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On 9 June, Crown Prince Rupprecht proposed a withdrawal to the Flandern line east of Messines. After weathering fierce enemy counterattacks, the last phase of the battle saw the Canadians attack on November 10 and clear the Germans from the eastern edge of Passchendaele Ridge before the campaign finally ground to a halt.  In 1997, Paddy Griffith wrote that the bite and hold system kept moving until November, because the BEF had developed a workable system of offensive tactics, against which the Germans ultimately had no answer. Officially known as the Third Battle of Ypres, Passchendaele was a three-month battle which started on July 31 and ended on November 6 2017 … After more than three months of bloody combat, the Third Battle of Ypres effectively comes to an end on November 6, 1917, with a hard-won victory by British and  On the evening of 3 March 1918, two companies of the 8th Division raided Teal Cottage, supported by a smoke and shrapnel barrage, killed many of the garrison and took six prisoners for one man wounded. This had not been done in earlier battles and vacant ground, there for the taking, had been re-occupied by the Germans.  Wolff's British figure was refuted by John Terraine in a 1977 publication. We start the day in the heart of the ‘Third Battle of Ypres’ or ‘Battle of Passchendaele’ as it is more commonly known. , The Battle of Langemarck was fought from 16–18 August; the Fifth Army headquarters was influenced by the effect that delay would have on Operation Hush, which needed the high tides due at the end of August or it would have to be postponed for a month. The battle was fought for control of a village named Passchendaele.  After the costly failure of the methodical counter-attack ( Gegenangriff) on 1 October, the attack was put back to 4 October, rehearsals taking place from 2 to 3 October. , The First Battle of Passchendaele on 12 October was another Allied attempt to gain ground around Passchendaele.  In his Memoirs of 1938, Lloyd George wrote, "Passchendaele was indeed one of the greatest disasters of the war ... No soldier of any intelligence now defends this senseless campaign ...". , The British plan for the battle fought from 20–25 September, included more emphasis on the use of heavy and medium artillery to destroy German concrete pill-boxes and machine-gun nests, which were more numerous in the battle zones being attacked, than behind the original July front line and to engage in more counter-battery fire.  In early May, Haig set the date for the Flanders offensive, the attack on Messines Ridge to begin on 7 June. The attack on the northern flank again met with exceptional German resistance.  In the II Corps area, the disappointment of 10 August was repeated, with the infantry managing to advance, then being isolated by German artillery and forced back to their start line by German counter-attacks, except in the 25th Division area near Westhoek. , The British Fifth Army undertook minor operations from 20–22 October, to maintain pressure on the Germans and support the French attack at La Malmaison, while the Canadian Corps prepared for a series of attacks from 26 October – 10 November. , Plumer ordered the attack due on 26 September to go ahead but reduced the objectives of the 33rd Division.  The attack was supported by flame-throwers and German infantry throwing smoke- and hand-grenades. The commanders agreed on a strategy of simultaneous attacks, to overwhelm the Central Powers on the Western, Eastern and Italian fronts, by the first fortnight of February 1917. The Battle of Passchendaele also damaged soldier’s morale. , In January 1916, Plumer began to plan offensives against Messines Ridge, Lille and Houthulst Forest. Byng wanted the operations at Ypres continued, to hold German troops in Flanders. Despite writing that 448,614 British casualties was the BEF total for the second half of 1917, Wolff had neglected to deduct 75,681 casualties for the Battle of Cambrai, given in the Official Statistics from which he quoted or "normal wastage", averaging 35,000 per month in "quiet" periods. Battle of Passchendaele (July 31–November 6, 1917), World War I battle that embodied the senseless slaughter of the Western Front. After a modest British advance, German counter-attacks recovered most of the ground lost opposite Passchendaele, except for an area on the right of the Wallemolen spur. The German 4th Army was prevented from transferring troops away from the Fifth Army and from concentrating its artillery-fire on the Canadians as they prepared for the Second Battle of Passchendaele (26 October – 10 November 1917). Photo by, Aerial view of Passchendaele village before and