The Ypres Salient - CWGC

With the unrelenting wet weather during the three days prior to the battle 'little progress could be made on the plank roads. British soldiers haul an 18-pdr field gun out of the mud near ZillebekeThe field batteries were unable to advance farther, and the heavy batteries, in vain efforts to move to forward positions found little time for counter-battery work or for destroying the wire and pillboxes on the Wallemolen spur.' (‘Military Operations. France and Belgium, 1917’ (Volume II), compiled by Brigadier-General Sir James E Edmonds, London, HMSO, 1948, pp.339-340).

Conditions for the gunners (Field and Heavy) were near unendurable as guns stuck in the ooze and had to be dragged free; many were lost and abandoned.  Supplying the gun positions with ammunition became a nightmare for men and beasts, as German shelling (high-explosive and gas) showed no signs of lessening.

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