The Ypres Salient - CWGC

The British Official Historian was not alone in commenting on the prevailing dry conditions in which much of the fighting took place on A group of horses are led down a road near Zillebeke26 September - the stress laid on the prevalence of hard ground, heat and firm going being offered by later apologists for the offensive as a corrective to popular notions that 'Third Ypres' was a mudbath from start to finish. However, it was difficult for the terrain, with its still high water table and ruined drainage system, totally to hide its essential sodden nature for long.

The appearance of some portions of the battlefield conformed stubbornly to familiar images of bogged down trench warfare. Many shell holes retained a depth of water and in the south the existence of much mud in the Bassevillebeek valley hampered operations to subdue the 'Quadrilateral' position. Again, in the north, 8th Brigade's (3rd Division) attack above the railway line was seriously impeded by the marshy Zonnebeke stream which was described as in places 'impassable'.

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