Passchendaele 1917: The Tommies Experience of the Third Battle of Ypres [Parker]


The Battle of Passchendaele was the most gruesome yet fought during World War I.

The British offensive was launched on the Belgium battlefield at 3:30 am on July 31, 1917, as a massive effort by General Sir Douglas Haig and his British army to achieve a strategic breakthrough and defeat Germany. It failed. Passchendaele has become synonymous with the tragedy of World War I: the abominable conditions of weather, mud, and filth; the horrific injuries inflicted by increasingly industrialized warfare, including tanks, gas, mines, and flamethrowers; the enormous list of casualties (600,000); and the futility of the operation all combined to form a nightmare vision of war in the trenches.

What was life like for the common British soldier? Was it necessary, or were there alternatives? And what, if anything, did it achieve? Passchendaele 1917 will seek to answer these questions while reminding us of the sacrifices and heroism of the soldier during World War I.