War Diary of 9th Canadian Artillery Brigade January 1918

CONFIDENTIAL

 

War Diary of 9th CANADIAN ARTILLERY BRIGADE

 

From January 1st 1918 – To January 31st 1918

 

 

Place       Date    Hour                                                Summary of Events and Information

G.34.d.95.30.

1.1.18                       Visibility good, with considerable aerial activity on both sides.  Enemy carried out some long distance flights behind our lines during the morning.  Our planes also appeared to be active in his rear areas.  Our 18pdrs fired on movement at various times throughout the day.  The enemy is displaying an aggressive attitude on our right.  For several mornings in succession he has placed a barrage on the front trenches in that sector at 5.00AM.

 

2.1.18                        Poor visibility all day.  There was a certain amount of aerial activity during the morning and one hostile plane appeared to direct fire for hostile battery firing on LOOS.  At about 10.00A.M. seven E.A. patrolled over CITE ST AUGUSTE.  Two of our planes attacked these and brought one down in flames.  A certain amount of movement was again observed today and engaged by our 18pdrs.  the enemy artillery has been more active than usual and did considerable firing on LOOS.  At about 8.00 P.M. the enemy attacked one of our posts.  This attack was covered by a heavy bombardment of our support and communication trenches.  Our S.O.S. Signal went up and artillery responded immediately.  One of our men was killed; no other casualties were reported, and no identifications were obtained.

 

Place       Date    Hour                                              Summary of Events and Information

 

3.1.18                        Operation Order 130-2 was issued today slightly changing the boundaries of the Group Zone and putting the 66th Battery of the 5th C.D.A. which had previously been under the tactical control of this brigade, under the 10th Brigade C.F.A.  Visibility was good and planes were active on both sides.  Considerable sniping was again done by our 18-pdrs.  the enemy’s artillery attempted a certain amount of counter-battery work on our Field Batteries in the vicinity of LOOS CRASSIER and our Heavies in MAROC, practically no damage was done.

 

4.1.18                        Enemy planes particularly active both on forward and rear areas.  One plane appeared to [be] observing for a 5.9 battery firing on one of our Field Gun Positions in G.34.c.  His artillery was active throughout the day particularly on LOOS and in the vicinity of MAROC.  The 45th Battery position was heavily shelled for about two hours.  No casualties were inflicted on personnel or equipment, but several dugout entrances and tunnels were blown in.

 

5.1.18                        The enemy’s attitude was quiet all day.  During the afternoon his planes were fairly active and crossed our lines several times flying at a very low altitude.  His artillery fired considerably on LOOS, LOOS CRASSIER and the HULLUCH Road throughout the day.  Visibility was poor and very little information was obtainable from O.Ps.

 

6.1.18                        Operation Order No 132 issued today with details of raid to be carried out by the 4th C.M.R. Battalion at an early hour on the 7th instant.  The 9th Canadian Artillery Brigade will support the raid.  Additional support will also be provided by the HULLUCH GROUP which is on our left and the 10th Brigade C.F.A. which is on our right.  The visibility was poor all day and little information was obtained by O.P. and no targets of opportunity were engaged.  The enemy’s artillery was again active in the vicinity of LOOS and LOOS CRASSIER.  He fires a great many rounds in this area but as most of the men are in strong cellars and dugouts few casualties are effected.

 

Place       Date    Hour                                                Summary of Events and Information

 

7.1.18                        Visibility poor.  The enemy has been less active than usual today probably on account of the poor observation.  A few of his planes were up during the early morning but none crossed our lines.  His artillery fire was light and was chiefly against LOOS and the LENS-BETHUNE Road.  The raid by the 4th C.M.R. arranged to take place on the night of the 6th/7th was postponed.  The raiding party left our trenches at the time arranged and succeeded in getting into the enemy’s wire unobserved.  Their plan was to blow up this wire with a BANGALORE Torpedo and rush through and raid his Sap, returning through the gap blown in the wire.  The officer in charge of the raid found it impossible to set off the torpedo after having worked on it for over two hours and the raid had to be abandoned.

 

8.1.18                        Although the visibility was only fair a great deal of individual movement was observed both in the vicinity of his front trenches and in his rear areas.  Most of the men observed appeared to be wearing  packs, and it is thought that probably an enemy relief is taking place.  The enemy’s artillery was quiet during the night and most of the day.  His Trench Mortars did a certain amount of firing in the early morning.

