Appendix 3 14 June 1916

Appendix 3

 

SCHEME FOR ARTILLERY SUPPORT.

 

(1). ARTILLERY AVAILABLE.

The Artillery available will probably consist of the following:-

(a). 12, 18-pounder batteries of the 18th Division.

6 18-pounder batteries of the 9th Division.

3 4.5” Howitzer Batteries of the 18th Division

1 4.5” Howitzer Battery of the 9th Division.

All batteries consist of 4 guns unless otherwise stated.

A total of 72 18-pounder guns and 16 4.5” Howitzers.

 

(2). OBJECTS TO BE ATTAINED BY DIVISIONAL ARTILLERY.

 

(a) WIRE CUTTING. 15 4 gun 18-pounder batteries – 60 guns, are allotted for this task.

(b) DESTRUCTION OF TRENCHES &c.

This will be undertaken by the Heavy Howitzers assisted by fire from the 4.5” Howitzers, and considerable damage will be caused to the hostile parapets etc by the fire of the 18-pounders during the process of wire cutting. The 4.5” Howitzers assisted by the 2” Trench Mortars on the hostile front trenches will deal with any known Machine Gun emplacements and snipers posts etc.

 

(c) BLOCKING OF COMMUNICATION TRENCHES.

This will be undertaken by the 4.5” howitzers assisted by enfilade fire from the 18-pounders.

 

(d) PREVENTING REPAIR OF THE DAMAGE CAUSED TO THE HOSTILE TRENCHES AND WIRE ENTANGLEMENTS.

This will be carried out by the 18-pounders, assisted by Machine Gun fire.

 

(e) THE SHELLING OF ROADS AND APPROACHES IN REAR OF THE ENEMY’S POSITION.

Those within Range of Field Artillery will be undertaken by the 18-pounders, those beyond by fire from the Counter Battery Group.

 

(f) DESTRUCTION OF OBSERVATION POSTS.

This will be undertaken towards the end of the bombardment..

(g) Protection of the present line in case of a surprise attack.

(h) To support the assault.

(i) To form an effective barrage of fire across the whole of the new front.

(j) To be able to place an effective barrage of fire on both flanks of the attack should the occasion arise.

(k) To deal with any special obstacles met during the attack, special guns being kept in hand for this purpose.

 

(3) GROUPING OF ARTILLERY.

The Artillery of the 18th Division, reinforced by six 18-pounder batteries and one 4.5” howitzer battery of the 9th Division will be grouped as follows:-

Group.     Position of             Commander                Composition.

Head Qrs

Right BILLON VALLEY Lt. Col. D.G.       3 18-pounder batteries 84th Bde R.F.A.

Blois D.S.O.   1 4.5” Battery 84th Bde R.F.A.

1 18-pounder Battery 85th Bde R.F.A.

2 18-pounder batteries 9th Division

Total 7 Batteries

 

Centre BILLON WOOD Lt. Col Seagram    3 18-pounder batteries 83rd Bde R.F.A.

1 4.5” Battery 83rd Bde R.F.A.

1 18-pounder Battery 85th Bde R.F.A.

2 18-pounder batteries 9th Division

Total 7 Batteries.

 

Left BILLON FARM Lieut Col A. Thorpe  3 18-pounder batteries 82nd Bde R.F.A.

1 4.5” Battery 82nd Bde R.F.A.

2 18-pounder batteries 9th Division

1 18-pounder battery 85th Bde R.F.A.

1 4.5” Battery 9th Division

Total 8 Batteries

 

This grouping of Divisional Artillery and the positions selected for the Headquarters of each Group have been arranged with a view to simplifying the communications between the Artillery and the Infantry and thus ensuring that, as far as may be possible, close touch is maintained between the two arms throughout the operation. The Artillery Group Commander thus becomes the LIAISON Officer at each Infantry Brigade Headquarters, as long as the latter remains in its present position.  Should the Infantry Brigadier move his Headquarters forward he will take with him an Artillery Officer who will act as Liaison Officer between the Brigadier and his Artillery Group Commander who will remain at his original Headquarters.

The Right Group will be affiliated to the 55th Infantry Brigade

The Centre Group will be affiliated to the 53rd Infantry Brigade.

