Breakthroughs and Setbacks – Fall 1917 I THE GREAT WAR Summary Part 11
Breakthroughs and Setbacks – Fall 1917 I THE GREAT WAR Summary Part 11

Some of you regular viewers might like to
see a brief refresher on what’s recently gone on, and some newer viewers may want to
catch up more quickly, so we’ve made a series of recaps to help out, and this is one of
them. I’m Indy Neidell; welcome to a Great War
Recap Special covering August, September, and October 1917. The Third Battle of Ypres, also known as the
Battle of Passchendaele, began the day before August- July 31st. This Allied Offensive kicked off promisingly
enough, but soon enough, German counterattacks and torrential rain caused everyone to dig
in. Still, in the first two days, the British
5th Army had advanced further than the British had in any Western Front offensive so far. By the time the battle really got going again
ten days later, though, artillery and rain- which destroyed the land and overwhelmed the
drainage system- had turned the ground into a battlefield in name only. It was virtually impossible to fight through,
not that they didn’t try. Attacks and counterattacks continued sporadically
throughout August, but they didn’t gain much more land for the Allies, and produced
a combined casualty toll that climbed over 100,000. On the Eastern Front, the Russian army was
still in retreat from its own failed July offensive. The month also saw all sorts of political
machinations at home in Petrograd, the capital. Alexander Kerensky’s provisional government
was losing the support of the people, thanks in part to the losses in the field, the Bolsheviks,
who promised peace, were gaining more and more support, and General Lavr Kornilov, a
war hero and new Army Commander in Chief, was looked to by many as a possible authoritarian
leader to save Russia from chaos. But the chaos grew and grew, and by the Moscow
State Conference near the end of the month, it was described as, “chaos in the army,
chaos in foreign policy, chaos in industry, chaos in the nationalist questions.” Russia was also fighting in the field, helping
out its ally Romania. The Battle of Marasti ended on August 1st
with a Romanian and Russian victory, and the month also saw the Battle of Marasesti and
the Second Battle of Oituz on that front. These were both Central Powers offensives,
and though they gained ground initially, the Romanians held the line, even after the Russian
troops were pulled away mid month to defend their own collapsing front. Meanwhile, in the far northeastern front,
the Germans were driving toward Riga, the 4th largest city in the Russian Empire. The Canadian Corps had its first major action
of the war under Canadian leadership at the Battle of Hill 70 in France, and it was a
success, not just in the field, but also as a diversion to prevent German forces from
heading to Ypres. The French launched a diversion of their own,
the Second Battle of Verdun, August 20th, and it too was a success, and by the end of
the month had brought the French lines nearly back to where they had been in February 1916
when the First Battle of Verdun began. The Italians launched the 11th Battle of the
Isonzo River August 18th, and made great progress for a few days, even threatening to completely
break through the Austro-Hungarian lines, but though the battle went on until mid September,
they could not quite do it, and took 150,000 casualties, causing morale to drop alarmingly. And the Great Fire of Salonika made 80,000
people homeless, destroyed British regional Headquarters, and most alarmingly, the supply
of quinine used to treat the rampant malaria on that battlefront. September rolled in, and with it, the fall
of Riga to the Germans and their new Hutier storm tactics. They were now poised to make a drive toward
Petrograd. Petrograd itself is in ever worse turmoil. In fact, General Kornilov sends his men there
and attempt a coup, but the Kerensky government arms the workers and the Bolshevik Red Guards-
some 40,000 men- though Kornilov’s coup is over before it really begins, as Kornilov’s
army basically got demoralized and quit. There are now tens of thousands of anti-government
Bolshevik supporters bearing arms in Petrograd. Bolshevik leaders are released from prison,
where they’ve been since the violence of the July Days, and the situation in Russia
is ever more volatile. There were several celebrity war deaths in
September. Romanian heroine Ekaterina Teodoroiu met her
fate, as did French flying ace Georges Guynemer and German ace Werner Voss. One number of deaths was decreasing, though,
that of men on ships being sunk by German submarines. The Allies were now using the convoy system,
and shipping losses sank to the point where it was not possible for German subs to drive
any enemy out of the war. On the Italian front, there was an attempt
from traitors within the Austro-Hungarian army to hand victory to the Italians, but
it was foiled by mismanagement and incompetence within the Italian army command structure. The Second phase of the Battle of Passchendaele
began September 20th. This time, the action was directed by Herbert
Plumer, and his tactic to try and defeat the mighty Hindenburg Line of German defense,
was- much like the French at the Second battle of Verdun- to only make offensives for limited
gains, and then dig in and consolidate them before they even triggered a counterattack. Aided by an unusually dry period of weather,
his assaults did indeed make cracks in the defenses, scaring the heck out of German Quartermaster
Ludendorff, who feared Germany might even have to abandon the Belgian coast if they
continued. And continue they did, as October began. At Broodseinde on October 4th, Plumer’s
forces, led by the two ANZAC- Australian and New Zealand- army corps, had even more success
than the September attacks. After that, though, with the weather turning
to the fall rains and mud, British leaders began advising Commander in Chief Sir Douglas
Haig to dig in for winter. He not only refused, but stepped up the frequency
of the attacks. The Canadians would join the ANZACS in leading
the fight, though the mud ruined those attacks for the rest of the month, as the land became
once again impossible to fight in and the casualties climbed well into the hundreds
of thousands for the battle. The endless mud and fighting was just as bad
for German morale as it was for the Allies. The Germans had some big success, though,
in the Northeast with their amphibious offensive Operation Albion to take the islands in the
Gulf of Riga. By its end, the Russian army had basically
stopped fighting. And Leon Trotsky was preaching revolution
in Petrograd where it was total chaos by the end of the month. Food, electricity, everything was hard to
come by, robbery, rape, and murder were rampant, and Lenin had come back from his exile in
Finland to plot the final downfall of the Kerensky government. Toward the end of October, the French scored
another big victory at the 4 day Battle of Malmaison, advancing 10km and inflicting three
times the casualties on the Germans they themselves took. But this paled in comparison to the Central
Powers offensive in Italy- the Battle of Caporetto- that began October 24th and routed the Italian
army. By the end of the month, they were in full
retreat, having given up dozens and dozens of kilometers of territory. They had also lost over 150,000 men taken
prisoner. It was a disaster of the absolute first magnitude. And that’s where we stand as November begins. With the Italian front in disarray and the
Allies worried Italy might be forced from the war. The British were still bogged down at Passchendaele,
though on the last day of October they advanced in Palestine as they took Beersheba amid legendary
charges of mounted infantry. The French have had some good recent success,
which they really needed after the disaster in the field in the spring and the army mutiny
in the summer, and the Germans are miserable in the mud in the west, but ruthlessly effective
in the northeast, even as their enemy’s army and even nation crumble and fall apart. November begins with great uncertainty- Britain
and France might potentially lose two allies, Russia and Italy, and could they then fight
all four Central Powers mostly on their own until the Americans arrive in force? Their own hopeful moments at Passchendaele
have now long passed. It was a dark time indeed. What am I saying? Every month of every year of this war is a
dark time indeed.

