Nearly seventy years ago, on 31st July 1917, the small Belgian village of Passchendaele became the focus for one of the most grueling, bloody and bizarre battles of World War 1. By 6th November, when Passchendaele village and the ridge were captured, over half a million British, French, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and Germans had become casualties.
Philip Warner, the noted historian of twentieth-century warfare and the author of over fifty books on military history, many published by Pen and Sword, has skillfully brought together all the elements of this horrific campaign - the historical background, personal accounts, strategies and tactics, the personalities and the political maneuvers. He investigates the issues which had a crucial effect on the course of the battle, including the mutinous state of the French army, the bombardment which destroyed the drainage system, Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig's determination to continue operations despite the appalling weather and ground conditions, and the stormy relationship between Haig and Lloyd George.
However, it is the determined fighting ability and the bravery of the allied soldiers, rather than the tactical plans of the commanders, that dominate this detailed and totally absorbing account of the harrowing four-month campaign called the Battle of Passchendaele.
Passchendaele is a masterly and timely analysis of one of the most important battles in history