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2. Fromelles

Before the first Australian attack was launched on the Somme, Australians were to suffer severe losses as a direct consequence of the battle. Forces holding the rest of the British line were ordered to pin down the German divisions on their front in order to prevent the enemy reinforcing the Somme. A major feint was planned for Armentieres and was conducted by the 5th Australian Division and the British 61st Division. In the battle of Fromelles, on 19 July, the Australians managed at great cost to seize part of the German trenches but by the night of 20 July the position was so perilous that they were withdrawn. The 5th Australian Division lost 5533 men in less than 24 hours and was unable to be used for offensive action for many months.