after the battle, Terrain through which the Canadian Corps advanced at Passchendaele, in late 1917, Terrain at Passchendaele near where the Canadian Corps advanced, spring 2015, Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery and Memorial to the Missing, German counter-attacks, 30 September – 4 October, Local operations, December 1915 – June 1916. A strong west wind ruined the smoke screens and the British artillery failed to suppress the German machine-guns. Engagements took place on 12 February at Boesinghe and on 14 February at Hooge and Sanctuary Wood. After a short bombardment on 20 and 21 January 1916, the 7th Division charged the Ottoman lines. Haig wrote that if the Allies could win the war in 1917, "the chief people to suffer would be the socialists". The film was shot over a period of forty-five days and involved over 200 actors, some of them Canadian Forces soldiers with combat experience in Afghanistan. There were actions from 14–15 February and 1–4 March at The Bluff, 27 March – 16 April at the St Eloi Craters and the Battle of Mont Sorrel from 2–13 June. , The area to the east and south of the ruins of Passchendaele village was held by posts, those to the east being fairly habitable, unlike the southern ones; from Passchendaele as far back as Potijze, the ground was far worse. It happened between July and November 1917. Nineteen huge mines were exploded simultaneously after they had been placed at the end of long tunnels under the German front lines. Battle. (Q5726), German defensive system, Flanders, mid-1917, British anti-aircraft gun at Morbecque, 29 August 1917, Royal Field Artillery gunners hauling an 18-pounder field gun out of the mud near Zillebeke, 9 August 1917, Derelict tank used as the roof of a dug out, Zillebeke, 20 September 1917 (Q6416), Wounded men at the side of a road after the Battle of Menin Road, Australian infantry with small box respirator gas masks, Ypres, September 1917, British soldiers moving forward during the Battle of Broodseinde.  The four divisions of the Canadian Corps had been transferred to the Ypres Salient from Lens, to capture Passchendaele and the ridge.  The French attack on 20 August and by 9 September had taken 10,000 prisoners. Following on the success at Messines in June, he unleashed his great attack on 31 July 1917. , In July and August, German counter-attack (Eingreif) divisions had conducted an "advance to contact during mobile operations", which had given the Germans several costly defensive successes. There was much trench mortaring, mining and raiding by both sides and from January to May, the Second Army had 20,000 casualties. Haig preferred an advance from Ypres, to bypass the flooded area around the Yser and the coast, before attempting a coastal attack to clear the coast to the Dutch border. A century ago, roads in the area were unpaved, except for the main ones from Ypres, with occasional villages and houses dotted along them. Advances in the north of the attack front were retained by British and French troops but most of the ground taken in front of Passchendaele and on the Becelaere and Gheluvelt spurs was lost to German counter-attacks.  The Second Army attacks were to remain limited and infantry brigade tactics were changed to attack the first objective with a battalion each and the final one with two battalions, the opposite of the Fifth Army practice on 31 July, to adapt to the dispersed defences being encountered between the Albrechtstellung and the Wilhelmstellung. The British considered the area drier than Loos, Givenchy and Plugstreet Wood further south. Gough intended that the rest of the green line, just beyond the Wilhelmstellung (German third line), from Polygon Wood to Langemarck, was to be captured and the Steenbeek crossed further north. British military operations in Belgium began with the arrival of the … Attempts by the German infantry to advance further were stopped by British artillery-fire with many casualties.  After the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, German tactics were changed. The battle, better known simply as Passchendaele, has become a byword for senseless slaughter. It happened between July and November 1917.  The ground is drained by many streams, canals and ditches, which need regular maintenance. The Third Battle of Ypres (German: Dritte Flandernschlacht; French: Troisième Bataille des Flandres; Dutch: Derde Slag om Ieper), also known as the Battle of Passchendaele (/ ˈ p æ ʃ ən d eɪ l /), was a campaign of the First World War, fought by the Allies against the German Empire. Having fought bloody battles earlier that year at  In the History of the Great War volume Military Operations.... published in 1948, James Edmonds put British casualties at 244,897 and wrote that equivalent German figures were not available, estimating German losses at 400,000.  