2nd Apr 1917: AIF 4th Div takes Noreuil, last of the outpost villages in front of Bullecourt.

jensen-h06203At 5.15am the supporting barrage started to fall on the enemy positions and the two battalions of the 13th Brigade advanced together. The 51st Battalion met with machine-gun fire from the left, right and the sunken Noreuil-Longatte road ahead, causing eighty men to fall, before the position was taken and prisoners captured. The 50th Battalion were having difficulties as the suppressing barrage was too thin to be effective, and suffering enfilade fire from pockets of Germans behind the steep bank in the sunken lanes. During the fighting Pte Jensen (photograph right) rushed a position and bluffed more than forty Germans to surrender, and was awarded the Victoria Cross. With the Lewis gunners firing from the hip, the battalion advanced. However by 8.45 the position was becoming precarious. The Germans were holding the gullies in strength and the Australian casualties were mounting as the Germans started to attack with bombing parties. Fighting continued all day, but by dawn when the 51st were preparing to rush the German positions, they had found that they had retired during the night.

NoreuilThus on the left half of the Fifth Army’s front the last obstacle to Gough’s projected diversion against the Hindenburg Line had been removed, and all divisions began pushing their posts closer to the main defences which scarred the open country a mile or so ahead of them.

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