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Category: Western Front

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August 8, 1918         "The Black Day" for the German Army

Back of the ACF postcard. The front view is below.

On 8 August 1918 the Battle for Amiens (also known as the Third Battle of the Somme) commenced when a combined Australian, British and Canadian forced attacked the Germans eastwards from Villers-Bretonneux.  The offensive broke the German line so thoroughly that most of their field artillery was overrun and captured.  

  • The Allied troops advanced 10 kilometres on the first day of fighting which prompted Erich von Ludendorff to label it 'the black day of the German army'. By 11 August over 30,000 German prisoners had been captured.  

  • At the conclusion of the Battle for Amiens on 28 August 1918,  the Australian casualty toll exceeded 6,500. 

  • During the whole war, all fronts, only 4,044 Australians were taken prisoner. In the 4 days starting on the 8th August over 30,000 Germans were captured.

Australian Corps  

Corps Headquarters  

August 7th 1918  


To the Soldiers of the Australian Army Corps

     For the first time in the history of this Corps all five Australian Divisions will tomorrow engage in the largest and most important battle operation ever undertaken by the Corps.  


     They will be supported by exceptionally powerful Artillery and by Tanks and Aeroplanes on a scale never previously attempted. – The full resources of our sister Dominions, the Canadian Corps will operate on our right, while two British Divisions will guard our left flank.  

        The many successes of which the Brigade and Battalions of the Corps have so brilliantly executed during the past four months have been but a prelude to, and the preparation for, this great and culminating effort.  

        Because of the completeness of our planned for disposition, of the magnitude of the operation, of the number of troops employed, and the depth to which we intend to over run the enemy’s positions, this battle will be one of the most memorable of the whole war and there can be no doubt that, by capturing our objectives, we shall inflict a blow upon the enemy which will make him stagger and will bring the end nearer.  

        I entertain no sort of doubt that every Australian soldier will worthily rise to so great an occasion, and that every man, imbued with the spirit of victory, will, inspite of every difficulty that may confront him, be animated by no other resolve than grim determination by no other resolve than grim determination to see through, to a clean finish, what ever his task be.  

        The work to be done tomorrow will perhaps make heavy demands upon endurance and staying powers of many of you; but I am confident that, inspite of excitement, fatigue, and physical strain, every man will carry on to the utmost of his physical strain, every man will carry on to the utmost of his powers until his goal is won; for the sake of AUSTRALIA, the empire and our cause.  

         I earnestly wish every soldier of the Corps the best of good fortune and a glorious and decisive victory, the story of which will re-echo through our world, and will live forever in the history of our own land.  

   Signed   John Monash 

Lieut.General Commanding AUSTRALIAN Corps


Source:  Public Records Office, Kew London       W0 95/3430 – negative copy (white on black) early Photostat copy  Typewritten in Courier

                                                                  3rd Australian Division, 11th Australian Infantry Brigade


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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces