Villers-Bretonneux fell to the Germans and the railway junction of Amiens became vulnerable to capture. , These factors had proved essential to the Australian success. The British units attacked frontally and suffered many casualties.  The German offensive in the Australian sector ended in late April. The Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, fought on the 24 th and 25 th April 1918, is most famous as the site of the first tank vs tank battle in history. Click or tap for full-size image (opens in new tab).  After the Germans took Villers-Bretonneux, the first engagement between opposing tanks took place. , In the 1930s an impressively towering memorial was established at the top of the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery to honour the Australian soldiers who fell in France in the Great War. The German attack was supported by 13 of their A7V tanks, making it one of the biggest attacks launched by the German built tank. By the end of the day the village was back in Allied hands. German losses were 8,000–10,400 men. The German infantry, with thirteen supporting A7Vtanks, broke through the 8th Division, making a 3-mile (4.8 km) wide gap in the Allied line. Summary of Events. The first battle of Villers-Bretonneux, 30 March-5 April 1918, was part of the wider second battle of the Somme, and is the name allocated to the fighting in front of Amiens.Villers-Bretonneux is ten miles east of Amiens. The second battle of Villers Bretonneux commenced with an artillery barrage on the night of 23 April, with an estimated 1,000 shells an hour, directed at the village. 13 of their A7V tanks supported the advance, making it one of the biggest uses of German tanks in WW1 (the Germans only built 20 tanks in total during the war). 0 %. His first major offensive, the second battle of the Somme, had come close to creating a gap between the British and French lines.It had also reached to within ten miles of Amiens, before being stopped in the first battle of Villers-Bretonneux.  Nixe heeled over on its side, possible as a result of crossing an incline at the wrong angle. As part of the German Spring Offensive on the Western Front German forces using infantry and tanks captured Villers-Bretonneux (near Amiens) from exhausted British defenders on 24 April 1918. He left Australia for England with the 2nd Reinforcements in April 1916. The second battle of Villers-Bretonneux came during the period of the battle of Lys, but was launched further south, in an attempt to break the British lines in front of Amiens (held by the 8th Division). There was a serious danger that the Germans might break through to Amiens. In his book on the 1918 Western Front battles, Essame singled out the Australians for special praise. Both retreated; their machine guns were unable to penetrate the armour on the German tank. On 4 April, the Germans attempted to capture the town with 15 divisions but were repulsed by troops from the British 1st Cavalry Division and Australian 9th Brigade during the First Battle of Villers-Bretonneux with the help of the Canadians. Lochnagar mine The Lochnagar mine was an underground explosive charge, secretly planted by the British during the First World War, ready for 1 July 1916, the first day on the Somme. Historical background.  The Allies moved reinforcements to the Somme front and by the end of May, the German advance of the 1918 Battle of the Somme had been halted in front of Hamel. Battle. The location was chosen to commemorate the role played by Australian soldiers in the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux (24–27 April 1918). The German attack was preceded by a short artillery bombardment, with a mix of mustard gas and high explosive shells. Next morning, the Germans attacked the village with four divisions. Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux.  Although it had been one of the best British divisions it had suffered badly in the German attacks of March, losing 250 officers and about 4,700 men, reducing its infantry by half. The 8th Division was overwhelmed. , The fighting around Villers-Bretonneux in April resulted in the following Allied casualties: the Australian brigades had taken 2,473 casualties, British casualties were 9,529 and French losses were c. 3,500. Orders for the immediate recapture of Villers-Bretonneux were met with a plan to launch an attack by two brigades, the 13th and the 15th. Villers-Bretonneux is found to the south-west of the main 1916 battle areas, about 15 miles south-west of Albert and ten miles east of Amiens. Australian, British and French troops nearly restored the original front line by 27 April.  Due to the coincidence of the day in which the counter-attack occurred, the battle holds a significant place in Australian military history, nevertheless it was a combined Allied effort. On the evening of 23/24 April, an artillery barrage was fired, using mustard gas and high explosive rounds. It had also reached to within ten miles of Amiens, before being stopped in the first battle of Villers-Bretonneux.  On the evening of 23/24 April, an artillery barrage was fired, using mustard gas and high explosive rounds. Villers-Bretonneux is a commune—the French equivalent of an English town—that is situated nearly 12 miles east of the French city of Amiens, which in turn is situated about 75 miles north of Paris.It was the scene of two major battles in WWI: the First and Second Battles of Villers-Bretonneux. , While costly, the attack of the Moroccan division was a success, pushing the line further east than Australian troops had due to the strong German resistance they had encountered. See also: Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux The First Battle of Villers-Bretonneux (30 March – 5 April 1918), was part of the wider First Battle of the Somme (1918). The photograph above is of Private Alexander Ferguson Fraser. , French historian Romain Fathi has written that "In the case of Villers-Bretonneux for example, Australian accounts have significantly over-estimated the significance of the town for they have failed to consider the much fiercer German push at Moreuil and Bois Sénécat, a few kilometres further south. Mitchell's account; excerpt from "Everyman at War" (1930), edited by C. B. Purdom. In preparation for a further attack, German railway construction companies were brought up and work undertaken to repair damaged railways in the captured ground. It is the first tank-versus-tank battle. Fighting alongside the Australians at the battle of Villers-Bretonneux was a young British army captain, Hubert Essame, who would also serve in World War II under Bernard Montgomery, ending up as a major-general.  