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hazelclark

Passchendaele. “A New History”

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AOK4

I've just finished reading this book and found it very enjoyable and interesting, especially as the author also includes the German military views on the battle, something which is extremely important but mostly neglected in English books.

 

Unfortunately though, Nick Lloyd doesn't fully understand the German OOB and lacks local knowledge. He constantly uses Courtrai as German HQ (for Army Group Wytschaete, 4 Army and Heeresgruppe Rupprecht von Bayern). However, Courtrai was never the HQ for Heeresgruppe Rupprecht von Bayern (that was located at Mons).

 

He also concentrates on Loßberg en Thaer as important German staff officers, but both were in Gruppe Wytschaete (Generalkommando IX. Reservekorps) and they were only responsible for the sector from more or less the French border to a little bit north of the Menin Road (Gheluvelt - Polderhoek Chateau). What happened at Broodseinde and Passchendaele had implications for them, but way more for Gruppe Ypres, with its HQ in Roulers (until autumn) and later Ingelmunster (Generalkommando Gardekorps). Of course, this is related to the fact that only Thaer and Loßberg have published memoirs.

 

I remain also very amazed how little attention goes to the importance of the Menin Road and Gheluvelt Plateau in the assessment of the Third Battle of Ypres. That was the real focus point of German attention and their main worry. It is therefore quite remarkable that the Germans left the Bavarian Ersatz Division in this vital sector from late August until 20 September 1917, even though it had suffered severely by early September and most importantly its mediocre fighting value. This was not a division which should have been engaged in such a vital sector and especially not for so long. It was there (on the Menin Road) and on that day (20 September 1917) that the Third Battle of Ypres could have been won, but Plumer did not see the importance of Gheluvelt Plateau and just went for the useless drive to Passchendaele, creating an ever narrower attacking front line in a salient.

 

More attention to the Menin Road and Gheluvelt Plateau on 20 September could have made it a lot more difficult to the Germans to hide their artillery and to effectively defend the whole area between Gheluvelt and Passchendaele.

 

The Germans reacted by sending a lot of reserves to the Gheluvelt area to plug any gaps and staged a counter attack on 25 September, which may not have been that succesful in taking back terrain, but was certainly enough to make sure that the preparations for the attack of 26 September were hindered enough so that no important ground was lost any more between Polderhoek Chateau and the Menin Road near Gheluvelt.

 

Jan

 

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Fattyowls

A very interesting insight Jan; I really enjoyed the book too, but this is real food for thought. I'm working on something about this area and period at the moment and I'd like to explore this more if that is ok?

 

Pete.

 

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Robert Dunlop
7 hours ago, AOK4 said:

I remain also very amazed how little attention goes to the importance of the Menin Road and Gheluvelt Plateau in the assessment of the Third Battle of Ypres.

Jan, have you seen the thread that Crunchy and I worked on several years ago about this?

 

Robert

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AOK4
26 minutes ago, Robert Dunlop said:

Jan, have you seen the thread that Crunchy and I worked on several years ago about this?

 

Robert

 

Do you have a link?

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Robert Dunlop

Here it is, Jan.

 

 

Robert

Edited by Robert Dunlop

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