In the south a German attack on the night of 1 November finally captured the Messines Ridge. Violent fighting for Messines and its all important ridge had been ongoing for several days and had involved, on 31 October, the first Territorial Force infantry unit to see action on the Western Front, the London Scottish.
Wytschaete was lost to German forces on 2 November. Allied defensive positions to the north and south of Ypres saw the grouping of French forces in larger numbers and it was notable that by around 3 November the French held approximately two-thirds of the battle line formed by the Ypres Salient and the Messines re-entrant: the battle weary British I Corps commanded the central sector. The most damaged of Lieutenant-General Sir Douglas Haig’s formations was the 7th Division, whose infantry had been reduced in the most recent fighting from 12,300 to 2,400. Withdrawn from the line on 5 November the 7th Division was replaced by a temporary composite force from II Corps often referred to as a ‘Wing’s Division’. The British line on the right (south) of necessity made a slight withdrawal following a German thrust against French forces in front of Verbrandenmolen on 6 November.
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