Rendez-vous sur battlefields sites of Pozières

  • Pozières Gibraltar

    © Somme tourisme/Nicolas Bryant

    Pozières Gibraltar

    © Somme tourisme/Nicolas Bryant

Rendez-vous sur battlefields sites of Pozières D929 80300 Pozières fr

Lyning astride the main Albert-Bapaume road, Pozières was a designated target for the first day’s advance in the Battle of the Somme, but did not fall until the end of the month.

It was the key obstacle which had to be overcome in order to capture first Mouquet Farm and then Thiepval hill. This encircling plan was largely assigned to Australian troops, the majority of whom had come to the Somme from Gallipoli.

The village of Pozières symbolise the first engagement of Australian troops (Memorial to the 1st and 2nd Australian Division). The Australians arrived on 23rd July 1916 and captured Pozières then, exhausted by incessant artillery counter-attacks, were relieved by the Canadians at Mouquet Farm on 5 September. Three of their divisions serving in the Pozières sector had lost more than a third of their men, and the village itself was completely annihilated.

The traces of a blockhouse named "Gibraltar" are still visible. Nothing now remains of this enormous 3-metre high blockhouse-observation point except its foundations. Now the property of the Somme Council, "Gibraltar" has been adapted to give a better understanding of the fighting here (orientation table at the top with a look-out tower, parking space, informations panels, picnic area...).

We can see also the Tank Memorial with its four small-scale models of the tanks used in 1916-1918. The British army was the first to use tanks, on 15 september 1916 on the Somme. Brought into action prematurely, and therefore not fully ready, they did not produce the hoped-for results. From then on, however, technology advanced steadily and tanks were involved in every battle, particularly at Cambrai in 1917 and Villers-Bretonneux in 1918.

A windmill stood here from as early as 1610, but during the First World War a blockhouse was built here which has now almost entirely disappeard. The grassy site now bears a lead plaque, representing a memorial to the 2 nd Australian Division and a bench with the engraved dedication : "The Windmill at Pozières, of which you can see the remaining traces, lay at the heart of the battle which raged in July and August 1916 in this part of the Battle of the Somme.

On 4 August 1916 it was captured by Australian troops but on this hill-top they lost more men than on any other battlefield throughout the war".

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