One hundred and one years ago thousands of Australian, British and Canadian soldiers wondered if the next day would be their last. They had their orders and knew that what they were being asked to do was pointless.
It was the eve of the Third Battle of the Scarpe, timed to coincide with a flanking operation around the already destroyed village of Bullecourt, some miles to the south. Both actions were part of the larger Second Battle of Arras.
The fighting from the 3rd to 17th of May was brutal, but not totally pointless.
The Second Battle of Bullecourt inflicted 7,000 more losses on the Australians with very little to show for the effort except for the capture of a minute portion of the Hindenburg Line.
The Third Battle of the Scarpe, as the fighting over 3-4 May was named, was an unmitigated disaster for the British Army which suffered nearly 6,000 men killed for little material gain.
On the 3rd May seven years ago, on a Great War Forum, Jim Smithson wrote:-
Today, 94 Years ago, one of the most ludicrous of all offensives took place near Arras. The French offensive had failed, how much damage this had caused the French Army in terms of morale was not as yet known, but still we carried out poorly supported and badly prepared assaults on positions that had been repeatedly reinforced over the previous days. The result was one of the blackest days for the British Army of this or any war.
I raise a glass this evening to all those brave souls who suffered in any way on that day.
One of the brave souls who gave their lives that day was George COLLING, of Filey. I will write about him tomorrow.
It is very disappointing that Britain’s “powers that be” forget our blackest days. There are reports that the UK regime was one of the aggressors that fired missiles into Syria three nights ago, causing the massive explosion that registered two point whatever on the Richter Scale. It seems that Theresa May and her cronies want to become Blairite War Criminals. Even Weasel Macron isn’t onboard (yet) with the demonization of Iran and the scrapping of the Nuclear Deal.
(On the BBC Russophobia is dead. Long live Iranophobia.)
Who knows where this is going to end? Incalculable losses, with no gains whatsoever, probably, except for BAe Systems, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon et al.