The battle of Passchendaele was a very significant battle in our history today and it was a turning point and has impacted our lives today. This war was one of many, but this to me is the most important. Leading up to the battle of Passchendaele was the initial battles of Ypres. The war of Passchendaele in Belgium began on July 31, 1917, which marked the starting day of the gory and terrible battle.
Why did the Battle Begin?
Passchendaele was the third Battle of Ypres, the first and second battles were launched by Germans in 1914 and 1915. This battle was one of the more significant battles because it involved the British, ANZAC, and Canadian troops all against the Germans. The purpose of the battle was to gain control of the village known as Passchendaele in which it took place there, which was only a few miles away from Ypres. Sir Douglas Haig, Britain's commander during the battle, was determined to go through Flanders and pass the German lines and defeat them.
The Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Currie, who was the first Canadian commander of the Canadian crops felt and decided that it wasn’t necessary for a Canadian assault yet in July. He believed that the first four phases in the battle would cost him nearly 16,000 Canadians killed or wounded. (1.Land Battles)
Canadians at War
The Canadians didn’t join the battle of Passchendaele until October 26, 1917 the Canadian offense began and machine guns began firing and they launched their first assault. (2. Veterans Affairs Canada) The Canadians joined the front line taking up positions between the British, Australian, and New Zealand, the ANZAC forces. Then on October 30 the Canadians launched the second assault, although they did they had many consequences for this, within 24 hours the Canadians were affected with 2,300 dead/wounded from the attack with no further than 1km of ground. They joined the British forces and together they attacked. (3. Canadian Battle Contributions) After three days of fighting, Canadian gained 700 m of ground but with the cost of 2,500 casualties. (4. Edward Humphrey)
What were the Harsh Conditions?
The Battle was not like the others, the conditions of the area were very difficult to sustain and fight. It was located in the scene of multiple first world battles, which made the conditions even worse for the soldiers. It was made up of flat, low lands that barely kept dry, because of this the battlefield was total disfigured and engulfed in mud. This made it one of the hardest battles to fight considering its conditions everything they did was much harder, because regular tools and techniques couldn’t be used properly. Approximately 1,000 of the Canadian soldiers killed were left in the mud and weren't picked up until everything cleared up which wasn't approximately till spring. (5.Veterans Affairs Canada) The mud caused the soldiers to be weighed down and prevented the digging of trenches. The only pro of the mud was that the bombs were absorbed into the ground and reduced a huge amount of damage. (6. Rain and Mud)
"The Battle for the Passchendaele Ridge," wrote Turner, "was without doubt one of the Muddy-est, Bloody-est, of the whole war."
The Final days
On November 6-10, 1917 was the final day of this terrible war, the Canadians succeeded and established the Passchendaele ridge. Arthur Currie prediction was almost perfect, more then 15,600 Canadian casualties were made with 4,028 killed.( 7. Battle of Passchendaele) The British lost a numerous amount of soldiers as well, 275,000 killed and wounded at Passchendaele to the Germans in which they lost 220,000. Over half a million lives were lost in the Battle of Passchendaele about 260,000 German and 325,000 Allied troops. The entire offensive lasted over three months and gained only five miles of ground for the Allies. (8.Land Battles)
The End of Passchendaele
Overall considering all the harsh challenges and conditions the Canadian soldiers fought pretty well, and plus side winning in the end. Canadians got so much recognition after a war this exceptional; nine Canadian soldiers received the Victoria Cross for their work. (9. Munroe, Susan) Sadly not many soldiers survived and got to live to see this.
Many people viewed this battle as a waste of human life and very pointless, but others agreed to disagree. But Passchendaele played a part in ending the war and was one of the last battles going on which gives it major importance. Overall I found that this battle is a major part well necessary towards ending the hard 4 years of war that caused multiple issues.
Passchendaele is a battle like no other.
1. "Land Battles - Passchendaele | Canada and the First World War." Canada and the First World War Passchendaele Comments. Web. 22 Feb. 2015. <http://www.warmuseum.ca/firstworldwar/history/battles-and-fighting/land-battles/passchendaele/>.
3. "Passchendaele - Canadian Battle Contributions in World War I (AKA Balding Puma)." Passchendaele - Canadian Battle Contributions in World War I (AKA Balding Puma). Web.23Feb.2015<https://sites.google.com/a/share.epsb.ca/baldingpuma/passchendaele>.
4.Humphreys, Edward. Great Canadian Battles: Heroism and Courage through the Years. London GB: Arcturus, 2008. Print.
6. "Rain and Mud: The Ypres - Passchendaele Offensive." Rain and Mud: The Ypres. Web. 23 Feb. 2015. <http://www.awm.gov.au/blog/2007/08/01/rain-mud-the-ypres-passchendaele-offensive/>.
7."Battle of Passchendaele." The Canadian Encyclopedia. Web. 22 Feb. 2015. <http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/battle-of-passchendaele/>.
8."Land Battles - Passchendaele | Canada and the First World War." Canada and the FirstWorldWarPasschendaeleComments.Web.23Feb.2015<http://www.warmuseum.ca/firstworldwar/history/battles-and-fighting/land-battles/passchendaele/>.
9. Munroe, Susan. "Battle of Passchendaele - The Canadian Corps." Web. 22 Feb. 2015. <http://canadaonline.about.com/cs/ww1battles/p/passchendaele.htm>.