Battle of Hamel

July 03, 2018

On 4 July 1918, the short but pivotal Battle of (Le) Hamel – a village near Amiens in the north of France – was fought and won by Australian and Allied forces against the Germans on the Western Front, marking a key turning point for Allied victory in WWI

Hamel was a decisive hour-and-a-half victory for the Allies, giving them an important foothold in the Somme River area on the Villers-Bretonneux plateau. Hamel straightened the front line of the Allies to advance, after years of dogged and defensive trench warfare.

But this battle’s real impact was the techniques used and inventively brought together, which became a model for much larger battles and offensives the Allies waged in the following months that brought victory by November 1918.

The Hamel campaign was the brainchild of Sir John Monash – Australian engineer, Lieutenant-General and commander of the Australian Corps. His innovative thinking, hard work, meticulous planning, coordination, communication and exquisite leadership saw the Allies conduct a far more integrated attack, with supplies to the frontline delivered more quickly and effectively (via precise airdrops and hauling by (British) tanks).

It was the first time that the Australian Corps had fought with an Australian general in command (which included five infantry brigades in our imperial force). It was also the first time that Australians had fought beside US forces, and the first time that American forces (which included four US infantry companies) had been commanded by a non-American officer in WWI. 

In recognition of his crucial role, Monash was knighted by then British monarch, King George V. It was Monash’s greatest victory as commander, which inspired a succession of Allied victories, culminating in the breaking of the Hindenburg Line.

Commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Le Hamel by:

  • (if you are near Canberra), visiting the Australian War Memorial and its displays on the Battle of Hamel, Sir John Monash and other key battles and Australian figures from WWI
  • (if you are near Melbourne) visiting the Shrine of Remembrance (Kings Domain on St Kilda Road) – the Victorian state memorial to Australians who have served in war and peacekeeping operations, which Sir John Monash was instrumental in establishing in 193
  • have a look at how the United States are commemorating '100 years of Mateship' starting at Hamel, and this video of Mike Munro talking about the historic occasion on Sky News Australia (documentary link here)
  • heading down to your local RSL for a meal and a drink
  • paying respects to our veterans and those serving Australia today
  • reading more on the Battle of Hamel and its impact on the rest of WWI, and/or
  • sharing this Action Plan post on social media with family, friends, good planners, coordinators and fellow Aussie patriots.

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