Battles of the Somme: Battle of Thiepval Ridge, 26 - 28 September 1916.
Originally planned to coincide with Fourth Army’s Morval offensive, the Battle of Thiepval Ridge, conducted by General Gough’s Reserve Army, began exactly 24 hours later, with the objectives of securing Thiepval and driving the Germans off the dominating crest line from Courcelette to the Schwaben Redoubt.
At 12.35pm on 26 September, after a preparatory three-day bombardment, four assault divisions surged forward on a 6,000 yard wide front between Courcelette in the east and the German front line south of Thiepval. On the extreme right the Canadian 2nd and 1st Divisions, shielded by a creeping barrage, made their first objectives north of Courcelette. The adjoining 11th Division, attacking northwards, quickly overran the unrecognisable rubble that was Mouquet Farm, but experienced the utmost difficulty subduing its surviving defenders. The eventual surrender of the depleted garrison allowed 11th Division to move against Zollern Redoubt but severe casualties slowed progress and by evening the attackers had stalled at its edge. 18th Division’s systematic uphill advance on Thiepval met with early success, but enemy resistance stiffened and the push through to the village was halted by machine-gun fire near the ruined chateau. A tank crucially intervened and by 2.30pm, after much hard close-quarter fighting, the greater part of Thiepval was secured; it was fully cleared early next morning.
During the afternoon, following the evacuation of Zollern Redoubt, 11th Division stormed Stuff Redoubt and gained precarious hold of its southern edge. In the afternoon of 28 September 18th Division advanced on Schwaben Redoubt, the southern and western faces of which were occupied by evening. By the battle’s end the British had gained most of the ridge-line though sections of Stuff and Schwaben Redoubts remained in German hands.
Campaign map Army structure Terminology