 

9.1.18                        A large amount of enemy movement was again seen today and men seen appeared to be in marching order.  Our 18pdrs did considerable sniping and one or two hits were observed.  A black dog has been seen several times during the past few days at the southeast corner of BOIS DES DAMES, apparently going to and from dugouts which are suspected to be at this point.  It is probably an enemy messenger dog.  Enemy artillery fire has been normal and the heaviest shelling in the vicinity of LOOS.

 

10.1.18                      Operation Order No 133 was issued today with particulars of a raid to be carried out by the 2nd C.M.R. Battalion at an early hour 12.1.18.  Artillery support is to be provided by the 9th Brigade C.F.A. , with additional support from HULLUCH GROUP, the 91st H.A. Group and the 10th Brigade C.F.A. the purpose of the raid being to obtain prisoners, identification and to inflict casualties on the enemy.  The visibility was fair today and our 18pdrs did considerable sniping, dispersing many small targets and obtaining four observed hits.  The enemy’s artillery was a little more active than usual particularly in the vicinity of LOOS and its approaches.

 

Place       Date    Hour                                                Summary of Events and Information

 

11.1.18                      The visibility was poor all day except for a short interval in the morning.  During this period several small parties moving overland were observed and engaged by our 18pdrs.  The enemy’s artillery was active on our rear areas and in the vicinity of LOOS.  A good deal of smoke from enemy trains was observed most of which appeared between the SOCIETIE METALLURGIQUE and VENDIN-le-VIEIL.  Our Trench Mortars have been more active during the past few days than usual doing a good deal of counter-mortar work.  This has apparently been effective as hostile trench mortars have been doing less shelling.

 

12.1.18                      The 2nd C.M.R. Battalion raided the enemy’s trenches shortly after two a.m this morning obtaining two prisoners and inflicting a number of casualties on the enemy; in all, 15 enemy dead were reported to have been seen.  The Infantry state that our Artillery barrage was very satisfactory and that they only had two slight casualties among their men.  A report is attached herewith in connection with this raid by Lieut A.D. MASON, Liaison Officer at LEFT Battalion 2nd C.M.R. (Not with this archive).  The visibility was good all day and several targets of opportunity were fired on by our 18pdrs with good results.  Both the enemy’s and our aeroplanes were very active all day.  The enemy’s artillery was quiet and his retaliation to our barrage in support of the raid this morning was light and scattered.

 

13.1.18                      The enemy’s attitude was quiet today.  During the night 12/13th he appeared nervous and used a great many flares.  His Machine Guns were also quite active throughout the hours of darkness.  There was considerable aerial activity throughout the day and enemy planes crossed our lines on one or two occasions.  Enemy movement was below normal.  A few targets were engaged by our 18pdrs.

 

14.1.18                      The visibility was poor all day and there has been little activity on either side.  One working party was fired on successfully by our 18dprs.  The enemy’s artillery fire was light, his chief shelling being in the vicinity of the 31st and the 66th Batteries.  Operational Order No 134 in connection with a raid to be made by the 5th C.M.R. Battalion, was issued today.

 

Place       Date    Hour                                              Summary of Events and Information

 

15.1.18                      Visibility was poor all day and very little information was obtained by O.Ps.  the 5th C.M.R. Battalion carried out a successful raid last night against the enemy trenches securing prisoners and inflicting a number of casualties.  This raid was accomplished in a remarkably short time and all ranks engaged in the raid got back to our trenches practically uninjured.  The infantry report the Artillery Support as having been splendid.  The enemy’s artillery has been quiet today, his Trench Mortars doing most of the firing.  In response to our barrage in support of last night’s raid, his retaliation was slow and light.

 

16.1.18                      Operation Order Number 135 was issued today.  According to this order the 3rd Canadian Divisional Artillery will probably be relieved and go into rest at an early date.  While at rest the 3rd C.D.A. are to be held as Army Reserve and be ready to move at 12 hours notice to whatever Sector of the line they may be required.  Visibility was good at intervals today and our 18pdrs fired on several movement targets.

The enemy’s artillery was very quiet all day.

 

17.1.18                        The visibility was very poor all day and both ourselves and the enemy quiet.  His artillery did little firing and what was done was all on rear areas.  During the night 16th/17th inst he appeared nervous and fired a great many flares.

