Battle of Havrincourt
Overview
 
The Battle of Havrincourt was a World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 battle fought on 12 September 1918, involving the British Third Army
British Third Army
-First World War :The Third Army was part of the British Army during World War I and was formed in France on 13 July 1915. The battles it took part in on the Western Front included:*Battle of the Somme*Battle of Cambrai*Second Battle of Arras...

 (under the command of General Sir Julian Byng
Julian Byng, 1st Viscount Byng of Vimy
Field Marshal Julian Hedworth George Byng, 1st Viscount Byng of Vimy was a British Army officer who served as Governor General of Canada, the 12th since Canadian Confederation....

) against German
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 troops, including those of the 3rd and 10th Corps, in the town of Havrincourt
Havrincourt
Havrincourt is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in Nord-Pas-de-Calais in France.-Situation:The village lies about 14 kilometres south-west of Cambrai near the Havrincourt service area on the Autoroute A2...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

.
Three divisions of Third Army attacked the village of Havrincourt; the 62nd Division, New Zealand Division
New Zealand Division
The New Zealand Division was a World War I infantry division formed in Egypt in January 1916 following the evacuation of Gallipoli. At the outbreak of war the New Zealand Expeditionary Force contained a single infantry brigade which was combined with the unattached Australian 4th Infantry Brigade...

 and 2nd Division. Defending Havrincourt were four German divisions, from the 3rd and 10th Corps.
Encyclopedia
The Battle of Havrincourt was a World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 battle fought on 12 September 1918, involving the British Third Army
British Third Army
-First World War :The Third Army was part of the British Army during World War I and was formed in France on 13 July 1915. The battles it took part in on the Western Front included:*Battle of the Somme*Battle of Cambrai*Second Battle of Arras...

 (under the command of General Sir Julian Byng
Julian Byng, 1st Viscount Byng of Vimy
Field Marshal Julian Hedworth George Byng, 1st Viscount Byng of Vimy was a British Army officer who served as Governor General of Canada, the 12th since Canadian Confederation....

) against German
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 troops, including those of the 3rd and 10th Corps, in the town of Havrincourt
Havrincourt
Havrincourt is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in Nord-Pas-de-Calais in France.-Situation:The village lies about 14 kilometres south-west of Cambrai near the Havrincourt service area on the Autoroute A2...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

.

Background

Three divisions of Third Army attacked the village of Havrincourt; the 62nd Division, New Zealand Division
New Zealand Division
The New Zealand Division was a World War I infantry division formed in Egypt in January 1916 following the evacuation of Gallipoli. At the outbreak of war the New Zealand Expeditionary Force contained a single infantry brigade which was combined with the unattached Australian 4th Infantry Brigade...

 and 2nd Division. Defending Havrincourt were four German divisions, from the 3rd and 10th Corps. In the normal course of events, 62 Division would not have been there but they had been given the Havrincourt sector out of respect for their performance there in 1917.

Prelude and description

In 1918, despite their numerical superiority and strong fortifications within the town, the Germans were unable to hold their position and by the day's end Havricourt was in British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 hands. The victory was not particularly showy or impressive, but it highlighted a growing lack of fighting spirit among the German soldiers on the Western Front. While some took no notice of this small battle, others noted its significance - indeed, Byng himself saw it as a turning point of sorts;
"He reckons his most important day with the 3rd Army to have been the capture of Havrincourt by the 56th Division in September 1918. He supported it quickly with two other divisions, and the Boches threw two of the old Vionville
Battle of Mars-La-Tour
The Battle of Mars-La-Tour was fought on 16 August 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War near the town of Mars-La-Tour in northeast France. Two Prussian corps encountered the entire French Army of the Rhine in a meeting engagement, and with the surprise entailed, successfully forced the Army of the...

 divisions of their 3rd and 10th Corps, Brandenburgers and Hanoverians, against him with two more in reserve. They were well beaten, and the heart was out of the enemy afterwards." - as recounted by Colonel Charles à Court Repington
Charles à Court Repington
Lieutenant Colonel Charles à Court Repington , CMG, was a British Army officer and war correspondent.-Biography:Charles Repington was born at Heytesbury, Wiltshire in 1858, where his father was a Conservative Party Member of Parliament...

.

Aftermath

This victory encouraged Field Marshal Douglas Haig
Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig
Field Marshal Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig, KT, GCB, OM, GCVO, KCIE, ADC, was a British senior officer during World War I. He commanded the British Expeditionary Force from 1915 to the end of the War...

 to approve an attack on Epéhy
Battle of Epéhy
The Battle of Épehy was a World War I battle fought on 18 September 1918, involving the British Fourth Army against German outpost positions in front of the Hindenburg Line.- Prelude :...

 the following day, along with other operations to prepare for the assault on the Hindenburg Line
Hindenburg Line
The Hindenburg Line was a vast system of defences in northeastern France during World War I. It was constructed by the Germans during the winter of 1916–17. The line stretched from Lens to beyond Verdun...

.

Sergeant Laurence Calvert
Laurence Calvert
Laurence Calvert VC MM was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces....

 was awarded the Victoria Cross
Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries, and previous British Empire territories....

for his actions during the battle.
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