Military History Tours Our Other ANZAC Day 26 April 2017
Today we got to follow the battles where Australians were involved that stopped the German advance in March and April 1918 then started to push the enemy back. As you can see from our attire, it was a tad cold with a bit of sleet, but nothing to dampen the spirit of our intrepid travellers.
Our first stop was at Dernancourt where hastily placed Australian troops at a ratio of 20 (DE) to 1 (AU), held back the German offensive. It has been said that the enemy was complacent, they were accustomed to pushing all before them now they were reinforced by the armies to the East after Russia sued for terms. The complacency ended here.
Then to the site where Rittmeister Von Richtoven was shot down by an Australian machine gunner.
Next we visited the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Brettoneux there Merle, Marie, Rosalie and Genny found their ancestors on the wall of remembrance. At the site we discussed the reason why our National Memorial is near Villers-Brettoneux. It was where brigades led by Generals Elliott and Glasgow enveloped the enemy force about to force the British 8th back. An heroic battle under brilliant commanders that put pay to any further advance.
In the town of Villers-Brettoneux we visited the recently reconstructed Victoria School Museum. A great tribute by the townspeople to those who defended it nearly 100 years ago.
After this we visited the memorial at the site of the Battle of Le Hamel where for the first time all five Australian Divisions (and the 13 Light Horse) fought under an Australian born general, Lieutenant General Monash. This brilliantly planned and executed engagement secured a troublesome enemy salient and showed the world how the mechanisation and electronics of the time could best be used in combat.
After that we visited Adelaide Cemetery and saw where the unknown soldier had been disinterred and sent to Canberra. There we discussed the first tank vs tank battle at nearby Cachy.
Tomorrow is our last day on the Somme, we will follow the Australians as they force the enemy back to a point where they had no choice but to seek an armistice.