The Battle of Passchendaele

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  • Topic: Battle of Passchendaele, Western Front, Ypres
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  • Published : April 22, 2013
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The Battle of Passchendaele

Officially known as the Third Battle of Ypres, Passchendaele became infamous not only for the scale of casualties, but also for the mud. It was a combination of the Environment, Tactics and Poor Leadership that lead to the AIF’s losing the battle of Passchendaele.

On 9 October 1917, British divisions, with the AIF in support, attacked towards Passchendaele village in terrible conditions. In the mud and rain the effort proved futile but the high command thought that enough ground had been gained to order an assault on 12 October. The Germans were fully prepared for the incoming attack, launched across an eleven mile front, small gains of land was only achieved during the attack. Then in the early days of August, the area was saturated with the heaviest rain the region had seen in thirty years. The area in Flanders became effectively a swamp.

The weather at the site of this battle was dreadful; it was all muddy and sticky, after it had poured for days on end. It was because of the harsh weather that many of the AIF troops got trench foot. As this was happening, the AIF was losing a lot of men that died or could not fight again because of the wounds that they had obtained.

Third Ypres was intended as Sir Douglas Haig's Allied forces breakthrough in Flanders in 1917. The AIF lost this battle because of the poor leadership that the officers showed during the battle because of the position they were put in by the Germans. Plumer advocated continuing the attack immediately into Passchendaele ridge, arguing that the morale of the German troops was, for the present at least, broken, and that this combined with a shortage of forces would virtually guarantee Allied capture of the ridge. Haig however disagreed, choosing not to go along with the plans that he had made for the AIF.

It was a combination of the Environment, Tactics and Poor Leadership that lead to the AIF’s losing the battle of Passchendaele. In conclusion the...
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