John Monash and the end of World War One
Today marks exactly 100 years since General Monash successfully forced the German army into retreat, in what was the turning point of the battles on the Western Front in World War One.
Monash meticulously planned the strategies for the Allies at Le Hamel, a village near Amiens in western France. Such was the detail that he predicted victory within 90 minutes. In fact, it took 93.
Just prior to this event, Monash had become commander of all five Australian divisions.
The battle of Hamel provided the ideal opportunity to implement all his theories about modern warfare.
Aided by the recent arrival of American troops, the AIF took the Germans by complete surprise just before dawn.
With a combination of British tanks, hundreds of aeroplanes and lines of artillery, the Germans were completely overwhelmed.
Monash had invented the blitzkrieg, a German term for “lightning war.”
Blitzkrieg is a military tactic designed to create disorganisation among enemy forces, through the use of mobile forces and locally concentrated firepower.
Its successful execution resulted in shorter military campaigns, which now preserves human lives and limits the expenditure of artillery.
This war strategy was imitated by Hitler during World War Two.
The impetus and genius of this battle plan was for the preservation of soldiers’ lives.
Le Hamel demonstrated what could be achieved with visionary and thorough planning.
Previously, battles consisted of heavy artillery bombardments of enemy lines, which had the effect of alerting the enemy to their presence, and causing the slaughter of thousands of men.
Gone were the days of men ‘going over the top’ of trenches, only to be mown down by machine guns.
It became the standard template for the remaining battles in World War One.
Le Hamel was the first battle planned and implemented by Australia. Monash had no other plan but to win, and his strategies shortened the war.
Monash’s innovative battle strategies changed everything, on 4th July 1918.
The Yarrawonga Mulwala Pioneer Museum in Mulwala has a temporary exhibition on the many contributions made by John Monash, in both wartime and civil life.
Visiting hours for the museum are Wednesday to Sunday from 1pm to 4:30pm.
General John Monash successfully turned the point of battles on the Western Front exactly 100 years from today.
The Australian Corps Memorial at the village of Le Hamel, 17 kilometres east-north-east of Amiens.