Fierce Fighting in the Ypres Salient;
Corpses, Corpses, and More Corpses.
Special to The Great War Project
(20-21 October) Fighting intensifies on the “Ypres salient.”
The trench lines dug by both sides around the Belgian city of Ypres, create an extension or salient, and ignites some of the fiercest fighting so far in the war.
But neither side yet understands just how important the fighting here is. General John French, one of the British top commanders, writes to Lord Kitchener, the British minister of war on October 21, “In my opinion the enemy are vigorously playing their last card and I am confident they will fail.”
“That last card,” writes historian Martin Gilbert, “proved to be far more than a series of cavalry skirmishes.”
The fighting reveals a German effort to drive the British out of the Ypres salient altogether, Gilbert writes, “as part of a wider strategy aimed at breaking through to the North Sea and Channel coast.”
The action at the Ypres Salient is only a part of a wider German effort along the Western Front “to push the British back…But….
“the German grand design was nowhere within sight of success”…..
“The war of rapid movement was over,” writes Gilbert. “The struggle had become one for villages, hills, and roads.”