5th Oct 1917: Logistics begin to break down in sea of mud

Ypres stretcherbearersThe success of the previous day had brought high expectations that further attacks could lead to a decisive breakthrough, but while Field Marshall Haig was having good fortune on the battlefield he was now losing the one thing he could not control, the weather. Rain commenced on the previous day during the attack and within a very short period of time the logistics of getting materials (artillery, ammunition, equipment) to the front, and wounded to the rear began to break down. Recently captured pillboxes were now crammed with wounded men trying to shelter from the elements and enemy shells. The rain continued as drizzle through the 5th, were constant showers on the 6th and in bitter drenching squalls on the 7th. Mules and pack-horses endlessly ploughing their way along the limited tracks quickly rendered them almost impassable. For the men of the 22nd Battalion having been relieved on the night of 5th October, the days in reserve were miserable with the regular downpours making the battle ground a quagmire. The only accommodation consisted of shell holes, half filled with mud and water, and all available men worked long hours burying cables and on fatigues.

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