WAR DIARY of 9th CANADIAN ARTILLERY BRIGADE August 1918

CONFIDENTIAL

 

WAR DIARY of 9th CANADIAN ARTILLERY BRIGADE

 

From August 1st 1918 – To August 31st

 

 

 

FIEFFES    1.8.18       The Brigade arrived in Billeting Area about 4.00 a.m. and spent most of the day resting.  O.O. 152-2 was issued today giving details of brigade march from the present area to the SALEUX Area, the march to commence at 9.00 p.m.

BACQUEL

  • The Brigade marched through AMIENS to the SALEUX Area reaching their destination about 5.00 A.M. While passing through AMIENS the town was being shelled by enemy long range gun, causing casualties in the 10th Brigade CFA which were following the 9th Brigade CFA.  Rain fell throughout the day, causing considerable discomfort to the troops.  O. 152-3 was issued today with reference to the march to the new billeting area in BACQUEL. March started at 9.30 p.m. and arrived at their destination at about 11.00 p.m.  Rain still continues to fall.

 

3.8.18 Weather remains unsettled.  Our troops appear to have been the first British in this neighbourhood for a long time and everywhere received a warm welcome from the civilians.  Numerous French troops were billeted in the town with us.  The French troops, from their appearance, do not appear to lay the same stress on “spit and polish” parades as we do.  O.O. 152-4 was issued today with reference to the march of the brigade from present billeting area to the BOVES Area, commencing at 8.30 p.m.

 

 

BOVES WOOD 4.8.18      The Brigade marched into BOVES WOOD about 1.00 a.m.  The roads in the wood were a sea of mud and the brigade finally got into the wood and settled down before dawn, horses being tied between trees and the men sleeping under bivvies.  Details were sent forward from each battery to commence the hauling of ammunition to our forward dump.  A reconnaissance was made during the day of our battle positions and the attitude of the enemy was quiet.

 

  • Ammunition continues to be hauled, good progress being made, in spite of the heavy traffic on the roads during the hours of darkness. Days continue wet and foggy, which are ideal for the preparation of the coming offensive.

 

  • The batteries finished hauling ammunition last night. Operational Orders were received today with reference to the coming offensive.  Half the guns of the brigade are to be drawn in tonight and the other half tomorrow night.  Preparations are proceeding sm  A Headquarters Battle Position was chosen this afternoon on the AMIENS-ROYE Road 1000 yards East of GENTELLES WOOD.  Our troops are using the AMIENS-ROYE Road freely, in view of the enemy and were heavily shelled.

T.18.c.30.30

Nr GENTELLES

7.8.18          Further details of the attack came to light today.  The Canadian Corps attacking on the HANGARD-DOMART Front, our right boundary being the AMIENS-ROYE Road, supported by the French on the right and the Australian Corps on our left.  Our objectives, for the first time in the history of the Corps, are practically unlimited.  The barrage tables for artillery fire and final arrangements for the attack were issued today. Major Cosgrove, D.S.O. was detailed for Liaison Officer with the 42nd French Division.  Lieut R. Fleet, L.O. with the 8th Cdn Infy Bde.  Lieut Gall L.O. with P.P.C.L.I.  Lieut Longworth L.O. with 49th Battalion.  Lieut. Harrison, L.O. 42nd Battalion (See reports attached).  Lieut Manning, Brigade F.O.O.  Lieut Adams, Officer i/c communications for Brigade F.O.O.  Lieut MacGillivray, with 30 O.Rs detailed to put captured guns in action against the enemy (see report attached).  The remainder of the guns of the brigade were drawn in tonight.  All lines of communication were completed, tested, but remained silent until zero hour which is to be 4.20a.m. 8th instant.  The roads jammed with infantry going forward to jumping-off trenches and Tanks and cavalry moving to their forward positions continued until zero hour.

 

T.18.c.30.30.

