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Third Battle of Ypres
Plumer's first offensive action took place at Menin Road Ridge.

Third Battle of Ypres

The Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, was a major engagement of forces during the First World War. It took place between 31st July and 10th November 1917, lasting for more than three months. The wisdom of the battle has been questioned; after the war the then Prime Minister David Lloyd George said, "Passchendaele was indeed one of the greatest disasters of the war ... No soldier of any intelligence now defends this senseless campaign ..."

The Battle is named after the village of the same name which the Allied forces wished to take from the Germans. Which modern day country is Passchendaele in?
Germany invaded the neutral country, Belgium, on 4th August 1914, in order that its troops could gain access to its enemy, France. The invasion of Belgium was the official reason given for Britain's declaration of war on Germany
Operations were hampered during the Battle by what natural feature of the landscape?
The thick forests
The high hills
The dense vegetation
The damp ground
The land was low-lying and relied on canals and ditches to drain it. These had been all but destroyed by the ongoing conflict and consequently the ground was wet and muddy, even when the weather was dry
The Battle began when the British launched their attack on the Germans at Pilckem Ridge. At what time of day did the battle start?
3.50 AM
12.50 PM
4.50 AM
1.50 PM
The advance was scheduled to begin at dawn, but in the event clouds on the horizon blocked the sun and the attack commenced in darkness. The Allied forces managed to advance 4,000 yards but a German counter attack drove the British back, with 70% of their men dead or wounded. The German advance was halted by machine guns, artillery and, most effectively, mud
One of the British commanders at Passchendaele, General Gough, inspired a group of officers to form a group called 'GMG'. What did these initials stand for?
God Moves Gough
Great Man Gough
Gough Must Go
General Mighty Gough
Many of the decisions made by General Gough had led to failure and the loss of lives. He was not at all popular with either officers or men. Field Marshall Haig said of the matter, "not to mention to Gough the state of feeling amongst the troops... (it)...might make Gough lose confidence in himself." Gough was eventually relieved of his command but many think that he was made a scapegoat and dismissed to quell public anger at the number of men lost
After Gough was replaced as commander by Viscount Plumer, the British offensive was paused for three weeks. Why was this?
Plumer wanted to rest his men
Plumer was still in England
Plumer wanted to bring in more artillery
Plumer was in hospital
Plumer's plan was to bombard the Germans and then to attack them with infantry concentrated on a small area. This was a different tactic to the one which Gough had used. Gough had favoured mass infantry attacks spread over a wider front. Plumer's tactic won less ground per attack but was more successful overall
Plumer's first offensive action took place at Menin Road Ridge between 20th–25th September. It made use of 1,295 pieces of artillery, field-guns and Howitzers. How did this number compare to the amount of artillery used at Pilckem Ridge in the first Allied offensive of Passchendaele?
It was four times as much
It was twice as much
It was the same amount
It was half as much
It was Plumer's plan to use his artillery to destroy German concrete pill-boxes and machine gun nests. The British captured the majority of their objectives on the first morning of the assault. The Germans launched counter attacks with little success and were driven away on 26th September in the engagement at Polygon Wood
In October the Allied advances were slowed by what?
The poor weather
A lack of reinforcements
The death of General Plumer
A shortage of supplies
It rained throughout October and artillery was hard to deploy on the muddy ground. On one day, 13,000 Allied men became casualties. 2,735 New Zealanders were injured or killed and 845 of them were stranded in no-man's-land by the mud. It is the most men ever to have been lost in one day in all of New Zealand's history
On 23rd October the French attacked the Germans and captured the town of La Malmaison. They advanced 6km (3.7 miles) and captured 11,157 prisoners and 180 guns. Field Marshall Haig was pleased with this result, but what made him unhappy about it?
Haig had advised against the attack
The British had wanted to take La Malmaison
The number of men lost was more than could be spared
The attack came later than the British had hoped
Haig had asked the French many times to launch the attack. It had originally been due to commence four months before. If it had come earlier it might have had a greater effect on the outcome of Passchendaele, shortening the battle and lessening the number of men lost
The village of Passchendaele was finally taken from the Germans on 6th November 1917, by troops from which country?
Great Britain
New Zealand
Dry weather in early November helped the Allied attack. On 6th November the 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions advanced and within three hours the village of Passchendaele had been taken. The final action of the battle took place on 10th November when the Canadians took control of the hills which overlooked the village
During the Battle of Passchendaele 50 British and Empire divisions and 6 French divisions fought against 83 German divisions for 3 months. How many men became casualties during the battle?
An estimated 1,160,000
An estimated 1,060,000
An estimated 960,000
An estimated 860,000
The figures are disputed but it is believed that between 200,000 - 448,614 Allied soldiers were killed, wounded or taken prisoner and 217,000 - 410,000 Germans suffered similar fates


Author:  Graeme Haw

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