10th Apr 1917: 12th & 4th Bgdes on ‘JOT’ for Bullecourt attack when told ‘stunt is off’.

British Royal Engineers fire gas cylinders over Bullecourt in preparation for the attack. By 4.15am the attacking battalions of the 12th and 4th Brigades were in position to their tapes and assembly positions, but there was no sign of the tanks. Lying out in the snow, the two Brigades would be easily seen between Bullecourt and Queant once dawn arrived. At 5am the message arrived that the ‘stunt is off’, those lying on the tapes simply rose and walked back without formation like a crowd from a football match. But communication between the AIF 4th Division and the British 62nd Division was lacking, and the British pushed on with their attack but without support were forced to retire suffering some 162 casualties.

Later that day Field Marshall Haig’s Chief of Staff calls General Gough informing that the Third Army was going to resume the attack in the morning to the north and to press home their gains, and that the Fifth Army must support the effort, against Birdwood and White’s serious concerns, not least a heavy reliance upon the tanks and the tiredness of the troops.

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