93 thoughts on “Breakthroughs and Setbacks – Fall 1917 I THE GREAT WAR Summary Part 11”

  1. The Dolphinator says:


  2. Indiana Jones says:

    The Great War team, you should go to Australia and check out the last remaining A7V Tank

  3. Dave Mustardstain says:


  4. Turbo apples 123 says:

    under 100 views

  5. Till P says:

    Gibt es deutsche Zuschauer? 😉

  6. 1234 5678 says:

    I found you thru alternate history hub. U guys r great

  7. Boodor85 says:

    Been falling behind in viewing recently, thanks for this!

  8. AxeR Ace says:

    Last time I was this early, Russia didn't have any revolutions

  9. Turmunhk Ganba says:

    Could you do a Kaiserreich video for April fools.

  10. V. Athanasiou says:

    Someone moved the Kukri to Indy's right

  11. Jose Perez says:

    do american weapons

  12. Insane review food says:

    Hello Indy/Indie I probably butchered your name but what do you think about the Western Front book?

  13. Demetrius Poliorcetes says:

    What is that glim music called that starts at 0:37?

  14. Ali Lazim says:

    Now that cadorna's gone who are we going to laugh at?

  15. Dat History lad says:

    Hey do you want to see a picture of Salonika from my village (we have the view of all the city and part of the gulf)

  16. Ali Lazim says:

    "Have you news of my boy Jack?"
    Not this tide.
    "When d’you think that he’ll come back?"
    Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

    "Has any one else had word of him?"
    Not this tide.
    For what is sunk will hardly swim,
    Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

    "Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?"
    None this tide,
    Nor any tide,
    Except he did not shame his kind —
    Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

    Then hold your head up all the more,
    This tide,
    And every tide;
    Because he was the son you bore,
    And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!
    – Rudyard Kipling

  17. Konrad von Schnitzeldorf says:

    This series will be held as a treasure for years to come. It will be shown to school classes all over the world. It captures almost every aspect of the war. Thanks guys.

  18. Born2BWild says:

    Will you do an episode on Sarah Aaronson and the Nili spy ring? Sarah committed suicide last month 100 years ago.

  19. The Timejumper says:

    Anyone else notice that towards the end, Indy said "Last day of Octobah"?


