War Auction

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World War 1: Ieper (Ypres), Belgium

World War

Belgium, a country in the northwest of Europe on the North Sea. In ancient times Belgium was inhabited by the Belgae, the region was part of the Carolingian and Roman empires before breaking up into a number of feudal states during the middle Ages. The region occupied by present-day Belgium passed to the Hapsburgs in the 15th century and then to the French in the 18th century. After the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, Belgium was given to the kingdom of the Netherlands, from which it gained independence as a separate kingdom in 1830. Brussels is the capital and the largest city of Belgium.

Belgium was an important chapter in the World War I. After the sudden occurence of World War I (Aug., 1914), Belgium was invaded by Germany in order to attack the French by the easiest route, this unashamed violation of Belgian neutrality shocked much parts of the world and brought Great Britain into the war, as one of Belgium's guarantors. The unexpected resistance of the Belgians against such heavy odds won widespread admiration, and German atrocities in Belgium, publicized by the Allies, played an important part in strenghtening U.S. opinion against Germany. All of Belgium except a small strip in West Flanders, which served as a battle front throughout the war (Ieper or Ypres), was conquered by Oct. 10, 1914, and the people suffered under a harsh occupation system. The Belgian army fought in West Flanders and France throughout the war under the leadership of Albert I.

Ypres or Ieper, a Belgian municipality located in the Flemish province of West Flanders. During World War I, Ieper was the centre of serious and sustained battles between the German and the Allied forces. During the war, English soldiers nicknamed the city "Wipers."

The Allied forces captured Ieper from the Germans in the First Battle of Ypres (31 October to 22 November 1914). In the Second Battle of Ypres (22 April to 25 May 1915) the German force used poison gas for the first time on the Western Front and seized high ground east of Ieper. The first gas attack occurred against British, Canadian and French soldiers, including both metropolitan French soldiers as well as Senegalese and Algerian tirailleurs (light infantry) from French Africa. Of the battles in the World War I, the largest, most-known, and most costly in human suffering was the Third Battle of Ypres (21 July to 6 November 1917, also known as the Battle of Passchendaele) in which the British, Canadians, ANZAC and French forces recaptured the Passchendaele ridge east of the city at a terrible cost of lives. After several months of fighting, the battle resulted in nearly half a million casualties to all sides, and only several miles of ground won by Allied forces. Ieper was all but destroyed by the artillery fire.

Many landmarks and memorials of the World War I and museums are worth visiting in Ieper.

1. Menin Gate Memorial - Memorial dedicated on 24 July 1927 to the missing British and Commonwealth soldiers who fell in Belgium during World War I. It has a Last Post Ceremony each night at 8:00 PM as a way for the Ypres citizens to express their gratitude towards those who died for Belgium's freedom.

2. Flanders Fields Museum - It is located right in the center of the Ypres Cloth Hall. This museum gives an excellent overview of World War I. It is a sort of an experience that takes you right into the daily life during the war.

3. Memorial Museum Passchendaele - A Museum in a beautiful setting, conveying the story of the Great War in chronological order. It has lots of information on the different battles and a large selection of authentic artifacts on display.

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Tourist Destination, Ieper, Belgium www.ambrosiahotel.beclick here.

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Frequently Asked Questions...

What is a good book on world war 2 medals given to war heroes?

I am doing a social studies project and i have to draw different medals given to world war 2 heroes. My teacher is making us use 3 non internet resources. I have absolutly no idea what books i could use. So if you know any books that would be helpful, let me know!


You do not mention if you only want American or from any country.

There is a biography of Nancy Wake, a New Zealand born woman who studied in Australia and became an Australian citizen. I think the biography is called "The White Mouse".
She worked as a reporter in Paris and during the war was a member of the French Resistance and was nicknamed "The White Mouse" by the Gestapo.
Nancy Wake is the most decorated female of WW-2 with five (5) British medals including the George Medal (the 2nd highest British medal a non officer can win). Others include the 1939-45 Star, the France and Germany Medal, the Defence Medal and the British War Medal 1939-45. She also won three French medals and an American medal. They were (in order of seniority) -- Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, the French Croix de Guerre with Star and 2 palms, the US Freedom Medal plus the Medaille de Resistance.

There is a biography about the US (four star) General (Vinegar) Joe Stillwell who commanded American and Chinese troops in China and Burma during WW-2. The biography is called "Stillwell and the American Experience in China 1911-1845" by Barbara Tuchman. Stillwell received 10 medals of which two were WW-1.

There is a biography about Maj. General.Orde Wingate, a British soldier who saw action in Palestine, North Africa and Burma. He won the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) three times plus a Mentioned in Dispatches. In total he would have had over 7 medals which is a large number for a British soldier. (the DSO would be one medal but with bars to denote how many time won). Wingate helped the Jewish Palmach train in the 1930's which caused problems with his superiors.

There are several biographies about Field Marshall Montgomery, a British General who fought in WW-1 and WW-2. Montgomery wrote several book and autobiographies. Other Biographies about him are:
The Art of Leadership, by Montgomery
The Full Monty, by Nigel Hamilton
Monty and Patton, by Michael Reynolds
The Memoirs of Field Marshal Montgomery, by Montgomery
Monty's, by Charles Whiting
Montgomery, by Nigel Hamilton.

I would not try Eisenhower as he received his medals after the war because he was the "Supreme Commander of Allied Forces European Theatre". Before that he had no combat or campaign medals, only service medals. Eisenhower never saw combat in his entire military career.

Patton is also a bad choice as he is greatly disliked by British and Canadians soldiers because he was a a self-centred "gung-ho" leader who stole supplies destined for the British and Canadians troops in the northern front, started battles in his area well before the scheduled time and without knowing the strengths or dispositions of the enemy, and then when his troops were in trouble it was the under-equipped British and Canadians who had to rescue the Americans while leaving their own front undermanned.

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