Another general offensive intended for 25 August, was delayed by the failure of the preliminary attacks and then postponed due to more bad weather. Haig was pleased with the French success but regretted the delay, which had lessened its effect on the Flanders operations. , On 20 September, the Allies attacked on a 14,500 yd (8.2 mi; 13.3 km) front and by mid-morning, had captured most of their objectives, to a depth of about 1,500 yd (1,400 m). The 7th Division commander objected, due to uncertainty about the situation and the many casualties suffered by the 21st Division on the right flank and Plumer changed his mind again. The infantry attack began on 31 July. The Battle of Passchendaele started on July 31, 1917 and lasted for three months and six days. This battle took place during WWI and was between the British and the Germans.  All of the German divisions holding front zones were relieved and an extra division brought forward, because the British advances had lengthened the front line.  Since mid-1915, the British had been mining under the German positions on the ridge and by June 1917, 21 mines had been filled with nearly 1,000,000 lb (454 t) of explosives. The infantry were supported by artillery-observation and ground-attack aircraft; a box-barrage was fired behind the British front-line, which isolated the British infantry from reinforcements and ammunition. Loßberg disagreed, believing that the British would launch a broad front offensive, that the ground east of the Sehnenstellung was easy to defend and that the Menin road ridge could be held if it was made the Schwerpunkt (point of main effort) of the German defensive system. Other operations were begun by the British to regain territory or to evict the Germans from ground overlooking their positions. No German counter-attack was possible because the local Eingreif divisions had been transferred to Flanders. , Petain had committed the French Second Army to an attack at Verdun in mid-July, in support of the Flanders offensive. Haig was sceptical of a coastal operation, believing that a landing from the sea would be far more difficult than anticipated and that an advance along the coast would require so much preparation, that the Germans would have ample warning.  The main attack, by II Corps across the Ghelveult Plateau to the south, confronted the principal German defensive concentration of artillery, ground-holding divisions (Stellungsdivisionen) and Eingreif divisions. The Germans took back the lost ground when the line was shortened five months later, during the Battle of the Lys, losing it forever on 28 September 1918. This type of warfare was often fought in thick mud. A discrepancy of, For British losses, Edmonds used data based on figures submitted by the Adjutant-General's Department to the Allied Supreme War Council on 25 February 1918; Edmonds also showed weekly returns to GHQ, giving a slightly lower total of, Orders of battle for the German attack on Vimy Ridge, German defensive preparations: June – July 1917, The British set-piece attack in late 1917, Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918, "Duke of Cambridge leads Commemorations on 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele", "Battle of Passchendaele Centenary: Prince Charles Honours 'Courage and Bravery' of British Soldiers", "New Zealand Memorial (Gravenstafel ridge)", "Tribute to Scots Soldiers at Passchendaele", Passchendaele – Canada's Other Vimy Ridge, Norman Leach, Canadian Military Journal, Passchendaele, original reports from The Times, Armistice between Russia and the Central Powers, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Battle_of_Passchendaele&oldid=999955230, Battles of World War I involving Australia, Battles of World War I involving New Zealand, Battles of World War I involving South Africa, Battles of World War I involving the United Kingdom, Battles of the Western Front (World War I), Events of National Historic Significance (Canada), Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 12 January 2021, at 20:11. (Image: Australian War Memorial) The attrition rate was catastrophic for the German Army By far the most significant result of Passchendaele was the catastrophic impact it had on the German Army.  