Ypres Salient Battles 1915
- Battle for Hill 60, 1915
Location of the battle for the high ground of Hill 60 at Zillebeke, south-east of Ypres in April 1915.
Hill 60 was the scene of bitter fighting in April 1915. Hill 60 was a man-made hill at 60 metres above sea level in the area of Zillebeke, south east of Ypres.
The high ground of the hill was held by German troops from 10 December 1914, after they had captured this area from the French Army. German domination of this high ground enabled them to make life very difficult for the Allied troops in this part of the Ypres Salient. When the British 28th Division took over this sector from the French Army in February 1915 it was decided to retake the position because of this. A new concept of offensive mining for the British Army was carried out for the attack.
On 17 April 1915, five mines were exploded under the German position; four mines went up in two pairs and the fifth mine as a single mine. The top of the hill was literally blown off. The British took the hill and over the following four days fought off fierce german counter-attacks. On 22 April the battle subsided with the British in control of the hill.
A study of the build-up to the Second Battle of Ypres (see below), which began on that same day, 22 April, reveals why the German Army was so determined not to lose any ground in the area of Hill 60.
- Second Battle of Ypres, 1915
The Front Line (blue dashed line) is pushed closer to Ypres when the Second Battle of Ypres ends on 24th May 1915.
The Second Battle of Ypres began in the northern sector of the Ypres Salient. It started on 22 April 1915 when the German Fourth Army carried out a surprise attack against two French divisions holding the Allied Front Line. On that day the warm, sunny spring afternoon was suddenly shattered at 5pm with a devastating and frightening new development in modern warfare: a cloud of poisonous gas.
The Second Battle of Ypres comprised four phases:
- The Battle of Gravenstafel Ridge
- The Battle of St. Julien
- The Battle of Frezenberg Ridge
- The Battle of Bellewaerde Ridge
Sketch by Dr. Hanslian. Gas bottles installed in the German Front Line trench in March and April 1915. (1)
A unique feature of this website is a detailed study of the build-up to the Second Battle of Ypres and the events of the first day of 22 April.
The story of the gas attack is told from both the Allied and the German sides of the wire. With the aid of maps and previously untranslated material this study offers a fascinating and original perspective on the start of this battle.Second Battle of Ypres 1915
- The Battle of Gravenstafel Ridge
Gas! Battle for Ypres, 1915 (hardcover)
by J L McWilliams & R James Steel
Excellent account of the British reaction to the first gas cloud attack by the German Army on the Western Front on 22nd April 1915. The ensuing battle to recover the lost ground north of Ypres, which became known to the British as the Second Battle of Ypres.
Hill 60: Ypres (Battleground Europe) (paperback)
by Nigel Cave
One of the highly acclaimed guidebooks in the Battleground Europe series, giving an account of the story of the Battle of Hill 60 in April 1915. Includes maps, photographs and information on what to see on the battlefield today.
Hell in Flanders Fields: Canadians at the Second Battle of Ypres (hardcover)
by George H Cassar
Deeply researched history with maps and personal accounts of the experience of the Canadian 1st Division in the Second Battle of Ypres.
Magnificent But Not War: The Second Battle of Ypres (paperback)
by John Dixon
A detailed, day by day account of the battle, using personal accounts, regimental histories and war diaries. Illustrated with maps and photographs. Includes the British Order of Battle for the Battle for Hill 60 and for Second Ypres, Officer casualties and a list of Victoria Cross winners.
The location of the Battle of Hill 60 has been preserved as a memorial site.
(1) Sketch by Dr R Hanslian in Königlich Preussisches Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment 213, by Max Tiessen, J J Augustin, Hamburg-New York, 1937, p. 186.