 

18.1.18                      Operation Order No 136 was issued today detailing an artillery barrage to be put on by this brigade on the morning of the 19th instant in conjunction with the 3rd Canadian Divisional Trench Mortar Brigade.  Both the enemy’s and our planes were active throughout the day, his planes crossing our lines on two or three occasions.  More than usual movement was seen most of which was engaged by our field guns.  His artillery was quieter than usual in the forward area but was more active in the vicinity of LOOS and the DOUBLE CRASSIER.  The 36th Battery came in for a good deal of the shelling of this area.

 

Place       Date    Hour                                                Summary of Events and Information

 

19.1.18                      Operation Order No 137 was issued today re-arranging the zones of the batteries of this brigade.  The visibility was good and aeroplanes were active on both sides.  A good deal of enemy movement was seen and engaged by our 18pdrs.  his artillery was active chiefly in the form of concentrated shoots in the vicinity of our battery positions.  A concentrated Trench Mortar bombardment was put on today by the 3rd Canadian Divisional Trench Mortar brigade assisted by the batteries of the 10th and 9th Brigades C.F.A.  This bombardment appeared to do a good deal of damage to enemy trenches and fortifications.  The enemy’s retaliation to this shoot was weak and did not open until 19 minutes after our bombardment started.

 

20.1.18                      Operation Order No 138 with particulars of the relief of the 3rd Canadian Divisional Artillery by the 1st Canadian Divisional Artillery was issued today.  This relief is to take place on the 22nd and 23rd instants.  On completion of the relief the 3rd Canadian Divisional Artillery are to be quartered in the BRUAY Area and are to be held as an Army Reserve ready to move at 12 hours notice into any part of the line required.  The visibility was good and numerous targets of opportunity were engaged by our field guns.  The enemy’s artillery fire was normal.

 

21.1.18                      Visibility was good and planes were active on both sides.  The usual amount of enemy movement was again seen and fired on by our batteries with good results.  Hostile artillery was a little more active than previously particularly on our forward trenches.  During the afternoon the enemy placed a dense smoke screen in front of HARNES and COURRIERS apparently to conceal the firing of a battery or the movement of transport in that vicinity.

 

22.1.18                      One section of each of the batteries of this Brigade was relieved by sections of the 5th, 6th, 7th and 48th Batteries of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Canadian Divisional Artillery.  Guns were taken over as they stood, our sections taking over guns from the 2nd Brigade Batteries at the Wagon Lines.  Considerable aerial activity took place on both sides.  Less enemy movement than usual was observed and the enemy’s artillery was quiet.  Owing to poor visibility very little information as to enemy movement in rear areas was obtained.

 

Place       Date    Hour                                                Summary of Events and Information

 

23.1.18                      The relief of this Brigade by the 2nd Brigade C.F.A. was completed this evening.  The Wagon Lines of the Brigade moved from NOEUX-les-MINES to the wagon lines previously occupied by the 2nd Brigade at HALLICOURT, BRUAY area.  The C.R.A. inspected the brigade as it moved off from NOEUX-les-MINES and was apparently pleased with the appearance of the turnout.  The horses of the 33rd Battery looked particularly well.  Lieut. Col. Anderson, the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Brigade C.F.A. was very pleased with the condition of the lines taken over from this Unit, particularly that of Brigade Headquarters.  Both officers and men of this brigade were sorry to move out of the line as both the battery positions and wagon lines were comfortable and the area to which they are moving has poor facilities for a mounted unit.

HALLICOURT

24.1.18 to 27.1.18     Batteries busy erecting stables and cleaning up lines and billets which were left in a dirty condition by the previous occupants.  As there is considerable mange among the horses of certain units in the Corps batteries are clipping all horses and taking every precaution to prevent the disease in this unit. Stables are being built by the 31st, 33rd and 36th Batteries.  With this work in hand not much time has been available for training since arrival in this area.  The weather has been mild and fair and a great deal of work has been accomplished by all batteries since arriving here.

 

28.1.18 to 31.1.18     Weather fair and very mild.  Batteries continuing with mange precautions and construction of stables and horse lines.  Syllabus of Training including gun laying and gun drill, signalling with buzzer, lamp and flag, and driving and riding drill has been carried out.  Nights have been clear and very bright and the enemy has bombed surrounding area each night.  No great damage has yet been reported.

 

 

 

Major

A/C.O. 9th Canadian Artillery Brigade

 

 

 

 

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