14th Jul 1918: Peaceful Penetration tactics remove need for ‘Hamel 2’

By peaceful penetration the Australian infantry had now secured practically all of the objectives originally set by General Monash for his developing Anglo-French ‘Hamel 2’ offensive on the Villers-Bretonneux plateau. One outstanding troublesome area was The Mound which was attempted to be taken by the 25th Battalion during a night raid which failed before the 19th Battalion completed the task the following night. Thus through peaceful penetration by two brigades of the 2nd Division new ground 1,000 yards deep on a front of 4,500 yards had been secured for a loss of 437 casualties over a two week period. For the Germans they later reported that this type of warfare cost them more than a regular attack.

Meanwhile in Flanders Peaceful Penetration by the 1st Division in the Meteren sector reached its climax on 11th July, led by Lieut. Gaskell, MC, of the 1st Battalion who within three and a half hours cleared the German front for 250 yards south of the railway taking 32 prisoners and 3 machine guns. On the north side Lieut. Morley had even more spectacular success taking 36 prisoners and four light machine guns. In the whole enterprise just one Australian had been wounded. The raids having taken place in daylight resulted in the adjacent battalions watching the streams of prisoners coming in to also join in.

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