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Battle of Bazentin Ridge

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Source: Common Good

The Battle of Bazentin Ridge was part of the Battle of the Somme on the Western Front in France, during the First World War. The British Fourth Army made a dawn attack on 14 July, against the German 2nd Army in the Braune Stellung from Delville Wood westwards to Bazentin le Petit Wood. Dismissed beforehand by a French commander as "an attack organized for amateurs by amateurs", the attack succeeded. Attempts to use the opportunity to capture High Wood failed due to the German success in holding on to the north end of Logueval and parts of Delville Wood, from which attacks on High Wood could be engaged from the flank. Cavalry, intended to provide a faster-moving force of exploitation, were badly delayed by the devastated ground, shell-holes and derelict trenches.
In the afternoon, infantry of the 7th Division attacked High Wood, when an earlier attack could have entered the wood unopposed. The British found that German troops had occupied parts of the wood and also held the Switch Line along the ridge, that cut through the north-east part of the wood. The cavalry eventually attacked east of the wood and overran German infantry hiding in standing crops, inflicting about 100 casualties for a loss of eight troopers. The attack was assisted by an artillery-observation aircraft, whose crew saw the Germans in the crops and fired at them with Lewis guns. The British struggled to exploit the success and the 2nd Army recovered, leading to another period of attritional line straightening attacks and German counter-attacks, before the British and French general attacks of September.


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