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Operations of October 26th and 30th 1917.

Superb group of aerial reconnaissance photographs from the Second Battle of Passchendaele.

Published: Printed by No. 2 Advanced Section, A[rmy] P[rinting] & S[tationery] S[ervices], Second Army Intelligence, Nov. 1st., 1917

Stock code: 48916

Price: £300

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Produced between the Second and Third Stages of the Battle, these images would have been employed to prepare units for their assignments in the coming phase. The two images on the first sheet show a raking view of the Front Line north of Passchendaele on 31 October – titled “Bellevue Meetcheele and Slopes North of Passchendaele” and “Passchendaele and Crest of Ridge.” – features indicated include Vienna Cot[tage], Bellevue, Wolf Copse, and Woodland Plantation. The second sheet has pictures taken vertically above two sections on the front line of the barrage from the 26 October, showing the “Condition of the Ground about Wolf Farm and Wolf Copse”, and “… about the Ravebeek, in front of Bellevue.” From this lofty viewpoint the descent of the battlefield into a sucking swamp capable of swallowing a mule train can be inferred, but is somewhat abstracted, virtually all features have been obliterated or overlain by pock-marking craters. Losses were appalling on both sides, any discussion of gains is futile, the battle has become a byword for the horrors of the First World War, to quote Sassoon; “I died in Hell – they called it Passchendaele.” This quality of visual intelligence material from ’14-’18 is uncommon.

4 images on 2 sheets (350 220 mm). Photographically reproduced. One sheet browned verso, some mild creasing, but overall very good indeed.

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