Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Attacks from Saint-Quentin to Cambrai

Wednesday 18th September 1918

Today attacks took place against enemy outposts to their defensive fortifications known as the Hindenburg Line. There was no preliminary bombardment and only a few tanks were used as this precious commodity is being saved for the attack on the main position. It was raining heavily this morning as the troops left their trenches. 

The extreme right of the attack, west of Saint-Quentin, was supposed to receive support from French troops on our right but they seemed to make little effort, meaning that 6th Division came under fire from their right flank as well as from in front and could make little headway, momentarily taking the village of Fresnoy but being unable to hold it. 1st Division on their left could also make little progress on the right of its attack but further north took its first and second objectives. The Australians achieved their first three objectives and now overlook the Saint-Quentin Canal. Early reports suggest they have taken around 4,000 prisoners.

III Corps had the most difficult task of the day, attacking the villages of Ronssoy, Lempire, Epehy and Peiziere south-west of Cambrai. 74th (Yeomanry) Division, which came to the Western Front in May from Palestine and took their objectives. 18th (Eastern) Division attacked Ronssoy took Ronssoy, aided by three tanks and with 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment in the action. They were frustrated, however, in taking their second objective. 12th (Eastern) and 58th (2nd/1st London) Divisions attacked Epehy and Peiziere respectively and both have fallen, though it is understood that 12th Division has suffered heavy casualties. Both divisions, having taken the villages, could get no further towards their first objectives due to the strength of the opposition.

So today has been one of reasonable progress though by no means the great success that had been hoped.

Source: X550/3/wd

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