8.8.18              The battle commenced at 4.20 a.m.  The barrage was well timed and was reported by out Forward Observing Officers as being remarkably good.  A few minutes later the tanks closely followed by our infantry pushed forward into the enemy’s lines.  Starting at a range of 2900 yards our guns carried forward a rolling barrage to 6500 yards, brigade ceasing fire at 8.20 AM where it remained in Divisional Reserve until 11,00 a.m. when word was received that our Infantry were still advancing and all was going well.  Brigade was then ordered to move forward to a position of readiness in the vicinity of DODO WOOD which a few hours previous had been in the enemy’s hands.  Long streams of German prisoners, some of which were carrying the first of our wounded, passed down the AMIENS-ROYE ROAD all day.  From DOMART forward French and British transport moved along the same road. Mounted patrols were then pushed forward, getting in touch with our Infantry, and the Brigade was moved forward, coming into action in the vicinity of MAISON BLANCHE to the left of the AMIENS-ROYE Road at 6.30 p.m., to support the 12th C.I.B. then attacking in front of BEAUCOURT.  While in action at this point, the 36th Battery C.F.A. was attacked by a hostile low-flying planes.  Lieut Manning and two O.Rs were wounded by M.G. fire.  Practically every machine gun in the brigade opened fire causing the E.A. to beat a hasty retreat. Many German captured guns were passed during the day’s advance.

MAISON BLANCHE BEAUCORT West of FOLIES

 

9.8.18              Lieut Inch, 31st Battery C.F.A., with section detailed to advance with and support the 4th C.Rs.  Lieut Philpott, 33rd Battery, with section detailed to advance with and support 5th C.Rs.  Our infantry which had been held up between BEAUCOURT and LE QUESNIL during the previous evening, had asked for artillery support, the guns of the brigade opening up on LE QUESNEL at 4.30 A.M.  The 4th Canadian Division then rushed and took the town after sharp fighting about 6.00 A.M.  The two advanced sections followed up with the Battalion Commanders and greatly assisted the advance of our Infantry.  Lieut Inch took up five positions during the day firing 138 rounds at close range.  Lieut Philpott’s report is attached.  About 9.00 A.M., the Brigade advanced again taking up a position on the western edge of BEAUCOURT, still supporting the 12th C.I.B. where it remained until 6.00 P.M.  BEAUCOURT and the AMIENS-ROYE ROAD were heavily shelled with 10.5 and 15cm.  The shelling appeared to have been a few guns working at a fast rate of fire.  About 10.00 a.m. our planes shot down an enemy balloon in flames in the vicinity of BEAUFORT.  The Brigade

advanced through LE QUESNIL and took up positions on the Western edge of FOLIES, coming into action at about 10.00 p.m. within 1500 yards of the enemy.  During the evening, enemy bombing planes were very active.  Enemy shelling during the night was light and scattered.

 

MAISON BLANCHE BEAUCORT West of FOLIES

10.8.18       Lieut. Adams, 45th Battery, with section detailed to advance with and support ARGYLLE & SUTHERLAND HIGHLANDERS.  Lieut. D.L. Teed, 36th Battery, with section detailed to advance with and support 5th Scottish Borderers.  Lieut. McKay, L.O. to 97th Brigade, 32nd Imperial Division.  Lieut O’Grady, L.O. to the 5th Scottish Borders.  Lieut Smith, L.O. to the Argylle & Sutherland Highlanders.  Captain Craig, L.O. the York Regiment.  The 32nd Imperial Division relieved the 3rd Canadian Division in the line, leap-frogging through our Infantry to the attack in the early morning, but were held up along the line by a stout German resistance.  The 36th Battery section took up a position in the vicinity of ROUVROY and the 45th Battery section just west of QUESNOY            where they did a considerable amount of firing at the request of the infantry, at excellent targets at short range, causing numerous casualties.  They were however, withdrawn at 4.00 p.m. when our Brigade came into Divisional Reserve.  During the night 10/11th the enemy’s bombing planes were extremely active, bombing and machine gunning our battery area.  About midnight a bomb lit in the vicinity of the 31st Battery killing Captain Bawden and wounding two O.Rs.

