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A timeline of Passchendaele


A timeline of events before, during and after the Third Battle of Ypres


1 August — Germany declares war on Russia

2-3 August  Germany enacts the Schlieffen Plan, invading Luxembourg and Belgium and declaring war on France

5-10 September  German invasion of France stopped at the First Battle of the Marne

September-December  German, British and French forces establish trench networks running from the Channel coast down to Switzerland

19 October-22 November — First Battle of Ypres. Germany fails to take Ypres, and the British maintain a prominent salient around the town



10–13 March  Failed British offensive at Neuve Chapelle

22 April-25 May  Second Battle of Ypres. German forces make offensive against Ypres, forcing the reduction of the salient but failing to take it or the city. The battle also saw the extensive use of poison gas by the Germans

25 September-14 October  First Battle of Loos. Major British offensive that includes British use of poison gas and of the ‘creeping’ artillery barrage. Costs 50,000 British casualties

19 December — Douglas Haig becomes commander-in-chief of the BEF



21 February-18 December — The Battle of Verdun. This battle of attrition eventually costs the Germans as many casualties as the French, and by December the German forces had lost all their initial gains

1 July-18 November — The Battle of the Somme, a British offensive launched to relieve pressure on the French at Verdun. For limited gains the British suffer more than 600,000 casualties. Tanks used for first time in combat



February — German forces on the Western Front, weakened by fighting in 1916, are forced to withdraw back to the Hindenburg Line

6 April — The United States declares war on Germany

April-May  A British offensive at Arras and French attack at Chemin des Dames bring little change to the front line positions on the Western Front

31 July-10 November — Third Battle of Ypres. A major British offensive runs aground in appalling weather and in the face of terrible casualties – 250,000 men are killed or wounded. The German Fourth Army suffers similar casualties. The campaign consists of the following major engagements:

31 July-2 August  The Battle of Pilckem Ridge

16-18 August — Battle of Langemarck

20-25 September — Battle of Menin Road Ridge

26 September-3 October  Battle of Polygon Wood

4 October  Battle of Broodseinde

9 October  Battle of Poelcappelle

12 October  First Passchendaele

26 October-10 November  Second Passchendaele

20 November  The British Flanders campaign is officially brought to an end

Extracted from Passchendaele 1917 by Chris McNab

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