Ypres 1914: The Menin Road (Paperback)
These three Battleground Europe books on Ypres 1914 mark the centenary of the final major battle of the 1914 campaign on the Western Front. Although fought over a relatively small area and short time span, the fighting was even more than usually chaotic and the stakes were extremely high. Authors Nigel Cave and Jack Sheldon combine their respective expertise to tell the story of the men – British, French, Indian and German - who fought over the unremarkable undulating ground that was to become firmly placed in British national conscience ever afterwards.
The most direct route to Ypres for the advancing German columns in October 1914 was along the axis of the Menin Road. It was here that the Old Contemptibles of the BEF earned their legendary heroic status as they fought off increasingly desperate German assaults day after day, whilst place names such as Zandvoorde, Polygon Wood and Gheluvelt were first etched into the British national consciousness. Bent and battered by the German storm, dressed in rags and short of food, equipment and ammunition, the regiments of the old professional army stood their ground against huge odds. When, on 11th November, they finally halted the Prussian Guards around Polygon Wood, virtually within sight of Ypres, they were reduced to one thin firing line. The BEF was at its last gasp, but it had inflicted a crushing defeat on the German army.