The attack was planned on a ten mile front, from St Yves in the south to Mount Sorrel in the north. Second Army's dispositions for the battle were as follows (from south to north): II Anzac Corps (3rd Australian Division, New Zealand Division and 25th Division) was to assault the southern 'shoulder' of the Ridge and Messines village; IX Corps (36th, 16th and 19th Division) was to secure the centre and Wytschaete village; X Corps to attack in the north (in a south-easterly direction) and secure the northern portion of the Ridge. Reserve Divisions: 4th Australian, 11th and 24th.
The battle was to have strictly limited objectives: an eastward advance to a depth of one to two miles in order to secure the crest of the Ridge, its eastward slopes and the covering 'Oosttaverene Line'. As such the offensive represented an example of the 'bite and hold' offensive tactics - though on a massive scale. The three Corps attack would launch approximately 80,000 British and Dominion infantry up the forward slopes of the Ridge; each man had a specific role to play in the offensive and knew his part thoroughly. Seventy-two new Mark IV tanks were allocated to assist the infantry to capture strong points and a brigade of the Royal Flying Corps would provide overhead cover and vital reconnaissance and observation for the artillery.
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