The final objectives were largely gained before dark and the British had fewer losses than the expected 50 per cent in the initial attack. [39], On 25 June, Erich Ludendorff, the First Quartermaster General, suggested to Crown Prince Rupprecht that Group Ypres should withdraw to the Wilhelmstellung, leaving only outposts in the Albrechtstellung. After the dry spell in early September, British advances had been much quicker and the final objective was reached a few hours after dawn, which confounded the German counter-attack divisions. [30], Preparations for operations in Flanders began in 1915, with the doubling of the Hazebrouck–Ypres rail line and the building of a new line from Bergues to Proven, which was doubled in early 1917. 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). [12] In November, Haig, the French commander-in-chief Joseph Joffre and the other Allies met at Chantilly. [168][169], The progression of the battle and the general disposition of troops, German trench destroyed by a mine explosion, German prisoners and British wounded cross the Yser Canal near Boesinghe, 31 July 1917. Battle of Passchendaele, also called Third Battle of Ypres, (July 31–November 6, 1917), World War I battle that served as a vivid symbol of the mud, madness, and senseless slaughter of the Western Front. [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. [119] The Battle of Cambrai began on 20 November and the British breached the first two parts of the Hindenburg Line, in the first successful mass use of tanks in a combined arms operation. [123], On 22 October the 18th (Eastern) Division of XVIII Corps attacked the east end of Poelcappelle as XIV Corps to the north attacked with the 34th Division between the Watervlietbeek and Broenbeek streams and the 35th Division northwards into Houthulst Forest. [51] 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. Everything sinks down several feet into mud. The artillery of VIII Corps and IX Corps on the southern flank, simulated preparations for attacks on Zandvoorde and Warneton. [5], Large British offensive operations in Flanders were not possible in 1915, due to a lack of resources. In 1918 all the ground that had been gained there by the Allies was evacuated in the face of a looming German assault. 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 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. [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. Without it and other duck boards, movements would have been impossible. 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. A century ago, roads in the area were unpaved, except for the main ones from Ypres, with occasional villages and houses dotted along them. German counter-attacks were costly failures and on 28 September, Thaer wrote that the experience was "awful" and that he did not know what to do. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. The battle took place in the Ypres Salient area of the Western Front, in and around the Belgian village of Passchendaele, between 26 October and 10 November 1917. Located in Western Belgium, Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, was a defining battle in the push back East. The condition of the ground, out from Ypres and beyond the Menin Gate, was partly the cause of the misery and the filth. 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. Sporadic fighting continued into October, adding to the German difficulties on the Western Front and elsewhere. [135] 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 ...". No ground captured by the British was lost and German counter-attacks managed only to reach ground to which survivors of the front-line divisions had retired. The tempo of British attacks and the effect of attrition meant that although six divisions were sent to the 4th Army by 10 October, they were either novice units deficient in training or veteran formations with low morale after earlier defeats; good divisions had been diluted with too many replacements. [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. At the end, the point of it all was unclear. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). [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. [162] On 13 April, Plumer agreed to a retirement in the south side of the salient to a line from Mt Kemmel to Voormezeele [2.5 mi (4.0 km) south of Ypres], White Château [1 mi (1.6 km) east of Ypres] and Pilckem Ridge. Finally, with the army stuck in muddy fields churned up by the artillery fire, the bloody offensive came to an untidy close. [154] 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. [152] Wolff's British figure was refuted by John Terraine in a 1977 publication. After lodging his protest, he made careful plans for the Canadians’ assault. 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,, 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 22 January 2021, at 22:10. [100] The Germans were repulsed again at 6:00 a.m. but German artillery-fire continued during the day. [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. 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. [121] Ludendorff became optimistic that Passchendaele Ridge could be held and ordered the 4th Army to stand fast. 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. Attempts by the German infantry to advance further were stopped by British artillery-fire with many casualties. 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