Procrastinating on July 23, 2016

Liveblogging World War I: July 23, 1916: Battle of Pozières


Wikipedia: Battle of Pozières:

The Battle of Pozières was a two-week struggle for the French village of Pozières and the ridge on which it stands, during the middle stages of the 1916 Battle of the Somme. Though British divisions were involved in most phases of the fighting, Pozières is primarily remembered as an Australian battle. The fighting ended with the Allied forces in possession of the plateau north and east of the village, in a position to menace the German bastion of Thiepval from the rear. The cost had been very large for both sides and in the words of Australian official historian Charles Bean, the Pozières ridge "is more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth"....

Since taking over the Pozières sector, General Gough's plan had been to drive a wedge behind (east of) the German fortress of Thiepval.... The attack now moved to the next phase; a drive north along the ridge towards the German strong point of Mouquet Farm.... Initially the task fell to the 4th Australian Division, which had already suffered 1,000 casualties, resisting the final German counter-attack but both the Australian 1st and 2nd Divisions would be called on again, followed once more by the 4th Division..... After the battle it became apparent that General Birdwood had lost much of his Gallipoli popularity through his failure to oppose Gough's impetuous desire for "quick results" and his "lack of thought" at Pozières. Soon after, Australian troops rejected his personal appeal for the introduction of conscription, voting against this recommendation largely because of their reluctance to see additional men subjected to the horrors of piecemeal attacks. The Australians had suffered many losses in the Battle for Pozières in six weeks, as they had in the Gallipoli Campaign. Wilfrid Miles, the Official Historian, praised the initiative shown by small sub-units of men in clearing the Germans from positions in the village but at the same time attributed much of the severity of losses to Australian inexperience and their "reckless daring."

In the fighting around Pozières the 48th Division lost 2,844 casualties from 16–28 July and 2,505 more from 13 August. The 1st Australian Division lost 7,700 men, the 2nd Australian Division had 8,100 casualties and the 4th Australian Division lost 7,100 men. From 27 July – 13 August the 12th Division had 2,717 losses.