DIVISIONAL COMMANDER’S CONFERENCE, May 26th 1916
- In practice attacks there occur gaps between leading and supporting troops. At POULAINVILLE 25 minutes interval before 3rd Battalion arrived.
**** slow *** instruction. Visit the dummy trenches.
- When Brigades are practicing the attack all four battalions are to be present and an enemy and umpires arranged for.
- Construction of strong points. To be practiced during training.
- Attack formations. See diagrams. Role of each Battalion and Company. Every Battalion and Company to be trained to carry out any role. Forming up trenches essential. Drill in them more essential.
Forming up trenches in rear for training. 4th Company in column not in lorries & no note assigned to its leading platoon men 4 yds apart
- Miniature trenches for training of N.C.Os keep model and miniature trenches up to date from latest aeroplane photographs.
Get our trench maps in line with Divn H.Q.
- Notes for Company Conferences:-
- N.C.Os must take detail off Officers hands.
- Every N.C.O. must be ready at any time to take command of his platoon.
- Every Officer must be ready at any moment to take command of his Company.N.C.Os responsible – cleanliness, huts, ***, billets etc.
- At least 2 N.C.Os of *** to be able to take the place of Sectn Cmds.
- STOKES Mortar 100-rounds demonstration on tactical schemes.
- The principal object of a commander is to try and keep command. Therefore he should get platoons or sections together in folds of the ground or wherever possible. He keeps command by handling his reserves. To do so they must be capable of manoeuvre.
- Bombers must be in hand ready for use.
- Searching of dug-outs. Special parties to be told off for this. Query form No 3 Company.
- When the ultimate objective is reached Company Commanders must immediately arrange for the following:-
- Lewis Guns
- Strong Points
- Collecting prisoners in German trenches and dug-outs. Arrangements for sending them to rear and safe-guarding them till handed over to Divisional Staff about BRONFAY or BILLON.
- Parties for repair of communication trenches between Brigade Battle posts and front.
- The GREEN Line. Time it will take to get there. Programme – Duration of Bombardment. Accessories – Clearing of our trenches and villages during bombardment – Hour of Assault.
- Guns in good dug outs.
- Success now depends almost entirely on training in back area.
- The danger of our being engaged prematurely seems to have passed and we shall get at least 3 weeks notice before the date is finally fixed.
- The bombardment will be a deliberate undertaking with every engine of war utilised. It will be the fault of Brigade and Battalion Commanders if special points are not dealt with. They are apt to leave much to their artillery. This artillery requires guidance.
Brigdrs to send list of points such as M.Gs, wire, s** they want dealt with.
- Whether at the start or after an advance our artillery must endeavour to fire in enfilade. This is specially required as between the gunners of the 7th and 18th Divisions. Company Commanders must observe independently whether German wire to their front has or has not been cut. They must patrol freely at night for this.
See Genl about this.
- After our Infantry have reached their furthest objective our Artillery must place a barrage in front of them to repel next days counter attack. Success depends upon rapidity of our Artillery moving forward. (Guns and Observers).
Single guns well forward possibly in trenches.
- Gas shells for counter-battery, but don’t put them into villages we may want to occupy.
- Physical exhaustion of gunners. 20 additional personnel per battery will be added.
Two or more reliefs.
- Some 18 pounders to be pushed forward close up to front trenches, concealed there, unregistered, for use in later phases.
Single guns well forward possibly in trenches.
- Company Commanders are apt to barge ahead according to orders without looking about them. If a leading Company cannot get through the front German trench, companies must deviate betimes or stop. Every reserve unit must try to help people on its flanks. Are Platoon Observers made use of?
- Water supply from CARNOY to front requires thought. Men must be trained not to use their water bottles. No water on our objective.
- Use of 4” STOKES Mortars for flank barrages of smoke. Where are they required? Report.
Decide on places where required.
- (a) VICKERS GUNS. Direct overhead fire against enemy communication trenches by Reserve Machine guns.
- LEWIS GUNS. Not to be carried on men’s shoulders or by a few isolated men. Must go up in midst of a line. Ammunition also. Arming of LEWIS Gunners.
- What is to be done with troops for whom there is no room at the ultimate objective? Suppose the leading troops get on to their objective with small loss? Suppose they lose 50% casualties?
Have Brigadiers recd the position of the 2” mortars?
1 platoon of pioneers & 1 section R.E. to each Brigade.