Centenary Commemorations on the Western Front

Contact us now to register your interest to join Albatross Tours on specially timed departures of our 'All Quiet on the Western Front' tour for the following centenary commemorations in 2017-18.

2017

100th Anniversary of Battle of Messines - 7th June 2017

Soldiers at the Battle of Messines

The Battle of Messines was a successful British assault on the Messines-Wytschaete Ridge, a strongly held strategic position on the Western Front, which was held by the Germans. The offensive operation was the product of long preparation, detailed planning and sound training.

The initial assault was preceded by the detonation of 19 mines under the German font line which caused an estimated 10 000 German casualties. British, Australian and New Zealand infantry advanced behind a carefully co-ordinated artillery bombardment and took all their objectives within the first hours of the battle. German counter attacks the following day failed, and although German resistance continued until 14 June, British, Australian and New Zealand forces retained possession of the captured areas. The battle is often cited as a model for a well-planned limited objective attack.

 

 

 

100th Anniversary of Battle of Polygon Wood -  26th September 2017

Soldiers at the Battle of Polywood

The battle of Polygon Wood was the I ANZAC component of a larger British and dominion operation staged as part of the third battle of Ypres. Scheduled to begin on 26 September 1917, the attack was almost derailed by a German attack on the British X Corps to the south of I ANZAC.

The British and dominion advance began on schedule at 5.50 am on the 26th, with the 4th and 5th Divisions. The infantry advanced behind a heavy artillery barrage - the noise of this was compared to a roaring bushfire - and they secured most of their objectives without difficulty. The Germans launched several counter-attacks but these were thwarted by the heavy defensive artillery barrages used to protect the infantry consolidating on their objectives; this was a feature of the Plumer battles. The battle cost 5,770 Australian casualties.

 

 

 

100th Anniversary of Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) -  31st July 2017

Soldiers at the Battle of Ypres

The Australian infantry divisions joined the Third Battle of Ypres which had been going on since 31 July. Fortunately a change in the weather brought for them better fighting conditions. The side-by-side advance of the 1st and 2nd Australian Divisions took them up to the splintered remnants of Polygon Wood. The 4th and 5th Divisions then took over and, as part of the wider effort, they attacked on 26 September.

In both cases the fighting was bloody. German concrete pillboxes often blocked the Australians' progress, and many men fell under shell and machine-gun fire. However with heavy artillery support the objectives were taken and enemy counter-attacks held off. These advances pushed the line forward by a few kilometres, but they were made at a heavy cost; in just over a week there were almost 11,000 Australian casualties.

 

2018

100th Anniversary of Villers Bretonneux -  25th April 2018

Soldiers in a trench at the Battle of Villers Bretonneux

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. The Australian 13th and 15th Brigades were brought forward and in a model of a well-planned and co-ordinated night attack that successfully recaptured the town.

 

 

 

 

 

100th Anniversary of Battle of Le Hamel- 4th July 2018

Australian Officials meet troops after their victory

The Battle of Hamel was a well-planned successful limited Allied action on the Western Front, 4 July 1918. Designed to straighten the Allied line the battle was notable for the careful co-ordination of infantry, artillery, armour and aircraft. Two brigades of Australian infantry assisted by American troops, British Mark V tanks and exceedingly accurate artillery barrages, quickly overran German positions and took 1,000 prisoners. This battle witnessed the first air drop of supplies to Allied troops in action when RFC units dropped 100,000 rounds of ammunition to Australian machine gunners.

 

 

 

 

100th Anniversary of Battle of Mont St. Quentin -  31st August 2018

Soldiers stand infront of a tunnel at the Battle of Mont St. Quentin

As part of the Allied counter offensives on the Western Front in the late summer of 1918, the Australian Corps crossed the Somme River on the night of August 31, and broke the German lines at Mont Saint-Quentin and Péronne. The British Fourth Army's commander, General Henry Rawlinson, described the Australian advances of August 31 – September 4 as the greatest military achievement of the war. During the battle Australian troops stormed, seized and held the key height of Mont Saint-Quentin (overlooking Péronne), a pivotal German defensive position on the line of the Somme.

 

 

 

 

 

100th Anniversary of Armistice - 11th November 2018

Armistice Day - 11th November 1918

The final Allied push towards the German border began on October 17, 1918. As the British, French and American armies advanced, the alliance between the Central Powers began to collapse.
Turkey signed an armistice at the end of October, Austria-Hungary followed on November 3.

Germany began to crumble from within. On November 9 the Kaiser abdicated; slipping across the border into the Netherlands and exile. A German Republic was declared and peace feelers extended to the Allies. At 5 AM on the morning of November 11 an armistice was signed in a railroad car parked in a French forest near the front lines.

The terms of the agreement called for the cessation of fighting along the entire Western Front to begin at precisely 11 AM that morning. After over four years of bloody conflict, the Great War was at an end.

The Centenary Commemoration for Armistice will be held on 11 November 2018 at the Australian National Memorial in Villers Brettoneux, France.


 

Join Albatross Tours in 2017 & 2018 for the Centenary Commemorations on the Western Front on our All Quiet on the Western Front tour. 

Register your interest to join Albatross Tours for the following centenary commemorations in 2017-18
 
Contact Albatross Tours on 1300 135 015 (NZ 0800 446 232) for further information.
 

References:

Eye Witness to History: http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/armistice.htm

Australian War Memorial: www.awm.gov.au/military-events/

Department of Veteran's Affairs: http://www.dva.gov.au/commemorations-memorials-and-war-graves/anniversar...