The Drive To Mont St Quentin

By the end of August 1918, the last German stronghold west of the Hindenburg Line was located at Mont St Quentin, which overlooked the Somme River approximately 1.5 kilometres north of Peronne. Its location made it an ideal observation point and strategically, the hill's defences guarded the north and western approaches to the town. Although Mont St Quentin, only 100 metres high, was a key to the German defence of the Somme line, Field Marshal Haig felt that there was no immediate need to push the Germans from this location.

Major General John Monash, the Australian Corps Commander, was keen to capture the stronghold with Australian troops. Monash believed that by taking control of Mont St Quentin, the line of the Somme River would be useless to the Germans as a defensive position and they would be forced to retreat to the Hindenburg Line. To achieve this, it was necessary to capture Mont St Quentin. Monash proposed that the 2nd, 3rd and 5th Australian Divisions were to take part in the attack despite their numbers being heavily depleted during earlier fighting.

An elite German guards division was among the defenders of the hill, and no tanks would be available, as the Tank Corps was stretched to the limit helping the Canadians assault Cambrai.

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