The Battle of St. Julien

The Second Battle of Ypres, 1915

22 April 1915 – 25 May 1915

The Second Battle of Ypres, which included the 20th (XHX) Hussars, 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 (22 April 1915 – 23 April 1915)
  • The Battle of St. Julien (24 April 1915 – 04 May 1915)
  • The Battle of Frezenberg Ridge (08 May 1915 – 13 May 1915)
  • The Battle of Bellewaerde Ridge (24 May 1915 – 25 May 1915)

The Second Battle of Ypres encompassed four battles in the northern sector of the Ypres Salient. The first of these began on 22nd April 1915 as a surprise attack by the German 4th Army on the French sector of the Allied Front Line.

This attack witnessed the first use of a new German weapon on the Western Front: a cloud of poisonous gas. Its deadly effect was carried on a gentle breeze towards French troops and as a result of its devastating effect on the French the German infantry made a significant advance into Allied territory within a few hours.

During the following four weeks after the surprise gas cloud attack the Allied Forces of Belgium, France and Britain fought to hold off the successful German advance and to regain the ground that had been lost north of Ypres. The battle ended on 25th May 1915.


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