War Diary of 9th Canadian Artillery Brigade July 1917

CONFIDENTIAL

 

WAR DIARY Of 9th CANADIAN ARTILLERY BRIGADE

 

From July 1st 1917 – To July 31st 1917

 

 

Map Reference:

VIMY 36 c S.W. 1/10,000

LOOS 36 c N.W. 3

LOCATION   S.30.a.14.62.

 

July 1st 1917 11 p.m.              The day passed normally with a fair amount of hostile shelling on our new positions in AVION.  At noon three salvoes were fired by the entire Canadian Corps Artillery carefully synchronized.  These salvoes were very effective and seemed to make the enemy nervous as he retaliated on certain portions of the front.

 

July 2nd 1917                          Today was quiet with the usual harassing fire on both sides.  The enemy’s trench mortar fire has been increasing nightly on our trenches and posts in AVION.

O.O. No 94 was issued today providing for the change in zone consequent to the 3rd Canadian Division’s taking over the line as far North as the SOUCHEE RIVER.

 

July 3rd 1917                           Day quiet- several working parties were engaged effectively by the 18-pdrs.  Today the 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 36th and 43rd Batteries reconnoitered and commenced work on new positions to be taken up in T 13.b and d. and S.18. Central.

 

July 4th 1917                           Enemy Artillery was practically silent during the day but carried out the usual night firing, including a certain amount of gas shell.

 

July 5th 1917                           Our Battery positions in VIMY received a severe shelling today, as well as points in T.19.a. and T.13.c.  Little damage was done.  An abnormal amount of train movement was reported by F.O.Os behind LENS and SALLAUMINES.

 

 

July 6th 1917                           A considerable amount of Counter-Battery work and harassing fire was done during the day and night apparently in imitation of our methods.  O.O. No 95 was issued today providing for a slight change of zone consequent to a redistribution of the Artillery on the Corps front.  The 31st and 36th Batteries sent up a section to their new positions in the evening.

 

July 7th 1917                           The enemy’s artillery was aggressive and alert today particularly on our tracks, roads etc.  His T.Ms have also been increasingly active.

An Addendum to O.O. No 95 was issued today. The 32nd Battery C.F.A. is to hand over its guns to the 5th and 18th Brigades, R.F.A. and withdraw its personnel to the wagon lines on the night of the 7th/8th.  The 33rd Battery C.F.A. is also to take over 2 guns from the 30th Battery C.F.A.

The Batteries continued their forward move during the night.

 

July 8th 1917                           Enemy night firing has noticeably increased during last few days.  Our trenches have been shelled consistently during the hours of darkness with howitzers, guns and T.Ms.  Lachrymatory shell has been occasionally used.

 

July 9th 1917                            Today passed without event.

 

July 10th 1917                          Enemy Artillery intermittently active.  Several working parties were engaged by our 18-pdrs and destructive shoots on three T.Ms and a sniper’s post were carried out successfully by our 4.5” Hows.

 

July 11th 1917                          Our new positions in T.13.b. and d. into which the Batteries have finished their move, were shelled today, a few casualties being suffered.

 

July 12th 1917                          Except for some scattered hostile shelling today passed quietly.

 

July 13th 1917                          The 36th Battery position at S.18.a.98.10. was shelled today, some ammunition being lost.  A heavy shoot was also put on the 11th Battery and several casualties suffered.

 

July 14th 1917                          Day and night normal.  O.O. No 96 was issued today providing for Artillery support for a projection of gas to be accomplished by the 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade.  The 36th and 43rd Batteries are to fire gas shell in five minute bursts and the 45th Battery will scatter shrapnel as suggested by G.H.Q. in order to make the enemy keep to his trenches where the gas is thickest.

 

July 15th 1917                          Some Addenda and Corrigenda to O.O. No 96 were issued today and the Code to be used published.  Zero time is to be 1.00 a.m.  The visibility was excellent today and several parties were engaged by our 18-pdrs.

 

July 16th 1916                          The day passed normally.  Our Heavy Artillery has been active in preparation for future operation.

 

July 17th 1917                          Day Normal.  Several hundred rounds of 15 c.m. were fired into VIMY between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

 

July 18th 1917                          The Enemy’s Artillery was practically silent during the day although his usual night firing was carried out.

 

July 19th 1917                          O.O. No 97 was issued today.  One Battalion (116th) of the 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade is to carry out a raid on the enemy’s trenches South of AVION, penetrating as far as the Railway Embankment.  This will take place about the 22nd.  The day was normal.

 

July 20th 1917                          There was a considerable amount of barraging fire carried out by the enemy.  It has been noticed that most of the enemy’s Counter-Battery shoots, lately, seem to have been done with balloon observation.

 

July 21st 1917                          Today was quiet.  In the late afternoon the enemy engaged one of our balloons with a H.V. Gun, forcing the pilot to parachute.

 

July 22nd 1917                         Today the Group Batteries completed the destruction of the enemy’s wire on the front of the raid.  Zero time for this Operation will be 1.00 a.m. July 23rd.

 

July 23rd 1917                          The raid at 1.00 a.m. was completely successful.  The Barrage was reported to be faultless.  Fifty-one prisoners were taken, including one officer.  Lieutenant Philpott went over behind the attacking parties and sent back valuable reports through the Liaison Officer.

O.O. No 98 was issued today. The Brigade is to be withdrawn from the line and come into action in support of an Operation by the 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions against the high ground N.W. of LENS.

 

July 24th 1917                          After 9.00 p.m. the Batteries were withdrawn to the wagon lines.  A March Table was issued for the move to the new sector.  Wagon Lines are to be at LE BREBIS and the gun positions, which have been under preparation, are in the vicinity of LOOS CRASSIER.

 

July 25th 1917                          The Brigade left the BERTHONVAL Wagon Lines at 3.30 p.m. arriving at LE BREBIS at about 8.30 p.m.  The Batteries come into action during the night.

 

July 26th 1917                          The day was spent in registration and establishment of communications.  The Batteries were all registered and on their S.O.S. Lines at 6.00 p.m.

Location M.4.c.00.30.

 

July 27th 1917                          In accordance with a fixed policy, the Batteries have kept silent, except when calibrating.  Our Siege Batteries have been active destroying the enemy’s positions.

O.O. No 100 issued today. This lays down our Artillery support in a forthcoming attack, to capture the high ground on the North of LENS.  If this is accomplished the enemy may be forced, by the tactical situation to evacuate this town.

 

July 28th 1917                          Visibility good.  Enemy Artillery active against Battery positions and rear areas.  Our Artillery very active on enemy’s defences.  Aerial activity below normal today.

Addenda Number One and Two, to Operation Order No 100, issued today. Number One gives instructions in regard to the 36th How. Battery’s Barrage.  Number Two calls for a Practice Barrage to take place at 5.15 p.m. July 29th.

 

July 29th 1917                          Visibility fair.  Our heavy Artillery has been very active during the past twenty-four hours.  Enemy Artillery normal.

Practice Barrage took place this afternoon as ordered, proving very satisfactory.

 

July 30th 1917                          Visibility fair.  Enemy Artillery carried out a short concentrated shoot this morning, lasting two minutes.  Enemy Planes which appeared over our lines at 8.30 p.m. were engaged by our A.A. Guns.

 

July 31st 1917                          Visibility fair.  Enemy Artillery put on a few destructive shoots on our back areas.  Our Heavies carried out their usual activity on enemy’s supports.  Aerial activity below normal.

 

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