REPORT ON OPERATIONS 1st – 3rd JULY 1916, 13 July 1916

14th INFANTRY BRIGADE

REPORT ON OPERATIONS 1st – 3rd JULY 1916

REFERENCE MAP – Sheet 57 D.S.E. 1/20,000

 

1st JULY 1916

 

Scheme of Operations

  1. The role of the 14th Infantry Brigade on the 1st July was to follow the 97th Bde. and, after the capture of the German first line system, to advance through the 97th Inf. Bde. and capture the German second line between R.34.a.0.9. and R.21.c.17.

Organisation for the attack.

  1. For the purposes of this operation the Brigade was divided into three Columns called the Right, Left and Support Columns.

The Right Column. – (Commander, Lt. Col., J.M.A. GRAHAM, D.S.O., 19th Lancashire Fusiliers) consisted of the

1st Dorset Regiment

19th Lancashire Fusiliers

14th Brigade Machine Gun Coy less 2 sections

4 guns 3 inch Stokes’ Mortar Battery

4 guns 4 inch Stokes’ Mortar Battery (for smoke barrage)

½ section 206th Coy R.E.

 

The Left Column – (Commander, Lt. Col., N. LUXMOORE, 2nd Manchester Regiment) consisted of

2nd Manchester Regiment

1 section 14th Bde. M.G. Coy

4 guns 3 inch Stokes’ Mortar Battery

½ section 206th Coy R.E.

The Support Column – (Commander, Lt. Col. C.G. BEAUCHAMP, 15th Highland Light Infantry)

15th Highland Light Infantry.

—————————————————————————

1 section 14th Bde M.G. Coy, and 4 guns 3 inch Stokes’ Battery were in Brigade Reserve

 

Right Column      The Right Column was to capture and consolidate the German second line between R.34.a.0.9. and the GOAT REDOUBT (about R.27.b.20.85)

Left Column      The Left Column was to capture and consolidate the GOAT REDOUBT and the German second line as far as R.21.c.17.

Support Column      The Support Column was to advance to about R.26.b. central and from there be ready to support the attack of the Left Column or guard against a hostile counter attack from the North or North East.

 

Method of carrying out the attack.

  1. As it was considered essential to the success of the operation of the 14th Brigade that there should be no delay in assaulting the German second line after the capture of MOUQUET FARM and MOUQUET SWITCH Line by the Reserve Battalion the 97th Bde. orders were given that the head of the Right Column was to follow this Battalion (11th Border Regiment) at a distance of 500 yards. The Left and Support Columns were to follow the Right Column as closely as circumstances permitted until they reached the points at which they were directed to their objectives.

Narrative of Operations,

  1. At 7.10 a.m. the Right Column left the BLACK HORSE SHELTERS and, entering AUTHILLE WOOD at the S.W. Corner, moved forward by the DUMBARTON TRACK. Here some delay occurred owing to the 11th Border Regt. not being clear of the WOOD, but eventually the 1st Dorset Regiment which was leading the Column was able to leave the cover of the WOOD and advance. As soon, however, as the leading platoon came out into the open it was met by very heavy machine gun fire chiefly from the direction of X.2.a. Despite this fire, the advance was continued by small parties in rushes and the whole Battalion reached our front line trenches though suffering very heavy casualties in doing so.

The 19th Lancashire Fusiliers following the 1st Dorset Regiment also came under heavy machine gun fire and suffered much until Lt. Col. GRAHAM, realising the situation, ordered the O.C., 4 inch Stokes’ Mortars to put up a smoke curtain, and also brought two Vickers and two Lewis guns into action.

Under cover of this smoke and fire about half the battalion was able to get out of the wood and the remainder was diverted in the trenches and reached the front line via ROCK STREET and CHEQUERBENT STREET.

On reaching our front line it was found to be blocked by men of 97th Brigade many of whom were killed or wounded and for a short time there was considerable confusion. Major SHUTE, Commanding the 1st Dorset Regiment, had been wounded during the advance.

Lieut BUTCHER, Adjutant of the Battalion, being unable to get into touch with the next senior officer (Capt. LANCASTER) assumed command and by his prompt action managed to restore some sort of order and to get the men of the various units separated under there own officers and N.C.O’s.

Only 6 Officers and about 60 men of the 1st Dorsets and about 40 men of the Lancashire Fusiliers under Capt. HIBBERT managed to reach the German trenches which were entered at the LEIPZIG SALIENT.

In the meanwhile, information had reached Brigade Headquarters as to the state of affairs and at 10.30 a.m., an order was sent to the Left and Support Columns not to leave the shelter of AUTHILLE WOOD until further orders.

At 12.10 p.m. under orders from Divisional Headquarters, the 2nd Manchester Regiment was placed at the disposal of the G.O.C., 97th Inf. Bde.

At 12.30 p.m. orders were sent to the Right Column to remain in its then position and re-organize, the 1st Dorsets remaining in our front line trench and 19th Lancashire Fusiliers being in the support trenches.

