The Third Battle of Ypres (Battle of Passchendaele)
11 - 14 August 2017
Price per person £485.00 Single supplement £135.00
Deposit per person £75.00
|For the soldiers who fought there, it was known as the ‘Battle of Mud’.
The attack at Passchendaele was Sir Douglas Haig’s attempt to break through Flanders. Haig had thought about a similar attack in 1916. His main aim was a breakthrough to the coast of Belgium so that German submarine pens could be destroyed. Admiral Jellicoe had already advised both Haig and the British government that the loss of shipping could not be sustained and that Britain would face severe shortages in 1918, if such losses continued. Haig’s plan, to sweep through Flanders to the coast, did not receive support David Lloyd George, but as the Allies had no other credible plan, he gave his agreement for Haig to carry out his plan.
Haig also had another reason for going ahead with this plan. He believed, incorrectly as it turned out, that the morale of the German army was very low – especially after the success of the Allies at the Battle of Messines.
The Third Battle of Ypres 11 July – 10 November 1917
‘Battle of Pilckem 31 July. - Battle of Langemarck 16 August - Battle of the Menin Road -20 September - German Counter Attack 25 September - Battle of Polygon Wood 26 September, Battle of Broodseinde 4 October - Battle of Poelcapelle 9 October - First Battle of Passchendaele 12 October - Second Battle of Passchendaele 26 October’
Meet at the Union Jack Club and depart for Calais via the Eurotunnel at Folkestone. Before arriving in Ypres we will discuss the Battle of Messines June 1917 and visit one of the remaining craters.
We commence this day with a visit to the Passchendaele Museum at Zonnebecke.
On our way to Pilckem via Wieltje we will speak about Captain Noel Chavasse VC who wins a bar to his V C awarded the previous year. At Pilckem we will discuss the initial attack by the 38th Welsh Division. In mid August the next phase was to attack Langemarck with the 20th Division (Light) in the lead. Visit the German Cemetery at Langemarck. The third phase (mid Sept) commenced with the Battle of the Menin Road. Gen. Plumer planned to capture Gheluvelt Plateau in four steps, with intervals of six days for time to bring forward artillery and supplies. Nine Divisions were used in the assault on a front of 10.000 yards, following a creeping barrage and the use of artillery shells with a fuse 106 to avoid adding more craters to the ground. On the 20 September and over the next few days of local fighting the Germans were driven from their positions on the Gheluvelt Plateau.
Overnight Ypres. Menin Gate Ceremony (20.00)
Today we will continue to the trace the story of the battle by visiting more of the key sites. We commence at Polygon Wood where the I ANZAC Corps (4th & 5th Australian Divisions) would conduct the main advance of about 1,200 yards, to complete the occupation of Polygon Wood and the south end of Zonnebeke village. We then follow the 1st & 2nd Canadian Divisions who launched their attack against Passchendaele village on the 6 November. By forming in no man’s land the Canadians avoided the worst effects of the German artillery and in little over an hour had taken the village and the high ground. We end the day with a visit to Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in the world.
This morning we will take a walking tour around the town, including visits to the Ramparts Cemetery and St Georges Chapel, before departing late morning for Calais.