WAR DIARY Of 30th Divisional Artillery from 1st July 1916 – To 31st July 1916
RANGEE des nuits 1st July Lovely day. Bombardment and attack as per programme – Events as per attached hourly
ARBRES report. – Many S.O.S. during the night mostly nothing – Aeroplane reports enemy massing at S.18.b.6.9 – Turned heavies onto them. – Heavy expenditure of Amn during the night.
2nd July Dull but fine. A/151 in action in forward position OXFORD COPSE – all left Group
3.15 am have to replenish Amn.
3.55 am S.O.S. Mountauban – All guns got amn. Apparently enemy attacked BRIQUIETERIE and got *** *** – ditto N.W. of MONTAUBAN – 18th D.A. cooperated – Too many S.O.S. sent result “wolf” – Proper attack at 5 am driven off by our fire.
8.35am Arranged for heavies to shell Bernafay Wood so that our patrols can enter & clean up situation – Bernafay Wood found practically empty – Took 16 prisoners & found a lot of German dead – Intermittent shelling all day.
3rd July Fine – Looked for forward posn for batteries near Machine Gun Wood and the late “no mans ground” found 7 German trenches most awfully knocked about.
4th July Dull – Thundery – Quiet day on our front – French took ESTREES & BELLOI
15th Corps are taking S end of Mametz Wood Trench & QUADRANGLE Trench tonight at 12.45 am (They took all but S of Mametz Wood.
ETINEHEM 5th July Came out from Rangee D’ Arbres dugouts & handed over to 9th Div Arty – new scheme for attack on MALTZ HURN Farm – TRONES Wood for day after tomorrow 7th sprung on us at 1 pm. Went tonight group & 9th D.A. & French 39th D.A. to try and arrange matters. Find French leaving a gap between us – nothing yet settled by Corps. Ordered 149th Bde complete to advanced positions S.W. of MACHINE GUN WOOD also B/157 to N. of Peronne Road to take ** above scheme – Batteries to move tonight. Scheme postponed 24 hours.
6th July Wet visited MONTAUBAN & BERNAFAY WOOD. Wonderful O.P. up a tree. Slight alterations in lines 7.55 am as shell *** 8. am zero – 8.55 am Heavy Artillery lift off.
Fine Arranged scheme with Right Group & Sackville West. Scheme postponed 24 hours.
7th July Wet visited MONTAUBAN & BERNAFAY WOOD. Wonderful O.P. up a tree in Bernafay Wood. Timings for tomorrows show 7.55 am gas shells stop – 8. am zero – 8.55 am Heavy Artillery lift off. S.30.a.5.4 & neighbourhood of Trones Wood – 9.35 lift off N & S part of MALTZ Horn trench 9.40 off NE & SW part of ditto. 9.55 am off Maltz Horn Farm. 9.35 am 2nd phase of attack commences 9.45 am Maltz Horn trenches to be occupied 10 am take Maltz Horn Farm. Later take all TRONES WOOD – The French will make a barrage E of TRONES WOOD if necessary.
8th July Dull – The attack on Trones Wood reached the Wood at 8 a.m. but failed owing to Machine Gun fire in the Wood. Our bombardment ordered for 12-30 p.m. which was well carried out, very heavy barrage being put up by us on the East side of BOIS des TRONES. The attack reached the BOIS des TRONES at the same time as a strong counter attack came down from the direction of GUILLEMONT which came into our barrage and was unable to get through it. At 1-20 p.m. we held South Eastern end of TRONES WOOD and captured 130 prisoners. Touch was gained with the French on MALTZ HORN RIDGE and Infantry were waiting for our barrage to lift so as to take the whole of TRONES WOOD. Positions of batteries 148th Bde as for attack on 1st July covering 9th Div front – 149th Bde moved to MACHINE Gun Wood area – A/151 Oxford Copse B/151 S.E. of Germans Wood – Ground was too heavy to move it up further as desired C/151 as before – A/150N of Peronne Road next to B/153 as for night 1 / 2 July, B/150 as before C/150 Chateau Keep Maricourt where it moved on 1st July 10 a.m. D/150 alongside C/150 D.A.C. SAILLY LAURETTE miles too far back have asked for them to be sent further up – *** ***** to Bois D Athilles (5***)
9th July Fine – Visited Groups and looked for positions on BRIQUIETERIE ridge for 149th & 150th Brigades. Heavy counter attacks on TRONES WOOD twice beaten off. Third attack got thro; counter attack by us got back South end & S.E. strong point & our infantry working N (10.30 p.m.) – Left Group lent to 9th D.A.