The Left Group will be affiliated to the 54th Infantry Brigade.

 

The zones allotted to the three Artillery Groups are practically the same as the fronts told off to the Infantry Brigade to which they are affiliated.

 

(4). FORWARD GUNS.

 

One 18-pounder battery of each Group and one 4.5” battery attached to Centre Group will be sited within 1,600 yards of the hostile front trenches. These guns and howitzers will be available to open fire shortly before the attack, and will form the framework of the barrage of fire in front of the furthest objective, the range to this front being about 3,500 yards.  In addition, the remaining guns of the Division will be capable of supporting from their present positions the new front at a range of about 5,000 yards.  It should not be necessary, therefore, to have to move batteries forward during, or shortly after, the attack.

 

(5) LIAISON OFFICERS.

An Artillery officer will be told off for this duty to each Battalion taking part in the attack. Similarly, an Officer from each Group will be detailed to act as Liaison Officer at Infantry Brigade Headquarters in the event of this Headquarters moving forward beyond present sites selected.

 

(6) FIVE DAYS PRELIMINARY BOMBARDMENT.

 

During the five days previous to the assault, the Divisional Artillery will be engaged on the following tasks:-

(a) Wire Cutting.  It is proposed in the first place to engage the wire on the front trench (and support trench where the latter is close) with Medium Trench Mortars and to complete the work of any position portion of uncut wire with 18-pounders.

For details of wire cutting by 18-pounders see Appendix “A”.

(b) Destruction of Trenches.  Heavy and Medium Trench Mortars will be employed for this task on the front system of trenches, assisted by the 4.5” Howitzer batteries, who will also engage points further in the rear.

(c) Preventing repair of wire and Trenches at Night.  18-pounders and 4.5” Howitzers will be responsible for definite fronts, and subject the portions of the enemy’s trenches which have been previously destroyed to irregular bursts of fire throughout the night.  The Divisional Artillery will be assisted by Machine Guns in this task.

(d) Shelling of Approaches.  All approaches within range of Divisional Artillery will be subjected to barrages at irregular periods.

(e) Defensive Barrage.  Definite defensive barrages will be allotted to 18-pounder batteries, in such a manner as to be able to establish a heavy barrage in the event of any German attack or minor enterprise.

 

(7) SUPPORT OF INFANTRY ASSAULT.

 

The five wire-cutting batteries from each Group will have a strip of German defences allotted to each Battery, and will be responsible for engaging all German trenches within this strip in accordance with the time table of lifts.

These strips will be exactly similar to those allotted to batteries during wire cutting, consequently, all registrations arrived at during wire cutting will form part of the general registration for support of the assault.

The Divisional Artillery lifts will be so timed as to be clear of the assaulted trenches one minute previous to stipulated time for the Infantry to reach the trench in question. During the last minute previous to each lift H.E. ammunition (5 rounds H.E. per gun) will be used exclusively by 18-pounders.  It is hoped this may act as an indication to the assaulting troops that a lift is impending.

The fire of the forward batteries situated in the CARNOY valley will, in the initial stages, be kept as a reserve to deal with unforeseen contingencies, and to deal with any special portions of the line.

 

(8) BARRAGES TO ENSURE CONSOLIDATION OF POSITIONS GAINED.

 

It will at any moment during the assault be possible to establish an effective barrage, to check counter attacks and to assist in consolidation of ground.

The five batteries per group with strips of front allotted to them will be responsible for establishing a barrage at any point along their respective strips as required. In addition, the forward batteries in the CARNOY valley will be in a position to form the backbone of any barrage required at longer ranges, such as for instance in the vicinity of CATERPILLAR Wood should the final objective be attained.

 

Next page of original missing

 

(14) PREPARATION FOR FORWARD MOVE.

 

Two batteries from each group will be detailed to hold themselves in readiness to move forward to reinforce batteries in CARNOY Valley should occasion arise.  The possible positions for these batteries are being selected, roads to them reconnoitered and necessary bridges erected.

As far as is possible, positions further in advance, on the POMMIERS RIDGE, will be selected and roads of advance to them reconnoitered with a view to their possible occupation at a later stage in the operations.

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