Monday 15 May 2017

German Attacks Repulsed

Tuesday 15th May 1917

Today the German Guard made determined attack around Bullecourt. The attacks on 173rd Brigade and 14th Australian Brigade were easily dealt with. 91st Brigade, below strength after recent fighting in Bullecourt lost all that part of the village west of the road to Longatte but managed to keep hold of the eastern portion. Further north the enemy made assault on newly-taken Roeux but were brushed off by the Scots of 51st (Highland) Division.

Following the end of his offensive on the Chemin des Dames and in Champagne General Nivelle has been sacked as the French commander-in-chief and replaced by General Pétain, the hero of Verdun last year. It seems that some, at least, of the rumours about French units refusing to attack are true. It is said that Nivelle had promised a comparatively bloodless offensive but the French have lost as many men as the British and Imperial forces have around Arras, making it a much bloodier attack then foretold. Pétain is not only a hero, and so someone who engenders trust in the average poilu, but a man much happier fighting defensively and it seems that, at the moment, this is all some parts of our ally’s army are capable of doing. On both counts he is clearly the man for the job. This worrying development means that it is unlikely that any further offensive actions of any great extent will take place around Arras; our armies will have to be prepared to counter any German attack designed to exploit perceived weaknesses in our ally’s forces. 

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