XV Corps Instructions 12 June 1916
Copy No 7
INSTRUCTIONS FOR A PRELIMINARY BOMBARDMENT BY THE XVth CORPS.
1. The preliminary bombardment will be carried out on “U”, “V”, “W” “X” & “Y” days. Wire will be cut during all 5 days.
On “V”, “W”, “X” & “Y” days and during the nights “U”/”V” to “Y”/”Z” inclusive a continuous bombardment will be carried out.
On “V” & “W” days there will be one, and on “X” & “Y” days two concentrated bombardments.
Gas will be discharged on the first night that the wind is favourable, and smoke on the morning of “X” day if the direction of the wind permits.
240 mm Trench Mortars may be used as required from “V” day onwards.
2” Trench Mortars for wire-cutting on “U” day and as required afterwards.
3” Stokes Mortars as required on “V” day and onwards.
2. A. The principal tasks to be carried out are:-
Heavy and Siege Artillery.
1. Destruction of enemy’s front systems of defences.
2. Destruction of trenches and strong points further back.
3. Distant wire cutting.
4. Bombardment of villages, woods, railways and stations.
5. Interrupting communications which are beyond the reach of Field Artillery by night.
6. Bombarding distant billets by day and night.
7. Counter-battery work. This to include the destruction of distant O.P’s.
8. Preventing enemy repairing damage.
9. Dealing with balloons.
10. Destruction of water pipe lines.
B. Divisional Artilleries.
(i)18 pr Batteries
2. Searching trenches, villages, woods, O.P’s and hollows by day and night.
3. Destruction of machine gun emplacements, O.P’s and dugouts within the power of the gun.
4. Interruption of communications especially by night.
5. Preventing enemy repairing damage.
(ii) 4.5” Howitzer Batteries:-
1. Assisting in destruction of fire trenches.
2. Destruction of all communication trenches.
3. Assisting in bombardment of villages and woods.
4. Complete destruction of machine gun emplacements, O.P’s and dug-outs not entirely destroyed by the Siege and Heavy Artillery.
5. Interruption of communications especially by night.
6. Preventing enemy repairing damage.
C. Trench Mortars (under Divisional G.O’s C. R.A.)
(i) Heavy and Medium:-
1. Destruction of enemy’s defences and bombardment of villages within range.
1. Wire cutting
2. Preventing enemy repairing work by night.
3. Night firing on front system.
3. A list of important points will be issued later, (Appendix 1), and each Battery Commander is to be given a list of those which are in the areas he is to bombard. In bombarding villages and woods particular attention should be paid to the defences on the outskirts but strong points road junctions communications and likely billets inside the area should also be dealt with. Woods and hollows where there are no known defences should have a few rounds fired into them at intervals during the day.
4. The two Divisions in the line and the Heavy Artillery will have the following extra batteries allotted to them for the bombardment:-
7th Division – 2 Brigades ) 24 guns – 18 prs.
) 4 howitzers – 4.5”
2” T.M. )
3 batteries) 12 guns.
240 mm Mortars)
1 battery ) 4 guns.
21st Division – 2 Brigades less ) 24 guns – 18 prs.
1 Howitzer Battery ) 4 howitzers – 4.5”
2”T.M. – 2 Batteries – 8 guns.
Heavy Artillery – 1 Battery – 4 Howitzers – 4.5”
5. G.O’s C.R.A. of Divisions will allot the tasks for their own batteries. In addition they will arrange (a), for the necessary guns to join in the concentrated bombardments ordered (b) to carry out the special tasks allotted to the 4.5” howitzers on tracings A B C and D, (c) for the gas and smoke discharges to be accompanied by a heavy shrapnel barrage on the front line trenches, searching communication trenches, and heavy bombardment of reserve billets and communications.
6. The tasks for Heavy Artillery are shewn on attached tracings.
They consist of:-
Bombardment “V” & “X” days – Tracing A.
“ “W” & “Y” days – “ B.
Concentrated bombardment “V” & “W” days)
“ “ mornings of ) Tracing C
“X” &”Y” days)
Concentrated bombardment afternoons )
“X” &”Y” days) Tracing D.
The whole of the fire trenches are to be thoroughly bombarded and special attention paid to places from which flanking fire can be brought to bear, machine gun emplacements, O.P’s and trench junctions.
Heavy howitzers must cease firing for a certain period on W.X and Y days to permit of photography, verification of fire and examination of equipment.
The times will be fixed later but they will not be prior to the morning concentrated bombardments.
In addition to the above tasks the G.O.C., H.A. will arrange:-
(a) to bring a heavy fire from all available guns and howitzers twice by day and once by night, and to fire a few rounds at irregular intervals on LONGUEVAL and BAZENTIN-LE-GRAND. He will also arrange to fire a few rounds on FLEURS.
(b) to bombard the railways between –
(i) TRONES WOOD and GUILLEMONT STATION;
(ii) FRICOURT and MARTINPUICH.
(c) to carry on Counter-battery work very actively beginning on “U” day.
Special batteries will be told off for this work, and if necessary heavy howitzers.
(d) to bombard heavily distant billets, villages and communications during the discharge of gas and smoke.
7. Night Firing.
For night firing areas will be allotted as follows:-
WILLOW AVENUE (exclusive) to Front Line.
WILLOW AVENUE (inclusive) from Front Line to X.29.c.52
N.E. corner of BOTTOM WOOD
Road junction X.22.a.04.
Thence to Front Line.
Beyond the Divisional areas.
G.O’s C.R.A. of Divisions and G.O.C. Heavy Artillery will allot the tasks for night firing.
They must endeavour –
1. to interrupt all communications by road, rail or trench.
2. to prevent any movement in enemy’s trenches or repair of defences.
3. to give the enemy no rest in trenches or billets. For this purpose the villages must be fired on at intervals with howitzers as well as field guns.
Medium Trench Mortars can be used for the above purposes, but Heavy Trench Mortars only if well concealed.
Care should be taken to allot the tasks so that the detachments get as much rest as possible.
G.O’s C.R.A. of Divisions and G.O.C. Heavy Artillery will allot the amount of ammunition they consider necessary for each task.
The hours for carrying out the different tasks are shewn in Appendix II.
10. G.O’s C.R.A. of Divisions and G.O.C. Heavy Artillery will send in their schemes to Corps Artillery for approval by 10 a.m. 17th Instant noon 15th Instant.
Brigadier General R.A., XV Corps.
Copy No 1 to XV Corps
“ “ 2 to XV Corps Heavy Artillery
“ “ 3 & 4 to 7th Divn.
“ “ 5 & 6 to 17th Divn.
“ “ 7 & 8 to 21st Divn.
“ “ 9 to 4th Army Artillery.
“ “ 10 to file.
“ “ 11 & 12 spare.
June 12th 1916