Third battle of Passchendaele

By:Serena Zhang

The devastation of Ypres-only one building was left on this area by shell bombardment.

Why did Douglas Haig decide to launch an attack at Ypres in 1917?

In April of 1917, French started the Spring offensive on the east of front line and fight with German for a month. They still did not have any progress while the casualties of French reach to one hundred thousands, which directly caused mutinied in French troops. Sir Douglas Haig’s attempt to break through Flanders and he need to take the pressure off the French. He had thought that last year a similar battle occupied his time. In this year he felt able to launch such a attack, because he has time to rearranged the army and feeling like he got the experience from the battle of Somme.

What was the Plan for the battle?

The plan for the battle was broke through to the coast of Belgium, so the German submarine pens could be destroyed. Haig planned to sweep through did not receive support from Britain’s Prime Minister, David Lloyd George. The Allies did not have other plan and choice, so he agree to carried Haig’s plan.

What happened during the battle why was the battle a disaster? What reasons are there for the failure?

Third Battle of Ypres is a disaster. One of the reason is the falling of technology. During summer time of the battle, tanks and cavalry could not move in the mud , because always rain in summer. On July 18 th 1917, British launched  a heavy barrage at the German lines, It took ten days. The thousand of artillery gun fired fiercely, over four million shells were spent, but the German army already expected this attack from allies and had prepare, so the British failed to give German a surprise attack. British did not get any progress in July, however they waste a lot of shells. The second reason is poor leadership and planning. Shelling churned destroyed the drainage system, so there was a flooding in the terrain. British could not make any advance and attack. Also the German got the higher position than the British,  their's area were on hills above the town of Ypres. The main plan of British attack was overlooked by German.  Haig was too stupid to wait for a month for the main attack at the Messines Ridge.  Bombardment in July made German knew that British were going to start the main attack,  and do a sufficient and planning. Factors outside the British control is also a main reason.

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