11th March 1918: With the expectation of the coming German offensive, the need to build intelligence on where the blow was most likely to fall increased. Patrols were sent out to capture and identify the opposing troops, such as by the 57th & 59th Battalions of the AIF 5th Division, but it was often the attempts by the Germans and the capture of their patrols that supplied the necessary information. Morale in the Australian Corps was high with the expectation that this time, as the defenders, they could do some serious damage to the enemy.
9th March 1918: Enemy shelling of the country immediately behind a considerable part of the British front began to noticeably increase. In the Australian Corps sector in Flanders this shelling fell mainly in the Douve Valley and in the battery areas which were bombarded with gas. Large Gotha planes also bombed Bailleul along with German long range guns shelling the town and the dumps and villages behind the lines.
8th March 1918: The AIF 2nd Division relieved the AIF 3rd Division and took over the southern section of the Australian Corps front in the vicinity of Ploegsteert, with the 3rd Division retiring to the Reserve in the countryside at Nielles-lez-Blequin not far from Boulogne. Once in the line a patrol of the 18th Battalion came across a German officer’s patrol reconnoitring the position at Pont Rouge, killing three and taking two prisoners.
4th March 1918: The 9th Brigade struck again at the same point and with the same strength. This time the Germans mounted a counter-attack which resulted in 32 casualties, three men missing and Captain Brodie mortally wounded.
3rd March 1918: A party of 10 officers and 225 other ranks from all four battalions of the 9th Brigade raided, killing 50 of the enemy and capturing an officer and a machine gun.
2nd March 1918: The AIF 1st Division relieved the AIF 4th Division and took over the northern section of the Australian Corps front in the vicinity of Hollebeke and Hill 60. During the relief several posts south of the Ypres-Comines canal was raided by a party of 5 officers and 120 others. Major Henwood of the 10th Battalion, having just taken over the position was killed, along with Lieut. Luscombe of the 13th Battalion. The Australians claimed to have killed 26 of the attackers and took a number prisoner, they themselves having 28 casualties and seven men of the 10th Battalion taken prisoner.
25th February 1918: Air reconnaissance and other intelligence picked up signs of a new German Army HQ being established between Arras and St.Quentin. By then GHQ estimated that the German forces in the West had grown to 181 divisions, and during the following fortnight signs of a pending attack became increasingly evident.
19th February 1918: 14th Brigade raided a post at Groenelinde Cabaret capturing seven German soldiers.
10th February 1918: Nine officers and 195 men of the 37th & 38th Battalions raided south-west of Warneton and penetrated to the second trench capturing 33 prisoners and claimed to have killed 102 of the enemy. The raiders had 39 casualties including Lieut. Crowe and Lieut. Dixon killed in action. The raid gained General Birdwood’s congratulations.
1st February 1918: The AIF 5th Division relieved the AIF 1st Division and took over the centre section of the Australian Corps front in the vicinity of Messines.
30th January 1918: The Germans laid down a gas bombardment on Fusilier Dugouts catching working parties and gassing two officers and 56 men of the 14th Battalion.
29th January 1918: The AIF 3rd Division relieved the AIF 2nd Division and took over the southern section of the Australian Corps front in the vicinity of Ploegsteert.
28th January 1918: To lessen the impact of the winter on illness, the poor discipline of the Australians in England, and to help with transportation to and from home, General Birdwood proposed to the Australian Government a move for the Australian Army Corps back to Egypt and replace British units in the Palestine campaign. Events later in March would see Birdwood telegraphing Senator Pearce to hold action on this proposal.
27th January 1918: A German patrol penetrated between two posts of the 3rd Brigade near Kiwi Farm. Their leader was killed and five wounded.
12th January 1918: The AIF 4th Division ends its temporary assignment to Fifth Army and moves north to join the other four Australian Divisions in the Australian Army Corps at the southern end of the Ypres battlefield, taking over the northern end of Corps frontage at Hollebeke and Hill 60.
4th January 1918: A German raiding party attacked some posts of the 3rd Battalion near Houthem leaving two defenders wounded.