18 D.A. Preliminary Orders 14 June 1916

Reference Map 1/20,000 62 D.N.E. & MAUREPAS and Sunprint, 1/5,000

18th Division No Z 101

 

SECRET

 

PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTIONS FOR ATTACK.

 

TASKS ALLOTED TO 18TH DIVISION.  1. The tasks allotted to the 18th Division in the forthcoming Operations are:-

(1) To secure and consolidate the trenches marked with a red pencil on the attached Map and to hold them at any cost for a prolonged period against counter-attack.

(2) To secure and consolidate the ridge immediately South of CATERPILLAR WOOD. Both these objectives to be secured on the first day. 

(3) On reaching the further objective, to at once push forward detachments of Infantry with Machine Guns backed by Field Artillery, in order to secure points overlooking CATERPILLAR WOOD Valley and prevent the escape of the enemy’s guns eastwards or northwards from that valley.

 

DIVIDING LINES. 2.  The 30th Division will be on our right, the 7th Division of the XV Corps on our left.  the 9th Division, XIII Corps, in Corps Reserve.  Dividing lines between XIIIth Corps & XVth Corps and 30th and 18th Divisions are shewn on attached Map ”A”.

 

DIVISIONAL FRONT. 3.  The front allotted to the 18th Division extends from the junction of trench A9/5 (A.9.a.6.5.) and BERKELEY STREET to a point 70 yards due east of point where the CARNOY – MAMETZ Road cuts trench F.13/3.

Total frontage 2,200 yards.

 

OBJECTIVES.  4.  The objectives to be attained by the 18th Division are :-

First. (a) From Railway at A.3.c.8.6. to the trench connecting A.3.c.10.75. with A.2.d.75.90. – Point 6159 – POMMIERS REDOUBT – Junction of trenches at F.6.c.70.10

(b) As a support to the above and subsidiary to it, the consolidation of the following strong points:-

(1). Junction of trenches at A.9.a.30.95.

(2).  Junction of trenches at A.2.d.05.25.

(3). Junction of trenches at A.1.d.8.3.

(4). Junction of trenches at F.6.c.85.45.

(5). Junction of trenches at F.6.c.68.07.

 

Second.  The triangle formed by the trenches at S.27.a.7.0. along MONTAUBAN ALLEY to the junction of trenches at S.26.d.6.7. along this trench to its northern extremity at S.26.b.46.40., thence to the western extremity of the trench at S.26.a.5.6. and thence to a point on the track about S.25.b.5.2.

 

GENERAL PLAN.  5.   The Infantry assault will take place on ”Z” day, the days previous to this being known as “Y”, “X”, “W”, “V”, “U”, “T”, “S”, &c. &c. days.  The Division will attack with its three Infantry Brigades abreast.

Each Brigade will place two Battalions in front line and one in support, retaining its fourth battalion in Brigade Reserve, no Divisional Reserve is kept back.

Each Brigade has one group of Field and Howitzer Batteries affiliated to it in the closest possible co-operation. The remainder of the Divisional Artillery (and attached 9th Divisional Artillery) are given other special tasks, (see appendix 3).

Each Infantry Brigade has two communication trenches places at the disposal of its Brigadier, one UP the other DOWN.

Each Brigade has one two sections R.E. Field Company and one two Platoons Pioneers definitely allotted to it for its interior requirements.

The plan adopted aims at simplifying the work of subordinate units; it is based on the idea of launching six battalions to gain the furthest objective; it provides three more battalions to fortify and garrison the nearer objectives; it places in suitable localities three more battalions close up for the unexpected eventualities which every battle discloses. The whole Division will be used unhesitatingly to gain the objectives allotted to it by superior authority, but the mere crowding of Infantry on the POMMIERS plateau will be avoided.

 

FRONTAGES & OBJECTIVES. 6.  Frontages and objectives allotted to Infantry Brigades (and affiliated R.F.A. Groups) are as follows:-

  • RIGHT BRIGADE (55th ).

 

Frontage.  Junction of trench A.9/5 with BERKELEY STREET to junction of BATTY ROAD with front trench (inclu.) – 900 yards.

