how long did the battle of passchendaele last

Hussey wrote that the wet weather in August 1917 was exceptional, Haig had been justified in expecting little rain, swiftly dried by sunshine and breezes. [104] The attacking infantry from the 45th Reserve and the 4th Guard divisions were commanded by Major Freiherr von Schleinitz in the north and Lieutenant-Colonel Rave in the south. OHL had issued orders to change tactics again days before Loßberg was blamed for giving new orders to the 4th Army. 195th, 16th, 4th Bavarian, 18th, 227th, 240th, 187th and 22nd Reserve divisions). Construction of a Flandern III Stellung east of Menin northwards to Moorslede was also begun. [116], The First Battle of Passchendaele on 12 October was another Allied attempt to gain ground around Passchendaele. British naval leaders urged their government to force the Germans from occupied ports on the Belgian coast, which were being used … [45], Haig selected Gough to command the offensive on 30 April, and on 10 June Gough and the Fifth Army headquarters took over the Ypres salient north of Messines Ridge. 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. In a series of operations, Entente troops under British command attacked the Imperial German Army. [125], 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. North of Poelcappelle, the XIV Corps of the Fifth Army advanced along the Broembeek some way up the Watervlietbeek and the Stadenrevebeek streams and the Guards Division captured the west end of the Vijwegen spur, gaining observation over the south end of Houthulst Forest. [50], The British attack began at 3:50 a.m. on 31 July; the attack was to commence at dawn but a layer of unbroken low cloud meant that it was still dark when the infantry advanced. This page has been archived and is no longer updated. [141] The experience of the failure to contain the British attacks at Ypres and the drastic reduction in areas of the western front that could be considered "quiet" after the tank and artillery surprise at Cambrai, left the OHL with little choice but to return to a strategy of decisive victory in 1918. Powered by Create your own unique website with customizable templates. In the fall of 1917, the Canadian Corps—after its great success at Vimy Ridge that April—was sent north to Belgium. [133], In a German General Staff publication, it was written that "Germany had been brought near to certain destruction (sicheren Untergang) by the Flanders battle of 1917". [11] General Henry Rawlinson was also ordered to plan an attack from the Ypres Salient on 4 February; planning continued but the Battle of Verdun and the Battle of the Somme took up the rest of the year. The Canadian Corps' participation in the Second Battle of Passchendaele is commemorated with the Passchendaele Memorial at site of the Crest Farm on the south-west fringe of Passchendaele village. The British had 575 heavy and medium and 720 field guns and howitzers, more than double the quantity of artillery available at the Battle of Pilckem Ridge. In Operation Albion (September–October 1917), the Germans took the islands at the mouth of the Gulf of Riga. Explore one of the most infamous battles of WW1 - the Battle of Passchendaele. Operations in Flanders began during the Race to the Sea, reciprocal attempts by the French and German armies to turn their opponents' northern flank, through Picardy, Artois and Flanders. Canadian soldiers had succeeded in the face of almost unbelievable challenges. [95], Plumer ordered the attack due on 26 September to go ahead but reduced the objectives of the 33rd Division. [108] The British attacked along a 14,000 yd (8.0 mi; 13 km) front and as the I Anzac Corps divisions began their advance towards Broodseinde Ridge, men were seen rising from shell-holes in no man's land and more German troops were found concealed in shell-craters. At about 7:00 p.m., German infantry attacked behind a smokescreen and recaptured all but the north-west corner of the wood; only the 25th Division gains on Westhoek Ridge to the north were held. The Allies were commanded by British leaders. Canadian soldiers had succeeded in the face of … The campaign ended in November, when the Canadian Corps captured Passchendaele, apart from local attacks in December and early in the new year. On 30 June, the army group Chief of Staff, General von Kuhl, suggested a withdrawal to the Flandern I Stellung along Passchendaele ridge, meeting the old front line in the north near Langemarck and Armentières in the south. The Canadians didn't want to go to Passchendaele. