Battle of Bapaume map

Battle of Bapaume map

You can also download a hi-res copy as a pdf (3 mbs).

In contrast to the relatively static trench-based stalemate that characterised the Western Front for most of the First World War, by mid-1918 the tide had turned in favour of the Allied armies and open warfare ensued over swathes of the French countryside. The map above shows the position of the front line shifting rapidly eastwards in August-September 1918 during one of the New Zealand Division’s final offensives of the war, the Battle of Bapaume.

From July 1918, the overstretched German army faced renewed attacks from the British, French, Belgian and American allies along the Western Front. On 21 August the British Third Army (with the New Zealand Division as part of its IV Corps) launched an attack north of the 1916 Somme battlefield, intending to drive the Germans back towards the town of Bapaume. This ground was chosen as it was less torn-up by years of shelling, and thus better suited to mobile attacks with armoured support. The red arrow shows the progress that the New Zealand Division made during the battle.

The New Zealand Division played a supporting role on the right flank of the main attack in the first few days of the battle, but from 24 August it took a lead role. In a single day the New Zealanders captured the town of Grévillers, Loupart Wood and the village of Biefvillers. The following day they began to surround the town of Bapaume, where several major roads intersected. The German defenders resisted the siege until the night of 28 August, when they retreated to positions just east of Bancourt and Frémicourt. The New Zealanders entered Bapaume next day and continued to push the front line further east through lightly defended towns and across largely abandoned terrain until they halted east of Bertincourt to regroup.

By early September the British First, Third and Fourth armies had pushed the Germans back to the Hindenburg Line east of Bapaume, the area from which they had launched their Spring Offensive in March.

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