Mont St Quentin 3

The 19th Battalion crossed the Somme at the Clery bridge, which Australian engineers had saved and repaired despite enemy barrages. On the same morning the 33rd Battalion (9th Brigade) of the 3rd Division attacked the Bouchavesnes spur, a position which allowed the Germans to dominate Mont St Quentin, and were held up by enfilade fire from a machine gun. Private George Cartwright, stood up and moved forward, stopping every few steps to shoot.

He killed three of the machine gun team and then rushed ahead and threw a grenade at the post. As it exploded, he charged, captured the gun and eight prisoners. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions. Although the 33rd Battalion only held part of their objective, a concerted effort was made, the spur was secured and the left flank of the troops attacking Mont St Quentin was secured.

Meanwhile on the hill itself, Australian troops attacked Mont St Quentin from the north west. During the infantry charge, Australian soldiers had to fight uphill across open ground where they were vulnerable to attack from the German held heights above. The 17th Battalion headed up the Brasso Redoubt, and climbed towards Gottleib Trench. They encountered the enemy almost immediately and charged the enemy posts, yelling at the top of their voices.

The demoralised Germans, fearing they were being attacked by a superior force, surrendered in large numbers. The 20th Battalion moved up to make a bayonet charge and captured the Gottleib trench. As the Australians reached the summit, large numbers of German soldiers were sent fleeing down the slopes. By 7 am the troops had occupied the village of Mont St Quentin and the slope and summit of the hill. However, the small size of their forces meant that their hold on the position was tenuous. The reserve element of the 2nd German Guards Division, an elite German unit, counterattacked and drove the troops from the summit to positions just below the summit.

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