Special Report upon silent raid carried out on Ned Trench on the 13/14 May, 1917

COPY.

SPECIAL REPORT upon silent raid carried out on NED TRENCH on the 13/14 May, 1917

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At 10-30 p.m. the COVERING PARTY left our trenches at N.5.c.05.05. and 10 minutes later the ASSAULT and BLOCKING PARTIES followed.

 

After the parties had got clear of our wire, O.C. Raid detailed two men to enlarge the gap in our wire to facilitate the return of the parties.

 

At 10-40 p.m. 2 Very Lights were sent up by the enemy from N.11.a.1.4. and N.11.a.9.9. approximately.

 

The Covering Party took up its allotted position at and about N.11.a.15.67.

 

The Assaulting and Blocking Parties passed through the Covering Party, and through the gap in the enemy’s wire, the last man laying a white tape through the gap to aid the withdrawal. The parties entered the enemy blind trench at N.11.a.17.58., worked in an Easterly direction, and reached the E.F.L. at N.11.a.32.55.  At this point the Assault Party got into the enemy trench, and the Blocking Party took up its position behind the enemy parapet.

 

To guard against the possibility of meeting an enemy trench patrol, the bay of entry (provided with an island traverse) had been noted as a favourable place for attack, and provisional dispositions had been made previously in the event of such a contingency arising.

 

The Assault Party had not moved out of the bay of entry, when a trench patrol was heard approaching from the East and the Party was immediately reorganised in accordance with the prearranged plans and took up their respective positions to await the patrol. (See attached plan).

 

The trench patrol consisted of 3 men. Nos 1 & 2 were allowed to pass point “Z” and Sergt WRIGLEY of “A” Party pounced upon No. 3.  No. 1 did not give Sergt J. SLATER of “B” Party an opportunity of scuppering him, but bolted across country in the direction of the enemy Support Line.  No. 2 turned about and fired his revolver at point blank range at Sergt. WRIGLEY.  Sergt. WRIGLEY was not hit, and in the anxiety to get away with the prisoner, No. 2 was lost sight of.

 

The Assault Party and prisoner immediately withdrew from the enemy trench and returned to our lines, followed by the Blocking Party, the Covering Party bringing up the rear as arranged.

 

The whole of the Raiding Party regained our trenches at 1-0 a.m. without suffering any casualties.

 

During the whole of the operations the 170th Machine Gun Company co-operated with indirect fire of short bursts at intervals at points behind the enemy front and support lines, and their fire was carried out most effectively and without any possibility of raising the enemy’s suspicions.

 

The Raiding Party had withdrawn about half way across NO MAN’S LAND before the enemy sent up a Very Light, and then only from N.11.a.9.9. (approx) and the enemy did not open fire either with rifle or Machine Guns.

 

The following conclusions have been drawn:-

  1. The enemy front line is very thinly held at night.
  2. There was no sentry group at N.11.a.45.63. where one had been located previously by reconnaissance.
  3. The regular movement of the enemy trench patrol suggests that the enemy travel trench is in good condition and well duckboarded.
  4. With reference to the absence of M.G. fire, it is possible that the alarm had not been raised in the enemy lines, for on the morning of the 13/5/17 on the approach of one of our aeroplanes, M.G. fire at it had been so heavy as to call for special comment.(Sgd.) C. Oswald Dean.I Officer.14/5/17.
  5. “D” Battalion.
  6. Lieut.

SUMMARY OF INTELIGENCE. 14 May 1917

CONFIDENTIAL.

SUMMARY OF INTELIGENCE.

……………………………….

No. 86.

NOTE: – Not to be taken into Front Line Trenches.

UNIT: – 170th Infantry Brigade.

SECTOR: – CORDONNERIE – BOUTILLERIE.

PERIOD: – 6 a.m. 13/5/17 to 6 a.m. 14/5.17.

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“A” OUR OPERATIONS.

