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3779 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

guns had plastered this ground fiercely, but

later in the morning their shelling eased off,

and the guns had other work to do over there,

where the British infantry was advancing other work, unless the guns lay smashed with

their teams lying dead around them, killed

by the British counter-battery work with

high explosives and gas; for in the night the

British smothered the Germans with gas and

tried to keep them quiet for this battle and

all others."

On August 16, the British and French

made further progress, being aided in some

cases by tanks. In this attack the Allies

took 2,100 prisoners and some 30 guns. Every

day there was bitter fighting with counterattack following attack.

A new attack, on September 20, resulted

in the capture of 3,200 prisoners and more

guns. Another assault, on October I, on

a nine-mile front gained valuable positions.

to a depth of a mile and a half at the

point of greatest advance. Other attacks

followed during the next few weeks, but

persistent wet weather greatly hampered

operations during the autumn. Slow progress was made notwithstanding, and by

the close of the campaign the Germans, as

in the case of the Somme the year before,

had been driven so far back that their position had become precarious.

The British had captured Messines Ridge

and all except the northern part of Passchendale Ridge and had secured positions from

which, if circumstances were favorable, they

could launch their campaign of 1918. They

had taken over 30,000 prisoners in this Flanders offensive, besides inflicting heavy losses

on the enemy. No bitterer battle was fought

during the war. According to General Haig,

78 German divisions were exhausted in the

fighting, and 18 had been engaged a second

or third time. On the other hand, the British had paid a heavy price for their advance,

and their casualties in this Flanders offensive

were almost a quarter of a million men. By