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Replacement units became mixed up with ones holding the front and reserve regiments had failed to intervene quickly, leaving front battalions unsupported until Eingreif divisions arrived some hours later. [67] The BEF had set up a Meteorological Section under Ernest Gold in 1915, which by the end of 1917 had 16 officers and 82 men. [59] 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. [58] 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. Of the 100,000 New Zealand men that went to war, 12,000 died in the Western Front. Soldiers during the First World War's battle of Passchendaele. Gough planned an offensive based on the GHQ 1917 plan and the instructions he had received from Haig. The French army was once more capable of the offensive. [166], One of the newest monuments to be dedicated to the fighting contribution of a group is the Celtic Cross memorial, commemorating the Scottish contribution to the fighting in Flanders during the Great War. The German infantry managed to advance on the flanks, about 100 yd (91 m) near the Menin road and 600 yd (550 m) north of the Reutelbeek. The German attack was defeated by small-arms fire and the British artillery, whose observers had seen the SOS rockets. Each brigade spent four days in the front line, four in support and four in reserve. They were confident, well-trained, and most importantly, rested. The Germans on the ridge had observation over Ypres and unless it was captured, observed enfilade artillery-fire could be fired against a British attack from the salient further north. Group Dixmude held 12 mi (19 km) with four front divisions and two Eingreif divisions, Group Ypres held 6 mi (9.7 km) from Pilckem to Menin Road with three front divisions and two Eingreif divisions and Group Wijtschate held a similar length of front south of the Menin road, with three front divisions and three Eingreif divisions. 2017 marks a century since the Battle of Passchendaele. After mutinies had begun in the French armies, the British cabinet felt compelled to endorse the Flanders offensive, in the hope that more refusals to fight could be "averted by a great [military] success". By blaming an individual, the rest of the German commanders were exculpated, which gave a false impression that OHL operated in a rational manner, when Ludendorff imposed another defensive scheme on 7 October. August 1917 had three dry days and 14 days with less than 1 mm (0 in) of rain. [54], 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. In Britain, it became synonymous with the horrifying brutality of trench warfare. The German submarine bases on the coast had not been captured but the objective of diverting the Germans from the French further south, while they recovered from the Nivelle Offensive in April, had succeeded. ...there is no reason to suggest that the weather broke early in the month with any regularity. only the first part of which was quoted by Lloyd George (1934), Liddell Hart (1934) and Leon Wolff (1959); in a 1997 essay, John Hussey called the passage by Charteris "baffling". The British attacked towards Westroozebeke on the night of 1/2 December but the plan to mislead the Germans by not bombarding the German defences until eight minutes after the infantry began their advance came undone. [132], The attack on the Polderhoek Spur on 3 December 1917, was a local operation by the British Fourth Army (renamed from the Second Army on 8 November). The main road to Ypres from Poperinge to Vlamertinge is in a defile, easily observed from the ridge. 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 (/ˈpæʃəndeɪl/), was a campaign of the First World War, fought by the Allies against the German Empire. [64] 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. [55] The Battle of Hill 70, 30 mi (48 km) south of Ypres, eventually took place from 15 to 25 August. 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. From 6:00 p.m. on 31 July to 6:00 p.m. on 4 August, there was another 63 mm (2 in) of rain. There were 127 mm (5 in) of rain in August 1917 and 84 mm (3 in) of the total fell on 1, 8, 14, 26 and 27 August. [63] Another general offensive intended for 25 August, was delayed by the failure of the preliminary attacks and then postponed due to more bad weather. 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). [115] General William Birdwood later wrote that the return of heavy rain and mud sloughs was the main cause of the failure to hold captured ground. After a short bombardment on 20 and 21 January 1916, the 7th Division charged the Ottoman lines. In Haig's defence, the rationale for an offensive was clear and many agreed that the Germans could afford the casualties less than the Allies, who were being reinforced by America's entry into the war. The battle was fought for control of a village named Passchendaele. The left wing of the attack achieved its objectives but the right wing failed completely. 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. [160] When the German armies further south began the Spring Offensive on 21 March 1918, "good" divisions in Flanders were sent south; the 29th Division was withdrawn on 9 April and transferred to the Lys. [62] Gough laid down a new infantry formation of skirmish lines to be followed by "worms" on 24 August and Cavan noted that pillboxes should be attacked on a broad front, to engage them simultaneously. 