2nd battle of Ypres spoorlijn64

On February 26th of 1915 the first underground mines were used which enabled the Germans to blow up French scaffoldings at Broodseinde (Zonnebeke). On April 17th of the same year and after months of digging, they made heavy British loads explode under Hill 60. Everything was destroyed and the British took the hill, at the expense of 3,000 dead people. On April 22nd the Germans used chlorine gas on large scale for the first time between the road and Steenstrate and the road leading from Langemark to Poelkapelle. This lead to the start of the Second Battle of Ypres. The Germans marched in and knew virtually any form of opposition. The German High Command didn’t expect to be so succesfull and therefore there weren’t enough troops in the area to penetrate. Again a possibility rose to take in Ypres. On May 5th of 1915 the Germans recaptured Hill 60, after violent poison gas attacks. They remained master until the summer of 1917. They also fought on the Frezenberg and the hillside of Bellewaerde until May of the same year, but there was never a breakthrough with their new terrifying weapon because of a shortage of reserve troops. The Ypres Salient remained in British hands but shrunk with 7km. Finally on May 25th 1915 the offensive ended with more than 100,000 soldiers killed or wounded ...

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German soldiers in a trench at Hill 60 in 1915.

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Wounded soldiers after a German gasattack in the second Battle of Ypres.

Except a few small attacks in the saillant, 1916 was a relative quiet year in comparison with the other years of war. In this 'pause' they restored and strenghtened their stands...