UK: 30/7/17 – Men and Horses Remembered at The Centenary Of The Battle of Passchendaele (Belgium)

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-europe-40769390/passchendaele-centenary-last-post-played-at-menin-gate

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehSXpungPG8

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPNyNr2Kp4w

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sF7o4Ckjhl4

 

https://serbiananimalsvoice.com/2016/11/09/england-london-and-ramsgate-kent-animals-in-war-rememberance-sunday-2016/

 

https://serbiananimalsvoice.com/2014/08/04/482014-uk-remembers-men-and-animals-today-100-years-since-world-war-1/

 

The Battle of Passchendaele (German: Flandernschlacht, French: Deuxième Bataille des Flandres), also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, was a campaign of the First World War, fought by the Allies against the German Empire.[a] The battle took place on the Western Front, from July to November 1917, for control of the ridges south and east of the Belgian city of Ypres in West Flanders, as part of a strategy decided by the Allies at conferences in November 1916 and May 1917. Passchendaele lay on the last ridge east of Ypres, 5 mi (8.0 km) from a railway junction at Roulers, which was vital to the supply system of the German 4th Army.[b] The next stage of the Allied plan was an advance to ThouroutCouckelaere, to close the German-controlled railway running through Roulers and Thourout.

Further operations and a British supporting attack along the Belgian coast from Nieuwpoort, combined with Operation Hush (an amphibious landing), were to have reached Bruges and then the Dutch frontier. The resistance of the 4th Army, unusually wet weather, the onset of winter and the diversion of British and French resources to Italy, following the Austro-German victory at the Battle of Caporetto (24 October – 19 November), enabled the Germans to avoid a general withdrawal, which had seemed inevitable in early October. The campaign ended in November, when the Canadian Corps captured Passchendaele, apart from local attacks in December and the new year. In 1918, the Battle of the Lys and the Fifth Battle of Ypres were fought before the Allies occupied the Belgian coast and reached the Dutch frontier.

A campaign in Flanders was controversial in 1917 and has remained so. The British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, opposed the offensive, as did General Ferdinand Foch the French Chief of the General Staff. Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, commanding the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), did not receive approval for the Flanders operation from the War Cabinet until 25 July. Matters of dispute by the participants, writers and historians since the war, have included the wisdom of pursuing an offensive strategy in the wake of the Nivelle Offensive, rather than waiting for the arrival of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in France.

The choice of Flanders over areas further south or the Italian front, the climate and weather in Flanders, the choice of General Hubert Gough and the Fifth Army to conduct the offensive, debates over the nature of the opening attack and between advocates of shallow and deeper objectives, have also been controversial. The passage of time between the Battle of Messines (7–14 June) and the Battle of Pilckem Ridge (31 July, the opening move of the Third Battle of Ypres), the extent to which the internal troubles of the French armies motivated British persistence with the offensive, the effect of the weather, the decision to continue the offensive in October and the human cost of the campaign on the soldiers of the German and British armies, have also been argued over ever since.

Casualties

Various casualty figures have been published, sometimes with acrimony but the highest estimates for British and German casualties appear to be discredited.[155] In the Official History, Brigadier-General J. E. Edmonds put British casualties at 244,897 and wrote that equivalent German figures were not available, estimating German losses at 400,000. Edmonds considered that 30 percent needed to be added to German figures, to make them comparable to British casualty criteria.[156] In 2007, Sheldon wrote that although German casualties from 1 June – 10 November were 217,194, a figure available in Volume III of the Sanitätsbericht (1934), Edmonds may not have included them as they did not fit his case. Sheldon recorded 182,396 slightly wounded and sick soldiers not struck off unit strength, which if included would make 399,590 German losses.[157] The British claim to have taken 24,065 prisoners has not been disputed.[158] In 1940, C. R. M. F. Cruttwell recorded 300,000 British casualties and 400,000 German.[159] Wolff in 1958, gave German casualties as 270,713 and 448,688 British.[160] In 1959, Cyril Falls estimated 240,000 British, 8,525 French and 260,000 German casualties.[161]

John Terraine followed Falls in 1963 but did not accept that German losses were as high as 400,000.[162] A. J. P. Taylor in 1972, wrote that the Official History had performed a “conjuring trick” on these figures and that no one believed these “farcical calculations”. Taylor put British wounded and killed at 300,000 and German losses at 200,000.[163] In 1977, Terraine argued that twenty percent needed to be added to the German figures for some lightly wounded men, who would have been included under British definitions of casualties, making German casualties c. 260,400. Terraine refuted Wolff (1958), who despite writing that 448,614 British casualties was the BEF total for the second half of 1917, neglected to deduct 75,681 casualties for the Battle of Cambrai, given in the Official Statistics from which he quoted or “normal wastage”, averaging 35,000 per month in “quiet” periods.[164] Prior and Wilson in 1997, gave British losses as 275,000 and German casualties at just under 200,000.[165] Hagenlücke in 1997, gave c. 217,000 German casualties.[57] Sheffield wrote in 2002, that Richard Holmes’s guess of 260,000 casualties on each side, seemed about right.

 

 

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