Ypres Salient map highlighting the revised objective across the Yser canal for the German attack in April 1915.Revised objectives for the German attack

14 April 1915

Seven days after the original operational orders (dated 8th April) the German 4th Army commander issued a complementary order for ‘Instructions for the Attack on Pilckem Ridge’. The order stated that “by capturing the high ground near Pilckem it may be expected that it will be impossible for the enemy to remain longer in the Ypres Salient”. A further objective of securing the line of the Yser canal as far as Ypres was also confirmed. The objective of securing a crossing over the Yser canal was to be the task of the XXIII. Reserve Corps (45. and 46. Reserve Divisions).

Map to show the extended German objective on 14 April 1915.

With the inclusion of the revised objective of crossing the Yser canal at Steenstraat the first objectives for the attack in combination with the trial gas attack were now:

Arrangements for the attack were provided in the additional orders as follows:

Germans Plan to Attack the Next Day, 15th April

General-Oberst Duke Albrecht von Württemberg, Commander of the 4th German Army on the Ypres battlefront in Flanders.
Duke Albrecht von Wurttemberg, commander of the German 4th Army in March 1915.

As a result of the visit by the Chief of Staff of the German 4th Army, Major-General Ilse, to Supreme Headquarters on 10 April, and the pressure put on 4th Army to carry out the gas trial attack, the Army commander, Duke Albrecht, ordered the attack for Thursday 15th April.(2)

A German Diversion: A Mine Blown at St. Eloi

Close to midnight on 14th April British attention was drawn to the battlefield south of Ypres.

In the British II. Corps sector at 11.15 pm (British time) the Germans fired a mine at St. Eloi following four days of artillery activity. The British artillery put up a barrage in reply, but no German infantry attack was made.

Next>> German troops move into the battle zone for the attack


(1) British Military Operations: France and Belgium 1915, p. 189 (translated extract from 'Der Weltkrieg 1914-1918')

(2) Gas! The Battle for Ypres 1915, p. 27