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Mont St Quentin: A Soldier's Battle

225 x 150 mm, 192 pp, 50 b&w photos

9781877058875, $32.95, Paperback

Major R. S. Billett

Available: Now

The Battle of Mont St Quentin was fought over 31 August to 5 September 1918. It was the third significant Australian victory — after Villers-Brettoneux and Hamel — that helped bring World War I to an end, and it incorporated advances in strategic planning and military technology that circumvented the stalemate that the Western Front had been for some time. Commander of the Australian forces was General Sir John Monash, who planned the operation in detail and with innovation. After frontal attack proved unfeasible, he organized a free-manoeuvre assault, using old trench systems for cover in advance, and operating without tank support or artillery moving barrages. The village of St Quentin was taken, held against counterattack, and the Australian forces then advanced on Péronne, which was cleared street by street and house by house.

Major Bill Billett, who served in both the British and Australian Military Forces, gives a detailed account of the planning and execution of the battle, never forgetting the sometimes horrific human experience of the battle, or the courage that led to eight members of the First AIF being awarded the Victoria Cross. He also discusses advances in military tactics, in maintaining morale and in the technology of battle, before then examining the record of Monash as a military commander.

Including historical and contemporary photographs, as well as maps and diagrams, the book also gives travel information for those who wish to make a pilgrimage to the Mont St Quentin area and see for themselves where and how the battle was fought.