"With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause each one of us must fight on to the end."
Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, 11th April 1918
With the German's re-inforced by almost 1 million men from the capitulation of the Russian's and the impending arrival of American soldiers, they launced a series of five major offensives. Commencing in March through to July 1918 they aimed primarily at spliting British and French forces. Over extended and sapped by five continous months of fighting, the "last roll of the dice" failed.Through the later part of July 1918, the allies counter-attacked winning stunning victories and by late Spetember the German's were once again defending the Hindenburg Line. The end of the "Great War" was just six weeks away.
Our first tour concentrates on the German Spring Offensive's of March & April 1918. We trace the retreat of Gough's Fifth Army as it fell back across the Somme, where, with support from Byng's Third Army and Australian divisions the enemy was held at Villers Bretonneux. We continue the tour with a visit to the ground of the old 1915 battlefields, around the River Lys, as the German's launched the second of their offensives against Horne's First Army with the object of reaching Dunkirk. This time with the support of Plumer's Second Army and French troops, the enemy was once again denied.
In April we return to Villers Bretonneaux to commemorate Anzac Day and use it as the backdrop for our second Australian tour of our centenary programme, concentrating on the Australian exploits of 1918, including Hamel, VB, the Battle of Amiens, the advance to Perrone and the Canal du Nord.
Our final tour will follow in the footsteps of the "Advance to Victory". From the Battle of Amiens, through the second Battle of the Somme to the Battles of the Hindenburg Line. We complete the tour with the Armistice commemorations in Ypres.