The Battle of the Somme: the Battle of Guillemont, 3-6 September 1916.
Throughout late July and August 1916, Guillemont (in the southern corner of the battlefield, a few hundred yards east of Trônes Wood) defied repeated British attacks. These bloody encounters led only to partial and temporary occupations of shattered ruins as determined German counter-attacks and continuous artillery fire forced later withdrawals.
Another major attack was planned for late August, though heavy rain delayed the operations until 3 September. Preliminary bombardments began on Saturday 2 September and, at 8.50am on Sunday morning, 5th Division advanced towards the protective strongpoint of Falfemont Farm to the south-east of the village. The main assault on Guillemont itself was made by 20th (Light) Division, two battalions of which crept forward before zero hour and took the Germans by surprise. At noon the main line, including a brigade of the 16th (Irish) Division, advanced and after much difficult fighting (especially near the quarry and station) Guillemont was secured and progress made several hundred yards eastwards. Although 5th Division failed to take the Farm, units did break into the German second line position. Next day saw 5th Division attempt advances towards Leuze Wood including another attack on Falfemont Farm which was not captured until early the following morning allowing contact with French infantry on the right. Later reports of enemy disorganisation prompted renewed attacks on Leuze Wood and eventual occupation of its south-western edge.
The major portion of wood was secured on Wednesday 6 September, but further advances beyond Guillemont were hampered by fierce German fire from Ginchy and a stronghold called the 'Quadrilateral'. It was clear that capture of Ginchy was essential in order to exploit recent hard-won gains.
Campaign map Army structure Terminology