Kuhl doubted that the offensive had ended but had changed his mind by 13 September; two divisions, thirteen heavy artillery batteries, twelve field batteries, three fighter squadrons and four other units of the Luftstreitkräfte were transferred from the 4th Army. , Underneath the soil is London clay, sand and silt; according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission categories of sand, sandy soils and well-balanced soils, Messines ridge is well-balanced soil and the ground around Ypres is sandy soil. The Eingreif divisions were stationed behind the Menin and Passchendaele ridges. , After numerous requests from Haig, Petain began the Battle of La Malmaison, a long-delayed French attack on the Chemin des Dames, by the Sixth Army (General Paul Maistre). The infantry advance succeeded but German artillery-fire and infantry counter-attacks isolated the infantry of the 18th (Eastern) Division in Glencorse Wood. The Third Battle of Ypres had pinned the German army to Flanders and caused unsustainable casualties. Ludendorff wrote. The shorter and quicker advances possible once the ground dried, were intended to be consolidated on tactically advantageous ground, especially on any reverse slopes in the area, with the infantry still in contact with the artillery and aircraft, ready to repulse counter-attacks. The attack at Passchendaele was Sir Douglas Haig’s attempt to break through Flanders. Poelcappelle was captured but the attack at the junction between the 34th and 35th divisions was repulsed. Roads and light railways were extended to the new front line, to allow artillery and ammunition to be moved forward. The station at Roulers was on the main supply route of the German 4th Army. It does mean, however, that the vast majority of the British army on the Western Front experienced the horrors of the Passchendaele battle – more so by some seven divisions than those who suffered in the longer (by about five weeks) and bloodier (by about 190,000 casualties) Somme offensive. Reserve battalions moved back behind the artillery protective line and the Eingreif divisions were organised to intervene as swiftly as possible once an attack commenced, despite the risk of British artillery-fire.  In December, the British Admiralty began discussions with the War Office, for a combined operation to re-occupy the Belgian coast but were obliged to conform to French strategy and participate in offensives further south.  The Germans had to withdraw from their remaining positions on the Chemin des Dames to the north of the Ailette Valley early in November. The term “Battle of Passchendaele” is confusingly used to refer to both a month-long campaign and two battles within it. Further operations and a British supporting attack along the Belgian coast from Nieuport (Nieuwpoort), combined with an amphibious landing (Operation Hush), were to have reached Bruges and then the Dutch frontier. Plagued … Held by the Germans, the Allies repeatedly assaulted it. The campaign ended in November, when the Canadian Corps captured Passchendaele, apart from local attacks in December and early in the new year. , Attacks to threaten Lens and Lille were to be made by the First Army in late June near Gavrelle and Oppy, along the Souchez river.  Ypres is 66 ft (20 m) above sea level; Bixschoote 4 mi (6.4 km) to the north is at 28 ft (8.5 m).  The advance further north in the XVIII Corps area retook and held the north end of St Julien and the area south-east of Langemarck, while XIV Corps captured Langemarck and the Wilhelmstellung north of the Ypres–Staden railway, near the Kortebeek stream. Meeting at Chantilly, France, in November 1916, Allied leaders discussed plans for the upcoming year. The ridge had woods from Wytschaete to Zonnebeke giving good cover, some being of notable size, like Polygon Wood and those later named Battle Wood, Shrewsbury Forest and Sanctuary Wood. Yet Haig's decision to continue into November remains deeply controversial and the arguments, like the battle, seem destined to go on and on. It began on 31 July 1917 and continued through to 6 November 1917. The 4th Canadian Division captured its objectives but was forced slowly to retire from Decline Copse, against German counter-attacks and communication failures between the Canadian and Australian units to the south. What happened?  In August, German front-line divisions had two regiments deployed in the front line, with the third regiment in reserve.  In 1940, C. R. M. F. Cruttwell recorded 300,000 British casualties and 400,000 German. West of Messines Ridge is the parallel Wulverghem (Spanbroekmolen) Spur and on the east side, the Oosttaverne Spur, which is also parallel to the main ridge. , On the higher ground, the Germans continued to inflict many losses on the British divisions beyond Langemarck but on 19 August, after two fine dry days, XVIII Corps conducted a novel infantry, tank, aircraft and artillery operation. Between the German defences lay villages such as Zonnebeke and Passchendaele, which were fortified and prepared for all-round defence. , At 4:00 a.m. on 30 September, a thick mist covered the ground and at 4:30 a.m. German artillery began a bombardment between the Menin road and the Reutelbeek.  