First Objective. From Railway at A.3.c.8.6. (exclu.) – Junction of DUGOUT trench and BRESLAU Alley – point A.2.d.8.9. to point 2250 (excl) – 900 yards.

 

Second Objective. From the road junction at the west end of MONTAUBAN (S.27.c.7.4.) along the most southerly trench running through S.27.c. thence by MONTAUBAN ALLEY to the junction of the trenches at S.26.d.6.7.

 

Third Objective. From the triangle formed by the trenches in the South East corner of S.27.a. (inclusive), along MONTAUBAN ALLEY as far as the trench running North at S.26.d.6.7. thence along this latter trench to its northern extremity at S.26.b.46.40.

 

  • CENTRE BRIGADE (53rd)

Frontage. Junction of BATTY ROAD and front trench (exclu.) to junction of YORK ROAD and trench A7/2 (inclu.) – 650 yards.

 

First Objective.  Point 2258 (inclusive) – POMMIERS TRENCH as far as its junction with POPOFF Lane (inclu.) – 650 yards.

 

Second Objective.  From the junction of the trenches at S.26.d.6.7., along MONTAUBAN ALLEY as far as its junction with the MONTAUBAN – MAMETZ Road (inclusive).

Third Objective.  From the northern end of the trench running from N.W. to S.E. through S.26.b. (S.26.b.46.40.) (exclusive) to the western extremity of the trench running from S.26.a.88.45. to S.26.a.50.60. (inclusive)

 

  • LEFT BRIGADE (54th)

Frontage.   Junction of YORK ROAD and trench A7/2 (exclu.) to a point 70 yards due east of point where MAMETZ – CARNOY Road cuts through trench F.12/3 – 700 yards.

 

First Objective.  Junction of POMMIERS Trench and POPOFF Lane (exclusive) – POMMIERS TRENCH to its junction with BLACK ALLEY (inclu.)

 

Second Objective.  POMMOERS REDOUBT and the trench to the west of it as far as its junction with BEETLE ALLEY.

 

Third Objective.  From the western extremity of the trench running from S.26.a.88.45. to S.26.a,50.60. (exclu.) to the junction between the XIIIth and XVth Corps about S.26.b.5.2.

 

PRELIMINARY DISTRIBUTION.  7.  the distribution of attacking troops

 

  • during the waiting period, and
  • in their fighting positions just before the assault is shewn in Appendices 1 and 2 attached.

 

TASKS.   8.  The main tasks of the Infantry will be :-

(a)    RIGHT BRIGADE.

  • To secure and consolidate the trench given as its nearer objective in para 6 (a) and assist by flanking fire from Machine Guns the attack on the GLATZ Redoubt by the 30th
  • Two platoons, under a selected officer will be detailed by the Brigade Commander to deal with the craters and the maze of small trenches immediately north of them, in order that the general advance of the Brigade may not be delayed.
  • On reaching the second objective to establish a strong point in the houses near the road junction at the West end of MONTAUBAN and consolidate that part of MONTAUBAN ALLEY allotted to it on para 6 (a).
  • On reaching its third objective to –
  • consolidate the trenches existing on it
  • place machine guns in the trenches running from it N.W. to S.E. through S.26.b. in such positions as will enable them to deal with any threatened counter-attack from the direction of the valley N & N.E. of MONTAUBAN.

 

(b)   CENTRE BRIGADE.

  • To consolidate and hold the trench allotted to it as its first objective in para 6 (b)
  • To assist the Left Brigade in its attack on the POMMIERS REDOUBT; mutual arrangements for this to be made beforehand between Brigadiers CENTRE and LEFT Brigade.
  • To consolidate and hold that portion of MONTAUBAN ALLEY from the junction of trenches S.26.d.6.7. to S.26.c.33.45. and to join up from this point with the right of the 54th Brigade in BEETLE Alley.
  • On reaching its third objective, firstly to construct strong points making use of the existing trenches and secondly to dig new fire trenches where necessary to make the line continuous.
  • To prevent enemy removing guns from CATERPILLAR VALLEY.

 

(c)    LEFT BRIGADE.

