Monday, 1 October 2018

Battle of Montbrehain

The 5th October will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Montbrehain. The significance of this battle is that it was the final battle the Australians fought on the Western Front.  After this operation they were withdrawn from the front line and  rested as they had been fighting continuously since late March 1918 and the war ended a few weeks later. It is doubtful if the Armistice had not intervened whether the Australians would have seen any further action in 1918.

Following the breaking of the Hindenburg line General Monash decided to keep pressing the 6th Brigade forward to the village of Montbrehain.  While it was not an essential operation the idea behind the attack was to breach the final elaborate system of German defences based on the Beaurevoir trench line. The Australians advanced in the early morning of the 5th October. While the Germans were expecting the attack the AIF successfully occupied the village and in the process captured 400 German prisoners.  The Australians suffered 430 casualties in the attack.

The Australians who died in this action have the sad distinction of being the last Australians killed in action on the Western Front.

Ballarat Courier 8 October 1918, p.3

Village of Montbrehain 5th October 1918. Courtesy Australian War Memorial

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