4th Sept 1918: Somme obstacle for Australians vigorous pursuit of retreating enemy

Peronne - E03235From the morning of the 4th September it was obvious that the German Army intentions were to withdraw to the Hindenburg Line some 20 kms distant to the east. The Somme that had been to focal point for so many years had been crossed and now attention was turning to the enemy’s last line of defence. However on the Australian Corps the river still caused a great obstacle and for many days in early September the area was a mass of activity in fixing, strengthening or rebuilding bridges and crossing points to enable all the machinery of war to move eastwards. Every available technical unit that could be spared from other urgent duty was concentrated upon this vital work. Most of the Engineer Field Companies, three of the five Pioneer Companies, both Tunnelling Companies and all the Army Troop Companies laboured in relays night and day. Peronne itself was now becoming a bottleneck, at times resembling central London at peak traffic time. Learning from way that the retreating German Army had devastated the area during the 1917 withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line, the French and British Commanders ordered their forward units to follow a vigorous pursuit policy.

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