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Victory at Villers-Bretonneux - Peter FitzSimons

Victory at Villers-Bretonneux

Hardcover Published: 1st November 2016
ISBN: 9781742759524
Number Of Pages: 800

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On Anzac Day 1918, when the town of Villers-Bretonneux falls to the British defenders, it is the Australians who are called on to save the day, the town, and the entire battle.

It’s early 1918, and after four brutal years, the fate of the Great War hangs in the balance.

On the one hand, the fact that Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks have seized power in Russia – immediately suing for peace with Germany – means that no fewer than one million of the Kaiser’s soldiers can now be transferred from there to the Western Front.

On the other, now that America has entered the war, it means that two million American soldiers are also on their way, to tip the scales of war to the Allies.

The Germans, realising that their only hope is striking at the Allied lines first, do exactly that, and on the morning of 21 March 1918, the Kaiserschlacht, the Kaiser’s battle, is launched – the biggest set-piece battle the world has ever seen.

Across a 45-mile front, no fewer than two million German soldiers hurl themselves at the Allied lines, with the specific intention of splitting the British and French forces, and driving all the way through to the town of Villers-Bretonneux, at which point their artillery will be able to rain down shells on the key train-hub town of Amiens, thus throttling the Allied supply lines.

For nigh on two weeks, the plan works brilliantly, and the Germans are able to advance without check, as the exhausted British troops flee before them, together with tens of thousands of French refugees.

In desperation, the British commander, General Douglas Haig, calls upon the Australian soldiers to stop the German advance, and save Villers-Bretonneux. If the Australians can hold this, the very gate to Amiens, then the Germans will not win the war.

'It's up to us, then,' one of the Diggers writes in his diary.

Arriving at Villers-Bretonneux just in time, the Australians are indeed able to hold off the Germans, launching a vicious counterattack that hurls the Germans back the first time.

And then, on Anzac Day 1918, when the town falls after all to the British defenders, it is again the Australians who are called on to save the day, the town, and the entire battle.

Not for nothing does the primary school at Villers-Bretonneux have above every blackboard, to this day, 'N’oublions jamais, l’Australie.' Never forget Australia.

And they never have.


Epic chapter of Australian history


This was a page-turner - probably my favourite book on Australian history thus far. Fitzsimons captures the Australian spirit of happy-go-lucky lets-kill-some-Germans that epitomized the Australian experience from 1916 - 1918, but also exposes that, without the Australian Imperial Forces fighting at Villers-Bretennoux, it may very well have been Germany that won the Great War, not the allies. The Australian role in the Great War is often overlooked in favour of the British Expeditionary Force - who, by this stage of the war, often retreated in the face of the German advance. Territorials, such as Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians, played a far larger role than British sources suggest. Fitzsimons' "Victory at Villers Bretennoux" exposes a much-forgotten truth: Britain could not have won the Great War without the Anzacs and the Canadians.

Melbourne, Australia


Great read


Great book with which I will be able to share with my children - anybody who had a forebearer involved in WW1 will be interested in what they were confronted with and how they won the day.

Melbourne, Australia


History is very important for all generations


Excellent that the author has taken the time to record events that with time might fade, and all generations should be aware of our history.



If aperson I needed to by a gift for liked this genre yes !


Was a gift for my grandson who is very interested in WW1 battles.This book added to his collecton. Very well received.

Traralgon VIC


Great Books to read before/ after visit to the battle areas


Great Books to read before/ after visit to the battle areas

Brisbane, Ausralia


Peter Fitzsimmons


It was as usual a great book by Peter. I have read all his war books and can highly recommend them to all types of fiction readers

Melbourne Australia



4.5 6


ISBN: 9781742759524
ISBN-10: 1742759521
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 800
Published: 1st November 2016
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.3  x 6.0
Weight (kg): 0.97
Edition Number: 1

Peter FitzSimons

About the Author

Peter FitzSimons is one of Australia's most prominent and successful media and publishing identities.

His busy professional life involves writing weekly columns for the Sydney Morning Herald and Sun Herald newspapers, appearing on Foxtel's The Back Page television show and, when time permits, authoring best-selling books. A correspondent for London's Daily Telegraph as well, he is also in high demand as a guest speaker and presenter.

For the past two decades, the much-traveled former Wallaby rugby international, who masters four languages, has interviewed some of the world's most famous figures, including former US President George Bush, Mother Theresa and football great Diego Maradona.

Writing is his passion. He is the biographer of World Cup winning Wallaby captains Nick Farr-Jones and John Eales, former Federal Opposition Leader Kim Beazley, war heroine Nancy Wake, former Australian Test cricket captain Steve Waugh and magazine queen Nene King.

In 2001 he was Australia's biggest selling non-fiction author with just under 250,000 sales. He duplicated that feat in 2004 with his book on Kokoda and had similar success in 2006 with his book on Tobruk.

Born on a farm in NSW's Central Coast, Peter FitzSimons attended Knox Grammar School in Sydney before accepting an American Field Service Scholarship to live in Ohio for a year. He returned to complete an arts degree at Sydney University, majoring in government and political science.

A second-rower, he won Wallaby selection in 1984, later moving to France and Italy where he played rugby for the next five years. On his return to Australia he again played for the Wallabies going on to play seven Test matches.

He launched his journalistic career with the Sydney Morning Herald in 1989. Two years later he released two best-selling books, Basking in Beirut and Little Theories of Life and signed a contract with the Nine Network that resulted in him presenting current affairs and sports programs for the next four years. His association with Foxtel commenced in 1995 and continues to this day.

Considered one of the ten most popular after-dinner speakers in Australia, Peter FitzSimons is married to Nine Network personality Lisa Wilkinson and they have three children.

To read Peters's revealing answers to the Booktopia Book Guru's TEN TERRIFYING QUESTIONS - and to leave a comment - CLICK HERE

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