The Battle of Bellevue Spur was the deadliest in New Zealand military history since 1840. A five-stage plan, the objective was ambitious; the 4th Australian Division given the objective of Passchendaele, and the New Zealand Division again given the role of flank support. Zero hour was at 05:25 on the 12th of October, with a planned creeping barrage leading the infantry push. However, the barrage was greatly disorganised, with several shells even landing on NZ forces. The 3rd Brigade, pushing on the left, became marred in machine-gun fire, while the 2nd Brigade, on its right flank, was blockaded by barbed wire. Both Brigades lost their momentum, resorting to creating defences against German counter-attack. The push was a failure; troops eventually fell back to positions near their starting line. Only on the 18th of October were NZ troops relieved, the Canadian Corps taking their place. New Zealand suffered 3700 casualties on the 12th of October, with 950 men dead.
Haig's war service had earned him belated but rapid promotion: having been a captain until the relatively advanced age of thirty-seven, by 1904 he had become the youngest major-general in the British Army at that time. He was present at the Rawalpindi Parade 1905 to honour the Prince and Princess of Wales' visit to India. At this time a great deal of the energies of the most senior British generals were taken up with the question of whether cavalry should still be trained to charge with sword and lance (the view of French and Haig) as well as using horses for mobility then fighting dismounted with firearms. Lord Roberts, now Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, warned Kitchener (now Commander-in-Chief, India ) to be "very firm with Haig" on this issue (in the event Kitchener was soon distracted, from 1904, by his quarrel with the Viceroy Lord Curzon, who eventually resigned), and wrote that Haig was a "clever, able fellow" who had great influence over Sir John French.