Passchendaele: The Day-By-Day Account
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It will forever be known as Passchendaele: the very word is used to describe wretched and perilous conditions such as were encountered at the battles which became officially designated as ‘Third Ypres’.
There, with better tactics, equipment and experience than he had previously employed, Haig was surely set for considerable advance and ultimate success. Initial successes were, however, reversed by stout German defence and weak British strategy before unprecedented rainfall reduced the Belgian landscape to a quagmire.
Through August the British suffered net losses and only towards the end of September did the more enlightened command of Plumer bring gains against the German divisions, only for more rain and the subsequent reduction in offensive effectiveness to reduce territorial success to a meaningless trickle. The only tangible benefit of it all was to tie the German troops to that area of the Front, so depriving them of a chance to test the French forces.
Following his popular volume on The Somme, Chris McCarthy now re-assesses and enhances the official history of Third Ypres – commonly viewed as an unsatisfactory summary of this action – to present new research, comprehensive illustrative information and valuable cartographic data.