Link #103: Albert Jacka Was the Ultimate Soldier!



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Link #103: Albert Jacka Was the Ultimate Soldier!

Studio portrait of Australian World War I Victoria Cross recipient, Captain Albert Jacka (VC, MC and bar). PD image.

Australia is considered to be one of the most naturally dangerous countries on Earth. There are even some locations where nature has free reign because nobody is allowed to go there. We covered one of these locations – the pink coloured Lake Hillier – in our last post.

However, it isn’t only the natural locations in the country that are remarkable. Some of their people are remarkable too. The best example of this is Albert Jacka, whose feats can be compared to modern day Hollywood heroes.

Jacka is a man who singlehandedly saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers not just once but many times during WWI. Are you interested in knowing the great feats of Jacka? Read on.

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What Did Albert Jacka Do at Gallipoli?

An aerial photograph showing opposing trenches and no man’s land between, during World War I. PD image.

Albert Jacka first rose to fame for his exploits at Gallipoli against the Turks when they attacked his position and took out most of his fellow soldiers. Jacka’s trench was overrun and most of the other soldiers in his team were injured or killed.

Because the Turks were so near their position and most of the Australians were injured, they couldn’t reclaim their position through conventional methods. Faced with these odds, Jacka decided to take matters into his own hands. He told two injured soldiers to provide distraction to cover his approach.

He jumped out into No Man’s Land (a region where any soldier caught in the open is shot on sight), sneaked into the Turkish position, and cleared out the whole trench singlehandedly. Jacka shot five Turks and skewered two others with his bayonet.

As if that wasn’t enough, Jacka held that trench for the whole night up until reinforcements showed up. He received a Victoria Cross for that battle.

What Did Albert Jacka Do at Pozieres on the Western Front?

View across the Pozières plateau Date: 1916-08-01
Credit: British Official Photographer, PD image.

Next, Jacka was sent to Pozieres on the Western Front to face the heavily fortified German Hindenburg Line. One morning, when Jacka woke up, he saw Germans rolling grenades into his trench. He took cover and was the only one uninjured. Most of the soldiers were out and only seven were fit enough to do anything.

Outside his trench, all the other Australian positions were overrun by Germans. Jacka led these soldiers against 60 Germans who were rounding up about 42 unarmed Australians in a mad rush into flying bullets.

Each man was wounded in the charge including Jacka, who was shot no less than seven times. However, he continued to charge and inspired the 42 Australians to fight back too. In the end, it was found that Jacka took out 12 Germans and 50 more were captured by the Australians. Jacka received a Military Cross for this feat.

What Did Albert Jacka Do on His Solo Reconnaissance Mission?

Albert Jacka’s medal on display at the State Library of South Australia, under perspex. Image credit: Pdfpdf, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

That wasn’t Jacka’s last Military Cross either. He would later go on a solo reconnaissance mission behind enemy lines at Hindenburg. On that mission Jacka captured two German officers with his bare hands and dragged them back to Allied lines.

A reconnaissance mission involves going near enemy positions to gauge their strength and defences. On his reconnaissance mission, Jacka laid down tapes to guide Australian troops when they attacked. Aren’t these feats something that you only see in video games these days?

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