 

11.8.18       The Brigade remained in this position during the day.  Numerous mounted patrols were sent forward to get in touch with our Infantry and to clear up the situation.

West of FOLIES

 

  • The situation continues obscure, the 32nd Division still appears to be meeting with stubborn resistance and suffering many casualties.  Our brigade moved forward during the afternoon and came into action on the east of

East of FOLIES         FOLIES, supporting the 32nd Division in front of PARVILLERS.  Enemy bombing planes continue extremely active.  The enemy appears to be putting more artillery into the fight as his barrages are becoming quite heavy between QUESNOY and ROUVROY.

 

13.8.18     Our Infantry relieved the 32nd Division in front of PARVILLERS and DAMERY.  A Brigade O.P. was established on the forward slope between QUESNOY and PARVILLERS but was subject to shell fire so heavy that communications were very difficult and necessitated the establishing of four relay stations to maintain communication.

 

East of FOLIES

 

14.8.18 to 17.8.18       During this period heavy fighting continued around the village of PARVILLERS, which changed hands many times, the guns of the brigade being called upon to co-operate in these attacks.  The shooting was reported by the Infantry to have been very satisfactory and a great satisfaction to the gunners who have fired very little during the latter stages of the advance.  On the morning of the 17th our Infantry finally took PARVILLERS and DAMERY, pushing on beyond these villages, meeting with very little opposition until they reached the German defence line west of FRESNOY where the enemy evidently decided to make another stand.  The brigade was ordered out of action during the late afternoon and relieved the 1st Division.  The brigade marched to CAYEUX WOOD arriving about 6.00 p.m. where they remained in reserve.

 

18.8.18 to 19.8.18       The Brigade spent the time in resting and cleaning equipment.  Word was received on the afternoon of the 19th that the Brigade was to be ready to move at one hour’s notice.  The Brigade received orders to march to the CAMON Area near AMIENS, arriving in this area at 1.00 A.M.

CAMON & CANAPLES

20.8.18 to 21.8.18

Brigade remains in the CAMON AREA during the day where everyone enjoyed bathing in the SOMME

River. Brigade moved off at 9,00 p.m. marching to CANAPLES Area, arriving at 4.00 am. After a hard night’s march.  Remained in this area during the day, which was very hot.  The brigade pulled out of this area at 6.00 P.M. marching to REBREUVETTE Area, arriving shortly after midnight.

REBREUVETTE

22.8.18           Remained in this area during the day and marched to WANQUENTIN area arriving at 3.00 A.M.

WANQUENTIN

23.8.18            A reconnaissance was made of the forward area today.  The battery battle positions were selected in the vicinity of TULLOY in preparation for the coming offensive on this front.  Guns and ammunition were drawn into prepared camouflaged positions during the evening, about 2000 yards from the front line.

BERNVILLE

24.8.18         Preparation continues.  Brigade Wagon Line moved to BERNEVILLE.  During the afternoon we were notified that the offensive was postponed 24 hours.  The remainder of the ammunition was drawn to battle positions tonight.

 

BERVILLE

  • Final arrangements were made today. A Brigade O.P. was selected on TULLOY SPUR which is to be manned until we have captured ORANGE HILL.  Operational Orders were issued today at the Wagon Lines, in detail, for the coming attack, our first objective being MONCHY (RED Line);  second objective COJEUL RIVER (GREEN Line), third objective, CANAL DU NORD (BLUE Line).  The following officers were detailed for special tasks during the initial stages of the fight: Captain Scott, L.O. 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade –  Lieut Smith L.O. 5th Cdn Mtd Rifles.  Lieut Abbot-Smith L.O. 1stM.Rs.  Lieut Fleet Brigade O.P. –Lieuts Devine, O’Grady, McCarter and Gall, Officers Patrol, Lieut Fleet Forward Section 36th Battery, Lieut Adams, Forward Section of 45th Battery.

