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3777 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

On the 31st of July, the British and French

attacked on a 20-mile front in the Ypres

sector. Most of the Allied objectives and

over 6,000 prisoners and about 25 guns were

captured. The full results of attack could

not be reaped, for, in the afternoon, while

fighting was still in progress, heavy rains

began which continued almost without ceasing for three days, transforming the low lying ground torn by shells into a succession

of muddy pools. Much of the terrain

became impassable and not a few men and

pack animals were drowned in shell craters.

Under such circumstances delay was inevitable, and the enemy had an opportunity to

reorganize his defenses.

The Germans opposed the offensive with

the utmost determination for an Allied advance of a few miles more would render necessary the evacuation of Lille and would

endanger German possession of their valuable

submarine bases on the Belgian coast. They

counter-attacked whenever practicable but

usually without accomplishing their purpose.

Their terrific artillery fire, however, inflicted

an immense number of casualties upon the

British troops and those engaged in transportation and road building.

For months, cannon thundered unceasingly. For months, division after division of

brave men on both sides marched up to the

shambles. For months, Great Britain and

Germany wrestled in a drawn conflict. Adjectives have never been coined adequate to

describe the full horrors of the inferno that

raged that summer and autumn to the east

of Ypres. In such a conflict even the smallest positions assumed importance, and such

places as Polygon Wood, Inverness Copse,

Poelcappelle Village, Houthulst Forest, and

Menin Road became known as symbols of

carnage throughout the world.

A word picture of the horrors of the conflict in Flanders was written for the Berlin

Zeitung am Mittag by a correspondent on

July 30,1917:

"Never-ending howls and piercing screams

are rending the air from the sea to the River

Lys, while accessory noises like growls and

blows seem to spring from everywhere on the