Le Hamel - July 1918

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by liverpool annie, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    The offensive at Le Hamel was planned by John Monash, commander of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on the Western Front.

    Launched on 4th July it was carried out by the Australian 4th Division and four companies of the United States Army. The offensive was a complete success and demonstrated the effectiveness of Monash's peaceful penetration tactics.

    The village of Le Hamel was secured within two hours and nearly 1,500 prisoners were taken.

  2. If I may make a modest addition:

    At le Hamel it was also the first time in history, that parachutes were used to supply the troops on the ground with ammunition. Pilots did not have any parachutes, because the officers were afraid, that they were too eager to leave the plane under pressure. Only the balloonists had parachutes.
    There were also 3 Canadian divisions involved in this battle.
  3. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    A bit more to add to your parachutes Pierre .... :)

    "Give them a parachute & they will jump at the first sign of danger" a poor mentality - but it was the mentality of our generals of the time.

    Pilots such as Major Mick Mannock - became increasingly angry about the decision to deny British pilots the right to use parachutes .... he pointed out that by 1917 they were being used by pilots in the German Airforce, French Army Air Service and the United States Air Service .... instead of carrying parachutes - RFC pilots carried revolvers instead ! As Mannock said ..... unable to carry a parachute - he had a revolver "to finish myself as soon as I see the first signs of flames."


    As you said balloon crews on both sides had them from very early on ... but the British never allowed parachutes for pilots - their reason being along the lines of ..... "might curb their fighting enthusiasm".
    Germans had parachutes as pretty standard for pilots by the end of the war - ie 1918 - Hermann Goering was saved by a parachute !!!!
  4. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    They apparently dropped 100,000 machine gun bullets by parachute in that short time.
  5. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    I was not aware that Canadian troops were used in the Le Hamel battle on the 4th of July?

    From: http://magweb.n1uro.com/sample/sgaunt/sga09ham.htm

  6. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    I think maybe you're thinking of the Canadians at Beaumont Hamel on July 1 1916 Pierre .....
    the 1st Newfoundland Regiment were annihilated ..... terrible loss of life .... 733 of 801 men in the 1st Newfoundland Regiment were killed or wounded

  7. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

  8. Concerning the activity of 3 Canadian Divisions at the Batlle of Amiens, there are several sources to be found. The Canadian Divisions fought south of the Australian Division. So not at le Hamel, (and surely not at Beaumont Hamel! I am not a total nitwit :D), but they were involved in the offensive of Amiens 1918.
    Like this one source for instance:
  9. Andy Pay

    Andy Pay Member

    Another good source for the Canadians during Amiens is "The Story of the Fourth Army in the Battles of the Hundred Days, August 8th to November 11th, 1918" by Major-General Sir Archibald Montgomery, K.C.M.G., C.B., General Staff, Fourth Army. He was Rawlinson's Chief of Staff. This comes in two volumes, the 2nd volume being solely maps and panorama's, good accounts of the 4th Army's battles of the last 100 days.

  10. Dolphin

    Dolphin New Member

    Sorry to nitpick, and I know that we're getting off track here, but Newfoundlanders weren't Canadians during the First World War, as Newfoundland didn't become a Province of Canada until 1949.

  11. Aeronut

    Aeronut New Member

    I'm away from home and my stock of references so I'm going to have to comment without supporting evidence.
    I have no doubt that the cowardly use of parachutes was put forward as a reason for not giving parachutes to aircrew, its just the sort of statement someone who would never be in a position to have to use one would make, but I think the real reason is much simpler and based on hard evidence.
    The parachutes of the day were bulky/heavy affairs and were deployed by static line. Fitting a parachute per crewmember would have incured performance/payload penalties, whilst the use of static lines had its own problems.
    Reports of the testing of crew parachutes at Farnbrough that I have seen show the parachute container under the fuselage with the static line passing into the cockpit around the outside. The reports considered that the crew had to remember which side to leave the aircraft otherwise they would become entagled, in addition there would also be problems if the aircraft was inverted and the report concluded that along with the performance penalties the use of parachutes by aircrew was at that time impractical.
    All together a far less colourful explanation than cowardice but one I'm preprared to believe having had 17 years experience of testing parachute system. A truly practical crew parachute would have to wait for Leslie Irvin to perfect his man carried, rip cord deployed parachute in the 1920s.

    The Battle of Le Hamel was indeed the first use of parachutes to re-supply ammunition to troops, with both the parachutes and dropping method being developed by the Austrailians but the drops being carried out by the RAF. Two crates of ammunition could be carried on modified bomb carriers slung either side of two round metal containers containing the parachutes. Even in today's military the method and equipment used would be recognisable. Resupply by freedrop (ie no parachutes) had previously been conducted during the Battle of Kut. The Journal 'Cross and Cockade' has covered both operations in the past.
  12. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Hi Aeronut !

    I was interested in your post ... mostly because some time ago we were researching parachutes and the Caterpillar Club !! :)

    You've probably seen this already but thought I'd post for others !!


    Annie :)

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