Battle of Le Transloy
The Battle of Le Transloy was the final offensive mounted by the British Fourth Army
British Fourth Army
The Fourth Army was a field army that formed part of the British Expeditionary Force during the First World War. The Fourth Army was formed on 5 February 1916 under the command of General Sir Henry Rawlinson to carry out the main British contribution to the Battle of the Somme.-History:The Fourth...

 during the 1916 Battle of the Somme
Battle of the Somme (1916)
The Battle of the Somme , also known as the Somme Offensive, took place during the First World War between 1 July and 14 November 1916 in the Somme department of France, on both banks of the river of the same name...



With the successful conclusion of the preceding Battle of Morval
Battle of Morval
The Battle of Morval, which began on 25 September 1916, was an attack by the British Fourth Army on the German-held villages of Morval, Gueudecourt and Lesboeufs during the Battle of the Somme. These villages were originally objectives of the major British offensive of 15 September, the Battle of...

 at the end of September, the Fourth Army of Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages where the title of Lieutenant General was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a Captain General....

 Henry Rawlinson had finally captured the third line of German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 defences on the Somme. Unfortunately, while there had only been three lines at the start of the Somme battle in July, the Germans had not been idle during the slow Allied advance and Rawlinson's army was now confronted by a fourth line of defences along the Transloy ridge beyond which fifth and sixth lines were under construction. The prospect of a breakthrough was as distant as ever.

Nevertheless, the 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...

 commander-in-chief, General Sir 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...

, still had plans to achieve a breakthrough involving his three armies on the Somme; the Fourth Army in the south, the Reserve Army
British Reserve Army
The Reserve Army was a field army of the British Army during World War I and part of the British Expeditionary Force during the First World War...

 (later the Fifth Army) in the centre and the 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...

 of General Edmund Allenby in the north. The first step was the capture of the Transloy line by the Fourth Army.


The battle, which opened on 1 October, began well with the capture of Eaucourt L'Abbaye by the 47th (1/2nd London) Division
British 47th (1/2nd London) Division
The British 47th Division was a first-line Territorial Force division. Originally called the "2nd London Division" it was designated the 47th Division in 1915 and referred to as the "1/2nd London Division" after the raising of the second-line 60th Division...

 as well as an advance along the Albert-Bapaume
Bapaume is a commune and the seat of a canton in the Pas-de-Calais department in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France.-Geography:A farming and light industrial town located 10 miles south of Arras at the junction of the A1 autoroute and the N17 and N30 national roads its location is...

 road towards Le Sars
Le Sars
Le Sars is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France.-Geography:Le Sars is situated south of Arras, at the junction of the D11 and the D929 roads.-Population:-Places of interest:...

. The advance was resumed on 7 October and Le Sars was taken by the British 23rd Division
British 23rd Division
The British 23rd Division was a New Army division that was sent to France in August, 1915, under the command of Major-General Sir James Melville Babington...

 but progress along the Canadian lines stalled.

The weather was rapidly deteriorating and the battlefield, which had been pummelled to dust by relentless artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 bombardment over the preceding three months, turned into a quagmire. Rawlinson mounted further attacks on 12 October including the Newfoundlanders at Gueudecourt
Gueudecourt is a commune in the Somme department in Picardie in northern France.-History:During the Battle of the Somme, the town of Gueudecourt had comprised one of the most distant objectives for the British drive that opened on 15 September 1916, a drive that has come to be known as the Battle...

, 18 October and 23 October but there was little chance of a significant gain. The last throe (which by now included the Australian forces of the I Anzac Corps
I Anzac Corps
The I ANZAC Corps was a combined Australian and New Zealand army corps that served during World War I.It was formed in Egypt in February 1916 as part of the reorganisation and expansion of the Australian Imperial Force and the New Zealand Expeditionary Force following the evacuation of Gallipoli...

), came on 5 November despite protests from some corps commanders who believed continued attacks to be futile.


The 1917 battles of Passchendaele have become synonymous with mud and misery but according to the Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n official historian, Charles Bean
Charles Bean
Charles Edwin Woodrow Bean , usually identified as C.E.W. Bean, was an Australian schoolmaster, judge's associate, barrister journalist, war correspondent and historian....

, the conditions on the Somme in November were "the worst ever known by the First A.I.F.
First Australian Imperial Force
The First Australian Imperial Force was the main expeditionary force of the Australian Army during World War I. It was formed from 15 August 1914, following Britain's declaration of war on Germany. Generally known at the time as the AIF, it is today referred to as the 1st AIF to distinguish from...



The Royal Newfoundland Regiment's participation in the Battle of Le Transloy is commemorated with the Gueudecourt Newfoundland Memorial
Gueudecourt (Newfoundland) Memorial
The Gueudecourt Memorial is a Dominion of Newfoundland war memorial that commemorates the actions of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment during the Battle of Le Transloy of World War I. Located about one kilometre northeast of Gueudecourt village, the memorial marks the spot where in October 1916, the...

. The memorial marks the place where the Newfoundlanders returned to the Somme in early October after heavy losses four months earlier in the 1 July attack at Beaumont Hamel
Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial
The Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial is a memorial site in France dedicated to the commemoration of Dominion of Newfoundland forces members who were killed during World War I. The preserved battlefield park encompasses the grounds over which the Newfoundland Regiment made their unsuccessful...

 on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The rebuilt Newfoundland Battalion played a decisive role in the capture of a German strong-point named Hilt Trench, northeast of Gueudecourt village. The memorial also marks the furthest point of advance that any British unit made from the original front lines during the Somme offensive.

The Rifle Brigade counted Le Transloy as one of their battle honours for the Somme.

See also

  • List of Canadian battles during World War I
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