SECRET A.B. No 240/49
- The attached copy of “Action of Artillery during the first and second phases” as laid down by XIII Corps is forwarded for your information.
- In the attached letter the First Phase refers to Operations leading up to 18th Division “Final Objective” as at present laid down, and the green line referred to runs along the line of our present “Final Objective”. The Second Phase will consist of a movement of the XV Corps from West to East across the front of 18th Division “Final Objective” up to the Brown Line (N.B. The latter line runs roughly from Eastern corner of MONTAUBAN to Eastern corner of BAZENTIN le GRAND).
- Reference para 1, this does not preclude the batteries referred to from registering previously to 15 minutes before Zero time, provided this can be done without disclosing the positions of these batteries.
- Reference para 2. In carrying out the forward movement of batteries indicated, the primary consideration must be to ensure the defence of the new line gained at all costs by an effective shrapnel barrage available at any moment. The second consideration will consist in placing batteries in such positions that whilst able to support the front at closer range they will be so sited as to be available to assist the forward move of XV Corps by bringing fire to bear on the German second line and on the ground between it and the CATERPILLAR WOOD Stream.
- In order not to weaken the forward barrage unnecessarily the forward move will in all probability be carried out by one battery per group at a time, the remaining batteries of the group distributing their fire to cover the fronts left bare by batteries moving forward.
- Every possible preparation should be made to ensure batteries sent forward being able to resume their duties in defence of the line with the least possible delay. With this object in view the positions, lines of fire, zones to be covered, and means of communication between Group and batteries in forward position, should be sufficiently prepared beforehand to admit of these batteries being available for the defence of the line with the least possible delay.
- The Left Group H.Q., owing to situation of forward exchange in CARNOY, can be moved forward when required with sanction from Div. Art, H.Q. The remaining two groups’ H.Q. should not move forward until all their batteries are in forward positions, and communications established to new sites selected. In every case of a move notification should be sent previously to this office.
- It might possibly be necessary to move forward a third battery from each group to positions slightly in advance of the forward positions selected in CARNOY Valley, at a later stage in the operations. Group Commanders should consequently consider the possibilities of sending batteries forward up, to, or over the front German line should the necessity arise.
- The movement forward of these batteries as stated in para 2 will probably begin after green line has been captured, and at least during the following night.
- The role of the 50th Brigade R.F.A. will consist in the first place in maintaining the necessary forward barrage during the movement of other batteries. In the later stages the 50th Brigade R.F.A. will hold itself in readiness to move forward either to reinforce batteries of 18th Art. In their forward positions or for any other special task that may be assigned to it.
- The zones allotted to Groups in advance of the forward barrage (line H) will correspond roughly to the respective fronts of Groups on this line.
- Reference para 3. the gun sited at F.12.c.7.3. will be the first gun to be moved forward, and all possible preliminary preparation should be made for this move.
It is hoped that a party of R.E. or Pioneers will be detailed to assist in bridging trenches.
A position would probably be available in the vicinity of POMMIERS trench.
A party should be sent on in advance as early as circumstances will admit to reconnoitre route and position, the gun being subsequently moved forward as soon as possible after capture of the final objective.
- The forward move of the second gun at F.17.b.2.2. will be regulated by circumstances. This gun being moved up to reinforce the first gun should circumstances prove favourable.
- The role of these guns should be made clear to the officers in command, it should be clearly be understood by them that these guns are not to open fire except in case of actual attack or at an exceptionally favourable target. The gun being so sited as to enfilade the N.W. face of MONTAUBAN.
- The primary advantage aimed at in the forward move of these guns is to shorten the communications between the Observation Post and gun. These forward guns should be provided with sufficient telephone equipment to allow of such communication being established.
- The personnel of V/18 and W/18 Trench Mortar Batteries will be reserved for providing fatigue parties or reinforcements as occasions may arise.
One section of V/18 is being detailed to hold itself in readiness to assist the forward movement of the single guns.
Fatigue parties from W/18 will be provided to Groups to assist batteries in occupying forward positions in CARNOY Valley.
- In order to facilitate control, the two single guns at F.17.b.2.2. and F.12.c.7.3. will come under tactical control of Left Group from 0 hour on Z day.
Brigade Major, 18th Div. Artillery.
Copies to 50th & 51st Bdes. For information.