9th Canadian Artillery Brigade 36 Bty Report 10 September 1918

9th Canadian Artillery Brigade

Sept. 10th 1918

 

REPORT ON OPERATIONS OF THE 36TH BATTERY C.F.A. S.E of AMIENS

 

I have the honour to make the following report regarding the part played by the 36th Battery in the operations of the period August 2nd to 14th 1918 S.E. of AMIENS.

 

On the night of August 2nd the battery marched to the BOIS DE BOVES where Wagon Lines had been selected.  The night was intensely dark and it was very difficult getting the guns, horses and limbers settled in amongst the trees and dense underbrush.  This work had necessarily to be carried out without the use of lights, owing to the possibility of enemy aircraft spotting the rendezvous.  Having established the Lines satisfactorily, and still on the same night, the wagons were dispatched to the gun positions at U.19.b.50.50., Sheet DEMUIN, with ammunition.  By 6.30 A.M. the battery was fairly comfortably settled, and the men for the most part, having a well earned sleep after several days of marching.

 

The following day (Aug 3rd) Major D.A. McKinnon and Lieut C.B. Shreve carried out a reconnaissance of the forward battery area and laid out the actual battery location.

 

The nights of Aug 3rd/4th, 4th/5th and 6th/7th were utilised mainly in hauling ammunition to the new position.  This was a difficult task, owing to the extremely heavy traffic and the consequent congestion of the roads.  Wagons which started forward at 7P.M. did not return until 4 A.M. and the hardships experienced during this period were added to by the inclemency of the weather.  Often times Drivers and Gunners would return to the Lines wet to the skin, but cheerful, believing that they were preparing for a battle that would bring added glory to the Canadians, and I would like to take this opportunity of remarking on the remarkable cheerfulness, courage and hardihood displayed by all ranks of my battery during the whole period of these operations.  Every discomfort was borne without the slightest complaint and the men were willing to go without food or sleep, if by doing so, they could contribute to the success of the operations impending.

 

On the night August 6th/7th 6 howitzers went forward, with a working party of gunners to prepare the platforms and adjust the camouflage, so as to render the position inconspicuous to enemy aerial observation.  This work was well done, the guns being so camouflaged as to harmonise with the field of growing wheat, in which they were situated.  The ammunition had been cleverly stacked in the bushes and even the tracks of vehicles had been obliterated, so that the enemy might have no inkling that a battery position existed in the locality.

 

In connection with the supply of ammunition, great credit is due Lieut C.D. Shreve who was responsible for bringing up over 2000 rounds, under very difficult conditions, including hostile shelling. Captain R.F. Craig also did splendid work in placing the guns on their platforms and establishing an O.P. which he manned during the first day of   This page of text ends here.

 

The gun Crews and Section Commanders came up to the position on the night of August 7th and established themselves in a shallow trench.

 

On the morning of August 8th the battery was all expectation as Zero Hour approached.  A heavy ground mist prevailed, which was at the same time a help and hindrance.

 

The barrage opened promptly at 4.20 A.M. and it was the task of this battery to silence machine guns, headquarters of enemy formations and other important points. This was very effectively done up to the limit of our range, as shown by the comparative inactivity of the machine guns on the front which we covered.

 

At 9 A.M. our task was completed and the teams were brought up and hooked in. Soon after the battery received orders to move forward, which it did.  Two new positions were taken up that day, the last being at MAISON BLANCHE where we went into action at 6.30 P.M.  While in this position the battery was attacked by an enemy aeroplane, which swooped down to within a hundred feet of the ground and opened machine gun fire, wounding Lieut A.B. Manning in the left arm with the result that he was forced to retire to a Dressing Station and from there was evacuated.  Three men were also slightly wounded and one horse killed, while three officers had narrow escapes.  Our Lewis gunners, McKinnon and Ferguson, with great presence of mind and courage, fires straight into the hostile plane, which is believed to have been damaged as it descended some time later.

 

I must here mention the work of Lieut Manning who was F.O.O. and in charge of the Brigade party of signallers. This officer showed the greatest courage and devotion to duty and the information he obtained was invaluable.

 

On the morning of August 9th the battery again moved forward to BEAUCOURT-EN-SANTERRE, and while here engaged several opportunity targets and some special tasks allotted to it from Brigade Headquarters, besides rendering valuable protection to our infantry.  On the same evening a further forward was made as far as FOLIES where the battery remained until August 12th.

 

On the morning of August 10th a Section was detailed, with Lieut B.L. Teed in Command, to co-operate with the 5th Borderers.  He took up several positions close behind the advancing infantry, finally establishing his Section near ROUVROY.  While in this position he did some excellent work, until he was located by an enemy battery and subjected to heavy hostile shelling.  During this time some splendid deeds were performed by gunners and signallers, and also by the drivers when the order to retire was given.  The Section retired at the gallop with the gunners clinging precariously to the careering vehicles.

 

On August 12th the battery moved forward to a location East of FOLIES in K.17.d. where it remains at the time of writing.  While here we were called upon to support the infantry in various ways, particularly on the morning of August 14th when this battery was used almost exclusively in a barrage to **** rest of page is missing.

 

 

On the night of August 13th/14th we were ordered to place 1800 rounds in a forward position for an incoming battery at L.26.a.00.80.  Lieut F.J. Longworth was in charge of the party which moved forward at 8 P.M.  Soon after the party had reached the position they were subjected to a very heavy enemy shell fire, which killed two of our bravest and best men, and wounded two others.  At the same time the roads were being bombed by hostile aeroplanes, but regardless of the shelling and bombing Lieut Longworth, with unexcelled courage and determination continued his task until it was completed at 5 A.M. August 14th.

 

In connection with the above narrated observations I would like to mention the splendid work of Lieut Robertson Fleet in maintaining Liaison with the 8th Cdn. Inf. Bde. and also the further excellent services rendered by Lieut F.J. Longworth with the 49th Battn. on the same date.  Also before closing may I again emphasise the courage, cheerfulness and devotion to duty displayed by all ranks of this unit during the above operations.

 

(sgd) D.A. McKINNON Major

O.C. 36th Battery C.F.A.

 

 

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