World War One Diary for Thursday, September 20, 1917:
Ypres – Battle of the Menin Road Ridge (until September 25): Third Allied attack of ‘Third Ypres’, directed by Plumer begun in mist. Main weight of attack with 11 divisions and 52 tanks thrusts against Passchendaele-Gheluvelt line in attempt to win high ground between Ypres and Roulers-Menin railway. Under unprecedented fire-layered 8-hour creeping barrage with gun to every 5.2 yards, British capture Inverness Copse, Glencorse Wood, Veld hoek, Hollebeke and part of Polygon Wood in average 1,500 yard advance despite 11 counter-attacks. Sergant W Burman of 16th Rifle Brigade uses his sword to kill 11 Germans in an MG post, wins Victoria Cross. GOC 19th Division T Bridges severely wounded, loses a leg. Letter from Captain Patton, US Cavalry, to wife: ‘The Germans shoot a gas which makes people vomit and when they take off the masks to spit they shoot the deadly gas at them. It is a smart idea is it not ?’.
Russia: General Alexeiev resigns, Dukhonin becomes effective C-in-C.
Armenia: Independent Republic of Transcaucasia declared. Russians defeat Turks near Ortobo (Bitlis, September 25).
Tripolitania: Cassini defeats Nuri Pasha’s 4000 rebels (1,600 casualties) at Zanzur, west of Tripoli.
Ypres: Royal Flying Corps RE8s plus balloons report or direct fire at 208 German batteries. 112 air combats, 11 British and 7 German aircraft lost.