SPECIAL REPORT upon silent raid carried out on NED TRENCH on the 13/14 May, 1917
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:-
- The enemy front line is very thinly held at night.
- There was no sentry group at N.11.a.45.63. where one had been located previously by reconnaissance.
- The regular movement of the enemy trench patrol suggests that the enemy travel trench is in good condition and well duckboarded.
- 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.
- “D” Battalion.