  • To secure BLACK ALLEY and the part of POMMIERS Trench allotted to it.
  • From these positions to organise and carry out an attack on the POMMIERS REDOUBT.
  • To secure and consolidate that portion of BEETLE TRENCH between S.25.d.98.27. and its junction with the MONTAUBAN – MAMETZ Road.
  • On reaching its third objective to dig new fire trenches where necessary to join the left of the Centre Brigade and the right of the XVth Corps.
  • To send forward LEWIS Guns to overlook the CATERPILLAR Valley and the valley East of MAMETZ WOOD and prevent guns being removed.

 

(d)   Leading troops of all three Brigades on reaching their third objectives will send forward detachments with machine guns to cover the work of consolidation, establish observation posts overlooking CATERPILLAR WOOD Valley and prevent withdrawal of hostile batteries from that neighbourhood.  They will be supported by Field Guns.

(e)    The line Railway at A.3.c.8.6. – trench junction at A.2.d.8.9. – Point 2258 – POMMIERS trench to its junction with BLACK ALLEY, will be held at all costs against counter attacks, even if MONTAUBAN and MAMETZ should not be captured.

(f)    Troops will be specially told off by each Brigade to “clean up” hostile trenches and deal with any of the enemy remaining there after the leading troops have passed over them.

 

STRONG POINTS. 9.  To carry out the above tasks definite Infantry units will be detailed to occupy and prepare for “all round defence” certain specified localities in the hostile lines as “strong points” in case of counter attack.  A list of these points is given in Appendix 4 and they are shewn on attached Sunprint.  They include the strong points referred to in para. 4 (b).  R.E. units will be in hand for this purpose and wire will be dumped in our front trenches beforehand.  These strong points will be made by platoons, but can be garrisoned by 10 men.

 

PRINCIPLES OF THE ATTACK. 10. The attack will be carried out on the principles indicated below and in accordance with ”Fourth Army Tactical Notes, May 1916”.

  • Infantry units (companies and battalions) to start in depth and to hold ground gained in depth , each with its own command post.
  • Every assaulting battalion and company to be given a definite objective, and drilled to get there in spite of the enemy.
  • No “passing through” of one battalion by another battalion in the initial attack. Go straight for the objective and get it quickly.

Succeeding units will be allotted the tasks of cleaning up trenches gained and consolidating them against counter attack. The first six battalions are primarily for fighting and their job is to kill Bosches and go forward at once.

  • If a company is held up, unexpectedly, by uncut wire and hostile machine guns, it should consolidate what it has gained and pass its reserve platoon round to the flanks. Other adjoining companies to press forward without a pause until they reach their objective.  The leading companies to be supported by battalion local reserves in small columns.
  • Once the objectives have been gained troops must dig and work hard to strengthen them against inevitable counter attack during the next 48 hours.

 

ARTILLERY. 11.

  • The Divisional Artillery bombardment will be carried out on the 5 days previous to the day of assault (see Appendix 3). Each 18th Divisional Artillery “lift” will be marked by 5 rounds H.E. shell per gun on its termination, in order to let Infantry get ready to go forward.
  • The times of “lifts” for the Corps Artillery are shewn on the attached Map “A”.
  • The Artillery and Trench Mortars (Heavy and Medium) available to support the attack of the Division will be as follows:-

(1)   18th Division Artillery.         }       Divided into three Groups

(2)   Half 9th Divisional Artillery }       RIGHT, CENTRE and LEFT

(3)   One Battery Heavy Trench Mortars.

(4)   Medium Trench Mortars of 18th and 9th Divisions (6 batteries) and possibly 2 batteries in addition.

(d). In addition to the “barrage” certain Field Batteries and Howitzers will be available after the hour of assault for dealing immediately with strong points which hold up the attack.  These batteries will be detailed in Operation Orders.

(e) The proposed time table of “lifts” for the Divisional Artillery is attached (see Appendix 3).

 

HEAVY & MEDIUM TRENCH MORTARS.  12.

(a). Sites selected for the Heavy and Medium Trench Mortars are shewn on attached Sunprint.

(b). During the bombardment and up to the assault, all Heavy and Medium Trench Mortars will be controlled by the Divisional Trench Mortar Officer who will be situated in 82nd Bde R.F.A.  F.O.O. Dug-out CARNOY.  Battalion Commanders will get into touch with this officer and inform him of the results of the wire-cutting operations as reported by the officers patrols which will be sent out daily.  They will also call upon him direct for any assistance required for the capture of strong points.

