The Battle of Pilckem Ridge was a WWI military engagement that took place from July 31 to August 3, 1917, during the Third Battle of Ypres. It was fought between the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and German 4th Army’s units, near Passchendaele, Belgium.

Preceded by heavy artillery bombardment, the British launched an assault on the German defensive lines on and around the Pilckem Ridge, in the Ypres salient, in the early hours of July 31. At the beginning they were very successful, advancing about 1.8 miles, especially on the left flank and on the center. However, the Imperial German Army’s infantry units would unleash a powerful and surprise counter-attack that pushed the enemy back for 1.6 miles. Mud, barbed wire, and artillery barrage made the German counter-attack grind to a halt, with heavy casualties, approximately 32,000 men.

Opposing Forces

BEF: 5th Army’s II, XVIII, and XIX Corps (12 divisions)

German Forces: 4th Army (6 Eingreif divisions, 1 artillery division)

Commanders

British: Sir Hubert de la Poer Gough

German: Crown Prince Rupprecht

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