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The Battle of Morval, 25–28 September 1916, was an attack during the Battle of the Somme by the British Fourth Army on the villages of Morval, Gueudecourt and Lesbœufs held by the German 1st Army, which had been the final objectives of the Battle of Flers–Courcelette (15–22 September). The main British attack was postponed to combine with attacks by the French Sixth Army on the village of Combles south of Morval.
The attack was to close up to the German defences between Moislains and Le Transloy, near the Péronne–Bapaume road (N 17). The combined attack from the Somme river northwards to Martinpuich on the Albert–Bapaume road, was also intended to deprive the German defenders further west near Thiepval of reinforcements, before an attack by the Reserve Army, due on 26 September. The postponement was extended from 21 to 25 September because of rain, which affected operations more frequently during September.Combles, Morval, Lesbœufs and Gueudecourt were captured and many casualties inflicted on the Germans. The French made slower progress near the inter-army boundary, due to the obstruction of St Pierre Vaast Wood to the French attack north towards Sailly and Sailly-Saillisel. The inter-army boundary was moved north from 27 to 28 September, to allow the French more room to deploy their forces but the great quantity of German artillery-fire limited the French advance. The Fourth Army advance on 25 September was its deepest since 14 July and left the Germans in severe difficulties, particularly in a salient which developed to the north-east of Combles.
Tiredness and lack of reserves prevented the Fourth Army exploiting its success beyond patrolling and cavalry probes. The Reserve Army attack began on 26 September, at the Battle of Thiepval Ridge. Deteriorating weather and the shorter days greatly increased British and French transport difficulties; rain and fog grounded aircraft and impeded artillery observation. Mud reduced the blast effect of shells and immobilised infantry, which was an advantage to the defenders. A small number of tanks joined in the battle later in the afternoon, after having been held back because of the later start and reduced a number of German strong points which had withstood earlier attacks.
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