B/150 Position 10th July Fine. Moved to B/150 old position between B & C Copses – Enemy got back TRONES
A21C6.6 WOOD some time during the night cannot find out details. Bombardment by heavies & us & barrage to be put up; infantry to enter wood at 3.27 a.m. 10/11
11th July Fine – Infantry entered wood at 3.27 a.m. as per programme & reported they had consolidated – one under officer among prisoners found with an order to attack again that night signal to be one light – Quiet afternoon – about 11 p.m. F.O.O. reports O.K. later **& goes up – we put up barrage – S.O.S. sent later barrage again put up. French Art report attack on their front – cannot get information as to situation from any one – Infantry apparently pushed out sometime in the evening but counter attacked at once and got south end of the wood – Heavies asked to shell the wood from 6 a.m. all day we are also shelling it with 18 prs & 4.5 Hows – Whole situation unsatisfactory as cannot make out how or when infantry pushed out of the wood – our artillery been firing most of the night & badly want a rest having been now at it practically day & night since 1st July or rather 25th June.
Moved to 12th July Fine & dull – Continued shelling of wood – S.O.S. sent by aeroplane at 8.30 p.m. put up COPSE VALLEY barrage but found it was nothing (aeroplane had seen some Very Lights sent up & near thought attack was coming) – later 9.30 p.m. S.O.S. from infantry, rifle & Machine gun
BILLON WOOD fire, put up barrage immediately – attack stopped.
13th July Fine 18th Div take over from 30th Div but 30th D.A. stay in – attack on Trones Wood by 55th Brigade – fails to get all wood at 7 p.m. re-bombardment at 8.45 p.m. – enemy still there – fighting still continue at 10 p.m. Issued orders for tomorrows defensive flank attack to be at 3.25 a.m. 11.30 p.m. Infantry failed to take any more of the wood – fresh attack ordered to start at 3.25 a.m. Same time as grand attack. Only one 6” How Battery allowed to help. Arranged to barrage across wood from just north of our line and advanced by 50x every 2 minutes. The infantry following behind 6” Hows on Strong Point S30a4.5 & then 3 exits.
14th July 7 a.m. Dull our infantry reached railway, but cannot get any more information, wires all cut. The Big attack going strong Longueval to Bazentin le Grand taken & cavalry seen as far up as Mountauban – 9.30 a.m. All Trones Wood reported taken except strong point at S30a4.5. Patrols being sent out to inspect the line towards Guillemont. Have issued orders to 150 Bde to be prepared to move up to positions on BRIQUETBRIE Ridge to assist attack on GUILLEMONT if necessary. 10 a.m. raining hard ground becoming impossible to move artillery over. 12 noon rain stopped – at 4.30 p.m. 150th Bde ordered up to BRIQUETERIE ridge to take a second line – 6.30 p.m. 148th Bde less D/148 ordered up to rally south of BERNAFAY wood (A5 central) to cut wire between Waterlot Farm & Guillemont – 6.55 a.m. 14/15 all batteries in action – 148th Bde returns to us from 9th Divn.
15th July Fine 9 a.m. Ordered to cooperate in attack on Guillemont – made out orders – 12 noon postponed until 9th Div take WATERLOT & GINCHY Big attack going strong Delville Wood, Flers & High Wood reported taken.
16th July Fine but wet in afternoon – Visited 148th & 150th – Room for 3 more batteries alongside 148th in MALTZ HORN Valley – Possibilities of relief by 18th D.A. after taking of Guillemont & Ginchy in morning of 18th – 3 brigade attack – 12 midnight orders to cut wire from FALFEMONT FARM to GUILLEMONT – 85th Bde to help from 18th D.A. also French 75 mm & Heavies – ordered 85th to go to MALTZ Horn Valley with 148th – Guides to meet them for 4 a.m.
