[Printed document with handwritten note at the top.]
Some news of interest re our attacks
No. 2. 11th September, 1918.
Australian Corps News Sheet.
Extracts from Allied and Enemy Press complied from Press cuttings supplied by the Australian War Records Section, and Other Sources.
Comments on the fighting at Mont St. Quentin and Peronne.
The recent fighting in the Mont St. Quentin locality is explained in the Times, Monday, September 2nd, by the following telegraphic despatches received from General Headquarters, France:–
"Saturday, 10.40 a.m. – During the night Australian troops drove the enemy from positions held by him east of Clery, capturing many prisoners and a number of machine guns. Our advance in this locality is continuing."
"8.52 p.m. – By a daring and brilliantly executed night operation, carried out with great dash and enterprise, Australian troops have seized the hill and village of Mont St. Quentin, north of Peronne, thereby gaining possession of an important tactical feature commanding Peronne and the angle of the Somme River.
"In the same operation the village of Feuillaucourt was captured, and over 1,500 prisoners were taken by our troops. Our own casualties were exceptionally light."
"8.47 p.m. – This morning Australian troops captured Peronne.
"After beating off the enemy's counter attacks at Mont St. Quentin yesterday evening, at 5.30 a.m. this morning the Australians renewed their advance in conjunction with the English troops on their left. At an early hour the attacking Australian battalions had stormed the German positions west and north of Peronne, and pressing on while fierce fighting was still taking place among the ruined streets and buildings, carried the eastern suburbs of the town."
The Daily Telegraph of Monday, 2nd September, in a long article from Mr. Phillip Gibbs, dated 31st August, says:–
"On the southern part of the fighting line the Australians, who have advanced no fewer than 20 miles since the beginning of our attacking in August, have struck again, and this morning (Saturday) have, by most brilliant generalship and the fine gallantry of the men, siezed Mont St. Quentin, which dominates Peronne on the northern side, and with it have captured prisoners amounting to at least a thousand, as far as I can tell.
"One fine feature of the Australian capture of Mont St. Quentin, which led the way to the taking of Peronne was the rapid manner in which they moved their guns forward over the Somme, and fired at close range on the enemy. This was largely due to the work of their engineers at the river crossings.
"Our Australian and Canadian troops were fresher than our English battalions, because they had escaped the previous battles more than those, and since they have done wonders. We could not have achieved these results without them, but the greatest glory of human endurance goes to the English, Scottish and Irish battalions, who fought in the retreat of March, who fought again in Flanders, who suffered losses which would have broken the spirit of weaker men, and who now, in these recent weeks, have beaten the enemy fairly and squarely back over the same ground."
The Daily Mail of Sept. 3rd, in an article pointing out the different characteristics of the various troops on the Western front, says, in describing the Americans:–
"Of course it must be remembered that these men have still the civil stamp on their faces, they are fresh from business and professions, whereas our men have acquired the queer, blank, casual look of war. And curiously enough the American in no way resembles the men from our Dominions – no, not even from Canada – while he is totally unlike both Australian and New Zealander, who certainly have the most decisive and self-confident countenances of any troops out here."
The A.I.F. in PALESTINE.
The following are extracts from various articles which have appeared lately on the work in Palestine:–
In describing the work of the A.F.C. on that front an article in the Times says: "Twelve Distinguished Flying Crosses have been awarded to the Australian Squadron in the month."
In another article in the Times of 3rd Sept., which was chiefly devoted to describing the hardships from heat and dust experienced by the Australians in the Jordan Valley, it is stated:–
"General Allenby, while presenting 38 decorations to the Anzac Mounted Division, has warmly congratulated the troops on their brilliant and consistant work. He expressed an always increasing appreciation of the fighting qualities of the Light Horse, and referred to the great part being played by Australians in France."
The Echo de Paris of 1st Sept., contains the following:–
"Recently we captured some orders signed by the Commanding Officer of a battalion to relieving troops, containing the following interesting passages:–
"Forces confronting us consist of Australians who are very war-like, clever and daring. They understand the art of crawling through high crops in order to capture our advanced posts. One of their peculiarities is that they take few prisoners, and kill everybody with bayonets and rifles. The enemy is also an adept in conceiving and putting into execution important patrolling operations. The enemy infantry has daily proved themselves to be audacious."
The Special Correspondent of Le Journal writes an article on "How the Boche was vanquished at Mont St. Quentin."
"It required a forest trapper, or a hunter versed in the art of ambush and bush-craft – and the Australians, bold seekers after adventure, are these – to venture to attack on a stormy night a strong position like Mont St. Quentin.
"At the back of their barbed wire defences the German machine-gunners thought themselves impregnable and immune from capture. Their sentries watched behind their parapets. The citadel, with its three rows of trenches, stood like a dark shadow on the banks of the Somme.
"Only a few hours were necessary for the Anzacs to conquer this impregnable mountain. Of the garrison of 3,000 who defended it, more than one third are to-day lamenting in the prisoners' cage behind the line ... To avenge this exploit a counter-attack was decided upon, but the defensive powers of the conquerors were equal to their offensive. They fought one against two. Three assaulting waves of picked men of the 2nd Prussian Guards' Division and 21st Division were engaged in hand to hand fighting. These waves were shattered and mowed down by the frightfully accurate fire poured into them. At one time groups of Germans, protected by a smoke screen, established themselves on the slopes, but the Australians, counter-attacking them without allowing them any rest, captured 500 prisoners."
Marshal Foch, in acknowledging the congratulations of Australia on his promotion:– "I cannot adequately express my admiration for the Australians' gallantry in the battles which are now raging."
Captain Persius, in an article in the "Berliner Tageblatt," August 30th, writes in a spirit of resigned pessimism regarding the future of the German colonies. He believes that even the Colonial Secretary, Dr. Solf, has of late moderated his demands for increased German possessions in Africa, whilst he himself cherishes no hopes whatever of Kiaochau ever being restored to Germany, and expects moreover that Australian and New Zealand opposition will prove an insurmountable barrier to the return of Germany's possessions in the South Seas and New Guinea.