The battle of Hamel was the first major British offensive operation since the battle of Cambrai, the first major action of the Australian Corps under the command of General Sir John Monash, and the first time infantry, artillery, tanks, and aircraft were closely integrated in combat. It was also the first time the Australians fought side by side with the Americans.
According to British historian John Terraine, Hamel was “a textbook victory, a little masterpiece casting a long shadow behind it”. Fought on 4 July 1918 it was a highly successful operation, lasting just 93 minutes.
Much has been written and claimed about John Monash and the Australian Corps victory at the battle of Hamel, some of it overstating the role of the Australian Imperial Force in determining the outcome of the First World War. With infantry, armour, aircraft and artillery at his disposal, Monash had the good fortune of commanding a recognisably modern, integrated weapons system that influenced the course of British offensive actions during the final ‘Hundred Days’ offensive that ended the Great War one hundred years ago.
This video is a recording of a presentation delivered on 24 May, 2018 by Australian War Memorial historian Dr Aaron Pegram, who discusses these aspects of the battle and its significance to the fighting on the Western Front.
For those interested in learning more about Hamel the Royal Australian Artillery Historical Company will be holding Seminar 10 in their ‘Firepower: Lessons from the Great War’ Seminar Series, “Western Front: Hamel / Amiens Offensive“, on Thursday 26 Jul 18 at the Australian Defence Force Academy from 1730 until 1930.