Spring Offensive 21 March to 18 July 1918
After the Third Battle of Ypres in late 1917, the Australians held the Messines-Wytschaete sector and prepared defences against an expected German offensive in spring.
Between 21 March and 5 April 1918, the German Imperial Army mounted the Spring Offensive. This drove British forces west towards Amiens. By comparison with the last 3 years of trench warfare, the action was now fast-moving. The Germans swept across the old Somme battlefield of 1916 and the broad uplands to the south of the Somme.
The heaviest fighting for Australians was around Villers-Bretonneux. The Germans nearly captured the town on 4 April. A combination of weariness and aggressive attack by Australian and British troops prevented German success. On 24 April, 3 weeks later, the Germans finally broke into Villers-Bretonneux and seized the town. Then they began to advance west into the area to the north and south of Adelaide Cemetery. An Australian and British counterattack recaptured Villers-Bretonneux on 25 April.
In May 1918, General Monash took command of the Australian Corps from General Birdwood. On 4 July, the successful Battle of Hamel was fought by Australians and Americans under Australian command.