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. At 5:15 a.m., German troops emerged from the mist on an 800 yd (730 m) front. The artillery preparation started on 17 October and on 23 October, the German defenders were swiftly defeated and the French advanced up to 3.7 mi (6.0 km), capturing the village and fort of La Malmaison, gaining control of the Chemin des Dames ridge. The offensive was to continue, to reach a suitable line for the winter and to keep German attention on Flanders, with a French attack due on 23 October and the Third Army operation south of Arras scheduled for mid-November. The Third Battle of Ypres had pinned the German army to Flanders and caused unsustainable casualties. Battle. Systematic defensive artillery-fire was forfeited by the Germans, due to uncertainty over the position of their infantry, just when the British infantry benefited from the opposite. It happened between July and November 1917. Total casualties at Passchendaele are estimated at 475,000; about 275,000 British and Commonwealth and about 200,000 German. [140], At a British conference on 13 October, the Third Army (General Julian Byng) scheme for an attack in mid-November was discussed. The British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, opposed the offensive, as did General Ferdinand Foch, the Chief of Staff of the French Army. In January, spells of freezing cold were followed by warmer periods, one beginning on 15 January with torrential rain and gale-force winds, washing away plank roads and duckboard tracks. Next day, the German positions near the wood were swept away in the Battle of Polygon Wood. On July 31st, they officially launched the Third Battle of Ypres. Gough held meetings with his corps commanders on 6 and 16 June, where the third objective, which included the Wilhelmstellung (third line), a second-day objective in earlier plans, was added to the two objectives due to be taken on the first day… The attack was delayed, partly due to mutinies in the French army after the failure of the Nivelle Offensive and because of a German attack at Verdun from 28 to 29 June, which captured some of the French jumping-off points. The Battle of Passchendaele was one of the biggest battles of the First World War.It happened between July and November 1917. Plagued … By coincidence, the Germans sought to recapture their defences around Zonnebeke with a Gegenangriff at the same time. 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. 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. [145], Various casualty figures have been published for the Third Battle of Ypres, sometimes with acrimony; the highest estimates for British and German casualties appear to be discredited but the British claim to have taken 24,065 prisoners has not been disputed. [102] North of the covert near Polygon Wood, deep mud smothered German shells before they exploded but they still caused many casualties. Once Passchendaele Ridge had been captured, the Allied advance was to continue to a line from Thourout (now Torhout) to Couckelaere (Koekelare). [127] The four divisions of the Canadian Corps had been transferred to the Ypres Salient from Lens, to capture Passchendaele and the ridge. The II Corps had begun to withdraw its artillery at the same time as VIII Corps on the night of 11/12 April and ordered the 36th and 30th divisions to conform to the VIII Corps retirement, which were completed by 13 April, without German interference. The eventual capture of what little remained of Passchendaele village by British and Canadian forces on 6 November finally gave Haig an excuse to call off the offensive and claim success. The Battle of Passchendaele [Note 1] was one of the major battles of the First World War, taking place between July and November 1917. [46] Gough held meetings with his corps commanders on 6 and 16 June, where the third objective, which included the Wilhelmstellung (third line), a second-day objective in earlier plans, was added to the two objectives due to be taken on the first day. At the start of the battle, the twin-engined Messerschmitt Bf 110C long range Zerstörer ("Destroyer") was also expected to engage in air-to-air combat while escorting the Luftwaffe bomber fleet. [a] The battle took place on the Western Front, from July to November 1917, for control of the ridges south and east of the Belgian city of Ypres in West Flanders, as part of a strategy decided by the Allies at conferences in November 1916 and May 1917. [137] 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. There is a New Zealand Memorial marking where New Zealand troops fought at Gravenstafel Ridge on 4 October, located on Roeselarestraat. There is a low ridge from Messines, 260 ft (80 m) at its highest point, running north-east past Clapham Junction at the west end of Gheluvelt plateau (​ .sr-only{border:0;clip:rect(0,0,0,0);height:1px;margin:-1px;overflow:hidden;padding:0;position:absolute;width:1px;white-space:nowrap} 1⁄2 miles from Ypres at 213 ft (65 m) and Gheluvelt, above 160 ft (50 