Battle of Mouquet Farm

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Battle of Mouquet Farm
Part of the Battle of the Somme of World War I
Map of the Battle of the Somme, 1916.svg
Date 5 August – 26 September 1916
Location 50°03′05″N 2°42′46″E / 50.051469°N 2.712734°E / 50.051469; 2.712734Coordinates: 50°03′05″N 2°42′46″E / 50.051469°N 2.712734°E / 50.051469; 2.712734
near Pozières, France
Result British victory
Belligerents
 British Empire  German Empire
Casualties and losses
6,300 unknown

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.

Battle[edit]

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.[1]

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, was visible to German artillery observers, who directed artillery-fire on the attackers, from three sides of the salient that had developed in the lines.[2] Many casualties were caused to the attackers as they approached the farm and in August and into September, the Australian divisions reached the farm three times, only to be repulsed.[3]

I Anzac Corps suffered c. 6,300 casualties and was so depleted that they had to be taken off the front for two months.[4] As that battle dragged on, the Canadian Corps took over from the Australians, who were withdrawn on 5 September.[5] The Canadians captured the farm on 16 September but were then pushed out by a counter-attack and by the time the battle concluded in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.[6] 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.[7][8]

Mouquet Farm aerial June 1916 IWM Q 27637 rotated North at top.jpg
Mouquet Farm aerial September 1916 IWM Q 27639 rotated North at top.jpg
Aerial photograph of Mouquet Farm and defences in June 1916 (North at top). Ruins of farmhouse buildings are rectangular area at lower centre. Trench across top right is the western end of Fabeck Graben Trench at top left heading NNW is Zollern Redoubt. From lower centre a road no longer existing runs ENE to Courcelette; road at bottom heads SE towards Pozières; road running WSW at bottom left connects with Thiepval–Pozières road. The attacks were made from south to north, British on left and Australians in centre and right
Same area in September after shelling; the original farm building area is today clear land and the farm buildings were rebuilt south of the road

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Coulthard-Clark 1998, p. 119.
  2. ^ Grey 2008, p. 103.
  3. ^ Odgers 1994, p. 93.
  4. ^ Odgers 1994, p. 94.
  5. ^ Coulthard-Clark 1998, p. 120.
  6. ^ Gliddon 1987, p. 336.
  7. ^ Miles 1938, pp. 401–402.
  8. ^ Philpott 2009, p. 375.

References[edit]

  • 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: 2nd July 1916 to the End of the Battles of the Somme. History of the Great War Based on Official Documents by Direction of the Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defence II (IWM & 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. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]