SECRET. 20th Division No. G.762.
FORCAST OF PROBABLE DISPOSITIONS IN CASE OF AN ADVANCE.
1. The advance to be reckoned with is an advance by short bounds from one enemy trench system to another.
The advance of the Division will probably be in a N.E. direction, and will include, as the first step, a move towards the LE TRANSLOY Line, viz: – SUN TRENCH, MOON TRENCH, STAR TRENCH, and the village of LE TRANSLOY. The next bound would be to the BARASTRE – ROCQUIGNY line. The first advance would carry our line forward about 800 – 1,000 yards, while the second step would be one of about 2,500 yards, beyond the LE TRANSLOY Line.
2. Some of the factors which will regulate the rate of the advance are:-
(i) The reconstruction of roads and railways (both light and ordinary) with a view to bringing up supplies and material.
(ii) Ability to bring forward guns to support the advance.
(iii) The resistance offered by the enemy.
The factors under (i) and (ii) are known quantities as regards the present fighting area. The resistance of the enemy may be counted on to be energetic, and it may therefore be assumed that the rate of progression will be slow.
3. On the 7th instant, Brigades will have been reformed into their proper groupings, and it is proposed, unless orders to the contrary are received, to advance with whichever two Brigades happen to be in the line, the Brigade from CARNCY being kept in Reserve.
4. The action of the two forward Brigades will consist in sending out strong fighting patrols, to their front, within the Divisional limits defined by the Corps, and to keep touch with the retiring enemy and occupy all evacuated trenches. It is most important that at this stage, lateral communication between these patrols be maintained. Divisional orders will define the spheres within which patrols of each Brigade will operate.
5. The Headquarters of Formations will move forward to new positions as soon as the LE TRANSLOY line has been occupied. These will be as follows:-
Divl: H.Qrs (including H.Qrs R.A. & R.E.) to GUILLEMONT.
Reserve Brigade to GUILLEMONT.
Bde in MORVAL Sector to dugouts T.12.a.60.75.
Bde in LESBOEUFS Sector to “ T.5.c.45.25.
Bn. H.Qrs of above 2 Bdes to most suitable dugouts in our own
front line or the enemy’s front line, according to the position of their Battns.
2nd Echelon Divl: H.Qrs. to BRIQUETERIE.
Should the advance continue to the BARASTRE – ROCQUIGNY line, “G” Branch, Divisional Headquarters, moves to the Left Brigade H.Qrs. in T.6.a., while both leading Brigade H.Qrs move to suitable positions in the LE TRASNOY line, and Battalion H.Qrs to selected points in rear of their units between the LE TRASNOY and BARASTRE – ROCQUIGNY lines.
6. Unless orders are received to the contrary, units will advance at their trench strengths. The personnel not with units and not required for Works Battalion or other Corps work, will move with the transport which will follow up the advance, under orders to be issued by “Q”. The personnel with the transport will be considered to be the 50% reinforcements to be kept out of the fight in accordance with O.B. 1635 (Instructions for the training of Divisions for Offensive Action). The extra regimentally employed men to return to units when advance begins, will probably be those attached to Tunnelling Coys, Hutting Coy. and to those units whose existence has become necessary through Trench warfare.
7. Troops advancing over the occupied area cannot count on any accommodation beyond that which may be found in evacuated dugouts which have not been destroyed by the enemy, and may therefore have to bivouac in the open. “Q” Branch are ascertaining what tent squares (bivouacs) will be available.
Until the roads have been repaired, rations, water, tools, ammunition etc., will have to be carried by the troops themselves, with the assistance of pack-animals. Pack-animals will not be able to proceed usually beyond Battalion Headquarters.
The transport lines would probably be advanced to the neighbourhood of GUILLEMONT and GINCHY as soon as the move commences, and sites for these are to be reconnoitred now by Transport Officers, the reconnaissance being co-ordinated by “Q”.
8. The most suitable map to be used by troops will be sheet 57c. S.W., 1/20,000.
9. When the advance commences, the S.A.A. Section D.A.C. will come under the control of “Q” and will be at once moved to GUILLEMONT, the proposed site for transport lines being selected beforehand.
10. Tool carts will be filled up to mobilization scale at D.A.D.O.S. dumps, under orders from “Q”.
11. Details as regards disposal of stores, equipment to be worn, transport arrangements etc. will be issued by “Q” in due course.
T. McN. Haskard
General Staff, 20th Division.
5th March, 1917.
59th Inf. Bde.
60th Inf. Bde.
61st Inf. Bde.
11th Durham L.I.
A.A. & Q.M.G.
XIV Corps “G” (for information).