    What a name for a battle, the Battle of Bad House

  21. Veeti Raussi says:

    But there isnt anything to click on! What dis?

  22. Henrik Thorkildsen says:

    Great video Indy and the others at The GReat War, keep up this amazingly educational content! 🙂

  23. Mac N' Cheese says:

    I think I’m going to plan a trip next year to Montfaucon, France. My great great uncle was in the lost battalion and made it back to Minnesota. I want to retrace his steps 100 years later.

  24. Igor Viguini says:

    You posted no link to the recap playlist. Indy just pointed at somewhere in the ether…

  25. Michael Kfoury says:

    Hello was wondering if you are going to do a special episode on the Solider songs of the war ("long way to Tipperary", "Back up your troubles in your old kit bag" and "Over There"). Also it would be cool to learn songs that Italian Austrian, Russian, French German soldiers sung

  26. Ax Em Pi Tea says:

    What was Israel doing during WW1?

    Yes it's a bait!

  27. Julian S says:

    Who is the idiot that thumbed this video down? Great video. Really hope you guys do a ww2 series after this ends… Just maybe don't wait until the 2030s lol.

  28. Ax Em Pi Tea says:

    Brits were freaked out by the collapse of their two Allies (Italy and Russia) so they forged a telegram in the name of Germany for compelling USA into joining the war… What do you think?

  29. Glory to the APR, death to the UFLL says:

    Do I hate Mars bars

  30. liedream casinosoul says:

    What is the title and who is the artist of the painting inserted at 6:33?

  31. joao marcelo de oliveira says:

    Do you guys know that this channel is the best content about the first world war, and maybe of all wars, ever done ? Thank you for your great job !

  32. Philipp Lausberg says:

    Why do you say Caporetto and Kobarid, but never Karfreit, the Austrian name? It was a place in Austria Hungary at the time, so why not use the historical name? Same with Gorizia/Görz btw.

  33. Alan De Anda says:

    If Indy were to lead a Revolution, I would definitely join him.

  34. MJBull515 says:

    But if shipping losses sank, then ships were not sunk.

  35. Cian Doyle says:

    Who dislikes these videos. Seriously though why does anyone hit the dislike button you can In every second see there is a such devotion and hard work. Even if you don't much like this period of history or history at all you have to see that at least.

  36. Michael Carney says:

    Did I see some Canadians with German helmets on?

  37. Mr Person01 says:

    Germans and Austrians could've kicked Italy out of the war if they kept the pressure after Caporetto. Idiots!!!!!!

  38. Hussite says:


  39. Hussite says:


  40. Robo Dirge says:

    Hi Flow.

  41. Panzerkampfwagen V Ausf. G says:

    Can you make an episode about the next months

  42. Dave Cole says:

    7:35 "on the last day of Octobah"

  43. Aramis419 says:

    Why isn't there a "Like All Videos From This Channel" button?

  44. numba 1 Briton says:

    My great great grandad was shot in the foot at Passchendaele. Fought with the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry

  45. Erik Arustamyan says:

    Germany, the type of country to fight a war in a 100 different front and still someone manage to win.

    Until Murica🇺🇲🇺🇲

  46. Andrei Morar says:

    Looks like the romanian front got silence by September…that until (spoiler alert) January 1918, when the romanians will start fighting against russian deserters and soviets on the border (battle of Galati 12-22 January 1918 as an example)

  47. Schmidt Rubin says:

    Why does the guy at 1:25 have a berdan II instead of a mosin? They were that low on arms?

  48. Mike Sabbe says:

    I live 5 min from Passchendaele ,strange and sad that i live my life and knowing that so many dead have fallen here , even possible that there are still a lot fallen that are not found yet ,and still are buried where i walk every day :'( . All i can say is thank you so much to the Canadians , British and all the others that sacrificed so much in Flanders fields

  49. Bandit says:

    More Angel and Snake pls

  50. A Jim Fan says:

    Is this about The Great War's Breakthroughs and Setbacks to uploading that video on the October Revolution?

  51. Cosmonaut Billy says:

    mmm let me guess, more human waves? oh right, 11th battle of isonzo river, 26th battle of verdun and 38th passchendale offensive again?

  52. Cosmonaut Billy says:

    chaos in russia, what else is new

  53. FarawayWayfarer says:

    Wait, Flo’s a dude?

  54. TCS says:


  55. GravesRWFiA says:

    4:42– shipping losses 'sunk'? did you do that on purpose?

  56. Andri Hasani says:

    It's sad to think this will be over this time next year…

  57. Kurtis says:

    Love this vids keep it up and don’t stop.

  58. sh4d0w dr34m3r says:

    All of The Great War crew are my heroes. This channel repeatedly proves that it's among the best on Youtube.

