Battlefield Guide – Gareth Davies
Tour Manager – Ben Mayne
Scheduled For – Sunday 7th March
In late 1917 the much sought after breakout hadn’t been achieved. Advances had been made and ground had been captured at Arras and in the Ypres Salient but despite its best efforts the BEF had been checked. While very costly in terms of men and materiel these inconclusive battles had enabled the BEF to learn and by November 1917 it was ready to try something new; a surprise combined-arms attack. On the morning of 20 November 1917 south west of Cambrai seven infantry divisions supported by 1000 guns started their advance accompanied by over 450 tanks. And the initial advance broke through the first two lines of German defences as planned – apart from in one place, at Flesquieres.
This virtual tour will tell the story of perhaps the most famous tank that took part in the battle, Deborah, who was involved in the battle for Flesquieres. Telling the story of the men and the machines the tour will primarily follow the route taken by D Bn Tank Corps and the 51st Highland Division. Wigs, mules, and John Lennon’s maths teacher will all play a part in the story of the battle that built the foundations for large-scale warfare in the 20th century.