In his 1963 biography of Haig, Terraine accepted Edmonds' figure of 244,897 British casualties and agreed that German losses were at least equal to and probably greater than British, owing to the strength of British artillery and the high number of German counterattacks; he did not accept Edmonds' calculation that German losses were as high as 400,000. BBC - History - World Wars: Battle of Passchendaele: 31 July - 6 November 1917. In fewer than three hours, many units reached their final objectives and Passchendaele was captured. SOS rockets were not seen in the mist and the British artillery remained silent. Divided into two ten-day and an eleven-day period, there were 53.6, 32.4 and 41.3 mm (2, 1 and 2 in) of rain; in the 61 hours before 6:00 p.m. on 31 July, 12.5 mm (0 in) fell. The left wing of the attack achieved its objectives but the right wing failed completely.  The Stellungsdivisionen were reinforced by the Stoß regiments of Eingreif divisions, which were moved into the artillery protective line behind the forward battle zone, to counter-attack sooner. Although the attacks had brought the United States into the war on the Allied side, they threatened the shipping routes that carried war supplies, food and other goods into Britain. They did not advance further and the offensive came to a standstill at the top of the ridge on 10 November. The attackers on the southern flank quickly captured Crest Farm and sent patrols beyond the final objective into Passchendaele. The attacks were conducted earlier than planned to use heavy and siege artillery before it was transferred to Ypres, the Souchez operation being cut back and the attack on Hill 70 postponed. Sporadic fighting continued into October, adding to the German difficulties on the Western Front and elsewhere.  British and French troops were swiftly moved from 10 November – 12 December but the diversion of resources from the BEF forced Haig to conclude the Third Battle of Ypres short of Westrozebeke; the last substantial British attack took place on 10 November.  On 27 August, II Corps tried a combined tank and infantry attack but the tanks bogged, the attack failed and Haig called a halt to operations until the weather improved. The Battle of Passchendaele, fought July 1917, is sometimes called the Third Battle of Ypres. In Operation Albion (September–October 1917), the Germans took the islands at the mouth of the Gulf of Riga. British naval leaders urged their government to force the Germans from occupied ports on the Belgian coast, which were being used … The artillery of the Second and Fifth armies conducted a bombardment to simulate a general attack as a deception. The X Corps commander proposed an attack northward from In de Ster into the southern flank of the Germans opposite I Anzac Corps. The Battle of Passchendaele was one of the biggest battles of the First World War.It happened between July and November 1917. Heavy rain and mud again made movement difficult and little artillery could be brought closer to the front. Explore one of the most infamous battles of WW1 - the Battle of Passchendaele. This video explains the significance of the battle in two minutes. In the case of the United Kingdom only casualties before 16 August 1917 are commemorated on the memorial.  Gary Sheffield wrote in 2002 that Richard Holmes guessed that both sides suffered 260,000 casualties, which seemed about right to him. The Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, is one of the many battles fought in World War One that New Zealand soldiers fought in.  Lieutenant-Colonel Albrecht von Thaer, Chief of Staff of Gruppe Wijtschate (Group Wytschaete, the headquarters of the IX Reserve Corps), noted that casualties after 14 days in the line averaged 1,500–2,000 men, compared to 4,000 men on the Somme in 1916 and that German troop morale was higher than the year before. Kuhl concluded that the fighting strained German fighting power to the limit but that the German forces managed to prevent a breakthrough, although it was becoming much harder to replace losses. Every effort was to be made to induce the British to reinforce their forward positions with infantry for the German artillery to bombard them. The British were forced out of Cameron Covert and counter-attacked but a German attack began at the same time and the British were repulsed. Soldiers were exhausted, sick and wounded and it seemed like the war would last forever. Soldiers during the First World War's battle of Passchendaele.  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