(c) The tasks of the Heavy and Medium Trench Mortar batteries will be detailed in Operation Orders.

 

WIRE.  13.  After the commencement of the bombardment all three Brigades will arrange to send out daily, under cover of smoke when necessary, special patrols to ascertain the damage done by our Artillery fire.  Brigades must make it their business to find out what wire has or has not been cut on their front and report thereon direct to the Artillery and Trench Mortar Commanders.  Wire uncut by Artillery or Trench Mortars must be dealt with by hand under cover of the bombardment before the hour of assault.  These patrols will be protected by smoke from candles & hand smoke bombs under arrangements made by Brigadiers.

 

DISTINGUISHING MARKS.  14.  The following distinguishing marks will be employed to enable the Artillery to follow the movements of the Infantry in the attack:-

  • Flags, red and yellow halved diagonally. 1 per platoon and 1 per Company Headquarters.
  • Tin discs, painted white. They will be carried in the centre of the back suspended by a string round the neck with another string tied to the belt to keep them in place when the men lie down.

 

STOKES MORTARS. 15.

(a)    On “Z” day there will be a hurricane bombardment by 3” STOKES Mortars for 10 minutes immediately before the hour of assault, against known or suspected Machine Gun emplacements and other special points.  A list of these is given in Appendix 5.

(b)   Subsequent to the bombardment referred to above, 3” STOKES Mortars will be mainly employed to assist the Infantry in the capture of any strong points which may be impeding the advance.

MACHINE GUNS.  16.

  • Vickers Guns of Brigade Machine Gun Companies will be used throughout the five days to bring long range enfilade fire to bear on hostile communication trenches from positions to be selected by Infantry Brigadiers. The ground in rear of our front is especially favourable for this purpose, and barrages of Machine Gun fire will be used to prevent enemy repairing his wire and trenches.

A proportion of these guns will be kept ready to go forward to assist in holding the supporting points referred to in paras 4. (b) and 9.

(b) Lewis Guns are Company weapons and will go forward with the troops  to assist in holding ground gained and co-operate with STOKES mortars and bombers as stated in para 15 (b).  they will have a special opportunity if they can overlook CATERPILLAR Valley.

 

FORWARD SAPS & COMMUNICATION TRENCHES.  17

Eight underground saps are nearly completed to within 20 yards or less of the enemy’s front trenches. Mine charges will be laid at the forward ends and exploded just before the assault.  The saps will be in the charge of personnel of the 183rd Tunnelling Company R.E until 24 hours after the assault.  They will be responsible for the lighting of the saps and the control of traffic through them.  These saps are allotted to Infantry Brigades., as under:-

55th Infantry Brigade Nos 1, 2, 3.       As marked on

53rd Infantry Brigade Nos  4, 5, 6       Map attached.

54th Infantry Brigade Nos 7, 8.

 

Arrangements have been made to install FLAMMENWERFER in Nos 3, 4, 5, & 8 Saps.

 

Emplacements for Machine Guns in arrow heads opening off the saps are also being prepared to enable VICKERS Guns to enfilade the German front and support trenches just before the assault.

  • The aforesaid Russian Saps are also to become available as communication trenches immediately after the assault.
  • Each Infantry Brigade will have one UP and one DOWN communication trench (see attached Sunprint). Also in enemy’s lines.
  • Communication trenches will have exits every 100 yards right and left.

 

ACCESSORIES. 18.

(a). GAS.

Arrangements have been made for a limited instalment of Gas in suitable places along the whole front. There will be 69 emplacements for one or possibly two cylinders each.  These are all suitable for a wind between S.W. and S.

(b). SMOKE.  On the day of the attack, 12 4” STOKES Mortars will be available.  If the wind is favourable, it is proposed to form occasional Smoke barrages against:-

(i) Certain salients in German front line to prevent flanking fire from machine guns.

(ii) Nasty Valley in centre of 18th Division attack.

 

(c)    FLAMMENWERFER.  The Flammenwerfer mentioned in para. 17 have a range of 100 yards and will be used against the German support trenches as well as the front ones for a few minutes before the assault.

