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The current time is: 9/23/2018 10:46:02 AM
 (1914-1918) WWI Battles
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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6851
http:// 82.44.47.99
2nd B attle of Bullecourt-3rd May 1917-- A Critique
Posted on: 5/2/2018 6:49:11 AM
At its simplest, the second attack on Bullecourt was carried out in a similar manner to that of the disastrous first, though with a little more planning, but no hindsight.

Little account was taken of the enfilading machine guns nor of the continuing mistrust of the use of tanks and efficiency of rolling artillery barrages, though the Australians would have nothing more to do with tanks.

Whether the attack should have taken place here or not is still questioned. It did have its intended effect in reducing the German capability of responding to the Nivelle offensive, but it was only at the cost of massive allied casualties.

Meanwhile the Germans were able to move back, maintaining a series of defensive positions within the generally featureless countryside. This photograph, taken most probably later in the year, shows one of their command posts near Bullecourt integrating into it a British tank, destroyed on the 11th April 1917 in the first battle of Bullecourt, for camouflage.

While features such as the tank could be used as camouflage, they had the disadvantage of being capable of use as markers for allied fire. Interestingly, the bottom right corner of the photo shows a set of trench armour. There is more information at the link.

General Gough considering that he had failed completely in his original assault seemed bereft of any way to alter this second attempt and as per usual throw more men at the objective--pretty normal practice for the period-rushing forward was the thing to do ????? Boer War thinkimg--eg Magersfontein.Spion Kop,Pieters Hill and Vaal Kranz to name but a few desperate rushes

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3913

Re: 2nd B attle of Bullecourt-3rd May 1917-- A Critique
Posted on: 5/2/2018 1:50:26 PM
Hi Jim,

Here is a modern documentary on the evolution of the Battles of Bullecourt, & it's effect on WWI !

[Read More]

The ANZAC forces certainly paid a price in these WWI Battles!

Thanks again,
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6851
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: 2nd B attle of Bullecourt-3rd May 1917-- A Critique
Posted on: 5/2/2018 1:59:50 PM
Thanks Dave for your interest and post -which I found most interesting/


Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

wazza
Sydney , Australia
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant
Posts: 452

Re: 2nd B attle of Bullecourt-3rd May 1917-- A Critique
Posted on: 5/3/2018 2:58:18 AM
We did, however, get a foothold in the Hindenburg line for what it was worth...................... a hollow meaningless victory I guess.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6851
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: 2nd B attle of Bullecourt-3rd May 1917-- A Critique
Posted on: 5/3/2018 3:18:38 AM
Thanks Wazza

The Second Battle of Bullecourt inflicted 7,000 more losses on the Australians with very little to show for the effort except for the capture of a minute portion of the Hindenburg Line.

The Australian troops had been pushed to the extreme and exhibited some defiance towards the British command. Nevertheless later that year, between July and November 1917, they took part in the bloody fighting of the Third Battle of Ypres launched by General Douglas Haig.

Bullecourt, which the Australians had handed over to the British prior to their transfer, was lost once again in March 1918 before being liberated for good a few months later in September.

The tragic events at Bullecourt and a few other locations in the north of Somme contributed to the awakening of the Australian nation.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Phil Andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 3213

Re: 2nd B attle of Bullecourt-3rd May 1917-- A Critique
Posted on: 5/3/2018 8:19:08 AM
The Blood Tub...that’s how British and Australian soldiers referred to Bullecourt. That says it all.

It’s evil reputation is merited by the intensity of the fighting and its extremely gruesome character.

There were recriminations, of course.

It would be instructive to consult German accounts of the battle.

It’s all too easy to forget how hard the Germans had to fight here.

They made some furious counter attacks, and faced the Australians in close quarters combat that must have been the stuff of nightmares .

April /May 1917 were two of the war’s worst months on the Western Front, judging by the number of men who were killed.

The British, Canadian and Australian casualties were appalling ; so were those of the French.

I suspect that German losses were alarmingly heavy. I’ll check the figures.

Editing : German medical history records nearly 292,000 of their troops killed, wounded or missing on the Western Front in the months of April and May 1917. The French accounted for about 55% of these.

Regards, Phil

---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6851
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: 2nd B attle of Bullecourt-3rd May 1917-- A Critique
Posted on: 5/3/2018 9:02:06 AM
On 3 May 1917 the 2nd Australian Division attacked with the British alongside.

Although the brigade on the right faltered under deadly machine-gun fire, the 6th Brigade got into the enemy’s trenches and, despite heavy shellfire and counter attacks, bravely held on.

The 1st Division relieved the 2nd, and soon the 5th Division took its turn. Finally, after more than a week, the Germans gave up these blood-soaked fields.

Then the depleted Australian battalions were withdrawn to recover. The furious fighting, which in the end only advanced the line a kilometre or so, had been at the heavy cost of another 7,000 Australian casualties.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3913

Re: 2nd B attle of Bullecourt-3rd May 1917-- A Critique
Posted on: 5/3/2018 9:12:28 AM
Jim,

Your right the curse of the German Machine Guns! A killing machine for sure!

[Read More]

MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 7834

Re: 2nd B attle of Bullecourt-3rd May 1917-- A Critique
Posted on: 5/3/2018 9:46:25 AM
The Australian War Memorial site is critical of British command and their own Australian command for some of the decisions made that proved to be costly.

1. Australian soldiers had no use for the tanks that accompanied them at Bullecourt. It would take several months and the introduction of better tank designs before that faith was restored.

2. Failure to cover the right flank left many diggers exposed to enfilade

3. The destruction of the Australian 4th Division at 1st Bullecourt (April 11) led to a great deal of distrust between Australians and British officers.
British General Hubert Gough in particular was censured.

Note that it was Gough who had the vision that the tanks would precede the infantry and flatten the wire for them. The tanks had not been proved to be reliable and indeed when the battle began, most of the tanks broke down.

Gough was willing to try this new tactic and eschewed the usual massive barrage to beat down the wire.

Only 4 tanks made the start line and these were so slow that the infantry quickly got ahead of the tanks.

At 1st Bullecourt, 1250 Australians were made POW. This number is 1/3 of the total number of Australians taken POW during the war. (source: Walker, Bloodtub)

4. Australian infantry were very critical of their own artillery. During 1st Bullecourt, communications were very poor and Australian artillery sometimes did not fire to areas requested by the infantry because they did not know where the infantry were. When they finally fired the artillery brought shells down on their own men.

During 2nd Bullecourt, somehow the artillery ignored the MG fire coming from Quéant that had cut up Australian 4th Div in the first battle.

The result was that the MG placements on the flanks of the Australians were not dealt with by artillery in both battles.

During 2nd Bullecourt, the Australian 5th Brigade was cut down by MG fire from Quéant. These men never reached the Hindenberg Line and had to withdraw.

5. Australian historians are also critical of Haig and his subordinate Gough for pushing hard during this battle even when the signs were there that it was poorly planned. Haig in particular was centred out because he sacrificed British and Australians just to prove to the French that the British were indeed going on the offensive.
Gough was dismissed as a hard charger but poor planner.


[Read More]

[Read More]

Cheers,

George

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