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"At a mile distant their thousand hooves were stuttering thunder, coming at a rate that frightened a man - they were an awe inspiring sight, galloping through the red haze - knee to knee and horse to horse - the dying sun glinting on bayonet points..." Trooper Ion Idriess

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WARNING: This site contains: names, information and images of deceased people; and, language which may be considered inappropriate today.

Sunday, 28 March 2010
The First Battle of Dernancourt, France, 28 March 1918, Outline
Topic: BatzWF - Westn Front

The First Battle of Dernancourt

France, 28 March 1918

Outline

 

The village of Dernancourt from the air.

 

First Dernancourt, another action resulting from the German offensive of March 1918, involving troops of the 4th Australian Division, on 28 March 1918. As a result of a British division being mistakenly withdrawn from the positions it was holding protecting Albert, the 12th and 13th brigades were ordered south from their positions in support of the 4th Brigade at Hébuterne (q.v.) to fill the gap. Marching through the night of 26 March across part of the German front, the next day they occupied positions around Dernancourt - a village on the River Ancre close by the south-western outskirts of Albert, which itself was already in enemy hands-relieving exhausted troops of a Scottish division. Here, with the 3rd Australian Division in the vicinity of Morlancourt (q.v.) further south, and the British 35th Division holding a short sector in between, they formed the southern flank of the British Third Army.

 

Previous Australian trench line near Dernancourt is illustrated by the chalky white line in the distance.

 

On 28 March the Germans attempted to continue their advance, crossing the Ancre and the Albert-Amiens railway between Albert and Buire. The first movement, carried out in early morning mist was detected by the battalions of the 12th Brigade and repulsed. Fighting along the whole front between Dernancourt and Albert then erupted, but all the attacks mounted by the 50th (Prussian) Reserve Division were beaten back on the right with the assistance of the 19th Northumberland Fusiliers of the 35th Division. The day’s action had cost the Germans 550 casualties, and the Australians at least 137.

 


The verdant fields surrounding Dernancourt disguise a terrible past with the mantle of serenity.

 

Extracted from the book produced by Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998, pp. 138-139.

 

Additional References cited by Chris Coulthard-Clark:

C.E.W. Bean (1937) The Australian Imperial Force in France during the Main German Offensive, 1918, Sydney: Angus & Robertson.

 

Further Reading:

The First Battle of Dernancourt, France, 28 March 1918, Contents

The First Battle of Dernancourt, France, 28 March 1918, Roll of Honour

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The First Battle of Dernancourt, France, 28 March 1918, Outline

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 28 March 2011 7:43 AM EADT

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