Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Bapaume Falls

Thursday 29th August 1918

Another great leap forward has taken place on the Somme today. 18th (Eastern) Division began its advance this morning at Trones Wood at first light, sweeping through the familiar village of Guillemont an hour later and at Leuze Wood about nine this morning. This evening sees them north, west and south of Combles, though the village itself yet holds out. 

2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, then part of 30th Division lost many men at Guillemont in 1916 so it must have been with great pleasure that this morning they advanced through its few remains without a scratch, following 38th (Welsh) Division. The battalion assisted in the capture of Leuze Wood, and the high ground to the north of it, which gave it little trouble due to the speed and momentum of the advance. Then, as the adjutant informed me a few moments ago: "Our advance was held by strong machine gun fire from the enemy in position along the spur running from Morval southwards towards Combles. the battalion then dug-in as shown on the map above. Altogether four other ranks were killed and thirty-four wounded in today's action.

As already related the Welshmen of 38th Division also advanced today, beginning at Longueval captured the shattered remains of the village of Ginchy and this evening have swept on to take the hamlet of Lesboeufs.

Meanwhile, in the north, the enemy must have evacuated Bapaume as today the New Zealand Division was able to enter the deserted ruins with no finger lifted against it. Similarly 42nd Division took the now empty Thilloy and Ligny-Thilloy. Thus it has taken a mere eight days to advance from Albert to take Bapaume, in 1916 a battle of 144 days brought the army no closer to Bapaume than a few miles to the west. Nothing can so starkly underline the greatly increased efficiency of our own armies and the greatly decreased ability of the enemy to resist.

Source: X550/3/wd

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