Report on capture of Vimy Ridge 9 April 1917.
APRIL 9TH 1917
THE ATTACK AND CAPTURE OF VIMY RIDGE
Promptly at 5.30 a.m. this morning the barrage opened and from here it appeared well synchronised all along the line. Practically coincident with the first rounds fired flares of all sorts were sent up from the German lines. Within ten minutes the German barrage was well under way but it was not very effective owing to high bursts. Our barrage was reported as being very good, a large percentage of the rounds being just off graze. The smoke barrage put up by the R.Es was also reported to be most effective. At 5.37 a.m. report was received that we had crossed enemy’s front line. Within 23 minutes from Zero Hour our Infantry were reported as having crossed the support line and that the enemy barrage was light. At this period our Communication Trenches were subjected to a searching fire from enemy 5.9s. After our crossing of the support line enemy commenced sending up white flares from immediately in rear of SWISCHEN STELLUNG. At 6.07 a.m. a small party of prisoners were reported as being brought in. Seven minutes later we occupied SWISCHEN STELLUNG. Enemy barrage now heavier on ARTILLERIE WEG and FLAPPER TRENCH. At 6.45 a.m. infantry reported as having left SWISCHEN STELLUNG and started advance to next objective. Reports from Infantry were that our barrage was very satisfactory. At 7.10 a.m. a large number of prisoners had been brought in. Tanks were reported as advancing on our right. At 7.35 a.m. our Brigade F.O.O. Lieut. J.R. Jamieson established a Group telephone communication as far forward as VIMY RIDGE. About the same time Lieut. F.B.L. Heney, F.O.O. also established communication from the RIDGE. At 7.40 a.m. report received was that the Infantry were consolidating RED LINE. By 9.30 a.m. situation was quiet on our zone. Infantry still busily engaged in consolidation and as covered them by occasional bursts of fire.
In addition to barrages the enemy also resorted to Gas Shells. Points in front of LA FOLIE WOOD and also the 43rd Battery (S.25.b.31.02.) was shelled for a short time with Gas Shells.
Throughout the day the enemy was reported as massing at various places particularly in VIMY and vicinity of PETIT VIMY, also large numbers of Infantry were reported at various times throughout the day as being seen in back areas.
At 4.30 p.m. German machine gunners and snipers were reported active in FLOWER and FILLIP Trenches. These trenches were fired upon by the 36th Howitzer Battery. Through our Left Battalion Liaison Officer and different F.O.Os number of hostile batteries were reported and they were immediately taken on by Counter Battery Group.
CHRONOLOGICAL REPORT OF ATTACK
5.30 a.m. Barrage commenced.
5.33 a.m. Left Battalion Liaison Officer, Lieut. Webster, reports everything going as per programme.
5.37 a.m. Left Battalion reported as crossing enemy F.L.
5.41 a.m. Effect of enemy barrage lessened by extremely high bursts.
Our barrage reported as very good.
5.53 a.m. Our Infantry have crossed support line, enemy barrage light but is searching C.Ts with 5.9s.
6.00 a.m. Infantry reported as leaving second line and advancing to next objective. Enemy sending up white flares from immediately in rear of SWISCHEN STELLUNG.
6.17 a.m. Small party of prisoners coming in.
6.14 a.m. Our Infantry have now reached SWISCHEN STELLUNG. Enemy barraging heavily ARTILLERIE WEG and FLAPPER TRENCH.
6.42 a.m. We occupy SWISCHEN STELLUNG. Party of 100 prisoners reported coming in.
6.45 a.m. Infantry leaving SWISCHEN STELLUNG.
6.47 a.m. Reports state that Infantry advance is even all along the line. Our barrage is reported to be very successful.
6.55 a.m. One of our Infantry outposts reported on the outskirts of BOIS DE BONVAL.
7.04 a.m. Our Infantry have disappeared over LA FOLLIE CREST. Enemy still barraging his old front line.
7.10 a.m. Large number of prisoners coming in.
7.13 a.m. Tanks can be seen advancing on right.
7.27 a.m. Enemy putting gas shells on western outskirts of LA FOLIE WOOD.
7.37 a.m. Lieut. J.R. Jamieson Brigade F.O.O. and Lieut J.B. L. Heney 32 Btty telephones us from VIMY RIDGE.
7.40 a.m. Infantry consolidating along RED LINE.
8.30 a.m. Situation quiet on our zone. Infantry consolidating and we are covering their work by intermittent bursts of fire.
10.15 a.m. Enemy reported to be massing in S.24.d.
10.20 a.m. 43rd Battery position being shelled with gas shells.
10.40 a.m. Enemy reported in large numbers on road in S.19.a.3.5. From road they are going into BOBBY Trench and then proceeding to a point on the outskirts of PETIT VIMY where they are reported as massing.
10.50 a.m. Enemy reported as massing in S.23. central.
11.15 a.m. Enemy is reaching massing point in PETIT VIMY by way of BOBBY, BODKIN and BIMBLE Trenches.
11.15 a.m. to 3.50 p.m.
Our Infantry busily engaged in consolidation and trench work and enemy reported massing at many places. These points were all kept under fire. Number of enemy batteries reported through Infantry F.O.Os were taken on by the Counter Battery Group.
3.50 p.m. German machine gunners and snipers reported active in FLOWER and FILLIP Trenches. These points were kept under fire by our 36th Bty.
4.00 p.m. Enemy reported to be massing behind VIMY.
4.20 500 German Infantry reported as observed going into PETIT VIMY from direction of Railway Line.
5.30 p.m. Situation practically normal both sides apparently settling down to improving trenches and fortifications.
Adjt. 9th Brigade C.F.A.