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[9] High ground is relative; Passchendaele is on a ridge about 70 ft (21 m) above the surrounding plains. [114] The British Official Historian recorded 21,886 German casualties, including 7,548 missing, from 21 May to 10 June, using strength returns from gruppen Ypern, Wijtschate and Lille in the German Official History, then wrote that 30 percent should be added for wounded likely to return to duty within a reasonable time, since they were "omitted" in the German Official History, reasoning which has been disputed by other historians. [64][e] After the explosions, the British artillery began to fire at maximum rate. II Anzac Corps in the south-east was to advance 800 yd (730 m), IX Corps in the centre was to attack on a 5,000 yd (2.8 mi; 4.6 km) front, which would taper to 2,000 yd (1.1 mi; 1.8 km) at the summit and X Corps in the north had an attack front 1,200 yd (1,100 m) wide. The New Zealand Division attacked Messines village, the southern bastion of the German defences on the ridge. As the infantry approached the German second line, resistance increased. The left battalion, unaware that the 33rd Brigade (11th Division) to the north had been delayed, veered towards the north-east to try to make contact near Lumm Farm, which took the battalion across the Wambeke Spur instead of straight down. [4] A flat spur either side of the Menin road ran about 3.5 mi (5.6 km) south-eastwards towards Kruiseecke and was about 1 mi (1.6 km) wide at Veldhoek, with a depression on the west side through which the Bassevillebeek flowed southwards and another on the east side, through which the Reutelbeek also flowed south. The bombardment began to creep down the slope at 3:10 p.m. at a rate of 100 yd (91 m) in three minutes. The area was deluged with artillery fire from both sides for two hours, causing many casualties and the attack was postponed until 9 June. At 3:10 a.m. the mines were detonated, killing c. 10,000 German soldiers and destroying most of the middle breastwork Ib of the front system, paralysing the survivors of the eleven German battalions in the front line, who were swiftly overrun. The divisions had reached assembly areas near Gheluvelt and Warneton by 7:00 a.m. and the 7th Division was ordered to move from Zandvoorde to Hollebeke, to attack across the Comines canal towards Wijtschate on the British northern flank. [102] In 1930, Basil Liddell Hart thought the success at Messines inflated expectations for the Third Battle of Ypres and that because the circumstances of the operations were different, attempts to apply similar tactics resulted in failure. The battle of Messines fought on 7 June 1917 was the first large-scale action involving Australian troops in Belgium and it also marked the entry of the 3rd Division into a major battle. The combination of tactics devised on the Somme and at Arras, the use of mines, artillery survey, creeping barrages, tanks, aircraft and small-unit fire-and-movement tactics, created a measure of surprise and allowed the attacking infantry to advance by infiltration when confronted by intact defences. For observation over the rear slopes of the ridge, 300 aircraft were concentrated in II Brigade RFC and eight balloons of II Kite Balloon Wing were placed 3,000–5,000 ft (910–1,520 m) behind the British front line. The brigades captured 289 Germans and six field guns for a loss of six casualties, advancing 800 yd (730 m) along the Roozebeek valley, then took Ravine Wood unopposed on the left flank. The 25th Division took the Messines–Wytschaete road on the ridge, north of the New Zealand Division with little opposition except at Hell Farm, which was eventually overrun. Troina fell on August 6. Such success, however, did lead to a level of overconfidence in the British High Command as they prepared for the Third Battle of Ypres. The 35th and 3rd Bavarian divisions were brought up as Eingreif divisions and Gruppe Wijtschate was substantially reinforced with artillery, ammunition and aircraft. A German force at the head of the Zwarteleen re-entrant, south of Mt Sorrel where the two attacking brigades met, held out until forced to surrender by volleys of rifle-grenades. Where the Germans were able to resist, they were engaged with rifle-grenades, Lewis Guns and trench mortars, while riflemen and bombers worked behind them. Gruppe Wijtschate held the ridge with the 204th, 35th, 2nd, 3rd Bavarian (relieving the 40th Division when the British attack began) and 4th Bavarian divisions, with the 7th Division and 1st Guard Reserve Division as Eingreif (counter-attack) divisions. German documents gleaned from the battlefield showed that they expected the forward crest of the ridge to be held until the Eingreif divisions arrived to counter-attack. The divisional trench mortar batteries were to bombard the German front line opposite the 142nd Brigade, where it was too close for the artillery to shell without endangering British troops. The bombardment fell on the rest of the Australians, who withdrew with many casualties, leaving the southern part of the Oosttaverne line unoccupied, as well as the gap around the Blauwepoortbeek. In an effort to by-pass enemy positions and speed up his adva… The capture of Messines Ridge was a preliminary operation that took place just prior to … The 3rd Australian Division on the right, had been disorganised by a German gas bombardment on Ploegsteert (Plugstreet to the British) Wood around midnight, which caused 500 casualties during the approach march but the attack between St Yves and the river Douve began on time. A withdrawal to the Flandernstellung would endanger the southern slopes of Menin Ridge, the most important area of the Flandernstellung. Each division was given four extra batteries of field artillery, which could be withdrawn from the barrage at the divisional commander's discretion to engage local targets. The capture of Messines Ridge was a preliminary operation that took place just prior to the Battle of Passchendaele (Third Battle of Ypres). A hurricane bombardment by 2,000 guns preceded the advance of nine British and Australian infantry divisions, which proved a complete success. [43][c], German artillery positions and the second (Höhenstellung) (Contour Position) position were not visible to British ground observers. These orders were also delayed and the 19th Division commander asked for a postponement then ordered the 57th Brigade to advance without waiting for the 33rd Brigade. 3 June had demolished the village with great determination, battle of messina surrendering a... 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Capture of German company and battalion headquarters 4th Australian Division commander, Major-General Holmes.


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