The Great War Part 183, February 16th 1918

530 The Great War of Poelcappelle found themselves unable to make all the progress necessary to cover the right flank of the Anglo- Newfoundland battalions. The enemy began furiously to bombard the salient created b they Five Roads and in order to save the victors from being assailed on two sides they were commanded to retire for about a thousand yards towards the Poelcappelle-Staden Inroad. spite of this strategic surrender of part of the conquered ground, the achievement of the Anglo-N ewfoundland force was masterly and told successfully on the course of all actions in the northern sectors. Round Poelcappelle village and the brewery on theW estroosebeek road there began aline of German works that stretched south-eastwards to Passchendaele crest and the spurs of the main ridge above Broodscinde. This proved aline of defensive victories for the enemy. For, although he lost the village .of Poelcappelle he stood firm above the ghastly swamps of theW atervlietbeek the Lekkerboterbeek Paddebeek Stroom beek and the Rave- beek and broke the thrusting power of the English divisions that vainly endeavoured to reach the central high ground. It was not the fighting strength of the Strength of Germans that won them on October 9th German positions their greatest victory since their repulse of the Fifth British Arm yon August 16th. Their successful stand was due to the adventitious strength of their positions. Bad weather and bad ground weakened the attacking forces and disastrously delayed their move­ments. They lost their barrages and became bodily exhausted b they time they arrived within attacking distance of the enem ys main defences. These defences were certainly held in unusual force. General von Arm in brought forward every light and every heavy m achine-gun within reach. H e removed the gunners from supporting divisions and from his rearmost defences and posted them alongside the dense garrisons of the main ridge and of the lower spurs and knolls. Thereby he created a m achine-gun barrage between Poelcappelle and Passchendaele village such as had never before been employed on any front. While arranging this sheet of incessant fire over the quagmires of the broken brooks he maintained day and night rolling barrages over the ground where the British troops were assembling for action. The assembling of the English divisions was as wild and bitter work as the actual advance. In particular a third-line Territorial division containing untried men and including Manchesters East Lanc'ashires Land an ca­ shire Fusiliers had an ordeal on the night of October 8th that did not testify to brilliant Staff work. The men outset in the evening on a march to the firing-line b they Gravenstafel spur. It was calculated they would take three hours to get into position but they were engaged for eleven hours in a black tempest of rain and heavy hostile gunfire in winning through the mud to the brimming shell-hole line from which they were to attack. When the men arrived hungry and exhausted, soaked and chilled to the marrow they had quickly togo into action. Some of them indeed arrived too late for their barrage. Australian official photograph. RISSOLES FOR SUPPER .Australian cooks busy in their field kitchen preparing rissoles of bully beef for the mens evening meal. Fighting with the Lancashires were theW arw icks and West Country troops who were outstretched in the slashing rain and knife-like wind b they slime and foul water that the L ekker­ boterbeek and Stroom beek could not carry away. Immediately beside the Lancashires were Yorkshirem en who kept dreadiul vigil near the upper course of the Stroom beek called the Rave- beek running through the Swamp known as Marsh Bottom .By reason of their terrible march without food or rest the L an ca­ shire Territorials endured the supreme agony but the lot of their comrades on either side was one of tragic misery. .On this part of the front the Germans were clearly aware that something was impending and Australian official photograph. IN A FIRST ID-A DRESSING -STATION NEAR THE FRONT LINE .Red Cross members of the- Australian Imperial Force at work in an advanced dressing-station on the western front. In the cramped quarters casualties received the concentrated attention of highly competent officer doctors and soldier assistants and bore the dressing of painful wounds with stoic calm.
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