Why was the Third Battle of the Ypres a Disaster?

General Sir Douglas Haig that leads The Third Battle of the Ypres

The Third Battle of the Ypres, also known as the Battle of Passchendaele, was a battle that involves the British, Canadian and the ANZAC troops against the German. The aim of the battle was to control the village of Passchendaele, cause harm to the German lines, continue to the Belgian coast and capture the German submarine bases.

Battle of Passchendaele started from 31st July 1917 and ended at 6th November 1917 when the Canadian troops gain control of Passchendaele. The battle was long and suffering both mentally and physically, it had caused huge casualty and the British bombarment and heavy rain had turned the countryside into pool of mud.

British casualties where at about 250000, and the German casualty were at 400000.

"The Battle of Mud"

Failing Leadership

At the start of the battle, Passchendaele experienced the heaviest rain in 30 years, and the heavy rain had turn the lowland area in to swap, which makes it harder for the soldiers to fight in, not to mention that the British bombarment had destroyed the draining system of the area.

The mud made it impossible to use tank in the battle, which decrease the military power and force the soldier to fight more frequently. The soldiers could hardly move or even rest during the battle, and they were even dressed in full equipment! Food supply at the battle were also in shortage, the soldiers doesn’t have clean water to drink, and most of them were ill and in bad condition.

British Prime Minister David Ployed George had sanctioned Haig’s plans.  

7 June 1917, General Plumer had captured Messines-Wytschaete ridge in the Battle of Messiness, General Plumer immediately asked for a attack to the Passchendaele ridge.     Plumer believed that at the time when the Battle of Messiness ends the German were weak, they were in a shortage of force, and this will guarantee the capture of the Passchendaele ridge. But Haig refused to let Plumer attack Passchendaele and didn’t want to bring on his plan until the end of July. However in the Summer of 1917, the Russian had leave the war and the Germans were able to bring their forces to the Western front, increasing their reserved strength.


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