Fifth Army (United Kingdom)
Lieutenant General Hubert de la Poer Gough
|Role||Operations on the Western Front, 1916–1918|
|Engagements||First World War|
|Sir Hubert Gough|
The Fifth Army was a field army of the British Army during World War I that formed part of the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front between 1916 and 1918. The army originated as the Reserve Corps during the preparations for the British part of the Somme Offensive of 1916, was renamed Reserve Army when it was expanded and became the Fifth Army in October 1916.
The Fifth Army was created on 30 October 1916 by renaming of General Sir Hubert Gough's British Reserve Army. It participated in the Battle of the Ancre, which became the final British effort in the Battle of the Somme.
In 1917, the Fifth Army was involved in the Battle of Arras and then the Third Battle of Ypres. The following year, the Fifth Army took over a stretch of front-line previously occupied by the French south of the River Somme and on 21 March bore the brunt of the opening phase of the German Spring Offensive, known as Operation Michael. The failure of the Fifth Army to withstand the German advance led to Gough's dismissal and the disbanding of the broken army. In April and May 1918, the Fifth Army was nominally commanded by General Sir William Peyton, but when it was reformed as an army some months later, its command was given to General William Birdwood; it saw little action in the remainder of the war.
Although the Fifth Army's failure to hold the German advance was thoroughly criticized, it was later "triumphantly vindicated"
- Oct 1916–Mar 1918 General Sir Hubert Gough
- Apr 1918–May 1918 General Sir William Peyton
- May 1918–Nov 1918 General Sir William Birdwood