The Ypres Salient - CWGC

The main attack would be delivered by units of the Second Army against those strongpoints and woods on the Gheluvelt Plateau that had repeatedly defied British assaults since 31 July. Two blurred figures of the 1st Australian Division running from a shell burst in Glencorse WoodNotably these positions included Nonne Bosschen, Glencorse Wood, Inverness Copse, Polygon Wood and ‘Tower Hamlets’. The battle was to have strictly limited objectives; an advance of no more than 1,500 yards to a defined line which would be in range of British artillery; the artillery would both win the ground for the attackers and then defend the newly won and consolidated positions from German counter-attacks by a devastating curtain of fire. ‘General Plumer’s intention was to capture the plateau by four separate steps, with an interval of six days between each to allow time to bring forward artillery and supplies; the distance of each step, governed by the need to meet the strong German counter-attacks with fresh infantry supported by an effective artillery barrage, was to be limited to about fifteen hundred yards. For the first step he considered a thousand yards to be the maximum frontage for each division.’ ('Military Operations. France and Belgium, 1917' (Volume II), compiled by Brigadier-General Sir James E Edmonds, London, HMSO, 1948, p.237).

Second Army's assault on the plateau would be accompanied by a simultaneous advance by formations of Fifth Army on the left towards the Passchendaele-Staden Ridge.


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