Drocourt-Quéant

First World War

Date

2-3 September 1918

Geographical parameters

Moeuvres (exclusive) – Noreuil (exclusive) – St. Léger (exclusive) – Monchy-le-Preux – Pelves: thence the river Scarpe

Context

A battle honour formally entitled “Battle of the Drocourt-Quéant Line” and itself being part of “The Second Battles of Arras, 1918”.Footnote 1

Description

At the end of August the Canadian Corps (Lieutenant-General Sir A.W. Currie) had been advancing east from Arras, encountering heavy resistance as they did so. On 28 August they came up to the Drocourt-Quéant Line, a northern extension of the principal German defensive position on the Western Front, the Hindenburg Line. So formidable was the D-Q Line, as it was popularly known, that the Canadian Corps commander, Sir Arthur Currie, decided on an operational pause to more fully prepare for this undertaking. The 1st Canadian Division (Major-General Sir A.C. Macdonell) was deployed north of the east-west Arras – Cambrai road, and the 4th Canadian Division (Major-General Sir D. Watson) deployed to the south of the road. Each division would be supported in its operations with two companies of Mark V tanks. These would be needed to deal with the many concrete shelters, machine gun posts with their inter-locking arcs of fire and thick masses of barbed wire. At dawn on Monday, 2 September, the attack went in. The fighting was so fierce that the Canadians were to win no fewer than 7 Victoria Crosses in one day, a Canadian record. By nightfall on Tuesday, 3 September, the D-Q Line had been completely broken and all German troops withdrawn across the next obstacle, the Canal du Nord.

Large concrete iron reinforced machine gun post in the Quéant line. October, 1918
Credit: Canada. Department of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada (MIKAN no. 3522357)

Major-General Sir Archibald Cameron Macdonell was the General Officer Commanding the 1st Canadian Division from June 1917 on. Location unknown. Date unknown.
Credit: Canada. Department of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada (MIKAN no. 3218799)

Photograph of German barbed wire defences at Quéant part of the Hindenburg Line. Date 4 October 1918.
Credit This is photograph is from the collections of the Imperial War Museums (CO 3392)

General Currie, Commander of the Canadian troops in France, and A.D.C. Location unknown. June, 1917.
Credit: Canada. Department of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-001370 (MIKAN no. 3191901)

Major-General Watson, the Officer Commanding the 4th Canadian Division. Location unknown. October, 1917.
Credit: Canada. Department of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada (MIKAN no. 3222150)

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