The three Battleground Europe books on Ypres 1914 were published mark the centenary of the final major battle of the 1914 campaign on the Western Front. Although fought over a relatively small area and short time span, the fighting was even more than usually chaotic and the stakes were extremely high.
Nigel Cave and Jack Sheldon combine their respective expertise to tell the story of the men – British, French, Indian and German – who fought over the unremarkable undulating ground that was to become firmly placed in British national conscience ever afterwards.
YPRES 1914: LANGEMARCK Battleground Early Battles
When, in October 1914, the newly created German Fourth Army attacked west to seize crossings over the Yser, prior to sweeping south in an attempt to surround the BEF, two things prevented it. To the north, it was the efforts of the Belgian army, reinforced by French troops, coupled with controlled flooding of the polders but, further south, the truly heroic defence of Langemarck, for three days by the BEF and then by the French army, was of decisive importance. The village stood as a bulwark against any further advance to the river or the town of Ypres. Here the German regiments bled to death in the face of resolute Allied defence and any remaining hope of forcing a decision in the west turned to dust.