• Battle of Passchendaele (Third Ypres)

    Wednesday 11 April 2007 by Craig Tibbitts. 24 comments

    Overview After mid-1917, and following mutinies in the over-strained French Army, the British Forces had to assume an even greater role in the war on the Western Front. For Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, the British commander-in-chief, this provided an opportunity to launch an offensive that he had long wanted. Attacking from Ypres in Belgium, he planned to drive the Germans from the surrounding dominant ridges and even hoped to reach …

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  • Battle of Messines

    Wednesday 11 April 2007 by Craig Tibbitts. 5 comments

    The battle of Messines fought on 7 June 1917 was the first large-scale action involving Australian troops in Belgium and it also marked the entry of the 3rd Division into a major battle. Messines was an important success for the British Army leading up to the beginning of the Third Battle of Ypres several weeks later. At 3.10 am on 7 June 1917 nineteen powerful mines exploded under the German trenches along the Wytschaete – Messines …

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  • Bapaume to Bullecourt: the fighting in France, 1917

    Tuesday 3 April 2007 by Craig Tibbitts. 1 comments

    Men of 30th Battalion AIF amonst the ruins of Bapaume, the day they entered the town (AWM E00361) At the beginning of 1917 victory seemed nowhere in sight. However for a while, from late February, hopes were lifted. Along the Somme front line and elsewhere, the Germans began to withdraw several kilometres to their newly-developed defensive zone which the British dubbed “the Hindenburg Line”. This apparent retreat …

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  • The battles for Bullecourt

    Tuesday 3 April 2007 by Craig Tibbitts. 33 comments

    E00439 Overview Four experienced Australian divisions of I ANZAC Corps were part of the British 5th Army under Sir Hubert Gough. The general wanted to attack at Bullecourt to support an important offensive by the adjoining British 3rd Army to the north and the French Army further to the south. Relatively young, Gough was an energetic commander. However his aggressive spirit coupled with poor planning resulted in heavy …

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