XV Corps H.A. Instruction 14 June 1916

XV Corps H.A. Instruction 14 June 1916

Copy No 5 15/CA 10/32
SECRET

INSTRUCTIONS FOR A CONCENTRATED BOMBARDMENT, BARRAGES
AND FURTHER SPECIAL OPERATION BY THE XVTH CORPS
———————————————————————————-

1. On “Z” day:-
(a) A concentrated bombardment will be carried out starting 65 min before zero.
Zero will be the hour at which the assault commences.
(b) This will be followed by further bombardments on objectives to be taken successively until the furthest is reached.
(c) After this last has been reached there will be a bombardment on the FIRCOURT Area. The bombardment will commence at 30 min before zero, which hour will be fixed during the course of operations.
Lines for artillery barrages and times of lifts are shewn in Appendix I.
The different phases of the special bombardment and times are shewn in Appendix II.

2. The general principles to be followed in arranging the barrages are:-
(a) To bring a very heavy fire to bear on the part to be attacked immediately.
(b) To bring a lighter, but fairly heavy fire on the next objective.
(c) To keep the remaining objectives under a still lighter fire.
(d) To prevent the enemy bringing up reinforcements from the rear or attacking our exposed flanks.
(e) To keep down the fire of hostile batteries.
(f) To keep the ground not immediately to be attacked under fire, i.e. the FRICOURT Area.
The whole of the guns and howitzers of the Corps and Divisional Artilleries (including trench mortars) will be employed for the above purposes.

3. The fire will be as heavy as the amount of ammunition and consideration for the detachments allows.
Care must be taken to ensure that a sufficient amount remains in hand for further operations during the day.
The G.Os.C. R.A. of Divisions and G.O.C. H.A. will fix the amount required for each task.

4. When lifting, 18 prs. should search back by increasing their range, but Howitzers and Heavy Guns must lift directly on to their next objectives.

5. When barraging open ground fire should be in bursts, searching back as far as necessary, and not a continuous rate.
Wood and hollows beyond the actual line laid down for the barrage should be searched periodically.

6. G.Os.C. R.A. of Divisions will allot the tasks for their own batteries, but they will arrange to carry out the special bombardments laid down for the 4.5” Howitzers in the tracings.
They must arrange to keep sufficient guns ready to join in the special operation (attack on FRICOURT).

7. The G.O.C. H.A. will arrange to carry out the tasks for the Heavy Artillery which are shewn on attached tracings.
They consist of:-
Concentrated bombardment:- Tracing E.
Barrages:- Tracings M to Q.
Special Operation:- Tracings R to T.

8. When and after the final barrage is established the G.O.C. H.A. will arrange for some of his batteries to search more distant routes, billets and likely places of hostile concentration for a counter-attack.

9. Arrangements must be made for a night barrage and by the use of frequent bursts of fire on known positions to prevent the enemy removing his guns.
The G.O.C. H.A. will arrange to deal with the more distant points.

10. If a re-bombardment of any point is ordered, a time for starting will be fixed and the bombardment will always last for half an hour from that time.
The last five minutes should be intense so that the Infantry may have warning.
This would also apply to small places beyond the present objective which it might be considered advisable to take.
If a battery should receive its orders too late to fire for the full 30 min it should commence as soon as possible but it must only fire for the shortened period ending 30 minutes after zero.
Fire during last five minutes to be intensive.

11. Watches must be carefully set to Signal time and the times laid down for the lifts strictly adhered to.

12. One Siege Artillery Group and one Heavy Artillery Group H.Qs will be in direct telephonic communication with the 7th and 21st Divisional Artillery H.Qs.
This is to enable Divisions to obtain the assistance of H.A. quickly if necessity arises and to prevent the necessity of applying to the B.G.H.A. when the fire of one or two batteries only is required.

13. The pre-arranged table of lifts must however be strictly adhered to up to the hour fixed for reaching the second objective (first day’s operations), without reference to Corps H.Q. During this period (0.00 to 3 hr 05) the Heavy Artillery must not be diverted from the targets allotted to them. Batteries which are not firing can, however, be utilised for special purposes during this period if required so to do.

14. The Scheme for the Divisional Artilleries and Heavy Artillery will be sent in by 9 a.m. on the 19th instant.

15. In order that fire may be continued without interruption in case of a break down in the Signal communications, a programme and time table of the tasks allotted to each battery will be kept at the battery and in each O.P. allotted to the battery.
The programmes and time tables will not be taken forward beyond the O.P’s.

E.W. Alexander
Brigadier-General, R.A.,
XV Corps H.Q.
14/6/1916

Distribution:-
7th Division 2
17th Division 1
21st Division 2 Copies 4 & 5.
Corps H.A. 1
“G” XV Corps 1
War Diary 1
File 4

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