The Battles of the Hindenburg Line

12 September – 12 October 1918, the Battles of the Hindenburg Line. A series of very large scale offensive operations that advance to and break the Hindenburg Line system. Carried out by the First, Third and Fourth Armies these victories rank among the greatest-ever British military achievements. The German Army fights on but it is increasingly clear that their ability to do so is declining fast. Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and United States Divisions all play key parts.

Extract from a map contained in the British Official History of Military Operations,  France and Flanders, 1918. Crown copyright.

Extract from a map contained in the British Official History of Military Operations, France and Flanders, 1918. Crown copyright.

Operations since 8 August 1918 had brought British forces forward to face the formidable deep defensive systems of the Wotan Stellung and Siegfried Stellung: the British knew the latter as the Hindenburg Line. Although they would go on to face other defences, the breaking of the Hindenburg Line was an achievement of first-class importance. The text on this map, such as “Ninth”, shows the German Armies that the British were facing.

Phase: the Battle of Havrincourt, 12 September 1918

Third Army (Byng)
IV Corps (Harper)

37th Division
New Zealand Division.
V Corps (Shute)
17th (Northern) Division
38th (Welsh) Division.
VI Corps (Haldane)
Guards Division
2nd Division
62nd (2nd West Riding) Division.

Phase: the Battle of Epehy, 18 September 1918

Third Army (Byng)
IV Corps (Harper)

5th Division.
V Corps (Shute)
17th (Northern) Division
21st Division
38th (Welsh) Division.
VI Corps (Haldane)
Guards Division
2nd Division
62nd (2nd West Riding) Division.

Fourth Army (Rawlinson)
III Corps (Butler)

12th (Eastern) Division
18th (Eastern) Division
58th (2/1st London) Division
74th (Yeomanry) Division.
IX Corps (Braithwaite)
1st Division
6th Division.
Australian Corps (Monash)
1st Australian Division
4th Australian Division.

Phase: the Battle of the Canal du Nord, 27 September – 1 October 1918

First Army (Horne)
XXII Corps (Godley)

4th Division
56th (1st London) Division.
Canadian Corps (Currie)
11th (Northern) Division
1st Canadian Division
3rd Canadian Division, which captured Bourlon Wood
4th Canadian Division
Brutinel’s Brigade.

Third Army (Byng)
IV Corps (Harper)

5th Division
37th Division
42nd (East Lancashire) Division
New Zealand Division.
VI Corps (Haldane)
Guards Division
2nd Division
3rd Division
62nd (2nd West Riding) Division.
XVII Corps (Fergusson)
52nd (Lowland) Division
57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division
63rd (Royal Naval) Division.

Phase: the Battle of the St Quentin Canal, 29 September – 2 October 1918

Third Army (Byng)
V Corps (Shute)
21st Division
33rd Division.

Fourth Army (Rawlinson)
III Corps (Butler)
until relieved by XIII Corps on 1 October
12th (Eastern) Division
18th (Eastern) Division.
IX Corps (Braithwaite)

1st Division
6th Division
32nd Division
46th (North Midland) Division, which passed the canal at Bellenglise / Riqueval.
XIII Corps (Morland) relieved III Corps on 1 October
18th (Eastern) Division
50th (Northumbrian).
Australian Corps (Monash)
2nd Australian Division
3rd Australian Division
5th Australian Division, which captured the Bellicourt Tunnel defences
27th American Division
30th American Division, which captured the Bellicourt Tunnel defences.

Battle of St Quentin Canal (Saint-Quentin). Men of the 5th Australian Division advancing across country in artillery formation from its assembly area around Hesbecourt towards Bellicourt and the starting line of the 30th American Division. An 8th Battalion, Tank Corps, Mark V Tank with 'crib' is going ahead, near Bellicourt, 29 September 1918. Imperial War Museum image Q9367

Battle of St Quentin Canal (Saint-Quentin). Men of the 5th Australian Division advancing across country in artillery formation from its assembly area around Hesbecourt towards Bellicourt and the starting line of the 30th American Division. An 8th Battalion, Tank Corps, Mark V Tank with ‘crib’ is going ahead, near Bellicourt, 29 September 1918. Imperial War Museum image Q9367

Phase: the Battle of Beaurevoir, 3 – 5 October 1918

Third Army (Byng)
V Corps (Shute)
38th (Welsh) Division.

Fourth Army (Rawlinson)
IX Corps (Braithwaite)
6th Division
32nd Division
46th (North Midland) Division
3rd Brigade of 1st Division.
XIII Corps (Morland)
25th Division
50th (Northumbrian) Division.
Australian Corps (Monash)
2nd Australian Division.

Phase: the Battle of Cambrai, 8 – 9 October 1918

First Army (Horne)
XXII Corps (Godley)

56th (1st London) Division
1st Canadian Division .
Canadian Corps (Currie)
11th (Northern) Division
2nd Canadian Division
3rd Canadian Division, which captured Cambrai
Brutinel’s Brigade.

Third Army (Byng)
2nd Cavalry Division, less 5th Cavalry Brigade
IV Corps (Harper)

37th Division
New Zealand Division.
V Corps (Shute)
17th (Northern) Division
21st Division
33rd Division
38th (Welsh) Division, which captured Villers-Outreaux.
VI Corps (Haldane)
Guards Division
2nd Division
3rd Division.
XVII Corps (Fergusson)
24th Division
57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division, which captured Cambrai
63rd (Royal Naval) Division.

Fourth Army (Rawlinson)
Cavalry Corps (Kavanagh)

1st Cavalry Division
3rd Cavalry Division.
IX Corps (Braithwaite)
6th Division
46th (North Midland) Division
5th Cavalry Brigade of 2nd Cavalry Division.
XIII Corps (Morland)
25th Division
50th (Northumbrian) Division
66th (2nd East Lancashire) Division .
II American Corps (Read)
30th American Division.

Subsequent: the pursuit to the Selle, 9 -12 October 1918

First Army (Horne)
XXII Corps (Godley)

49th (West Riding) Division
51st (Highland) Division
56th (1st London) Division
2nd Canadian Division .
Canadian Corps (Currie)
11th (Northern) Division
2nd Canadian Division.

Third Army (Byng)
2nd Cavalry Division, less 5th Cavalry Brigade
IV Corps (Harper)

5th Division
37th Division
42nd (East Lancashire) Division
New Zealand Division.
V Corps (Shute)
17th (Northern) Division
33rd Division.
VI Corps (Haldane)
Guards Division.
XVII Corps (Fergusson)
24th Division.

Fourth Army (Rawlinson)
Cavalry Corps (Kavanagh)

1st Cavalry Division
3rd Cavalry Division.
IX Corps (Braithwaite)
6th Division
46th (North Midland) Division
5th Cavalry Brigade of 2nd Cavalry Division.
XIII Corps (Morland)
25th Division
50th (Northumbrian) Division
66th (2nd East Lancashire) Division .
II American Corps (Read)
27th American Division
30th American Division.

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Battles of the Western Front in France and Flanders