They will be situated 25 yards in front of the German entanglements. In addition to the above two portable Flammenwerfer will be allotted to each Infantry Brigade.  These will be used for attacks on strong points and communication trenches.  Their range is 60 yards.

 

COMMUNICATIONS.  19.  (a) Wireless.  An advanced wireless station will be established by the Divisional Signal Company at A.19.a.5.8.  This station will be in communication with the main wireless station at Divisional Headquarters.

Trench Sets There will be one wireless set which will move forward with the attacking troops.  Its position will be determined by the Divisional Signal Company.

 

(b)Visual.  Signalling stations will be established as shewn on attached Sunprint.

  • Pigeons Eight birds will be sent daily to BRONFAY FARM by motor Cyclists from ETINEHEM. These birds will be distributed to Infantry Brigades under orders to be issued later.

 

COMMUNICATION WITH AEROPLANES. 20.

XIIIth Corps Contact Patrol Aeroplanes will be distinguished by a bread black band under both lower planes and by streamers from the ends of both planes.

The firing of a white VERY Light by the aeroplane will mean “I am ready to receive a message”.

The attacking infantry will signal to aeroplane by means of

(1) Flares

(2) Mirrors

 

Flares and mirrors will mean “I am here and, so far as I know, within 50 yards of the actual firing line”.

These flares and mirrors will only be used when the leading Infantry have either

(a) reached their first, second or third objective

(b)  have been prevented from reaching any of their objectives.

Messages to aeroplanes from Battalion and Brigade Headquarters will be sent by means of either lamps or panel shutters.

 

SPARE OFFICERS & SPECIALISTS.  21.  Instructions regarding the number of officers who will remain in reserve have already been issued under 18th Division No. 142/2/A. dated 10th June.

Spare bombers, machine gunners and Trench Mortar personnel will also be kept back.

 

MAPS, ORDERS &C.  22.  All Officers will be provided with maps showing the German trenches only.  No orders on paper likely to be of value to the enemy to be carried.

  1. The following points are being dealt with, but arrangements are not yet complete:-

(a) Dress, equipment and loads to be carried by the men. Arrangements for storing kit left behind and for sending it forward if required.

(b) Wearing of Gas helmets and arrangements for carrying forward Vermorel Sprayers in event of gas being used.

(c) Carrying parties and parties to repair trenches which may be partially destroyed by enemy’s fire in our lines during the five day bombardment.

(d) Provision of extra stretchers at Regimental aid posts to minimise delay in the return of stretcher bearers to the front. This is especially important owing to lack of roads for ambulances.

(e) Arrangements for blocking side trenches leading off main UP and DOWN communication trenches.

(f) Provision of direction boards and sign posts.

(g) Location of First Line Transport – two echelons.

(h) Selection on Map of suitable localities for command posts in hostile trenches. These will be arranged beforehand, roughly, by Brigadiers.

(i) Provision of personnel to put detonators into Grenades.

Covered places to be provided for this purpose.

(j)Provision of spare telephone equipment and wire at forward dumps in our lines.  Also localities for future dumps in enemy’s lines.

(k) Preparation of list of officers to replace Commanders and Staff.

(l) Removal of our own wire previous to assault.

(m) Synchronizing of watches.

(n) Camouflage requirements and dummy emplacements.

 

  1. The following Appendices are attached:-

 

  • Distribution of Attacking Troops during Waiting Period.
  • Distribution of Attacking Troops in Fighting Positions just before the Assault in forming up trenches which exist.
  • Artillery Scheme.
  • List of Strong Points.
  • List of Hostile Machine Gun Emplacements as targets for 3” STOKES MORTARS.

The question of Ammunition, Water, Medical Arrangements, Prisoners, Stragglers and Control Posts are being dealt with by the Administrative Branch, Divisional Headquarters Staff, and instructions on these points will shortly be issued by that Staff.

 

MAPS ATTACHED

1/20,000,

Tracing 1/10,000         No 26

Sunprint 1/5000

 

 

A Bryant

Lieut. Colonel.

June 14th 1916.                                         Senior General Staff Officer 18th Division.

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