Historic World Events / July / Third Battle of Ypres begins in Flanders
Third Battle of Ypres begins in Flanders

Third Battle of Ypres begins in Flanders

On July 31, 1917, the Allies launch a renewed assault on German lines in the Flanders section of Belgium, in the considerably-contested area near Ypres, throughout World War I. The attack begins a lot more than 3 months of brutal fighting, defined as the Third Battle of Ypres.

While the 1st and second battles at Ypres were attacks by the Germans contrary to the Allied-controlled salient around Ypres-which crucially blocked any German advance to the English Channel-the third was spearheaded by the British commander in chief, Sir Douglas Haig. After the resounding failure of the Nivelle Offensive-named because of its mastermind, the French commander Robert Nivelle-the prior May, accompanied by widespread mutinies in the French army, Haig insisted that the British should press ahead with just one more major offensive that summer months. The aggressive and meticulously planned offensive, ostensibly targeted at destroying German submarine bases situated on the north coast of Belgium, was actually driven by Haig’s (mistaken) belief that the German army was on the verge of collapse, and will be broken completely by way of a major Allied victory.

After an opening barrage of some 3,000 guns, Haig ordered nine British divisions, led by Sir Hubert Gough’s 5th Army, to advance on the German lines near to the Belgian village of Passchendaele on July 31 they are joined by six French divisions. In the 1st two days of the attacks, though suffering heavy casualties even, the Allies made important advances-in some sectors pushing the Germans back greater than a mile and taking a lot more than 5,000 German prisoners-if much less considerable as Haig had envisioned. The offensive was renewed in mid-August, though heavy rains and thickening mud severely hampered the potency of Allied infantry and artillery and prevented substantial gains a lot more than a lot of the summer and early fall.

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Dissatisfied along with his army’s gains by the final of August, Haig had replaced Gough with Herbert Plumer at the top of the attack immediately after numerous little gains in September, the British have already been in a position to establish control on the ridge of land east of Ypres. Encouraged, Haig pushed Plumer to keep the attacks towards the Passchendaele ridge, some 10 kilometers from Ypres.

Thus the Third Battle of Ypres-also defined as Passchendaele, for the village, and the ridge surrounding it, month that saw the heaviest fighting-continued into its third, because the Allied attackers reached near-exhaustion, with handful of notable gains, and the Germans reinforced their positions in your community with reserve troops released from the Eastern Front, where Russia’s army was foundering amid internal turmoil. Unwilling to stop, Haig ordered your final 3 attacks on Passchendaele in late October. The eventual capture of the village, by Canadian and British troops, on November 6, 1917, allowed Haig to finally contact off the offensive, claiming victory, regardless of some 310,000 British casualties, instead of 260,000 on the German side, and failing to generate any substantial breakthrough, or change of momentum, on the Western Front. Given its outcome, the Third Battle of Ypres remains an individual of the very most pricey and controversial offensives of World War I, representing-at least for the British-the epitome of the wasteful and futile nature of trench warfare.

Source: History