. Much of the country was wooded, which obscured large areas of the front from aeroplane observers, who spent more time grounded by the October weather. The Allied force was made up of Belgian, French and British army units and faced a homogeneous opponent with unity of command but the main German advantage was in heavy artillery and trench warfare equipment, much of which did not exist in the Allied armies. The II Corps had c. 14,000 casualties, from 12 to 31 October. The 3rd Division had 5,835 losses, with the 8th and 9th brigades reduced by about 50 percent. The 5th Division casualties were similar and the Indian Corps up to 31 October had 1,565 casualties. On 31 October II Corps had only 14,000 men of the original 24,000 man establishment, of which c. 1,400 men were inexperienced drafts. The Germans recorded 6,000 casualties during the battles with II Corps.[48] II Corps was withdrawn for ten day's rest, from the night of 29/30 October and relieved by the Indian Corps but within days, most of its battalions had to be sent to I and III corps as reinforcements. Smith-Dorrien returned to England on 10 November and Willcocks assumed command of the 14th Brigade of the 5th Division, which acted as a mobile reserve. The Indian Corps battalions came under much shellfire during the relief and remained in the front-line trenches, instead of retreating further back temporarily, a practice which had been adopted by experienced units. On 2 November, a bigger German attack north-west of Neuve-Chapelle drove a Gurkha battalion back until local counter-attacks recovered the ground by 5 October and the old trenches were filled in and abandoned. By 3 November, the Indian Corps had suffered 1,989 casualties along its 8 mi (13 km) front. Some historians have written that c. 65 percent of Indian casualties were self-inflicted wounds, not always punished by court martial but a study by Sir B. Seton in 1915, found no evidence to support such an allegation.

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    The addition by Edmonds of c. 30 percent to German figures, to make them comparable to British criteria, was criticised as "spurious" by M. J. Williams in 1964. McRandle and Quirk in 2006 cast doubt on the Edmonds calculations but counted 729,000 German casualties on the Western Front from July to December against 631,000 by Churchill, concluding that German losses were fewer than Anglo-French casualties but the ability of the German army to inflict disproportionate losses had been eroded by attrition. Sheffield wrote that the calculation by Edmonds of Anglo-French casualties was correct but the one for German casualties was discredited, quoting the official German figure of 500,000 casualties.

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    In the second 1916 volume of the British Official History (1938), Miles wrote that total German casualties in the battle were 660,000–680,000, against Anglo-French casualties of fewer than 630,000, using "fresh data" from the French and German official accounts. In 1938, Churchill wrote that the Germans had suffered 270,000 casualties against the French, between February and June 1916 and 390,000 between July and the end of the year (see statistical tables in Appendix J of Churchill's World Crisis) with 278,000 casualties at Verdun. Some losses must have been in quieter sectors but many must have been inflicted by the French at the Somme. Churchill wrote that Franco-German losses at the Somme, were "much less unequal" than the Anglo-German ratio.

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    At Rossignol German casualties were c. 1,318 and French casualties were c. 11,277 men. The French 4th Division had c. 1,195 casualties at Bellefontaine against c. 1,920 German casualties. At Neufchâteau the 5th Colonial Brigade had c. 3,600 casualties against units of the German XVIII Reserve Corps, which lost c. 1,800 men. At Bertrix the artillery of the 33rd Division was destroyed and c. 3,181 casualties incurred, against c. 1/3 the number of German casualties, which were noted as greater than all of the casualties in the Franco-Prussian War. At Massin-Anloy, the French 22nd Division and 34th Division lost 2,240 men killed and the 34th Division was routed. German casualties in the 25th Division were c. 3,224, of whom 1,100 men were killed. At Virton the French 8th Division was "destroyed" and the 3rd Division had c. 556 casualties; German losses were c. 1,281 men. In the fighting around Éthe and Bleid, the French 7th Division lost 5,324 men and the German 10th Division had c. 1,872 casualties. At Longwy the French V Corps with the 9th and 10th divisions had c. 2,884 casualties and German units of the 26th Division lost c. 1,242 men. South of Longwy, German casualties in the 9th and 12th Reserve and 33rd divisions were c. 4,458 men against the French 12th 40th and 42nd divisions, of which the 40th Division was routed. In 2009 Herwig recorded 19,218 casualties from 21–31 August in the 4th Army and 19,017 casualties in the 5th Army. Herwig also recorded 5,500 casualties in the French 8th Division at Virton and wrote that at Ethe, the 7th Division had been "stomped". At Ochamps the 20th Infantry Regiment lost 1,300 men (50%) and the 11th InfantRy Regiment lost 2,700 of 3,300 men. The 5th Colonial Brigade lost 3,200 of 6,600 men.