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The Third Battle of Ypres

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  1. The Third Battle of Ypres a.k.a. Passchendaele

  2. Aims of the Battle • Generals dreamed of breakthrough – would allow capture of German U-Boat ports on the North Sea • Consistent with Allied and German view of the front as “one long battle” • More realistic aim was “bite and hold” tactics to wear down the German Army • Basically to engage the enemy

  3. Allied Gains • Messines Ridge taken on 7 June • Gain of 2000 yards over Pilckem ridge on the 31 July • Langemarck taken on 18 August • 1,500 yards gained along the Menin Road on 20 September • Polygon Wood taken taken on 3 October • Broodseinde taken 4 October • Passendale taken 10 November

  4. Losses • Before Second Battle of Passchendaele, deaths reached 100,000 • After Passendale, deaths were 140,000 • Overall gain of 8 km for 500,000 casualties • All gains were given up in 1918 during Operation St Michael • German losses were approximately 350,000 • Often seen as the beginning of the end of German morale

  5. Erich von Ludendorff

  6. Max von Gallwitz

  7. Sir Douglas Haig

  8. Sir Hubert “Ough Cough” B’Gough

  9. Sir John Monash

  10. Sir Arthur Currie

  11. “Good God, did we really send our men to fight in that?” - Lt. Gen. Sir Launcelot Kiggel “It gets worse further up.” - Kiggel’s guide "Gentlemen, we may not make history tomorrow, but we shall certainly change the geography." - Sir Hubert Plumer, before the explosion of mines along Messines Ridge

  12. "I died in Hell (they called it Passchendaele); my wound was slight and I was hobbling back; and then a shell burst slick upon the duckboards; so I fell into the bottomless mud, and lost the light" - Siegfried Sassoon

  13. I fell in a trench. There was a fella there. He must have been about our age. He was ripped shoulder to waist with shrapnel. I held his hand for the last 60 seconds of his life. He only said one word: 'Mother'. I didn't see her, but she was there. No doubt about it. He passed from this life into the next, and it felt as if I was in God's presence. I've never got over it. You never forget it. Never. - Harry Patch, last surviving Tommy

  14. We stayed there a couple or three days and then moved out overnight right through the city of Ypres up into a place which I believe was St." Julien. However there was nothing there but shell holes. We lay there overnight. I was buried there that night, as a matter of fact, up to my neck in mud and sand and chalk. I happened to fall off with my gun. A young officer was behind me and he started to try to drag me out. There was another little incident there that I could never forget. The officer was trying to pull me out. I created an obstruction and the men were bunching up. Some kind friend at the back, I won't use his expression but he did say, "Leave the son of a gun there". That's what he should have said if he was going to be polite. It was better to lose one man than a dozen. - W.E. Curtis, Canadian 10th

  15. My recollection of Passchendaele is that it was a hell hole. Many men who were wounded, walking wounded going back to the field dressing stations or hospitals, would become weak and they would miss their footing on the duck boards and fall into a large shell hole full of water and be drowned. - W.H. Joliffe, Canadian 4th

  16. You could only go about twenty feet and you had to put the stretcher down and take a rest. You see the mud was knee deep up at Ypres: first one guy would slip into a shell-hole and somebody else would go, it's a wonder the man ever stayed on the stretcher. Of course he hung on on both sides of the stretcher, he was wounded in the leg, but that man really stuck it. I don't know now what time it was - but we got him out by daylight. By the time we got down to the dressing station on the plank road there it was daylight and we started up about eight o'clock at night. - Wallace Carroll, Canadian 15th

  17. Weaponry and Technology • Lee-Enfield Rifles • Mills Bomb • Lewis Light Machine Gun • Vickers Machine Gun • Tanks • Planes • Heavy Artillery • Howitzers

  18. Tactics • Trick involving Preliminary Bombardment and Mines • Creeping Barrage (where possible) • “Bite and Hold” • German “Defence in Depth” • German Pillbox Lines installed prior to battle • Use of tanks (unsuccessful)