The Ypres Salient - CWGC

A soldier crouches in the road as a distant shell bursts on Pilckem RidgeSeptember's good weather is often overlooked in assessments of, or reactions to, the overall campaign, though there exists abundant photographic evidence to show the marked improvements in conditions in this month compared to those resulting from the wholly unpredicted exceptionally wet August. The British Official Historian eagerly seized upon the reality of these clement September days and included references to them (and comparisons with conditions on the Somme in 1916) in his arguments to explain the continuation of the 1917 Flanders battle: 'September 1917 was a month of fine weather...[in which] several attacks were made in clouds of dust...and that the ground was so hard as late as the morning of 4 October that pieces of shell and bullets richochetted. ('Military Operations. France and Belgium, 1917' (Volume II), compiled by Brigadier-General Sir James E Edmonds, London, HMSO, 1948, p.iv); and '...the first three weeks of September were mostly fine sunny days, with a drying wind, so that the sea of mud in the forward area gradually turned into a brown dusty desert.' (Ibid, p.246).


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