Battle of Fromelles: 19–20 July 1916
The Battle of Fromelles was the military operation, conducted by Britain on the Western Front during the World War I. This battle occurred on 19 July 1916 and it ended on the next day. The GHQ (General Headquarters) of the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) ordered to the 1st and 2nd Army to prepare for the attack and support the 4th Army on the Somme. They also had to look for flaws in the German defense. The attack occurred 16 kilometers away from Lille. Because the terrain was low-lying, both sides used breastworks instead of trenches.
This operation was conducted by the 5th Australian Division, 61st Division, AIF (Australian Imperial Force) and XI Corps of the 1st Army. They fought against the 6th Bavarian Reserve Division. However, the German division was supported by two flanking divisions. Both of them were part of the German 6th Army. Soldiers were poorly prepared. The German defense was much stronger than they believed. Also, the attack occurred during the day. At first, the renew attack on 20 July was planned. It should be carried by the 61st Division. However, this attack was canceled.
All divisions in this battle were unprepared. The 61st Division disembarked in France in May 1916. Their training was delayed because of lack of supplies and equipment.
This battle is known for massive losses in the Australian army. Australia and United Kingdom had a strength of 10.000-15.000 soldiers. They lost 7.080. The 5th Australian Division had severe losses. They lost 5.513 soldiers. On the other side, Germany had at their disposal 30.000 soldiers. They lost between 1.600 and 2.000 soldiers.