18th Australian Infantry Battalion
The 18th Battalion was raised at Liverpool in New South Wales in March 1915 as part of the 5th Brigade. It left Australia in early May, trained in Egypt from mid-June until mid-August, and on 22 August landed at ANZAC Cove.
The battalion had not been ashore a day when it was committed to the last operation of the August Offensive ' the attack on Hill 60 ' which lasted until 29 August and cost it 50 per cent casualties. For the rest of the campaign the 18th played a purely defensive role, being primarily responsible for holding Courtney's Post. The last members of the battalion left Gallipoli on 20 December.
After further training in Egypt, the 18th Battalion proceeded to France. Landing there on 25 March 1916, it took part in its first major battle at Pozieres between 25 July and 5 August. The battalion returned to the Pozieres trenches for a second time in late August. After a spell in a quieter sector of the front in Belgium, the 2nd Division including the 5th Brigade, came south again in October. The 18th Battalion was spared from having to mount an attack across the quagmire that the Somme battlefield had become, but did have to continue manning the front through a very bleak winter.
In 1917 the 18th was involved in the follow-up of German forces during their retreat to the Hindenburg Line, and was involved in some particularly heavy fighting around Warlencourt in late February. The battalion took part in three major battles before the year was out: the second Bullecourt (3-4 May) in France; and Menin Road (20-22 September) and Poelcappelle (9-10 October) in Belgium.
After another winter of trench duty, the spring of 1918 brought a major German offensive that the 18th Battalion helped to repel. With this last desperate offensive turned back, the Allied armies turned to the offensive and the 18th participated in the battles that pushed the German Army ever closer to defeat: Amiens on 8 August, the legendary attack on Mont St Quentin on 31 August, and the forcing of the Beaurevoir Line around Montbrehain on 3 October. For his actions at Montbrehain, Lieutenant Joseph Maxwell was awarded the Victoria Cross. Montbrehain was the battalion's last battle; it was training out of the line when the armistice was declared and was disbanded on 11 April 1919.
|Conflict||First World War, 1914-1918|