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The ancient city of Peronne, situated on a curve of the river Somme was a major centre during the war. It was occupied by the Germans in September 1914 and was held by them until March 1917 when British forces retook the town unopposed. A year later the Germans recaptured the town during the major westerly offensive and Peronne with Mont St. Quentin became a major defensive position.

The German advance was eventually reversed near Amiens on 8 august 1918. The allies retook lost ground and by the end of August were close to Peronne. On 1 September rapid and audacious action by the Australians captured Mont St. Quentin. Later that day the Australia's advanced directly upon the ramparts of Peronne and despite a desperate German defence the western section of the town was captured.

On 2 September Peronne was freed as a direct result of the Australians moving to the north and south of the town. Peronne suffered greatly during four years of war, it was devastated in the final battle when the Germans destroyed the town including the castle and the church of St. Jean. After the war Peronne was rebuilt and is now the site of the "historial". An important national centre for the study of French military history.

 



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