17th July Wet – 85th Bde B/85into action 8.30 a.m. other two batteries go later – as far as can be found out go together bunched up – a few unlucky shells came & get two commanding officers + 2 subalterns also 21 men & about 10 horses – withdraw batteries for short time – batteries go up again + get into action 6.30 p.m. all correct.
10 p.m. S.O.S. Trones Wood – (not Trones Wood but S.O.S. from Longueval which shows 5 red rockets *** Trones Wood). All quiet.
18th July Wet. C.R.A. 35th D.A. came round battery positions with a view to relieving 30th D.A.
Heavy attack on Longueval & Delville Wood – enemy taken Delville Wood – S.O.S. Trones wood at same time. Put up heavy barrage from Delville Wood S of Waterlot Farm to near Maltz Horn. A few Boshes got thro’ to E *** of Trones but were killed there. Kept up barrage north of the railway till situation cleared – All quiet about 7.35 p.m. – Enemy still hold Delville Wood. Very unpleasant for our guns in MALTZ HORN valley should TRONES WOOD go.
19th July Fine – 35th Div take over from 18th Div at 10 a.m. General Staveley arranges to take over our line by exchanging personnel probably by noon 20th. We are handing over all our arrangements for attack on Guillemont. First exchange carried out without hitch – Attack on Trench at MALTZ HORN arranged for 4.55 a.m. 20th – 3 S.O.S. none sent by infantry this is owing to signal being 5 white **** result when any Very lights go up in any numbers it looks like S.O.S. signal.
20th July Fine – Attack on MALTZ HORN at 4.55 a.m. failed owing to a machine gun behind the trench which had not been located before – French obtained all their objectives on the right up to MAUREPAS station + 800 prisoners. Rebombardment at 8.30 also failed. Fresh bombardment ordered for 11.5 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. Infantry attack at 11.35 a.m. Infantry got into trench but could not stay. Half exchange of personnel carried out with 35th D.A. 11 p.m. complete exchange completed.
CITADEL 21st July Fine – absolute rest – 148th complete at B autilles 149th in action 150th less D/150 at B Autilles 151st in action – Batteries in action under 35th D.A. Had to wear goggles because of gas shells.
22nd July Fine – Visited Brigades resting at BOIS Autilles – 21st attack on Guillemont at night. 21st attack failure hung up by machine guns & wire also Yorkshire Regt lost direction & did not attack Guillemont at all otherwise attack might have succeeded. Two companies reached church in Guillemont but had to retire.
23rd July Fine. Attack on Guillemont in early hours as above.
24th July Fine – New attack arranged on Guillemont with French also attacking much more likely to come off as French attack S of FALFEMONT Farm whilst we attacked from just N of Guillemont to FALFEMONT Farm inclusive 4.50 p.m. Operations postponed for at least 48 hours.
25th July Fine – Very noisy night last night – Quiet day & night.
26th July Fine – Visited batteries in the line – They can’t get any time out of 35th D.A. Have asked for Col Dixon to be relieved as he isn’t fit – Col Dixon relieved. Attack on Longueval & Delville Wood by 5th & 3rd Divn early tomorrow morning.
27th July Fine – Sent up more guns to replace those damaged in 35th D.A. 13th Corps R.A. now order no more guns to be sent up to replace unless they are in 30th D.A.
28th July 1916 Fine – Visited Divn Quiet day.
29th July 1916 Fine – Quiet day.
30th July 1916 Fine – Our battery ordered to hold itself in readiness at short notice to go to a position in A24 east of “Y” wood to shoot into valley East of MALTZ HORN FARM.
31st July 1916 Fine – Very hot – Relief orders 149th & 151st brigades to come out on relief by 55th D.A. & go to Bois Athilles first sections night 31/1 & 2nd Sections night 1 / 2 August. Am still short of small stores for the guns but hope to have them made up by 35th who took all ours.
A short summary of casualties & amount of ammunition is attached.
Casualties roughly for 1st July to 31st July 20 Officers & 108 men.
Ammunition expenditure July 1st to July 4th A 37,275 AY 10,848 B 3 BX 7,314 Thermit.
July 10th to 16th A 31,098 AY 13,084 B 7 BX 8,293 100
July 16th to 20th A 22,039 AY 6,777 B 86BX 4,613
O.W. **** Maj.
B.M. 30th DIV Artillery