One was a "male" (the No. As the Germans turned their attention to the French sectors in May and June, a lull occurred on the Somme, during which the Australians exploited their success at Villers-Bretonneux by conducting "peaceful penetration" operations, that slowly advanced the front eastwards. Januar 2017) im Département Somme in der Region Hauts-de-France. Artillery support was available but since German positions were unknown and to avoid alerting the Germans, there was no preparatory barrage to soften up the German positions. The First Battle of Villers-Bretonneux (30 March – 5 April 1918), took place during Operation Michael, part of the German Spring Offensive on the Western Front. 2016. Multimedia Presentation of Villers-Bretonneux, Armistice between Russia and the Central Powers, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Second_Battle_of_Villers-Bretonneux&oldid=994434162, Battles of World War I involving the United Kingdom, Battles of World War I involving Australia, Battles of the Western Front (World War I), Tank battles involving the United Kingdom, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 15 December 2020, at 18:24. Three British Mark IV tanks from No. Image credit: Jean-Pierre Gourdain The town was not on the frontline before operation ‘Michael’, but defence lines were hurriedly constructed so that at the time of the Germans’ second attack there were only shallow trenches and few dugouts to provide shelter for the Allied defenders. On 24 April 1918 the Germans had taken Villers–Bretonneux, this small but highly advantageous town was a huge asset in wartimes, it was a vital point for supplies and general control, as it was situated on a major railway line. This would be a night attack, to be launched by two Australian brigades – the 13th (Brigadier Glasgow) and 15th (Brigadier Elliot).  The battle was a great success for the Allies, who had defeated the German attempt to capture Amiens and recaptured Villers-Bretonneux while outnumbered; the village remained in Allied hands to the end of the war. The Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux came during the period of the battle of Lys, but was launched against the British lines in front of Amiens.. had still not entered VILLERS-BRETONNEUX and so the 2nd Royal Berks were ordered to assist them which tipped the balance and by early afternoon 400 German prisoners were taken and 100 machine guns captured. 136 - Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux - 24 April 1918 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 90% (2 Votes) 100 %. The Australians eventually captured the German positions and pushed the German line back, leaving the German troops in Villers-Bretonneux surrounded. - Cookies. Rawlinson intended an enveloping attack, the 15th Brigade attacking north of the town and the 13th Brigade attacking to the south. It was also a high advantage point with a clear view of the Amiens Cathedral, which is located near the river Somme. [a], In late 1917 and early 1918, the end of the fighting on the Eastern Front allowed the Germans to transfer large numbers of men and equipment to the west.  The surviving German crew (out of 18 men), including Biltz, alighted from the vehicle and the British fired at them as they fled on foot, killing nine. The Germans only developed a small number of tanks, and used them in this offensive. , In early April, the Germans renewed their efforts, simultaneously beginning the Battle of the Lys in Flanders. General Rawlinson responded by launched an immediate counterattack. Second battle of Villers-Bretonneux . The Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux (also Actions of Villers-Bretonneux, after the First Battles of the Somme, 1918) took place from 24 to 27 April 1918, during the German Spring Offensive to the east of Amiens. , The British tank was next faced by two more A7Vs, supported by infantry; Mitchell's tank fired several ranging shots at the German tanks and they retreated.  Later in the month, the 25th Battalion and 26th Battalion of the 7th Brigade attacked around Monument Wood; for his actions during the assault and German counter-attack, Lieutenant Albert Borella of the 26th Battalion received the Victoria Cross. Earlier in the day, another A7V, No 506 "Mephisto", became ditched in a crater and was abandoned by its crew. We studied the ones coming from the 51st Australian Infantry Brigade who fought in the 2nd battle of Villers-Bretonneux. , On 17/18 April, the Germans bombarded the area behind Villers-Bretonneux with mustard gas, causing 1,000 Australian casualties.  In 2011, King wrote that one culprit was Barney Hines, the "Souvenir King" of the AIF, who was something of a celebrity. Mitchell's tank continued to attack the German infantry, firing case-shot. , As the German offensive ended on the Marne in early July, more fighting took place around Villers-Bretonneux, as part of diversionary moves by the Australians in support of the Battle of Hamel. La première bataille entre chars de l'histoire eut lieue le 24 avril 1918, lors de la deuxième bataille de Villers-Bretonneux (bataille de la Lys, 24-27 avril 1918, offensive allemande contre les lignes britanniques devant Amiens). [b], About noon the 1st Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters had attempted a counter-attack. The 1/Sherwood Battalion moved on April 12th 1918, eventually going into the front line on April 19th, at VILLERS-BRETONNEUX. Replacements in the latest draft from Britain included 18-year-olds with little training. The Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux came during the period of the battle of Lys, but was launched against the British lines in front of Amiens.. Arriving at Villers-Bretonneux just in time, the Australians are indeed able to hold off the Germans, launching a vicious counterattack that hurls the Germans back the first time.  