Trial by Gas


Trial by Gas

The British Army at the Second Battle of Ypres

George H. Cassar

344 pages
23 photographs, 19 maps, 1 appendix


December 2014


$29.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

December 2014


$29.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

World War I has long captured the macabre imagination for the seemingly willful manner in which nations sent their young men to die in droves while fighting over essentially the same patch of land for four long years. The vision of those senseless deaths becomes even harsher and more depraved when we consider how many soldiers were killed by poison gas.

In May 1915 the long and bloody Second Battle of Ypres gained notoriety for the participants’ use of poison gas, the first time the weapon had been used in battle. With both sides realizing the importance of victory in Ypres, moral considerations were set aside. Although other, more costly battles of World War I have often overshadowed the Second Battle of Ypres despite the unprecedented use of gas in the latter, that battle now receives an examination commensurate with its significance.

In Trial by Gas, George H. Cassar focuses on the conflict’s second half: the battles at Frezenberg Ridge and Bellewaarde Ridge, both of which were fought primarily by British units, taking the reader inside the trenches and behind the desks of those making the decisions. Cassar’s intimate account offers an accurate, clear, and complete chronicle of a battle with a remarkably enduring impact despite its indecisive outcome.

Author Bio

GEORGE H. CASSAR is a professor of history at Eastern Michigan University. He is the author of a dozen books, including Hell in Flanders Fields: Canadians at the Second Battle of Ypres and Lloyd George at War, 1916–1918.


"This is a very good account of one of the most desperate fights of the Great War."—A.A. Nofi, Strategy Page

"All serious students and scholars of World War I as well as anyone interested in the tactics of infantry combat should read Trial by Gas."—James Campbell, Michigan War Studies Review

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Maps
List of Abbreviations
1. Ypres, the Salient and the Defending V Corps Divisions
2. Weapon of Horror
3. The Withdrawal and Close of the Battle of St. Julien, 1–4 May
4. Interlude, 4–7 May
5. The Battle of Frezenberg Ridge, 8 May 
6. The Battle of Frezenberg Ridge, 9–12 May
7. The Battle of Frezenberg Ridge, 13 May
8. The Battle of Bellewaarde Ridge, 24–25 May

Also of Interest