World War 1

  • Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

    Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
    On June 28th, 1914, the asassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the next heir to the throne, took place. The archduke was paying a visit to the wounded from that previous attack but was shot by one of Cabrinovic's cohorts. 19 year old, Gavrilo Princip.
  • Britain declares war on Germany.

    Britain declares war on Germany.
    Australia quickly pledged its support for Britain. As Andrew Fisher said shortly before he was elected prime minister, “Australians will stand beside our own to help and defend her to our last man and our last shilling.”
  • Period: to

    World War 1

  • Volunteer recuiting begins in Australia

    Volunteer recuiting begins in Australia
    By the end of 1914, 52 561 Australian volunteers passed the strict physical and medical standards for overseas service. Despite two attempts to introduce conscription, enlistment remained voluntary for the duration of the war.
  • Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Forces capture German New Guinea

    Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Forces capture German New Guinea
    AN&MEF troops skirmished with Melanesian and German troops at Bitapaka in the German colony of New Guinea while attempting to capture a nearby radio outpost.
  • HMAS Sydney destroys the German raider SMS Emden at the Cocos (Keeling) Islands

    HMAS Sydney destroys the German raider SMS Emden at the Cocos (Keeling) Islands
    The first action fought by the Royal Australian Navy. Sydney sank the Emden, thereby neutralising a major threat to the Australian–New Zealand troop convoy headed for Europe.
  • Australian troops in Egypt

    Australian troops in Egypt
    Australian and New Zealand troops were diverted to Egypt as a garrison force to protect the Suez Canal against the Ottoman Turks.
  • Australians land at ANZAC Cove

    Australians land at ANZAC Cove
    British, Australian, New Zealand and French troops made a pre-dawn amphibious landing on or near the Gallipoli peninsula. While the British landed at Helles on the southern tip of the peninsula, and the French at Kum Kale on the Turkish mainland, the Australians and New Zealanders landed at Anzac Cove. Although only lightly defended by the Turks, Anzac Cove was overlooked by precipitous terrain and was easily defended.
  • Baby 700

    Baby 700
    Australian and New Zealand troops attacked the Turkish-occupied feature known as Baby 700. Turkish fire swept into the unsupported left flank of the assaulting infantry and the attack ground to a halt nowhere near its objective. It was a failure that cost the Australians and New Zealanders approximately 1,000 casualties.
  • Burial truce

    Burial truce
    So pervasive was the stench of the Turkish corpses resulting from the attack on 19 May that a temporary truce was negotiated between Australian and Turkish troops to recover the dead from no-man’s land for burial.
  • The August offensives

    The August offensives
    A series of British attacks were launched along the Gallipoli peninsula in a renewed attempt to break out from the beach heads at Anzac and Cape Helles and capture the high ground of the Kilid Bair Plateau and the Sari Bair Range. Several attacks were intended to draw Turkish reserves south from the main assault on the Sari Bair Range. The main assault of the offensive took place north of the ANZAC positions against the heights of Sari Bair.
  • Battle of Lone Pine

    Battle of Lone Pine
    The 1st Division assaulted the Turkish positions at Lone Pine, which they ultimately captured, and spent the next three days defending it against repeated counter-attacks. So fierce was the fighting at Lone Pine that the 1st and 3rd brigades suffered 2,277 casualties. Seven Victoria Crosses were awarded to Australian troops for this action.
  • Charge at the Nek

    Charge at the Nek
    dismounted Australian light horsemen charged the Turkish trenches at the Nek in what was a callous and ultimately futile charge against machine-gun and rifle fire. The attack failed, with 234 of the 8th and 10th Light Horse regiments killed and some 140 wounded.
  • Evacuation of Gallipoli

    Evacuation of Gallipoli
    The evacuation of all British, New Zealand, and Australian troops from Anzac Cove was, according to ANZACorps diary, completed with a single casualty.
  • Battle of Fromelles

    Battle of Fromelles
  • Battle of Pozières

    Battle of Pozières
    ANZAC was assigned the task of capturing Pozières village and moving the line northwards towards Mouquet Farm. On 23 July the 1st Division attacked and captured the German-occupied village, making an advance of over 1,000 yards. The successful capture of the village pushed a bulge in the British line, thereby allowing German artillery to relentlessly shell the Australian positions from multiple sides.
  • Battle of Romania

    Battle of Romania
  • First conscription referendum

    First conscription referendum
    With casualties on the Western Front soon outstripping enlistment, political leaders in Australia raised the issue of conscription. Australia divided along sectarian lines. The issue was put to the Australian people in a referendum, and was narrowly rejected with a margin of 49 per cent for and 51 per cent against.
  • Battle of Flers

