Thursday, August 10, 2017

WW1 - Muddy Passchendaele

One hundred years ago this week, the Battle of Passchendaele kicked off. I was the end of July and the Brits wanted to push their luck to secure the Belgian coast. Now all of this was happening after the horrendous months long battles of the Somme and Verdun. France was just pacifying their troops who had mutinied and nearly ended the war themselves. The Brits really could not rely on anyone else.
They charged ahead. Haig got what he wanted, but the coordination between the artillery and the infantry was hampered by poor weather. As seen in these pictures, mud was everywhere and pretty deep due to the inclement weather. This costly, horrendous war would roll on for another whole year.


The Z Blog said...

The mud was more than just deep. thousands of men drowned in it. The troops put down plank walkways and if a man stepped off of the path, he risked sinking into mud over his head. This problem was so bad, the Brits started training their men on the human way to execute a man slowly sinking into the mud. Imagine the horror of hearing men screaming for their lives as they slowly sunk into the mud.

peterike said...

The Redeemer

Darkness: the rain sluiced down; the mire was deep;
It was past twelve on a mid-winter night,
When peaceful folk in beds lay snug asleep;
There, with much work to do before the light,
We lugged our clay-sucked boots as best we might
Along the trench; sometimes a bullet sang,
And droning shells burst with a hollow bang;
We were soaked, chilled and wretched, every one;
Darkness; the distant wink of a huge gun.

I turned in the black ditch, loathing the storm;
A rocket fizzed and burned with blanching flare,
And lit the face of what had been a form
Floundering in mirk. He stood before me there;
I say that He was Christ; stiff in the glare,
And leaning forward from His burdening task,
Both arms supporting it; His eyes on mine
Stared from the woeful head that seemed a mask
Of mortal pain in Hell’s unholy shine.

No thorny crown, only a woolen cap
He wore—an English soldier, white and strong,
Who loved his time like any simple chap,
Good days of work and sport and homely song;
Now he has learned that nights are very long,
And dawn a watching of the windowed sky.
But to the end, unjudging, he’ll endure
Horror and pain, not uncontent to die
That Lancaster on Lune may stand secure.

He faced me, reeling in his weariness,
Shouldering his load of planks, so hard to bear.
I say that He was Christ, who wrought to bless
All groping things with freedom bright as air,
And with His mercy washed and made them fair.
Then the flame sank, and all grew black as pitch,
While we began to struggle along the ditch;
And someone flung his burden in the muck,
Mumbling: ‘O Christ Almighty, now I’m stuck!’