Mémorial de Pozières. © CWGC
The village of Pozières was the theatre of operations for the first large-scale engagement launched by the Australian troops.
The village of Pozières was the site of the first large-scale operation led by the Australian troops (memorials to the 1st and 2nd Australian divisions). The remains of a bunker named the "Gibraltar" can still be seen today. Pozières is also where you can see the monument to tanks decorated with four small tank models.
This village was the obstacle to be overcome to reach first Mouquet Farm and then Thiepval Hill.
This obstacle was largely entrusted to the troops from Australia the majority of which had just returned from Gallipoli. The village was situated on a ridge traversed by a double network of trenches forming the second German line and flanked by two bunkers/observatories overlooking the entire battlefield (Albert side, "Gibraltar" – Bapaume side, "the Windmill").
After arriving on 23 July 1916 and seizing Pozières, the Australian troops, exhausted by constant artillery counter-attacks, were relieved on 5 September by the Canadians at Mouquet Farm. Three of their divisions had passed through the sector of Pozières and suffered losses of more than one-third of the soldiers engaged. The village was completely razed. The name Pozières has such a reputation in the Australian memory that it was bestowed, after the war, on a small village in Queensland (Australia). On 15 September 1916, tanks made their first appearance on a battlefield. Of the 32 British Mark I tanks deployed on the Courcelette-Longueval line, only nine made their targets. Nevertheless, this date marked the start of a more balanced British advancement.
The Battle of Pozières is one of the many Battles of the Somme, an important part of the allied strategy of coordinated attacks: Russia launched the Brusilov Offensive on 4 June and the Italians attacked in Trentini. During the course of 1916, the Front line was situated between the Ancre Valley in Thiepval and Pozières. The British launched the offensive on 1 July 1916; opposite, the German army, forging solidly ahead on the village of Pozières and its windmill, resisted: 60,000 men killed or wounded on the first day of fighting. The Australian forces (1st Division, 22nd Division, 4th Division) took over and succeeded in seizing the position on 23 July. Replaced in September, the Australians lost some 23,000 men.
Somme Tourism Committee
21 rue Ernest-Cauvin 80000 Amiens
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The Somme Tourism Committee is on hand to give you all the information you need on the Somme battlefield and the Circuit du Souvenir visitor's trail: commemorations, getting around, transport, guided tours for individuals or groups, helicopter flights, accommodation and more. The Tourism Committee also publishes a range of brochures on Remembrance Tourism.
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