Le Quesnoy battle detailed
Le Quesnoy New Zealand’s Last Battle By Christopher Pugsley, Oratia Books, $39.99 .. .. .. .. .. ..
Another masterful and timely historical military reference work by Pugsley, a retired military officer and historian.
Who better than Pugsley to understand and relate the military nuances of this most important but seldom told story of the role of New Zealand Forces in Northern France just before the declaration of peace.
In 1918, the German forces were in retreat, disorganised and demoralised.
Allied troops pushed the Germans back past the medieval walled town of Le Quesnoy, deciding to come back later and remove the German contingent at a more convenient time. This town was set behind medium field guns.
The occupation forces were well organised but had made the lives of the inhabitants miserable through declining food rations and difficult conditions. The nature of the ancient fortifications made it impossible to get in or out. Eventually it was decided that the town had to be taken and it was passed to the New Zealand Division.
Initially the town was encircled by New Zealand troops but entry was not achieved. It seemed wise to look at other means and it was decided to try and scale the walls. Scaling ladders were brought up but were found to be not long enough.
It was noted that in one corner was a buttress. If a ladder were place upon it, then it would just reach the top of the city wall. This was done and Second Lieutenant Leslie Averill followed by others, climbed the ladder, and commenced the entry of the town to the relief of the locals. The saviours of the town have become heroes to the people of Le Quesnoy, as no civilian life was lost.
As always, Pugsley has researched his subject with great thoroughness and provides many references to support for his story line. This is a richly illustrated book which does not gloss over any activities that surround this remarkable action.
several layers of very high stone walls up to 10 metres thick and each was covered by machine gun posts, while inside the town were light and