Military History

This Week in History | Week 41

By The Cove October 5, 2020

Week 41 | 05 October - 11 October


05 October 1918 | Capture of Montbrehain

At 6.05am on 5 October 1918, Australian troops of the 6th Brigade attacked Montbrehain. The objective was to establish a line running to the north and east of the town, which would secure the newly won Beaurevoir Line and act as a springboard for further attacks.

Aggressive German resistance resulted in heavy casualties as the Australians advanced. Within three hours, the men of the 21st and 24th Battalions and the 2nd Pioneer Battalion had achieved their objectives but as they tried to consolidate their positions, they were subjected to heavy shelling and uncoordinated counter-attacks from three directions. The Australians were pushed nearly 360 metres back through Montbrehain and many posts were driven to the north of the town but by mid-afternoon the front had stabilised at the boundaries, just short of the objective line to the north. The Australians suffered nearly 430 casualties, while inflicting hundreds of losses upon the enemy and capturing over 600 prisoners.

This battle was the last action involving Australian infantry on the Western Front during the war and was the battle that saw Lieutenant George Morby Ingram awarded the Victoria Cross, as the 64th, and final, Australian to receive the award during the First World War.


05 October 1951 | A second Australian battalion is committed to Korea

From September 1950 the main Australian army unit in Korea had been the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. The Australian Government announced that the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment would join it in March 1952.


07 October 1950 |  UN Command forces authorised to cross 38th parallel

In the northern autumn of 1950 when it seemed that the North Koreans had been defeated, the United Nations General Assembly authorised UN Command forces to pursue North Korean troops across the parallel. The subsequent advance precipitated China's entry into the war.


08 October 1942 | Templeton's Crossing

Templeton's Crossing was the name given to the first point where the Kokoda Trail, outward bound from Port Moresby, crossed Eora Creek. It was named in remembrance of Captain Sam Templeton of the 39th Battalion, who was killed near Oivi on 26 July 1942. During their withdrawal along the trail, the Japanese conducted a determined defence of the Templeton's Crossing area.

The 2/33rd Battalion first made contact with these positions forward of Templeton's Crossing about midday on 12 October 1942. For the next two and a half days the battalion sought to attack and then outflank the Japanese positions, but made no progress. The 2/25th Battalion, advancing on the Templeton's Crossing area along a subsidiary track, also encountered Japanese positions and likewise was unable to force its way through.

On the morning of 15 October the 3rd Battalion moved in a wide arc around the right flank of the 2/33rd with the aim of attacking the Japanese from their flank, but their positions were found abandoned. On the same day, the 2/25th was also able to break through the enemy force holding them. The three Australian battalions converged on Templeton's Crossing, but the Japanese had withdrawn.


10 October 1917 | Battle of Poelcappelle

Also called the first battle of Passchendaele, the battle of Poelcappelle was launched on 9 October with the ridge upon which Passchendaele stood as its objective. Like earlier battles in the Ypres offensive, the aim of the Poelcappelle attack was to secure a series of objectives in turn, protected by a heavy artillery barrage; the troops involved would be drawn from the 49th and 66th British and 2nd Australian Divisions.

Rain; however, had begun to deluge an already poorly drained battlefield and adequate numbers of guns were unable to be brought within range. The infantry's advance also wallowed in the mud. The Australians were able to secure some of their objectives for a short time; but, with little artillery support and both flanks open, they were forced to withdraw. The 2nd Australian Division sustained 1,250 casualties in the battle.




The Cove

The home of the Australian Profession of Arms.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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