Counter Attack: Villers-Bretonneux, April 1918
Australian Army Campaign Series No.27
By Peter Edgar
Published by Big Sky Publishing
RRP $19.99 in paperback | ISBN: 9781922265166
Rested and re-armed after the winter and buoyed by the victory over the Russians at the end of 1917, the Germans were determined to win the war before the newly arriving Americans could swing the balance against them.
In March 1918, the Germans launched a massive spring offensive.
Resting in the Ypres sector after the horrors of the Passchendaele campaign, the Australians were among the first sent south to try to block the enemy.
Germany’s goal was to capture the town of Villers-Bretonneux, key to the major rail junction of Amiens. This book deals mainly with the two counter-attacks that saved the town of Villers-Bretonneux and with some of the minor actions between the two battles, involving principally the 9th Brigade and the 13th and 15thBrigades.
The total presence in the counter-attacks was 7500 Australian infantry with supporting units. Familiar names populate this story – Birdwood, Elliot, Glasgow, Monash – but it was William Glasgow whose name ‘ought to be indelibly affixed to the Villers-Bretonneux triumph’, an assessment with which 9th Brigade commander Major General John Monash concurred.
Villers-Bretonneux was never again threatened by the enemy.