Encyclopedia - Peaceful Penetration
Developed by Australian commander General John Monash and initially deployed by the Australian Imperial Force (AIF), so-called 'Peaceful Penetration' comprised a strategy of surprise concentrated aerial, artillery and infantry attacks in a limited area, secretly planned and generally spontaneous in nature.
Monash achieved success with the new strategy during the summer of 1918, using artillery, aircraft, tanks and machine guns to effectively devastate a target area for a relatively brief period prior to sending infantry into action. This was in marked contrast to the tried, tested but invariably unsuccessful approach of extended preliminary bombardment, which usually served only to alert the enemy to impending infantry assault.
Part of Monash's great success - which was duly noted and increasingly adopted by other Allied forces - was to ensure effective tactical co-operation between the various military arms, e.g. tank, aircraft and artillery commanders.
Although peaceful penetration typically resulted in small-scale successes, these proved highly effective over a period of time, resulting in solid territorial gains for the Allies. On a larger scale the approach was demonstrated to good effect at the July 1918 Battle of Le Hamel.
'Billy' was the Australian nickname for a cooking-pot or can.
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