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World War I Battle Sites The casualties suffered in the First World War were of a scale never before seen Great Britain and its Empire lost over 1000000 combatants France 1300000 Russia 1700000 Germany and its allies 3500000 Losses in life per day of the war exceeded 5500 Although each soldier would have been involved in some form of continual conflict whilst serving on the front-line it is possible to distinguish major battles whose names have gone down in history as some of the bloodiest conflicts ever waged Of these were four of the most important battles of World War 1 The battle of Ypres the battle of Marne the battle of Somme and the battle of Verdun There were in fact three battles fought around the Ypres salient during the War The first in 1914 was an attempt by the BEF to halt the rapid advances made by the Germans The second in 1915 was notable for the first use of poison gas by the Germans However it is the long-planned offensive of July 31 1917 that holds the most significance Here a combination of over-ambitious aims appalling weather conditions and misguided persistence by Haig led to horrific losses By the time the offensive was called off total casualties for both sides had been approximately 250000 The horrors of the battle in which men drowned in liquid mud has become synonymous with the images of the War One of the central objectives the village of Passchendale eventually taken on November 6 by the Canadians lent its name to the whole conflict On September 4 1914 the rapid advances of the German army through Belgium and northern France caused panic in the French army and troops were rushed from Paris in taxis to halt the advance Combined with the BEF British Expeditionary Force the Germans were eventually halted and the War settled into the familiar defensive series of entrenchments By the end of May
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