By Col. H. Stuart. C.M.G., D.S.O., M.C. (late commander 2nd Bat. Canterbury Regiment)
After the evacuation of Gallipoli, the New Zealand Division was ordered to France and arrived in April, 1916.
At the time both sides were involved in trench warfare. The British, in conjunction with the French, attacked during the autumn on the Somme. The enemy was not sufficiently reduced in numbers, armament or moral for a decision to be obtained. It was not then considered justifiable to attack at various periods on several portions of the front. Communication had not been sufficiently perfected, nor was the artillery considered adequate.
In 1817 the British plan was more ambitious. The Arras offensive in April was succeeded by the attack on Messines Ridge, afterward by the Ypres offensive in July, and later, in November, by the Cambrai attack supported by tanks. In each case, however, the attack definitely ceased before being undertaken elsewhere.
During these periods the New Zealand Division made several gallant attacks, but were not able to make their individuality properly felt until 1918 when the New Zealand Division joined the I.V. Corps, at the critical time in March, when it completely checked the enemy’s advance at Beaumont-Hammel and Colincamps and closed the gap between the IV. and V. Corps
In the great attack which commenced in August 1918, the New Zealand Division played a most brilliant in the operations on the IV Corps front. Its efforts were crowned with almost continuous success.
- 1. The Formation of the Division
- 2. Summer at Armentieres
- 3. The battle of the Somme, 1916
- 4. Winter on the Lys
- 5. The battle of Messenes
- 6. Basseville
- 7. Gravenstaffel and the Bellvue Spur
- 8. Winter at Ypres
- 9. The German offensive, 1918
- 10. From Hebuterne to Puisieux-au-Mont
- 11. The battle of Bapaume
- 12. The battle of Havrincourt-Epehy
- 13. The battle of Cambrai and the Hindenburg Line
- 14. The second battle of Le Cateau
- 15. The battle of the Selle River
- 16. The battle of the Sambre
- 17. Conclusion