The smaller Crucifix Corner British Military Cemetery just east of the town, in the shadow of a motorway embankment, contains the graves of Australian, British and French metropolitan and colonial (Moroccan) troops, the former including many Australians who fell in the area in fighting, which moved further to the east only on 8 August 1918 (but from then on rapidly). The crew left the tank, escaping to a British-held trench, much to the surprise of the troops in it. Arab forces occupy 53 miles of Hedjaz railway south of Maan. See also: First Battle of Villers-Bretonneux. Technology, Weaponry and Communications in 1918 | Australian War Memorial. 2016. In early April, the Germans renewed their efforts towards Villers-Bretonneux, a town on the high ground to the south of the city of Amiens.  A tank with troops from the 2nd Royal Berkshire Regiment made a spontaneous attack from the north, pushing the German line back about 150 yards (140 m). It is notable for being the first occasion on which tanks fought against each other; it was the biggest and most successful tank action of the German army in the First World War. It would also see the first tank-vs-tank battle, a confrontation between three A7Vs and three British Mk IVs. Next morning, the Germans attacked the village with four divisions. Villers-Bretonneux fell to the Germans and the railway junction of Amien… The Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux came during the period of the battle of Lys, 24-27 April 1918, but was launched against the British lines in front of Amiens.. The German attack was preceded by artillery, using both mustard gas and high explosive rounds. It is notable for the first major use of tanks by the Germans, who deployed fourteen of their twenty A7Vs, and for the first tank-versus-tank battle … Brigadier-General George Grogan, a witness, later wrote that it was "perhaps the greatest individual feat of the war" for troops to attack at night, across unfamiliar ground, at short notice and with no artillery preparation. The movement meant Mitchell's gunner had difficulty in aiming the 6-pounders.  Corporal Walter Brown, of the 20th Battalion, received the Victoria Cross for his actions. This site is a government site that talks about the Second Battle Of Villers-Bretonneux and what happened. Villers-Bretonneux before the war. Sie gehört zum Arrondissement Amiens und zum Kanton Amiens-4 Geschichte. By 25 April, the town had been recaptured and handed back to the villagers. , According to Romain Fathi, in New Directions in War and History, the role of the Moroccan Division at the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux has been neglected by Australian popular historians. 29571/951. The other tanks were "females" armed with 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machine-guns, for use against infantry.  A further ten Australian casualties of the battle are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux Communal Cemetery. The Germans developed a small number of tanks, and used them in this offensive. 1 Section, A Company, 1st Battalion, Tank Corps had been dispatched to the Cachy switch line, at the first reports of German advance and were to hold it against the Germans. Attempts by the Germans to recover it were unsuccessful, and it was blown up by a demolition crew during the night of April 23–24. In particular, with the way each defended newly occupied ground and in the manner that the French expected to undertake relief of the Australian line. Villers-Bretonneux is situated some 19km due east of Amiens, on the D1029 road and the A29 motorway. Villers-Bretonneux became famous in 1918, when the German advance on Amiens ended in the capture of the village by their tanks and infantry on 23 April.  At 9:30 a.m. he ordered an immediate counter-attack by the Australian 13th Brigade under General Thomas William Glasgow and the 15th Brigade under General H. E. "Pompey" Elliott, both in reserve, though the 13th Brigade had suffered many casualties at Dernancourt nearby. Total plays 3 - Last reported by kengendug on 2018-12-07 04:12:59. Seven of the new British Whippet medium tanks arrived, attacked the Germans, encountered some battalions "forming up in the open" and killed many infantry with their machine-guns and by running them down. Broadening the front under consideration, from Albert to Montdidier and looking at the German push therein, would relativise the strategic importance of Villers-Bretonneux". On 26 April, the French Moroccan Division attacked south of the town and rescued the Australian 51st and 52nd Battalions. See main articles The first battle of Villers Bretonneux and the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux. In 2008, to mark the ninetieth anniversary, the Australian and New Zealand Anzac Day dawn service was held for the first time on the Fouilloy Hill, as well as the traditional one held on the Gallipoli Peninsula. Many people, however, are apparently oblivious to the horrific but decisive Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux on April 25, 1918, in which Australians troops helped end World War I. Villers-Bretonneux ist eine französische Gemeinde mit 4464 Einwohnern (Stand 1. Instead the artillery would bombard the town for the hour once the attack began and then move its line of fire back beyond the line held by the Allies before the German attack. 1 Tank of the section) armed with two 6-pounder guns and machine guns, under the command of Lieutenant Frank Mitchell.  The Germans managed to advance towards Villers-Bretonneux, a town on the high ground to the south of the Somme River. On 17/18 April, the Germans bombarded the area behind Villers-Bretonneux with mustard gas, causing 1,000 Australian casualties. 2 men. King wrote that the Australians shared rations with French civilians in the town.