Western Front 1918: The German Offensives

'First Battle of Bapaume' note

The relevant volume of the British Official History makes no reference to the 'First Battle of Bapaume' - instead its section headings refer simply to the general continuation A German army column on the Bapaume-Arras Road, March 1918. H13223 Australian War Memorial/Deutsche Reichsarchivof 'The German Offensive' for 24 and 25 March. The geographical parameters of the actions for these two days, as given by the report of 'Battles Nomenclature Committee' (1922 edition) made clear that the name for the 'battle' encompassed the extensive fighting in the north-central sector of the continuously changing battle line covered principally by the dislocated and constantly readjusting formations of the left of Fifth Army and the extreme right of Third Army (in particular as regards the latter, the fighting associated with the withdrawals of V and IV Corps): 'The river Somme to Bray; thence road to Albert - Martinsart - Sailly-au-Bois - Monchy-au-Bois - Arras; thence the river Scarpe'. (The Official Names of the Battles and Other Engagements Fought by the Military Forces of the British Empire during the Great War, 1914-1919 and the Third Afghan War, 1919: Report of the Battles Nomenclature Committee as approved by the Army Council’, London, War Office, 1922, p.21).

The title allocated by the Committee thus acknowledged the very fierce fighting and the many enforced hard fought retirements which led to the British evacuation of the important town of Bapaume in the late evening of 24 March and its occupation by German forces on the following day.


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