03 October 2017

8 facts about the Battle of Broodseinde

Wednesday 4 October marks 100 years since the Battle of Broodseinde began in 1917. Here are 8 facts about the battle.

New Zealand wounded are carried to the rear by captured German soldiers. 4 October 1917.  By Henry Armytage Sanders  Ref 12/012938/G. Alexander Turnbull Library.

New Zealand wounded are carried to the rear by captured German soldiers. 4 October 1917. By Henry Armytage Sanders. Ref 12/012938/G. Alexander Turnbull Library.

  • The Battle of Broodseinde was part of the Third Battle of Ypres – a major Allied offensive in Flanders which became known as Passchendaele.
  • Following successful advances in late September 1917 at the Menin Road and Polygon Wood, an attack was planned to capture German positions on the Broodseinde Ridge and the ruined villages of Zonnebeke, Gravenstafel and Poelcappelle.
  • On 4 October 1917, after a massive artillery bombardment, 12 British, Australian and New Zealand divisions attacked at 6am behind an advancing wall of shellfire known as a ‘creeping barrage’.
  • In the dark hours just before the attack began, the bombardment caught German soldiers in the open as they prepared for an attack of their own. Many were killed or wounded, and the others forced back.
  • At the centre of the Allied advance, Australian and New Zealand units successfully took all of their objectives, including the ruins of Zonnebeke and much of the Broodseinde Ridge. It was during this advance that the 3rd Australian Division captured the ground where CWGC Tyne Cot Cemetery and Memorial now stand.
  • Nine Victoria Crosses - the highest award for bravery in the British Army - were awarded following the 4 October fighting.
  • British Empire casualties amounted to some 20,000 wounded, missing and dead. The CWGC commemorates more than 4,800 service personnel in Belgium who died on 4 October 1917. German losses are believed to be some 35,000 wounded, missing and dead, including around 5,000 taken prisoner.
  • The British and Commonwealth dead of the Battle of Broodseinde are commemorated in CWGC cemeteries throughout the Ypres Salient and beyond. More than 300 service personnel who died in the attack are buried in CWGC Tyne Cot Cemetery. The CWGC Tyne Cot Memorial and Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial bear the names of more than 3,400 who have no known grave.