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Anzac Day: The Daring Capture of Le Quesnoy by New Zealand Forces in WWI



The Capture of Le Quesnoy was an engagement of the First World War that took place on 4 November 1918 as part of the Battle of the Sambre. Elements of the New Zealand Division scaled the fortified walls of the French town of Le Quesnoy and captured it from elements of the defending German 22nd Division.

Beginning at 5:30 am, the New Zealand Rifle Brigade advanced from its starting positions east of the town, aiming to surround it and link up on the far side. By late morning, the linkup had been achieved and other elements of the New Zealand Division moved further west into the Mormal Forest, leaving the Rifle Brigade to capture the town itself. After mopping up outlying outposts, the New Zealanders moved up to the ramparts of the town, but were held back by machine-gun fire. Late in the afternoon, a scouting party located an unguarded section of the walls and the brigade’s 4th Battalion managed to climb the ramparts and move into the town, quickly seizing it. The capture of Le Quesnoy was the last major engagement of the war for the New Zealanders.

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