1st Ypres was fought at the end of October 1914 and started as an encounter battle when the British and Germans, each seeking to outflank the other, clashed on the Menin Road East of Ypres.
For the British the crisis came on 31 October when the depleted battalions holding the village of Gheluveldt gave way and the situation was only retrieved by a hastily improvised counter attack using whatever men were to hand. After further costly engagements at NonneBosschen,Polygon Wood and Hooge and the loss of Messines ridge fighting died away in mid-November with both sides digging in for the winter, leaving a salient protruding into the German lines.

2nd Ypres began on 22 April 1915 and saw the Germans using gas for the first time as they attacked the North side of the salient. The French and British line was pushed back but the heroic resistance of the 1st Canadian division saved the day.

3rd Ypres began in April 1917 with the intention of breaking the German lines and ultimately of reaching the Belgian coast, thereby removing in part the threat from German submarines based there. On 7 June about 20 mines were exploded under Messines Ridge which was quickly captured. The second phase on 31 July was hindered by unseasonably wet weather which together with the effects of shellfire meant much of the battle was fought in mud. It was only on 6 November that Passchendaele Ridge was finally captured.

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