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The Battle of Menin Road


(2 customer reviews)
Authors: Roger Lee
Australian Army Campaign Series
245mm x 170mm (B5)

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The Third Ypres Campaign (Passchendaele) of 1917 is associated with images of slimy, oozing mud: mud deep enough and glutinous enough to drown men, horses and equipment, mud so pervasive that it, rather than the enemy, defeated the British Army’s… major campaign in Belgium that year. While these images are certainly true for the opening and final months of the campaign, mud was not the defining experience for the infantry of the Australian First and Second Divisions when, for
the first time in history, two Australian Divisions fought a battle side by side in the Battle of Menin Road. For them, the defining experience was a well-planned, well-conducted attack that saw all the objectives achieved in very short time.

Menin Road was the third of the series of battles that together made up the… Third Ypres… Campaign. Intended to capture the high ground of the Gheluvelt Plateau east of Ypres to protect the right flank of the British Army advancing to its north, it was a difficult assignment. Earlier British attempts to clear the Plateau had been repulsed with heavy losses. With overwhelming artillery and air support, sound preparation and with limited objectives, the attack on 20 September surpassed all expectations. It was a classic example of how well-prepared and well-supported infantry could take and hold ground.

However, as is explained in the book, it was also a classic example of why this operational method was too slow and would never win the war on the Western Front.

Roger Lee

Roger Lee

Roger Lee has been Head of the Australian Army History Unit and Army Historian since 1996. In his role, he is chief adviser to the Chief of Army on all matters relating to the history and heritage of the Australian Army. Before that, he spent three years on the Directing Staff of the Joint Services […]

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2 reviews for The Battle of Menin Road

  1. This is the twentieth volume in the Australian Army Campaign Series and the tenth dealing with a battle in the First World War.

    Dr Roger Lee had much to do with his series in his former life as Head of the Army History Unit – he is now one of the War Memorial’s official historians for the war in Iraq. The series continues to go from strength to strength. Though it may have been designed for the education of officers, the series has much wider appeal. Each of its volumes is well written and illustrated. The detailed maps are models of clarity. Each volume is dispassionately critical and very well researched.

  2. Menin Road was one of the set of battles for Passchendaele – or 3rd Ypres. 117 of this book’s 174 pages deal with context, and not one of them could be done without. The strategic setting, terrain, forces involved, prior battles and commanders need to be understood. Similarly, the aftermath of the battle deserves explanation – and it gets it.

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