3rd May 1917: Heroic 22nd Seizes the Hindenburg Line but at a Heavy Cost

The [Second] Battle of Bullecourt occupies a unique place in the Battalion’s annals. For no other struggle had the preparations been so complete, the rehearsals so thorough, or the general organisation so apparently perfect. Yet within a few minutes of its commencement, the combat developed into a pell-mell of violent hand-to-hand struggles, where the 6th Brigade met the flower of the German Army, and beat it into quiescence.” Capt. E.Gorman, MC, ‘With the Twenty-Second’.

The casualty rates during this battle were very high, and for the 22nd Battalion it was the worst day for fatalities in the entire war. No other battalion lost so heavily in the battle. Of the 21 officers and 618 other ranks that entered the battle, the 22nd Battalion had lost in 24 hours sixteen officers and 422 other ranks of whom over fifty percent were killed or missing – 165 killed or died of wounds according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records. Overall the 6th Brigade lost 58 officers and 1,422 other ranks.

Read the full accounts of the Bullecourt attack for the 22nd Battalion and the AIF 2nd Division in the Combat Areas section on this website.

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