Battle of passchendaele

The History Learning Site, 17 Apr Haig had thought about a similar attack inbut the Battle of the Somme occupied his time in that year. However, one year later, Haig felt able to launch such an attack.

Battle of passchendaele

Four days later, the ground was already swampy. When the attack was resumed on August 16, very little more was… Preparation and the initial British offensive By the spring ofGermany had resumed the practice of unrestricted submarine warfare, sinking merchant ships in international waters.

At about the same time, legions of weary French soldiers began to mutiny following the failure of a large French offensive on the Western Front. With some French armies temporarily unwilling or unable to fight, the commander of the British armies in Europe, Gen.

Douglas Haigdecided Battle of passchendaele must begin a new offensive of its own. Haig wanted to attack German forces in the Ypres salienta long-held bulge in the Allied front lines in the Flanders region of Belgium. The salient had been an active battlefield since Haig believed that if the British could break through the German lines there, they could also liberate the occupied ports on the English Channel coast, just north of Ypres, which served as submarine bases for German U-boats.

Britain only had a small superiority in forces over the enemy.


The only certainty was heavy loss of life. The Third Battle of Ypres, as it became known, would begin in July. In mid-July the British began a two-week artillery bombardment of a series of scarcely visible ridges rising gently around the salient on which the Germans waited.

Previous fighting since had already turned the area into a barren plain, devoid of trees or vegetation, pockmarked by shell craters. Earlier battles had also destroyed the ancient drainage system that once channelled rainwater away from the fields.

Battle of passchendaele

The explosion of millions more shells in the new offensive, accompanied by torrential rain, would quickly turn the battlefield into an apocalyptic expanse: British troops, supported by dozens of tanks and assisted by a French contingentassaulted German trenches on 31 July.

For the next month, hundreds of thousands of soldiers on opposing sides attacked and counterattacked across sodden, porridge-like mud, in an open, grey landscape almost empty of buildings or natural cover, all under the relentless, harrowing rain of exploding shells, flying shrapnel, and machine-gun fire.

Few gains were made. The ANZAC and Canadian Corps at Passchendaele As the offensive ground to a halt, Haig ordered the ,man Canadian Corps to launch a diversionary attack on the Germans occupying the French city of Lensin the hopes that this would draw German resources away from the main battle in the Ypres salient.

After surveying the German defenses, the Canadian commander, Lieut. Arthur Currieopted instead to seize the high ground north of Lens at Hill PA By early September, Haig was under political pressure from London to halt the offensive, but he pressed on. In October Haig, determined to carry on despite the depletion of his armies, now turned to the Canadians.

Haig ordered Currie to bring his four divisions to Belgium and take up the fight around Passchendaele. Currie objected to what he considered a reckless attack, arguing it would cost about 16, Canadian casualties for no great strategic gain.

Ultimately, however, Currie had little choice. Over the next two weeks, Currie ordered the building and repair of roads and tramlines to help in the movement of men, armaments, and other supplies on the battlefield. Gun emplacements were improved. Troops and officers were allowed time to prepare for the attack, which opened on October 26, For the next two weeks, all four divisions of the Canadian Corps took turns assaulting the Passchendaele ridge, making only meagre gains with heavy losses.

Conditions for the soldiers were horrifying. Under almost continuous rain and shellfire, troops huddled in waterlogged shell holes or became lost on the blasted mud-scape, unable to locate the front line that separated Canadian from German positions.

The mud gummed up rifle barrels and breeches, making them difficult to fire. It swallowed up soldiers as they slept.

Battle of passchendaele

It slowed stretcher-bearers to a literal crawl, as they tried to carry the wounded away from the fighting through waist-deep muck.

Ironically, the mud also saved lives, cushioning many of the shells that landed, preventing their explosion.Watch video · Battle of Passchendaele Credit: World History Archive / Alamy G erman and British forces became locked in a mud-drenched stalemate for a month and a . Officially known as the Third Battle of Ypres, Passchendaele became infamous not only for the scale of casualties, but also for the mud.

Ypres was the principal town within a salient (or bulge) in. The Battle of Passchendaele, fought July , is sometimes called the Third Battle of Ypres. For the soldiers who fought at Passchendaele, it was known as the ‘Battle of Mud’.

Battle of Passchendaele - Wikipedia

Few battles encapsulate World War One better than the Battle of Passchendaele. Battle of Passchendaele, also called Third Battle of Ypres, (July 31–November 6, ), World War I battle that served as a vivid symbol of the mud, madness, and senseless slaughter of the Western Front.

Nov 15,  · The Battle of Passchendaele is sometimes referred to as the Third Battle of Ypres. It was one of the more significant battles of WWI, and involved .

Oct 17,  · Directed by Paul Gross. With Paul Gross, Michael Greyeyes, James Kot, Jesse Frechette. The lives of a troubled veteran, his nurse girlfriend and a naive boy intersect first in Alberta and then in Belgium during the bloody World War I /10(K).

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