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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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,
- 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.
- 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
- I have some recommendations to make for good services during these operations, but I withhold the names until they are called for.
Commanding 14th Infantry Brigade
13th July 1916.