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looks you see sadness these days. The other day on the train a
woman sat counting the fingers on her hand. One, two, three, four,
five she said, then began the counting again. She repeated herself
over and over. Some of us riding the car couldn't help but to start
smiling at her. Her husband then spoke in a soft voice. Ladies and
gentlemen, please don't laugh at my wife. She has lost all five of
her sons in battle defending our fine nation. Now she is gone in
the head and I am taking her to the asylum.
The Nations Involved in
Between the Wars
Declaration of War
Kaiser Wilhelm II
Wilfred Owen, "Gas"
World War One Battles
Letters from the Front
A Special Christmas Story
Music from World War One
Long Way To Tipperary
Pack Up Your Troubles
World War One, Passchendaele
major battle of Ypres, also known as the Battle of
Passchendaele, took place between July and November,
1917. General Sir Douglas Haig, the British Commander in
Chief in France, was encouraged by the gains made at the
offensive at Messines in June 1917. Haig was convinced
that the German army was now close to collapse and once
again made plans for a major offensive to obtain the
The opening attack at Passchendaele was carried out by
General Hubert Gough and the British Fifth Army with
General Herbert Plumer and the Second Army joining in on
the right and General Francois Anthoine and the French
First Army on the left. After a 10 day preliminary
bombardment, with 3,000 guns firing 4.25 million shells,
the British offensive started at Ypres a 3.50 am on 31st
The German Fourth Army held off the main British advance
and restricted the British to small gains on the left of
the line. Allied attacks on the German front-line
continued despite very heavy rain that turned the Ypres
lowlands into a swamp. The situation was made worse by
the fact that the British heavy bombardment had
destroyed the drainage system in the area. This heavy
mud created terrible problems for the infantry and the
use of tanks became impossible. Eventually Sir Douglas
Haig called off the attacks and did not resume the
offensive until late September.
Attacks on 26th September and 4th October enabled the
British forces to take possession of the ridge east of
Ypres. Despite the return of heavy rain, Haig ordered
further attacks towards the Passchendaele Ridge. Attacks
on the 9th and 12th October were unsuccessful. As well
as the heavy mud, the advancing British soldiers had to
endure mustard gas attacks.
Three more attacks took place in October and on the 6th
November the village of Passchendaele was finally taken
by British and Canadian infantry. The offensive cost the
British Expeditionary Force about 310,000 casualties.
Sir Douglas Haig was severely criticised for continuing
with the attacks long after the operation had lost any
real strategic value.
World History Project