ANZAC and Gallipoli and the Lone Pine, Le Hamel
The battle of Le Hamel was important in Australian military and civil history.
Just before this battle John Monash was appointed Commander. This had been strongly opposed by the official war historian C.W. Bean and by Keith Murdoch, founder of the newspaper empire. Monash wrote to his wife that he thought it was because he was Jewish. The opposition to his appointment, which had been approved by the Australian cabinet, was such that The Prime Minister Billy Hughes visited the war zone to interview senior military officers and work out for himself what decision should be made. He backed Monash, which proved to be an appropriate decision. This happened as Monash was planning the battle; he had to deal with military problems, as well as an attack on his reputation. Mr Bean later realised he was wrong and apologised.
Monash planned the battle of Le Hamel meticulously. There would be no storming of posts protected by machine guns by the infantry, as had been the pattern followed by the British military command. Instead he made the first major use of tanks in an attack formation, of aircraft, and of air dropped supplies, including ammunition. He even used old noisy aircraft in a psychological attack on the German troops. It was also the first time that Australian and American (U.S.) troops had fought together.
The attack on the German held positions was successful, and casualties were much lower than in similar operations. Still over 700 Australian soldiers were killed.
Several powerful videos are available of the Le Hamel Centenary Commemoration
Australian Army Video for Centenary of Le Hamel
Department of Veterans Affairs Video of Le Hamel Centenary Commemoration
A more detailed history is available by following the link to the Le Hamel Conflict at the Australian War Memorial
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