The Battle of Passchendaele, 1917
The Battle of Passchendaele was a campaign on the Western front of the First World War, fought by the Allies against the German Empire. The battle took place from July to November 1917. It is sometimes called the Third Battle of Ypres. For the soldiers who fought at Passchendaele, it was known as the Battle of Mud.
Allies attempted to break through Flanders to the coast of Belgium to destroy German submarine pens. The British commander Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig wrongly believed, that the morale of the German army was very low, and Allies could roll through Flanders without too much trouble.
On July 18th 1917, a heavy artillery barrage was launched at the German lines. The infantry attack started on July 31st. The Germans were fully prepared, and the Allied attack made only small gains. In the early days of August, the heaviest rain has begun, which the region had seen in thirty years. The area in Flanders became a swamp, and the fields became impassable.
Between September and October 1917 several battles within Flanders were fought- the Battle of Menin Road Bridge, the Battle of Polygon Wood and the Battle of Broodseinde. Between October 9th and October 12th Allies attempted breakthrough to Passchendaele Ridge, but it failed to materialize. Passchendaele village was taken only on November 6th, 1917.
The Third Battle of Ypres or Passchendaele had been a very costly battle. For the sake of a few kilometres, the British had lost 310,000 men and the Germans 260,000.