Article Index

CHAPTER 6 is an updated version of our detailed account of the role of Saxon / W├╝rttemberg XXVII. Reservekorps in the Second Battle of Ypres, previously published as the limited edition booklet The Saxons at Zonnebeke (2015).

In addition to the actual offensive and the climactic capture of Zonnebeke by 53. Reserve-Division on 4th May 1915, this chapter also covers the minor engagements which preceded it in the early months of 1915.

One interesting aspect which will certainly surprise many readers is the abortive scheme for Germany's first chlorine gas cloud attack to take place in the XXVII. Reservekorps sector at Polygon Wood. After the infantry had spent months sharing their trenches with the deadly cylinders and repeated false alarms, this plan would ultimately be thwarted by persistently unsuitable wind conditions.

In the (meteorologically highly unlikely) event that the weather had ever been favourable for the original plan, the Second Battle of Ypres would have begun and developed quite differently!

Abandoned British / Canadian positions in Polygon Wood

Above: This photo is one of a series depicting the abandoned British / Canadian positions in Polygon Wood after its occupation by Saxon / W├╝rttemberg 54. Reserve-Division on 4th May 1915.

Zonnebeke church after the town's capture in May 1915

Above: This location at the entrance to the chateau grounds beside the church is a familiar one for many WW1 reenactors, although it now looks quite different (due to the subsequent obliteration of this entire area in the Third Battle of Ypres).

For King and Kaiser - sample pages

Above: Sample pages from For King and Kaiser (chapter 6).