 

  • Zero Hour was 3.00am. The morning was showery with a few bright spells. The barrage opened fairly well Zero Hour and was reported very effective, stopping at 6.13 A.M.

 

The attack went well. Our troops were reported to have taken MONCHY at 7.35 AM.   Sharp fighting took place on both flanks of the Division.   At 10.00 AM. The 7th C.I.B. leap-frogged through the 8th C.I.B., the 42nd & R.C.R. on the Right, P.P.C.L.I. in the centre and the 49th Bn refusing our flank on the banks of the SCARPE.  Our Infantry encountered heavy fighting through the old trench systems beyond MONCHY.  The 2nd Division held up causing our RIGHT Flank considerable trouble.  The P.P.C.L.I. took JIGSAW Wood close to schedule time, pushing through to BOIS de SART, but were unable to advance further owing to both our flanks being badly disposed.  At dusk our lines was withdrawn to position west of BOIS du SART on our Right flank drawing back to join up with the 2nd Cdn Division.  During the afternoon the 51st Scottish Division, North of the SCARPE were observed to advance under an artillery barrage thereby considerably relieving the pressure from

ORANGE HILL        the North.  About noon the Brigade moved forward to a position of readiness on the rear slope of ORANGE HILL, batteries pushing forward, forward sections which did excellent work during the day, in the vicinity of JIGSAW WOOD, where our F.O.Os reported roads blocked with enemy traffic, 33rd Battery firing 400 rounds observed fire on the retreating enemy.  (See attached reports)

 

  • Following officers with their sections were detailed to advance in close support of the Infantry. Gall – Mason – Kington and Fleet. (See attached report).  At 4.55 a.m. the Brigade put down a barrage in front of our Infantry which were advancing beyond MONCHY.  The infantry gained their objectives and the Brigade moved forward to positions reconnoitered in the vicinity of the CAVES at LA FOSSE FARM.

 

 

LA FOSSE FARM

28.8.18            Lieut Inch, 31st Battery, detailed for Liaison Officer to 42nd Canadian Battalion.  At 11.00 A.M. our guns put down a rolling barrage in support of the 9th C,I,B, who attacked and captured BOIRY and ARTILLERY HILL.  (See 58 Battalion report)At 12.30 P.M. the brigade again put down a barrage in support of the 8th C.I.B. who attacked and captured REMY and 70 RIDGE.  The brigade pushed forward to position reconnoitered in proximity of BOIS du VERT.  Lieut Abbot-Smith and 5 O.Rs were wounded.

KNIFE TR

Nr CAVALRY FARM.

29.8.18            The Brigade remained in Divisional Reserve, Lieuts O’Grady, Longworth and Kingston going ahead with forward sections.  Lieut, Kingston, 45th Battery and the 33rd Battery, firing several hundred rounds with German captured guns.

 

30.8.18            The 3rd Canadian Division was relieved by the 4th Imperial Division.  Lieut Harrison detailed as Liaison Officer to the HAMPSHIRES (4th British Division).  At 3.45 A.M. the brigade put on a concentrated shoot on ENTERPIGNY.  At 4.00 P.M. a creeping barrage was put down by the guns of the brigade in support of the Infantry who attacked and took ENTERPIGNY pushing outposts beyond the Town.  The barrage was reported to be both good and effective, all objectives being taken.  Casualties were light.  The 33rd and 45th Batteries moved guns to COJEUL RIVER, and did excellent work in support of the attack beyond HAUCOURT, the remainder of the brigade moving forward at 6.00 p.m.  Brigade Headquarters occupying a dugout in the vicinity of BOIRY.  Enemy long range guns were very active enfilading in the vicinity of our battery positions from the north of the SCARPE.

 

31.8.18            The batteries dug in and continued drawing ammunition to the gun position.  Enemy’s attitude quiet and nervous.

 

Major

A/C.O. 9th Canadian Artillery Brigade

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