Thursday, September 25, 2008


Third Battle of Ypres

Even as late as the Summer of 1917, there were generals of the Allied Armies who still believed in the 'one more push' way to victory. This battle, July 11 to November 10, 1917, would lay that failed strategy to rest. Here are a series of photos showing the effects of heavy bombardment during this time.

The casualties of the battle--dead, wounded, captured and missing--exceeded 850,000, with the bulk of them to the soldiers of the British Empire (500,000) with only 350,000 to the Germans. 'Only.'
Passchendaele was a tiny village west of Ypres. These two aerial photos show you its fate.
The land was flat, low and swampy to begin with, and, with the churned up earth from the bombardments and digging of trench and dugout, it became a sea of mud after the heavy Summer rains. Almost all of WWI was unmitigated suffering, but Passchendaele was concentrated, unmitigated suffering.
Siegfried Sasson wrote about the battle thus:
I died in Hell
(they called it Passchendaele); my wound was slight
and I was hobbling back; and then a shell
burst slick upon the duckboards; so I fell
into the bottomless mud, and lost the light

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