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Battle of Thiepval Ridge Information

Battle of Thiepval Ridge

26 - 28 September 1916
Thiepval, France & areas in its immediate vicinity
Tactically: Minor British victory
Strategically: Insignificant
Date: 26 - 28 September 1916
Location: Thiepval, France & areas in its immediate vicinity
Result: Tactically: Minor British victory
Strategically: Insignificant
: United Kingdom
Commanders and leaders:
: Hubert Gough
Julian Byng

Main battles in small caps and other engagements below:
Albert - Bazentin Ridge - Delville Wood - Pozix¨res Ridge - Guillemont - Ginchy - Flers-Courcelette - Morval - Thiepval Ridge - Transloy Ridges - Ancre Heights - Ancre

Montauban - Mametz - Fricourt - Contalmaison - la Boiselle - Gommecourt - Longueval - Trx´nes Wood - Ovillers - Fromelles - High Wood - Mouquet Farm - Martinpuich - Combles- Lesboeufs - Gueudecourt - Eaucourt l'Abbaye - le Sars - Butte de Warlencourt- Schwaben - Stuff Redoubts - Regina Trench - Beaumont Hamel

The Battle of Thiepval Ridge was the first large offensive mounted by the British Reserve Army of Lieutenant General Hubert Gough during the Battle of the Somme and was designed to benefit from British Fourth Army's Battle of Morval by starting 24 hours afterwards. Thiepval itself was a village on a spur dominating the Ancre valley, although the actual front for the Battle extended from the Schwaben Redoubt to Courcelette.

The objective laid out by British Commander Douglas Haig was to push the Germans off of the high ground of the Thiepval Ridge including the heavily fortified Stuff, Zollern and Schwaben redoubts. The Thiepval attack was then to be followed up with an attack up both banks of the Ancre River to ultimately create an unfavourable salient position for the Germans to the north of the attack zone.[1] The battle was to be waged by four divisions made up from the British II Corps under the command of Lieutenant General C.W. Jacob and the Canadian Corps commanded by Lieutenant-General J.H.G. Byng. It was anticipated that II corps would have to handle the toughest of the fighting as the Germans they faced were still defended by their well-established and by then repaired original trench defenses that the Germans had built before the July 1st beginning of the battle of the Somme and held throughout the battle to that point. As a result, II Corps was supported by six of the eight available tanks and the lion's share of the 230 heavy guns and howitzers and 570 field guns and howitzers delegated for the attack.

Following three days of intense bombardment by the 800 assembled artillery pieces the infantry attack began at 12:35pm on 26 September 1916 with the four assault divisions attacking along a 6,000 yard front. On the extreme right, following up on their success in taking the fortified village of Courcelette in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, the Canadian 1st and 2nd divisions (and later the 3rd), shielded by a creeping barrage, attacked to the north and northwest of their positions at Courcelette and were successful in achieving limited objectives in wresting the base of the ridge from German control. However, they fell short of taking their ultimate objective, Regina Trench, which would withstand a series of attacks by the Canadian Corps until mid-November, costing the Canadians thousands of casualties.

To their left, the adjoining 11th (Northern) Division, attacking northwards, quickly overran the unrecognisable rubble that was Mouquet Farm, but experienced the utmost difficulty subduing its surviving defenders. The eventual surrender of the depleted garrison allowed 11th Division to move against Zollern Redoubt but severe casualties slowed progress and by evening the attackers had stalled at its edge. This redoubt had been attacked without success in August and September by Australian, and later Canadian, divisions.

18th Division’s systematic uphill advance on Thiepval met with early success, but enemy resistance stiffened and the push through to the village was halted by machine-gun fire near the ruined chateau. A tank crucially intervened and by 2.30pm, after much hard close-quarter fighting, the greater part of Thiepval was secured; it was fully cleared early next morning. During the afternoon, following the evacuation of Zollern Redoubt, 11th Division stormed Stuff Redoubt and gained precarious hold of its southern edge.

Day two of the battle saw the capture of the German fortress of Thiepval by Major-General Maxse’s 18th Division. Thiepval village had been an objective on 1 July 1916, the first day on the Somme, and had repeatedly defied British attempts to capture it. The 18th Division had performed well at Montauban on 1 July and had since been honed by its talented commander, Major General Ivor Maxse. His division was able to attack directly along the ridge from the south, because the German position to the east of Thiepval had been weakened by the assault on Mouquet Farm.

Successful British operations concluded on 28 September with the capture of the Schwaben Redoubt, north of Thiepval, another first day objective that had been the site of fierce fighting by the 36th (Ulster) Division. General Gough was keen to continue the pressure on the German defences and so the fighting entered a new attritional phase, known as the Battle of the Ancre Heights.

It was not until the subsequent Battle of Ancre Heights that the final 'mopping up' of the Battle of Thiepval took place. During that battle on the 14th of October the last of the German defenders were ejected from the Schwaben Redoubt and the Canadian Corps finally dispossessed the Germans of the heavily battered Regina Trench on the 11th of November.


Because of the significance that the positions at Thiepval took on in being a first-day objective that was not captured until almost three months later in the Battle of the Somme, the high ground on the point of the Thiepval Spur was selected to be the location of the Anglo-French memorial to the "missing of the Somme". The impressive and massive Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme is dedicated to the men who were killed and whose bodies were never recovered in during the fighting in the vicinity of the Somme from 1916 to 1918. The piers of the memorial bear the names of over 72,000 British soldiers who were killed on the Somme battlefields "but to whom the fortunes of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death"

List of Canadian battles during World War I
Battle of the Somme (1916)
Ulster Tower Thiepval

More aircraft.

Source: WikiPedia

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