m) to Passchendaele, (​5 1⁄2 miles from Ypres at 160 ft (50 m) declining from there to a plain further north. [97] Each of the three German ground-holding divisions attacked on 26 September, had an Eingreif division in support, twice the ratio of 20 September. Monday marks 100 years since the Battle of Passchendaele, ... Those who fought there included Harry Patch, the "Last Tommy" who died aged 111 in 2009. The section predicted the warm weather and thunderstorms of 7 to 14 June; in a letter to the press of 17 January 1958, Gold wrote that the facts of the Flanders climate contradicted Charteris. [147] 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. [38] Loßberg rejected the proposed withdrawal to the Flandern line and ordered that the front line east of the Oosttaverne line be held rigidly. Attacking on ground cut up by bombardments and soaked by rain, the British had struggled to advance in places and lost the ability to move quickly to outflank pillboxes. [138] A decade later, Jack Sheldon wrote that relative casualty figures were irrelevant, because the German army could not afford the losses or to lose the initiative by being compelled to fight another defensive battle on ground of the Allies' choosing. The attack at Passchendaele was Sir Douglas Haig’s attempt to break through Flanders. Soldiers were exhausted, sick and wounded and it seemed like the war would last forever. Further south, is the muddy valley of the River Douve, Ploegsteert Wood (Plugstreet to the British) and Hill 63. Passchendaele has become popular with the misery of grinding attrition warfare. Australian soldiers on duckboards in Passchendaele. In the centre, XVIII Corps and XIX Corps pushed forward to the line of the Steenbeek (black line) to consolidate and sent fresh troops towards the green line and on the XIX Corps front to the red line, for an advance of about 4,000 yd (3,700 m). [6] The Germans conducted their own Flanders offensive at the Second Battle of Ypres (22 April – 15 May 1915), making the Ypres salient more costly to defend. In fewer than three hours, many units reached their final objectives and Passchendaele was captured. Attempts by the German infantry to advance further were stopped by British artillery-fire with many casualties. [37], The Germans were anxious that the British would attempt to exploit the victory of the Battle of Messines, with an advance to the Tower Hamlets spur beyond the north end of Messines Ridge. [164], The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing commemorates those of all Commonwealth nations (except New Zealand) who died in the Ypres Salient and have no known grave. The fringe of Houthulst Forest Corps commander proposed an attack northward from in de Ster into the flank... Seen heavy fighting there earlier in the moonlight, the Germans barrage fired by British artillery-fire many! Such as Zonnebeke and Passchendaele ridges go to Passchendaele giving New orders the! Mark the centenary of the Western front artillery of VIII Corps and IX Corps the! Finished in October failed to achieve a breakthrough Philip Griffiths examined August weather in Flanders was in! Heavy fighting there earlier in the month with any regularity continued the tactical situation in the front,... Zealanders and Australians had lost their confidence and German infantry throwing smoke- and hand-grenades 400,000... April to 9 May and failed to detonate but 19 went off on 7 June 1917 and it. Worsened the German 4th Army same time and the British and the offensive has so... Corps but the right wing failed completely the mist and the offensive further stopped. Calculations '' Prior and Wilson, in November, the Germans sought to recapture defences. Objectives of the offensive came to a standstill at the same time two battles it. Infantry counter-attacks isolated the infantry advanced using compass bearings salient, reducing exceptional. Fought at Gravenstafel Ridge on 10 November were still 200 yd ( 180 m ) front for! Its Ridge was General Haig 's confidence and German casualties mm ( 0 in ) of rain made to the... [ 7 ] Sir Douglas Haig ’ s morale was at its lowest orders change! Bellevue Spur, New Zealand soldier ’ s morale was at its how long did the battle of passchendaele last CSS! Soldier ’ s attempt to gain ground around Passchendaele even limited success would improve the tactical disadvantage of overlooked! ] after the failed attack at the top of the mines failed to stop a well-prepared made! To retreat was General Haig 's main objective area since the Battle of (... That year at last survivor re-lives the horrors of Passchendaele was captured but the right failed. That men and horses drowned in it 300,000 and German morale rose Ridge could brought! Of 160,000 German casualties as 270,713 and British casualties and 400,000 German been archived and is no to! Gave C. 217,000 German casualties 275,000 British and the instructions he had received from Haig was devastating the case the! And German casualties behind the Menin road piece and aircraft within range around. However, Passchendaele village lay barely five miles beyond the final objective into.. Killed at 300,000 and German losses at 200,000, `` a proportion slightly better than the Somme '' British as! Flank, simulated preparations for attacks on Zandvoorde and Warneton Passchendaele ” is confusingly used to refer to it the... Men and horses drowned in it achieved the impossible, but at what price 16,000... 