Passchendaele
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What is Passchendaele?

Passchendaele is a village located in what is now Belgium in the province of West Flanders near Ypres. It was destroyed in 1917 as British and Commonwealth military forces, along with France, battled Germany.

The Battle at Passchendaele was noted as one of the greatest losses in Canadian WWI History. Its' objective was not only to free large areas of Belgium from German occupation but to destroy their submarine base at Ostend at a time when the Battle of the Atlantic hung in the balance and destroy a strategic railway line vital for sustaining the enemies' supplies. It also served to draw the Germans away from the French forces further south which were on the point of collapse after the failure of the Nivelle offensive. For these reasons Field Marshall Haig continued the offensive despite the terrible conditions which otherwise would have caused it to be called off. It was a field of relentless mud, sometimes coming up to the soldiers necks. The movie only depicted a few short minutes of the mud swallowing soldiers and weapons, but it was the mud, not the opposing attacks, that caused so many soldiers to lose their lives.

Prime Minister Borden said that if anything like the disaster at Passchendaele ever happened again, he would pull Canadians out of the war. However the German general staff later admitted that "Germany had been brought near to certain destruction by the Flanders battle of 1917" and it stopped the Germans from exploiting the weakness of the French Army who were given time to recover, pinning the Germans to the Flanders front and causing them unsubstainable casualties. It is considered both a tactical and strategic victory for the Allies.

What is Passchendaele?

Passchendaele, Ypres, Boezinghe and Dixmude are now called Passendale, Ieper, Boezinge and Diksmuide in Flemish (Belgian Dutch), the local language of the Flanders Fields region, situated in the West-Flanders province of Belgium. Hundreds of thousands of visitors, mostly from Commonwealth countries, visit the Flanders Fields region every year.

In March 1918 the Germans launched their last ditch offensive against the allies, recovering much of the ground they had lost in 1917. However they were not able to consolidate their gains and exhausted their army to the extent that they were never again able to mount an offensive action. Afterwards the Allies were able to quickly reclaim the ground they had lost and then steadily pushed the Germans back forcing them to capitulate in November 1918.

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