  1. ARTILLERY.

Station.     Time.     Time taken    Total.    Station.     Time.   Time taken      Total.

to get call                                                            to get call.

Secs             secs                                    secs                  secs.

H.S. 29.     9.40 a.m. 10                  30       H.P. 25.   2.6 p.m.   5                  30

H.T.14.       5.12 p.m.   4                  17       H.T. 8.    10.0 p.m. 15                 35

H.T.8.         3.6. p.m.  35                 65       H.T. 8.    11.5 p.m.   4                 28

H.P.23.     12.35 a.m.   7                 50       H.T. 14.    9.25 p.m. 5                 25

H.P.23.       3.4  a.m.    7                 23       H.T. 14.    2.40 a.m.  4                16

H.P.25.     11.0 p.m.     5                 20       H.S.29.    9.30 p.m.   5                10

H.P.25.       2.30 a.m.    7                 27        H.S.29    2.23 a.m.   4                13

 

Our Heavies firing on enemy back areas; our artillery fired on NEBULA SUPPORTS

at 1.15 p.m.

 

Heavy artillery fired on and completely destroyed house at N.16.c.10.15. where

enemy M.G. was observed firing on one of our aeroplanes on 11/5/17. Quiet during

the night.

 

  1. TRENCH MORTARS (MEDIUM). – Nothing to report.

 

  1. LIGHT TRENCH MORTARS. – 10.15 a.m. 50 rds. fired at ne* *** ** NEGATIVE TRENCH. Considerable damage done. Retaliation – Nil.

 

  1. MACHINE GUNS. Indirect fire carried out covering raiding party, supports and C.Ts. swept from N.10.d.30.60. to N.11.c.00.45. No of rds expended – 2250.

 

  1. SNIPING. No hits claimed.

 

  1. PATROLS. CORDONNERIE SECTOR – Two Officers’ patrols were out during the night and reported enemy rather more active than usual with flares; flashes from a M.G. were seen behind front line in NEGATIVE DRIVE and another M.G. fired from different points in E.F.L.

BOUTILLERIE SECTOR – See Special report on Raid.

 

  1. WORK. Repairs to CONVENT AVENUE; parapets raised in supports.

 

  1. AIRCRAFT. Very active all day.

 

  1. GENERAL. Visibility – Good.

 

“B” – ENEMY OPERATIONS.

 

  1. ARTILLERY. Active with whizzbangs on front line at N.6.5. and I.31.1, also on BAY AVENUE, otherwise quiet during the day and night.

Back areas.  Much quieter than usual on this sector.

 

  1. TRENCH MORTARS. 7 p.m. 6 Minnies on our front line at N.6.1. damage to duckboards.

 

  1. MACHINE GUNS. firing on our aeroplanes during the day; one of our planes passed at low altitude over enemy lines at NEAT TRENCH, and it was noticed that a large number of M.Gs. appeared to be firing at ‘plane.       Fairly active during early part of the evening, otherwise quiet.

 

  1. SNIPING. Nil.

 

  1. WIRE and DEFENCES. 3.30 p.m. A working party of about 30 men on NEIGHBOUR TRENCH, working for about an hour. 6.5 a.m. 3 men seen digging in NECK TRENCH at N.11.b.80.15., and 2 men filling sandbags at same place at 10 a.m.
  2. with 5.

 

  1. SIGNALS. At 11 p.m. searchlights operating from direction of BEAUCAMPS (O.21.d) sweeping N.M.L. and our parapet in BOUTILLERIE SECTOR.

 

  1. AIRCRAFT. Active throughout the day.

 

  1. MOVEMENT. Usual small parties of men observed moving in both directions on CHATEAU RICHE – BAS BAISE Road.

2.30 p.m. 1 man seen on road at N.12.a.75.50. in what appeared to be a      khaki uniform, and 2 others at 8.15 a.m. in same kind of uniform in front line             at N.6.b.91.53.

