the allied offensive of April 1917 around Arras and Vimy, the German
line was broken but in the south it held, particularly around Bullecourt
in the main section of the formidable German "Hindenburg
Line". to pressure the Germans the British high command ordered an
Australian advance here across open, snow-covered ground. in the dark on
the morning of 11 April, without artillery or tank support the
Australians took the forward German lines. the Germans counter-attacked
from three sides and forced a desperate retreat. the 5,000 Australians
incurred 3,300 casualties including 1,170 prisoners.
A second better planned assault occurred on 8 may. this time a heavy
pre-dawn bombardment preceded the assault and, as before, the
Australians captured the Bullecourt trenches and held firm on a narrow
front near' where the plaque stands today. in a fierce battle they
gradually expanded their perimeter despite courageous German
counter-attacks. both sides fought to a stand-still and finally the
Germans abandoned the area on 20 may. these allied gains were lost in
the German advances of 1918. the second battle caused 7.000 Australian,
2,700 British and 6,000 German casualties.
'Today, the bronze statue of the Australian "digger"
symbolises the nations' sacrifice and a generation that gave its all.