  59. Nintendo Style says:

    DO A WW2 SERIES!!!!!

  60. Amir Hamzah says:

    Have you ever considered making a ww2 channel

  61. moonturkey says:

    I can't believe this is going to happen for another year!

  62. Faze Pyro says:

    Hallo from the Land of the strongest soliders Croatia

  63. Dale More says:

    The Australian light horse were not mounted infantry. The were never taught infantry tactics

  64. ualuuanie says:

    Just curious so would it be safe to say ww1 was mostly a European war and the East was not really involved in it?

  65. Nimbly says:

    Hey Indy and team, love the show. If you guys haven't done so already you should do a special on the last surviving veteran of the Great War. Look forward to more great videos. Tally ho!

  66. D4N1CU5 says:

    Any plans to do a Who Did What on Sir John Monash or Sir Thomas Blamey?

  67. Ancientfungi says:

    @Indy and team; plz do us finno-ugrians a treat and do a WHO DID WHAT IN WWI for Miklos Horthy and Carl Mannerheim, love from FInland!

  68. TotalRookie_LV says:

    My hometown – Riga taken by Germans. 8(
    Also, it's only a couple days to the centennial of the supposedly "great" supposed "revolution" and… Nobody cares. Sic transit gloria mundi

  69. james m says:

    Battle of Caporetto How long dose last

  70. 1234 5678 says:

    They did a collaboration with a channel called alternate history hub about the schlieffen plan

  71. LadyAnuB says:

    So the Russian stupidity of the non-Brusilov fronts of 1916 comes back to bite them in 1917 and also affects Italy as Austria-Hungary could have been out of the war in 1916 given some alternate fields of mass fighting.

  72. Minhaj Nizam says:

    Can you do a video on the French mutiny?

  73. iBourne xx 1994 says:

    I would like to see a channel like this for the 80th anniversary of WW2 going over the 6 years of war.

  74. William Cox says:

    Hi Flo!

  75. Endorphika Morphika says:

    Can you do a video of the American troop buildup for the Great War? What it was like before our military was federalized. How our local citizens contributed to equipping and training our newly organized troops? Local citizens raised money for their national guardsmen to build facilities, they contributed land, horses, food, entertainment, many units were wined and dined by locals who admired their robust attitudes.
    There was so much happening behind the scenes in America. It was a significant part of the American spirit which encompassed our brave men all the way to the frontlines.

  76. Oskars Klaisis says:

    Britain and France could hold the front if Italy and Russia drop out and literaly beg the Japanese to send troops to the front ( I do know the result of the war but this show covers more of the war then the books i have read)

  77. Onyx1916 says:

    General Kornilov.

    Why do I keep hearing General Courtney Love…?

  78. Aleksandar Kan says:

    brave Romanians. Feel bad for Italian soldiers ,it's not their fault, but bad commandos . Oh boy next year the Balkans will be madness

  79. Seijuro Akashi says:

    Does anyone know if he has done a special on the Harlem Hellfighters?

  80. SpazzyMcGee1337 says:

    I don't understand. I thought Germany only gave Austria-Hungary enough troops to stabilize their situation. Suddenly they launch an all out offensive that routes Italy? That doesn't sound like stabilization to me.

  81. Gaius Caligula says:

    Where are the detailed video's of the October Revolution? or are you avoiding it for some reason? I was really looking forward to that and I'd much rather hear about that than the 128th thousand battle of the Isonzo river… I really hope this channel isn't running out of steam, and you're just delayed.

  82. CrazyKristiana says:

    the picture used at the canadian core at 2:45 has german POWs in it?

  83. Rooster says:

    Two of my great great uncles died in the battle of Ypes. Both from Australia.

  84. Mark Pickens says:

    THIS is modern warfare!

    Need to bring that back from the 1914 and 15 episodes, please.

  85. telsah1 says:

    Awesome. Thanks for this summary.

  86. Sam Iam says:

    The war will grind on and on and on. At least for another year! Huzzah!

  87. Dennis r says:

    oooh soon finland gains independence

  88. Tony Osuna Valles says:

    We need more spanish translations please

  89. Osiris1992 says:

    "A potential Italian victory foiled by mismanagement and incompetence within the Italian army command structure." Oh what a surprise, I'm shocked…

  90. Jared Jams says:

    The last day of Octabah

  91. reggie dunn says:

    You know, I use to just like ww2. Now I don't. WW1 was savage

  92. Behemoth29 says:

    4:37 "Shipping losses sank to the point…" Maybe a bad choice of words.

  93. Joshua J WARS says:

    Wow this woman Ecaterina Teodoriu is actually Wonder Woman in 1917 not the truly awesome version in 1918.

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