Very little activity observed during the day in and around FROMELLES.

5.10 p.m. 2 men seen wearing dark blue uniforms and peaked caps carrying rifles with fixed bayonets on road near CHATEAU RICHE.  No enemy working parties heard during the night.

 

  1. GENERAL. Depth of RIVER LAIES at our parapet 6”

at CELLAR FARM 9”.

 

Casualties (From 12 noon 12/5/17 to 12 noon 13/5/17) – 1 O.R. wounded.

 

 

REPORT ON SUCCESSFUL RAID CARRIED OUT BE “D” BATTALION

on NED TRENCH, Night 13th/14th May 1917.

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Composition of Raiding Party.

O.C. RAID – Lieut T. Hollis; 3 Offrs, and 30 O.Rs.

Assault Party. – Lieut Hein and 8 O.R., Blocking Party 2nd Lieut Ciceri and 6 O.R. Covering Party 2nd Lieut Green and 10 O.R., O.C. Raid with 2 signallers and 4 O.Rs.

Objective.  To scupper or capture sentry group previously located in E.F.L. at LN.11.a.45.63.

At Zero hour 10.30 p.m., raiding party left our trench at N.11.a.32.55. and proceeded across N.M.L. without incident.

The Covering Party took up its allotted position, the Assault and Blocking partied proceeded to the E.F.L.   The blocking party lay up on the E.F.L. at N.1.a.32.55; the Assault party entered the enemy’s trenches at this point, and before leaving the bay which they had entered heard an enemy patrol approaching.  The O.C. Assault quickly made his dispositions and placed his men at either end of island traverse of the bay.  The enemy trench patrol of 3 men passed along the travel trench.  Nos 1 and 2 were allowed to pass and No 3 was pounced upon and held by Sergt Wrigley.  No 1 rushed off across country towards his support line before reaching the second opening in the bay, where the other half of the Assault party were waiting, the intention being to surround these 3 men while between the two openings of the bay.  No 2 turned round and fired his rifle point blank at Sergt Wrigley (who had secured No. 3) but missed, and escaped in the darkness towards enemy’s supports.

A prisoner having been secured, the Raiding Party returned to our lines at 1 a.m. without having suffered any casualties.

The raid was most successful throughout and accomplished without the slightest hitch.

 

N.B. Hamilton Lieut.

for Captain,

Brigade Major,

for Brig General Commdg. 170th Inf. Bde.

 

 

Report on prisoner captured by “D” Battalion on night 13th/14th May 1917.

IDENTIFICATION. – Preliminary report on prisoner captured by “D” Battalion on night 13th/14th May 1917.

 

Name: – ERICH SETTGAST.

 

The prisoner belongs to the Landwehr Regiment, No. 85., 2nd Battalion, 5th Company, 38th Division.

 

He was enlisted in STETTIN, and arrived from the ARGONNE on the night of 12th May 1917, and was last on the enemy front in August 1916 – RUSSIA.

 

The name of the Regiment on his right is the 78th and on the left 236th; he does not know where the 262nd Regiment is.

 

The 85th Regiment is a HOLSTEIN Regiment.

 

He was born in TEMPLIN in UKERMARCK, BRANDENBURG, and is 18 years of age.

 

Until August 1916 the prisoner was in the Reserve Field Artillery, Regiment No.3, BRANDENBURG, and since that time he has been an Infantry man.

 

This was his first night in the line, and he was one of a patrol of 3 men, consisting of another private and a Feldwebel, whose duties were to visit 4 posts in the front line; he does not know the position of the posts.

 

His Regiment before moving into the line was stationed at LIGNY, where they arrived on the night of the 12th instant.  The Officer Commanding the 2nd Battalion is HAUPTMANN STROHMEYER.

 

He was aware of the fact that AMERICA had entered the War and is going to send over an army to FRANCE.

 

He states that the men are well fed and are not dis-spirited.