World War One Diary for Saturday, August 31, 1918:
Flanders: Germans evacuate Mt Kemmel.
Cambrai: 3 German tanks attack British lines near Bapaume but repulsed by artillery fire; 2 captured.
Somme – Second Battle of Bapaume (until September 3): British Third Army with tanks and armoured cars. Australians capture Peronne: After crossing the river 5 miles south of Peronne 1,320 men of 2nd Australian Division drive German 2nd Guard Division (over 700 PoWs) off Mont St Quentin, 1 mile north of Peronne (until September 2). Rawlinson calls it ‘The finest single feat of the whole war’ (8 Victoria Crosses won). Pershing letter to Foch insists on integral US First Army.
Germany: During August Germans disband 10 divisions to stiffen remainder.
Britain: BEF (108,712 casualties including some to September 3) has taken 63,579 PoWs and 870 guns among total German August loss of 228,000, only 130,000 German replacements available.
France: French troops (c. 100,000 casualties) take 31,000 PoWs and 890 guns during August.
USA: Tank Corps receives 144 Renault FT-17 light tanks.
USSR: Petrograd Cheka (Soviet political police, later KGB) murder Captain Cromie, Royal Navy attaché in British Embassy; Lockhart arrested in Moscow.
Volga: Stalin letter to Lenin says Cossacks breaking up, asks for Caspian naval force including 2 submarines.
Siberia: The 3 Czech Legion groups link up to control whole Trans-Siberian railway.
In August Allied and neutral shipping lost to U-boats: 104 ships (41 British with 217 lives), 278,876t (British 145,7211); U-boat figure 154 ships worth 310,180t including 38 ships of 71,490t in Mediterranean (1 ship with 2,209t to Austrians); 7 U-boats sunk (2 to unknown causes).
Western Front: No 110 (Hyderabad) Squadron RAF reaches France, equipped with Liberty-engined DH4s. RAF August aircraft losses a record so far with 215 planes (French 55) but record 948t bombs dropped (French drop 550t). During August Germans claim record 655 Allied aircraft for record loss of 174.
Britain: All London Air Defence Area squadrons fitted with radio telephone linked to central operations room (September 12).
Aegean: RAF Aegean Group has 116 aircraft (38 seaplanes).
Italian Front: 3 No 45 Squadron Sopwith Camel fighters destroy all 6 Austrian fighters encountered over Allied lines.