There was no alteration in the situation until after dark when the 1st Dorsets and the 19th Lancashire Fusiliers were withdrawn and replaced in the trenches by the 15th H.L.I.

2nd July

  • There was no change in the situation during the day. Orders were received to prepare for a further advance in the LEIPZIG SALIENT in the early morning of the 3rd July and the G.O.C. 14th Infantry Brigade assumed Command of the line on withdrawal of the 97th

As the 2nd Manchester Regt. had been engaged in the LEIPZIG SALIENT since the afternoon of the 1st July it was decided that they should be relieved by the 15th H.L.I. who had not yet been in action and were fresh.

The relief was carried out during the night 2/3 July.

The 2nd Manchester Regt. was held in support in our front trenches and the 1st Dorsets and 19th Lanc. Fus., which were brought up to garrison the front line trench, were held in Reserve.

3rd July 6.      Orders were received that, in conjunction with the 75th Inf. Bde. which had relieved the 96th Brigade on our left, the attack on the German trenches, was to be renewed at 3.15 a.m., – the 14th Brigade, operating from its forward position in LEIPZIG SALIENT .

Owing to the 75th Brigade being new to this part of the line considerable difficulty was experienced in the relief, and about 1 a.m., it became evident that the troops could not be in position by Zero time. This was reported to Divisional Headquarters and it was eventually decided that the attack was to be postponed until 6.15 a.m. even then the 75th Brigade was not ready for the advance.

The objective given to the 14th Inf. Bde. for this attack was the German trench between X.1.a.60.85. and R.31.c.73.18.

The attack was carried out by the 15th Highland Light Infantry supported by the 2nd Manchester Regiment.

The 15th H.L.I. succeeded in reaching the line X.1.a.59 – R.31.c.50.15., but after a hard struggle found they were unable to hold it and by 7.15 a.m., they were back in their original position.

The attach of the 75th Brigade on our left failed though about 60 men of the 11th Cheshire Regiment entered the LEIPZIG SALIENT and joined up with the 14th Brigade.

During the afternoon 2 sections of 206th Coy R.E., were sent up to the SALIENT to assist in consolidating the line and 2 3 inch Stokes’ guns were also sent up.

During the night ¾ July the 14th Brigade was relieved by the 7th Brigade and retired to SENLIS.

 

Casualties. 7.      The casualties suffered by the 14th Brigade during these operations were

Killed            Wounded      Missing

Officers                  10                   41                   2

O.R                       91            1,000               179

TOTAL………………………..101            1041               181

 

Recommendations

  • I have some recommendations to make for good services during these operations, but I withhold the names until they are called for.

 

Brigadier General

Commanding 14th Infantry Brigade

13th July 1916.

Advertisements

18th Division No G. 619 13 July 1916

SECRET

 

XIII Corps 143/2/19(G)

18th Division No G. 619

G.O.C., R.A.

3rd Division.

9th Division.

18th Division.

35th Division.

No 9 Squadron R.F.C.

No 4 Kite Balloon Section

N0 12 Kite Balloon Section.

 

  1. For the attack on the enemy’s 2nd line, flares will be shown as follows:-

 

XIII Corps – Green

XV Corps – Green( or any yellow flares that may be left.

III Corps – Red(or any yellow flares that may be left.

  1. During operations, up to the present, Contact Patrol aeroplanes have been able to fly very low, flares are easy to locate, signalling panels have been read without difficulty when used.       The air within observing distance of the lines has been practically clear of German aeroplanes.       Such German balloons as are still up have been moved back, and cannot see much, especially in the afternoon and evening.
  2. A Map showing the lines on which flares will be lighted will be issued tomorrow (13th instant).

(sgd) D. MONTGOMERY, Major,

for B.G., G.S.

XIII Corps

12th July 1916

 

Royal Artillery.

53rd I B

54th I B

55th I. B

Signals

 

Forwarded.       Map will be issued later

 

 

F.H. Harry

Major,

for Lieut-Colonel.

Senior General Staff Officer, 18th Division.

July 13th 1916

Pte. A.A. Smith Letter 13 July 1916

Canadian Y.M.C.A headed notepaper

H.M. FORCES ON ACTIVE SERVICE

Pte. A.A. Smith

No 27521

Reply to Essex Regt

15th I.B.D A.P.O (817)

B.E.F. France

 

July 13th 1916

 

Dear Father

 

I have not very much news to tell you but I thought I would write you a short note in case you did not receive my first letter.

We do not get very much news here as it is a job to get a paper so I expect you know more about the war than we do although we are much nearer.

We are alright for cigarettes here 4 packets given out per week. I think it is rather too far to send parcels at present & I don’t think we shall be staying here very long.

Well I think I must conclude now Father. Hoping you are all in the best of health.

 

With much love from

From your devoted

Son

Alf

 

P.S. Many thanks for your letter I was very pleased to hear from you also for parcel I shall appreciate it very much if you have sent it. If we leave here I would get it alright as it would be sent on to me; but if you have not packed it up yet I think I should leave it until you hear from me again.

Remember me to Darvills & Miss Dimond. Glad they are all well. I will write to them first opportunity I get.