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The Great War
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The Third Battle of Ypres
Post-war Ypres
Post-war Ypres
British General Douglas Haig often believed his army was on the verge of a breakthrough. His optimism resulted in a plan in 1917 to attack the German lines just outside of Ypres, Belgium. This would be the third battle at Ypres, the other two having taken place in 1914, and 1915. Once Haig's army broke through, he envisioned it sweeping across the low plains and swinging north to the sea.
 
On the morning of June 7, 1917, the Allies set off a series of nineteen giant mines dug over eighteen months under the German lines south-east of Ypres. Together with a sophisticated counter-battery operation, this stroke completely disrupted and disorganized German defensive positions. The initial advance ended successfully, but then weeks passed before the British troops were ordered to continue by which time the wettest fall in years had set in. In this three-month battle, men, animals and equipment were swallowed up in mud that was often like quicksand, Haig's ambitious plan became yet another failure.


Explore Further
HISTORIAN COMMENTARY:
* Trevor Wilson , "The Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele)"
 
LINKS:
* Map - Third Battle of Ypres (firstworldwar.com)
   
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