Major Battles of World War I

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Battle of the Mons

Battle of the Marne

Battle of Ypres (first)

These were the battles that followed after Germany marched its troops through Belgium, which had been declared a neutral nation after the Napoleonic Wars.

British, French, and Belgian armies were driven back to the Marne River in Northwest France.  This was the furthest advance that was made by German soldiers in World War I.  



Battle of Ypres (Second)

Ypres is  a small town in Belgium, just across the border from France.  In 1915, the battle line at Ypres was held by French-Moroccan and Canadian soldiers.  The German troops tried desperately to  break the trench system.  Their new weapon of choice was chlorine gas.  This marked the first time gas had been used as a weapon of war.

Gas dispensers

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When wind conditions were in their favor, the Germans launched gas attacks.  Gas would float across no man's land, and since chlorine gas is heavier than air, it would cling to the ground, filling holes and trenches.

The French-Moroccan troops ran from their trenches.  As they passed the Canadian troops, they warned them by yelling "Gas! Gas!"  The Canadian troops had to extend the battle line to cover the vacated line that the French-Moroccans had abandoned.  If they had not, the Germans would have surely broken through and extended their territory further into France.

The soldiers were not equipped with gas masks. They had to improvise by urinating on their puddies (strips of cloth that were used to hold their pant legs inside their boots), and wrapping them around their mouths.  For two days the Canadian soldiers held the line against the Germans.  Even though Canada lost 6000 troops, they managed to keep the Germans from advancing.


Battle of Gallipoli

In 1915 the Ottoman Empire was predominately made up of Turkey, as well as present day Iraq.  Gallipoli was a Turkish peninsula that jutted out into the Aegean Sea.  

Winston Churchill, who was in charge of the British Navy, thought that an attack on the German troops through the Strait of Dardanelles would greatly relieve pressure on the Russian army, who were constantly being attacked.  An attack on the Turkish forces at Gallipoli was planned.  

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This was predominantly a British affair, with troops from the Commonwealth, especially Australia and New Zealand joining in.  These troops were called ANZACS (Australia- New Zealand Army Corps).  The Newfoundland Regiment was also a part of this battle.  This battle was another disaster for the British.  The Navy could not blast its way through the Dardanelles.

The Army could not drive the Turkish troops from the hills.  A stalemate occurred.  Britain lost thousands of troops for every week the battle continued.  The campaign ended in failure and the British troops were withdrawn.