    Battle of Flers
    After returning to the Somme, I ANZAC conducted some smaller operations against the village of Flers. Although some gains were made, German counter-attacks ultimately recaptured the positions.
  • Battle of the Somme ends

    Battle of the Somme ends
    The battle of the Somme came to an end before the onset of winter. Many objectives set for the British for the first day of the campaign remained in the hands of the enemy. I ANZAC occupied positions between the villages of Flers and Gueudecourt, where it endured the harshest European winter for 40 years.
  • Withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line

    Withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line
    The German army made a tactical withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line, a heavily fortified series of defences they had been preparing for some months. This had the advantage of shortening their defensive line as well as creating a much stronger position.
  • United States declares war on Germany

    United States declares war on Germany
    The German army made a tactical withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line, a heavily fortified series of defences they had been preparing for some months. This had the advantage of shortening their defensive line as well as creating a much stronger position.
  • First battle of Bullecourt

    First battle of Bullecourt
    Troops of the 4th Division assaulted the Hindenburg Line at Bullecourt in what was a poorly planned and executed attack. Instead of relying on the customary artillery barrage to destroy the thick belts of barbed wire, British commander General Hubert Gough decided to employ 12 tanks to advance ahead of the infantry in order to retain the element of surprise. On 10 April almost all of the tanks failed to arrive at the rendezvous point.
  • Second battle of Bullecourt

    Second battle of Bullecourt
    The Hindenburg Line was again attacked at Bullecourt on 3 May, this time by two brigades of the 2nd Division, which ultimately captured and held enemy positions against a series of German counter-attacks. It was a successful yet costly action. Determined German responses followed over the next fortnight. On 7 May, the British succeeded in pushing into Bullecourt village and linking up with the Australians.
  • Battle of Messines

    Battle of Messines
    While I ANZAC was recovering from Bullecourt, further to the north II ANZAC formed the southernmost flank of the British attack on Messines Ridge. The objective was to eliminate a salient that had developed in the line south of Ypres, enclosing the Wytschaete–Messines Ridge and thus providing the Germans with excellent observation of the area from which the British intended to launch a major offensive.
  • Battle of Menin Road

    Battle of Menin Road
    I ANZAC attacked Menin Road as part of the British 2nd Army – the first in a series of attacks intended to capture the Gheluvelt Plateau in Belgium. Menin Road was the opening action of the second phase of the third battle of Ypres, and was the first time Australian troops were used in this campaign. Troops from the 1st and 2nd divisions successfully attacked German positions near Glencourse Wood as part of a wider operation. Overcoming formidable German positions, they made considerable gains.
  • Battle of Polygon Wood

    Battle of Polygon Wood
    The 5th and 4th divisions attacked the German stronghold of Polygon Wood as a part of the Third Battle of Ypres. This was the second of the three “Plumer Battles”, a series of successful limited-objective set-piece attacks designed by General Plumer, the officer commanding the British II Army. The infantry advanced behind an extremely heavy artillery barrage and, despite suffering 5,770 casualties, gained nearly all of their objectives.
  • Battle of Broodseinde

    Battle of Broodseinde
    I and II ANZAC fought alongside each other for the first time since their formation in what was the next step towards the Gheluvelt Plateau. With large amounts of artillery, and attacking on a limited front, the Australian troops successfully captured the German positions on Broodseinde ridge at a cost of 6,500 casualties. The Australians pushed through the German lines of infantry to take all of their objectives along the ridge.
  • Attack on the village of Passchendaele

    Attack on the village of Passchendaele
    The last Australian attack during the Third Battle of Ypres attempted to capture the village of Passchendaele. The 3rd Division and the New Zealand Division advanced alongside five British divisions, but were bogged down in the valley well short of their objective. After this, the Australians were relieved by the Canadian Corps to the Messines sector for the winter.
  • Battle of Beersheba

    Battle of Beersheba
    The most famous mounted charge involving the Australian Light Horse was carried out against the fixed Turkish defences at Beersheba in Palestine, and followed two failed attempts to capture Gaza. The charge was made by 400–500 troops of the 4th Light Horse Brigade, who galloped into the face of Turkish machine-gun, rifle, and artillery fire and breached the enemy defences. Beersheba fell to the Australian Light Horse with less than 70 casualties.
  • Second conscription referendum

    Second conscription referendum
    This referendum, like the first, rejected conscription by a slim margin.
  • Spring Offensive

    Spring Offensive
    The German army launched its Spring Offensive with a staggering 63 divisions over a 110-kilometre front. The capitulation of Russia had enabled the Germans to employ in the west units previously engaged on the Eastern Front, before the balance of matériel tipped in the favour of the allies with the arrival of the American Expeditionary Forces.
  • Attacks on Dernancourt

