The Ypres Salient - CWGC

The end of the battle saw a general British advance: in the northern and central sectors of the battlefield this amounted to around 3,000 yards including the capture of Pilckem Ridge, a prized German Wounded men are tended by medical staff as they lie on stretchers at an advanced dressing station near Boesingheobservation point over the Salient. On the right (south), II Corps managed a difficult advance (varying in sectors between 500 yards and near 1,000 yards), occupying Bellewaarde Ridge and gaining German observation points on the highest areas of the Gheluvelt Plateau, near 'Clapham Junction'. Further south, Plumer's Second Army made good inroads towards the positions immediately in front of the German 'Flandern I' line.

Despite these considerable achievements (the combined area of newly acquired ground has been calculated at eighteen-and-a-half square miles and around 6,000 German prisoners were taken), Fifth Army failed to attain its first day's objectives. The gains amounted to less than half of what Gough had originally proposed and the fighting resulted in considerable British casualties. In the three days, 31 July - 2/3 August, combined losses for Fifth and Second Armies were 31,850 (killed, wounded or missing). Losses in materiel were also extensive: of the 117 Tanks which went into action on 31 July, 77 were put out of action, 42 of which were total 'write-offs'. British artillery batteries (both field and heavy) suffered grievously from devastatingly intense and accurate German counter-battery fire.

German casualties in the battle have been estimated to have been between 27,000 and 30,000.


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