Timeline - World History Documentaries 1,201,009 views. There were an estimated 325,000 allied casualties during the Battle of Passchendaele, with a further 260,000 German casualties making it one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War. a battle or campaign so brutal, so costly, so protracted and (almost always) so barren of any war-winning strategic consequences even for the ?victor?, that it came to epitomize all the waste, slaughter, … Sir Douglas Haig, portrait by John Singer Sargent; in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh. Siege of Orléans. able to locate an eBook that ident is som of the combatants and reer to it directly myself. He began by dwelling on the “exhaustion” of the German army and its declining morale. This attack ended with the assaulting troops, save those who had perished in the mud, back on their starting line. It was one of the longest, bloodiest, and most-ferocious battles of the war; French casualties amounted to about 400,000, German ones to about 350,000. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers on opposing sides attacked and counterattacked across sodden, porridgelike mud, in an open gray landscape almost empty of buildings or natural cover, all under the relentless harrowing rain of exploding shells, flying shrapnel, and machine-gun fire. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. 17 John Arthur Wilson MM meeting Belgian dignitaries with his only daughter, during the 75th anniversary commemoration of Third Ypres, the Battle of Passchendaele in July 1992 at the Menin Gate. Few gains were made. The sacrifices and achievements of those who gave so much will never be forgotten. 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. By early September, Haig had come under political pressure from London to halt the offensive, but he pressed on. Note the difference in destruction between the first aerial photo (July) and the next two (September) when virtually every inch of the ground had been destroyed and badly cratered. In addition, according to the head of Haig’s intelligence staff, “Careful investigation of the records of more than eighty years showed that in Flanders the weather broke early each August with the regularity of the Indian monsoon: once the autumn rains set in the difficulties would be greatly enhanced.” None of these facts was disclosed by Haig to the war cabinet when he went to London late in June to secure its approval of his plans. They did not suffice to silence the hostile machine guns, many of which were ensconced in concrete pillboxes. Allied troops attacked the German Army in many operations. On October 5 Charteris admitted in a note, “Unless we get fine weather for all this month, there is no chance of clearing the coast….Most of those at the conference would welcome a stop.”. Passchendaele - 100 years on from WW1's muddy carnage. Updates? Nov 3, 2017 - WWI, Nov 1917; Canadian Pioneers cleaning up the battlefield. In the face of heavy fire, the men fought in the mire while struggling to keep up with their artillery barrages. At the end, the point of it all was unclear. Gun emplacements were improved, and troops and officers were allowed time to prepare for the attack, which opened on October 26, 1917. On August 4 Charteris noted in his diary, “Every brook is swollen and the ground is a quagmire. Download Menin Road battle 1 map (PDF file), Download Menin Road battle 2 map (PDF file). The mud gummed up rifle barrels and breeches, making them difficult to fire. The last surviving British combatant in the battle, Harry Patch, died in 2009 at the age of 111. The some 100,000 members of the Canadian Corps who took part in the battle were among the over 650,000 men and women from our country who served in uniform during the First World War. Haig at last called a halt, his honour satisfied. The battle officially began at 3:50 a.m. on July 31, 1917 with the aim of driving the Germans from the Belgian ports on the English Channel, where German U-boats lurked. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Australian War Memorial, Canberra. The two battles had a significant impact on the Australian Imperial Force. Haig’s plan called for a preliminary attack on the Messines Ridge (north of Armentières) in order to straighten out the Ypres salient on its southern flank and to attract German reserves. He was, in a practical sense, no nearer reaching the ports that formed his goal than when the Third Battle of Ypres started. The assault on this tiny Belgian village cost the lives of thousands of New Zealand soldiers. Fighting went on, often in appalling weather and despite crippling losses, until November. Haig’s assistants, both executive and advisory, became more and more dubious of his optimistic assurances as the weather deteriorated and the mud became worse, but, with military loyalty, they tried to make their thoughts become the children of his wishes. The attack at Passchendaele was Sir Douglas Haig’s attempt to break through Flanders. 46:28. It was a vital victory. The next major effort had to be postponed until August 16 and then proved a failure. German concrete pillboxes often blocked the Australians' progress, and many men fell under shell and machine-gun fire. Only on the left was the full objective reached with the capture of Bixschoote (Bikschote), Pilckem Ridge, and Saint-Julien; on the crucial right wing the attack was a failure. Many would afterwards call this offensive, actually a series of battles, after the name of the village that had become the last objective – 'Passchendaele'. Canada’s great victory at Passchendaele came at a high price. Sadly, a total of more than 66,000 Canadians lost their lives in the conflict. The battle of Passchendaele, the third battle of Ypres and one of the most brutal conflicts of the first world war, took place between 31 July and 10 November 1917 in west Flanders, Belgium. By the spring of 1917, Germany had resumed the practice of unrestricted submarine warfare, sinking merchant ships in international waters. An effective creeping artillery barrage won the ground; the infantry merely occupied it. But, although he failed to reach his objective—the Belgian coast—he did weaken the Germans and helped prepare the way…. A month later, telling Haig that he had “knocked out” alternative plans and was still backing Haig’s, he added, “I confess I stick to it more because…my instinct prompts me to stick to it, than because of any good argument by which I can support it.” After repeated local attacks by Gough’s troops had achieved practically nothing except loss to themselves, Haig agreed that Plumer’s army should take an enlarged role. Ground was taken but it could not be held. In wretched conditions, with casualties mounting at an appalling rate, the Australians had to fall back. C.E.W. The armies under British command suffered some 275,000 casualties at Passchendaele, a figure that makes a mockery of Haig’s pledge that he would not commit the country to "heavy losses.” Among these were 38,000 Australians, 5,300 New Zealanders, and more than 15,600 Canadians; this final figure was almost exactly the total that had been predicted by Currie ahead of the battle. The troops were finally exhausted and could do no more; by 15 November they handed over to the Canadians. If we should know such items of expendi- Very little progress was made. Finally, on 12 October, another attack, involving the 3rd Division assisted by the 4th, was made against the village of Passchendaele atop the main ridge. These systematic step-by-step advances, staying within range of the supporting artillery, pushed the line forward by a few kilometres, but they were made at a heavy cost; in just over a week there were almost 11,000 Australian casualties. 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. The Germans suffered 220,000 killed or wounded. 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