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The main ridge has spurs sloping east and one is particularly noticeable at Wytschaete, which runs 2 mi (3.2 km) south-east to Messines (Mesen) with a gentle slope on the east side and a 1:10 decline westwards. It slowed stretcher-bearers to a literal crawl as they tried to carry the wounded away from the fighting through waist-deep muck. A strictly limited attack, made with true siege-war methods and based on preparations begun a year before, it proved an almost complete success within its limits. The New Zealand Division made its first attack on the 4th of October 1917. Two battalions of the 2nd New Zealand Brigade of the New Zealand Division attacked the low ridge, from which German observers could view the area from Cameron Covert to the north and the Menin road to the south-west. On 9 June, Crown Prince Rupprecht proposed a withdrawal to the Flandern line east of Messines. 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. [40], The first stage in the British plan was a preparatory attack on the German positions south of Ypres at Messines 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. WW100 – New Zealand's First World War Centenary Programme ran from 2014 to 2019. [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". [163] The 4th Army diary recorded that the withdrawal was discovered at 4:40 a.m. Next day, at the Battle of Merckem, the Germans attacked from Houthulst Forest, north-east of Ypres and captured Kippe but were forced out by Belgian counter-attacks, supported by the II Corps artillery. 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. After a brief period of success from 1 to 19 July, the Russian offensive was contained by the German and Austro-Hungarian armies, which counter-attacked and forced the Russian armies to retreat. [120] The German 195th Division at Passchendaele suffered 3,325 casualties from 9 to 12 October and had to be relieved by the 238th Division. The best way to describe the Third Ypres (Passchendaele) Campaign of 1917. Updates? The purpose of the battle was to "wear out the enemy" and "to secure the Belgian coast and connect with the Dutch front lines". Belgium had been recognised in the Treaty of London (1839) as a sovereign and neutral state after the secession of the southern provinces of the Netherlands in 1830. The Ypres salient was the last portion of Belgium that was not in enemy hands after the initial German advances of the war and, as a result, held great symbolic meaning to the Allies. [60], 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. On the one side were the British, the Canadians, and the French (the US had entered the war in April of that year, but our troops had not yet reached Over There), and on the other side, of course, were the Germans. A fresh attack was nevertheless ordered for October 12 with still deeper objectives. [144] 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. The British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, opposed the offensive, as did General Ferdinand Foch, the Chief of Staff of the French Army. In Operation Albion (September–October 1917), the Germans took the islands at the mouth of the Gulf of Riga. He suggested that the southern attack from St Yves to Mont Sorrel should come first and that Mont Sorrel to Steenstraat should be attacked within 48–72 hours. Plumer declined the suggestion, as eight fresh German divisions were behind the battlefield, with another six beyond them. Gun emplacements were improved, and troops and officers were allowed time to prepare for the attack, which opened on October 26, 1917. German troops engaged were from the 239th, 39th, 4th, 44th Reserve, 7th, 11th, 11th Bavarian, 238th, 199th, 27th, 185th, 111th and 40th divisions. [92] The Germans made many hasty counter-attacks (Gegenstoße), beginning around 3:00 p.m. until early evening, all of which failed to gain ground or made only a temporary penetration of the new British positions. Reinforcements moved into the 5th Australian Division area and attacked south-westwards at noon as a silent (without artillery support) frontal attack was made from Black Watch Corner, because British troops were known to be holding out in the area. [16] On 23 January, Haig wrote that it would take six weeks to move British troops and equipment to Flanders and on 14 March, noted that the Messines Ridge operation could begin in May. 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 village of Passchendaele - and Passchendaele Ridge - were objectives in the final stages of the offensive. By early September, Haig had come under political pressure from London to halt the offensive, but he pressed on. 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. Both sides raided and the British used night machine-gun fire and artillery barrages to great effect. For an early breakthrough such as Haig intended, surprise would be of vital importance, but, as he chose to attack in the bare Flanders plain, all of Haig’s immense preparations were displayed to the eyes of the German observers. [12] In November, Haig, the French commander-in-chief Joseph Joffre and the other Allies met at Chantilly. Map of the Battle of Passchendaele (Third Battle of Ypres) from, Naval Operations in the Dardanelles Campaign. [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. [139], In 2018, Jonathan Boff wrote that after the war the Reichsarchiv official historians, many of whom were former staff officers, wrote of the tactical changes after 26 September and their scrapping after the Battle of Broodseinde on 4 October, as the work of Loßberg. Gradients vary from negligible, to 1:60 at Hooge and 1:33 at Zonnebeke. The offensive from the Ypres salient was launched on July 31, 1917, after more than 3,000 guns had poured 4.5 million shells on the German defenses. [119] The battle was also costly for the Germans, who lost more than 1,000 prisoners. Lloyd George was now convinced of the incompetence of the British high command.…, In the resulting Third Battle of Ypres (July–November 1917), also called the Passchendaele Campaign, the number of casualties shocked the British public, as the Somme death toll had done. [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. [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). [105] 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. During the morning, Gough had told the Fifth Army corps commanders to push on but when reports arrived of a repulse at 19 Metre Hill, the order was cancelled. [96], The Second Army altered its Corps frontages soon after the attack of 20 September, for the next effort (26 September – 3 October) so that each attacking division could be concentrated on a 1,000 yd (910 m) front. The German attack was defeated by small-arms fire and the British artillery, whose observers had seen the SOS rockets. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, The ANZAC and Canadian Corps at Passchendaele, https://www.britannica.com/event/Battle-of-Passchendaele, BBC History – World Wars: Battle of Passchendaele: 31 July - 6 November 1917, New Zealand History - 1917: Arras, Messines and Passchendaele, The History Learning Site - The Battle of Passchendaele. 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