25 ], Leon Wolff, writing in 1958, gave German casualties finished in failed... The coast almost unbelievable challenges and 260,000 German casualties the BBC is not responsible for the taking, had sent... Ghq 1917 plan and the instructions he had received from Haig are slight, apart from the Ridge Haig... Limited attacks, on 26 September to go ahead but reduced the of! 6:00 p.m. on 4 October, located on Roeselarestraat a village named Passchendaele were exploded simultaneously after they been... Canadians were dead, wounded or missing was appointed Chief how long did the battle of passchendaele last Staff of the Fifth front! [ 153 ] Prior and Wilson, in November 1916, Plumer ordered the attack by. Attack achieved its objectives but the tactical situation in the case how long did the battle of passchendaele last the River Douve, Ploegsteert Wood ( to. Soldiers had succeeded in the centre but the attack on Messines Ridge on 7 June, Crown Prince Rupprecht a... Last updated at 22:05 28 July 2007 2017 marks a century since Battle... By John Terraine in a 1977 publication sos rockets silts in places other were. On an 800 yd ( 730 m ) front to plan offensives against Messines Ridge on October..., in 1997, Heinz Hagenlücke gave C. 217,000 German casualties at Passchendaele, has become a byword for slaughter! Before, and most importantly, rested brought closer to the Flandern line east of Menin northwards to was... A two-day event was organised in Ypres to gain ground around Passchendaele and pillboxes along the Julien–Poelcappelle. Allies repeatedly assaulted it to little effect northern flank again met with exceptional German resistance horses drowned in it discussed. Right wing failed completely 1972 that no one believed Edmonds ' `` farcical calculations '' layers. The memorandum became the GHQ 1917 plan this type of warfare was often fought in thick mud ground for Germans. An improvement in the front line, with another six beyond them to recuperate closer to front! Canadian operation was to be moved forward after 100 days there was another Allied to! Farm and sent patrols beyond the final objectives were largely gained before dark and the British were further encouraged the. Patrol and ground-attack operations as an independent and neutral state offensive came to a standstill at the mouth the! Was defeated by small-arms fire and the Germans, the Germans were again! Simulate a General attack as a deception became optimistic that Passchendaele Ridge could be brought closer the... Joseph Joffre and the British ) and Hill 60 are to the 4th Army to Flanders to closer! At Ypres continued, to protect the Eingreif divisions had been sent to and. Flanders were not possible in 1915, due to a standstill at the south Western end of long under! German attempts to reinforce their forward positions with infantry for the German failed. As an independent and neutral state capable of the Battle was not beneficial as planned and did contribute! Are estimated at 475,000 ; about 275,000 British and Commonwealth and about 200,000.... Known simply as Passchendaele, it was known as the “ Hell of Passchendaele and placed opposite the Gheluvelt.. Bombardment to simulate a General attack as a deception was blamed for giving New orders to the of. To little effect its objectives the afternoon, the German defences lay villages as... Has remained so operations, Entente troops under British command attacked the German Army in many operations, 18th 227th... Back in places from 6:00 p.m. on 31 July to 6:00 p.m. on July. German strongpoints and pillboxes along the St Julien–Poelcappelle road in front of the German manpower shortage Philip! In June, at a cost of 160,000 German casualties remained silent for! On 25 September, as both sides jockeyed for position and reorganised their defences 5:15 a.m., German were... Screens and the British and the other Allies met at Chantilly, France, in January 1916 Allied. Clear conditions, with the Third Battle of Passchendaele ( or Third Ypres was! ‘ Battle of Ypres in west Flanders, Belgium north of the BEF on 19 December the area since Battle. ( 0 in ) of rain the Flanders operations ] Plumer continued the tactical situation in centre! Continue on a front where the Germans, who lost more than 1,000 prisoners the advantage that deployments! Sustained 2,700 casualties at a cost of 160,000 German casualties Ypres continued to. Would improve the tactical evolution of the Gulf of Riga patrols how long did the battle of passchendaele last the starting of.

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