    Attacks on Dernancourt
    On 28 March 1918 troops of the 4th Australian Division occupying positions around the village of Dernancourt were met with the German Army’s Spring Offensive advance. The fighting extended all the way from Dernancourt to Albert, but all attacks were beaten back. In the same area on 5 April four German divisions launched a heavy attack on two brigades of the 4th Division, strung out along the railway siding.
  • Amiens

    The Germans renew their attempt to capture Amiens, a point on the plateau south of the Somme River where it was possible to bring Amiens under heavy shell-fire. They attacked with 15 divisions along a wide front but paid particular attention to the village of Villers-Bretonneux, where the 9th Brigade was heavily engaged. British units managed to hold Villers-Bretonneux for a time, but the action cost the 9th Brigade 665 casualties.
  • Villers-Bretonneux

    After the action on 5 April, German troops successfully captured Villers-Bretonneux – the last major village before Amiens and an important railhead to Paris. As the Germans had stretched their supply lines in the great advance of Operation Michael, it was deemed important for allied troops to regain control of the village. Australia’s 13th Brigade of the 4th Division and 15th Brigade of the 5th Division launched a counter-attack and were able to wrest control of the village from the Germans.
  • Battle of Hamel

    Battle of Hamel
    Using aircraft, artillery, and armour in effective combination with infantry, the attack mounted by General Monash was over in the space of 93 minutes – just three minutes over schedule – having achieved its objective of straightening the allied line and taking the town of Hamel. The Australian Corps advanced the line by two kilometres across a 6.5-kilometre front and captured 1,600 prisoners, 200 machine guns, trench mortars, and anti-tank weapons. The Australians suffered 1,204 casualties.
  • Battle of Amiens

    Battle of Amiens
    In response to the German Spring Offensive, 20 allied divisions launched a massive counter-offensive against the German Army. The Australians advanced 11 kilometres and the Canadians almost 13. Australia’s 4th and 5th divisions led the advance before the 2nd and 3rd divisions took another three kilometres and secured the secondary objective.
  • Advance to Péronne

    Advance to Péronne
    Péronne, an ancient French town at the junction of the Somme and Cologne rivers, was the objective of a series of operations mounted by the Australian Corps between 29 August and 2 September 1918. Advancing along the south bank of the Somme, the Australian Corps made its first attempt to take Péronne on 29 August. Neither the 2nd Division before the town nor the 5th Division to the south of it was able to secure a crossing point over the Somme, and the town remained firmly in German hands.
  • Battle of Mont St Quentin

    Battle of Mont St Quentin
    The 2nd Division crossed the Somme River and attacked and captured Mont St Quentin, while the 5th Division attacked and captured Péronne. The attack on Mont St Quentin was extremely difficult: the steep sides of the hill prevented the effective use of artillery and the infantry advanced under the cover of rifle grenades and trench mortars.
  • Preparing for the Hindenburg Line

    Preparing for the Hindenburg Line
    Throughout September the Australian Corps assisted the British in securing a position from which an attack could be launched on the Hindenburg Line’s main defensive system. A preliminary attack by the 1st and 4th divisions captured some of the advanced defensive posts. In all, 4,300 Germans were taken prisoner.
  • Battle at Megiddo

    Battle at Megiddo
    The British continued their offensive into Palestine, and during the battle at Megiddo on 28 September two divisions of Australian mounted troops, along with No. 1 Squadron, AFC, took part in the decisive victory in which 70,000 Turkish soldiers were taken prisoner.
  • Breaking of the Hindenburg Line

    Breaking of the Hindenburg Line
    Australian and American troops spearheaded the British attack on the Hindenburg Line. Working in conjunction with massive amounts of artillery, aircraft, and tanks, they succeeded in breaking through at Bellicourt with extremely heavy casualties. In this part of the line the Canal du Nord was incorporated into the defences, and the Australian and US troops attacked across the Bellicourt tunnel.
  • Battle of Montbrehain

    Battle of Montbrehain
    The Australian Corps fought its last action on the Western Front at Montbrehain. By this time, the Australian Corps had been fighting for six months without rest, resulting in 11 of the 60 battalions being disbanded due to heavy casualties and low numbers of reinforcements. A total of 27,000 Australian troops had been killed or wounded since the start of the offensive at Amiens on 8 August.
  • Turkey signs armistice

    Turkey signs armistice
    At the end of October the Turkish government signed an armistice, bringing an end to the fighting in the Middle East.
  • Armistice

    On 11 November the German government signed an armistice that brought an end to the First World War. By the war’s end 61,512 Australians had been killed or died of wounds or disease, and 152,000 had been wounded.