1914: November 22
The ‘Race to the Sea’ that had begun in September on the Western Front came to a head at the city of Ypres. So far both sides had been unsuccessful in their attempts to outflank each other by moving north and this was seen as the last location for either side to launch a decisive attack.
Both sides were locked in a costly and unrelenting battle for Ypres until November 22 when winter weather forced a break in the fighting.
By this point a continuous line of trenches stretched from Switzerland to the North Sea, over 640 kilometres long. At Ypres the Allied forces positioned themselves in trenches that became known as ‘the Salient’, an area that would go on to see some of the war’s most brutal conflict and where many would remain for the next several years. The tone had been set for a war of attrition and trench warfare on the Western front.