Battle of Mouquet Farm
The Battle of Mouquet Farm, which began on 5 August 1916, was part of the Battle of the Somme and followed the Battle of Pozières. The farm was captured by Canadian troops on 16 September and then lost to a German counter-attack before being re-captured on 26 September by No. 16 Section of the 6th East Yorkshire Pioneers of the 11th Division.
Mouquet Farm was located about 1.7 kilometres (1.1 mi) north-west of the high ground near Pozières. Following the fighting that had occurred around the village earlier in the year, the decision was made by the British to gain control of the ridge beyond the village in order to create a gap in the German lines, behind the salient that had developed around the German-held fortress of Thiepval. By capturing Mouquet Farm, the British hoped that it would destabilise the German position and enable subsequent gains.
During the battle, the three Australian divisions of I Anzac Corps—the 1st, 2nd and 4th Divisions—advanced north-west along the Pozières ridge towards the German strongpoint of Mouquet Farm, with British divisions supporting on the left. The approach to the farm, however, was under observation from German artillery spotters who were able to call down barrages on the attackers from three sides of the salient that had developed in the lines. This resulted in heavy casualties amongst the attackers before they even reached the farm, however, over the course of August and into September, the Australian divisions managed to reach the farm three times, only to be forced back each time.
I Anzac Corps suffered c. 6,300 casualties and was so depleted that they had to be taken off the front for two months. As that battle dragged on, the Canadian Corps took over from the Australians, who were withdrawn on 5 September. The Canadians captured the farm on 16 September but were then pushed out by a counter-attack and by the time the battle concluded in mid-September, the German garrison still held out in part of the farm. The farm was eventually captured on 26 September following the general attack of the Battle of Thiepval Ridge by the 6th East Yorkshire Pioneers of the 11th Division, who overwhelmed the last defenders with smoke grenades.
- Coulthard-Clark, C. (1998). Where Australians Fought: The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles (1st ed.). St Leonards, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86448-611-2.
- Gliddon, G. (1987). When the Barrage Lifts: A Topographical History and Commentary on the Battle of the Somme 1916. Norwich: Gliddon Books. ISBN 0-947893-02-4.
- Grey, J. (2008). A Military History of Australia (3rd ed.). Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-69791-0.
- Miles, W. (1938). Military Operations France and Belgium, 1916. History of the Great War Based on Official Documents by Direction of the Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defence. II 2nd July 1916 to the End of the Battles of the Somme (Battery Press 1992 ed.). London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-901627-76-3.
- Odgers, G. (1994). Diggers: The Australian Army, Navy and Air Force in Eleven Wars I. London: Lansdowne. ISBN 1-86302-385-2.
- Philpott, W. (2009). Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme and the Making of the Twentieth Century (1st ed.). London: Little, Brown. ISBN 978-1-4087-0108-9.
- "Battle of Mouquet Farm, France, 5 August – 5 September 1916". Department of Defence (Australia). Archived from the original on 15 April 2011. Retrieved 10 August 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Battle of Mouquet Farm.|