Fifth Army, G.A. 657/257. 4 August 1917

Fifth Army, G.A. 657/257. 2.8.17.
V Corps G.S. 59. 3.8.17.
56th Divn. G.3/601.
V Corps.
1. The Army Commander wishes to offer his heartiest congratulations to the troops under his command on the success gained by them on July 31st.

2. For a fortnight prior to the attack the enemy has maintained a heavy and continuous artillery fire, including an unprecedented use of H.V. guns against back areas, and a new form of gas shell, all of which caused severe casualties. Despite this and the fact that the forward area was dominated by the enemy at all points, the necessary preparations for the battle were completed and the difficult forward march and assembly of nine Divisions successfully carried out and the assault launched. This alone constitutes a performance of which the Army may well be proud.

3. As a result of the battle the enemy has once again been driven by the 1st French Army and ourselves from the whole of his front system on a front of about 8 miles, and we are now firmly established in or beyond His second
Line on a front of 7 miles.

4. We have already captured 5448 prisoners, including 125 Officers. Up to date the capture of 8 guns, 10 T.Ms. and 36 machine guns has been reported.

5. In addition we have inflicted extremely heavy casualties on the enemy. Owing to the losses during our preliminary bombardment he was forced to bring up 6 fresh Divisions. Since then 3 more Divisions have been withdrawn shattered. Thus in a fortnight, we have disposed of 7 or 8 Divns. And severely handled 10 more, several of which must be shortly withdrawn.

6. The Second Army on our right and the 1st French Army on our left have been as successful as ourselves. The French captures to date number 157 prisoners, and 3 guns. The Second Army have also taken 390 prisoners and several machine guns.

7. Despite the weather on the day of the battle we shot down 5 enemy machines and 1 balloon, losing only 1 machine ourselves.

(Sgd.) R.T. COLLINS, Lt. Col.,
For Major General, G.S.

167th Infantry Brigade. D.A.D.O.S.
168th Infantry Brigade. 4th Aust. Div. Supply Col.
169th Infantry Brigade. No. 56 Amm. Sub Park.
1/5th (E. of C’s) Bn. Cheshire Rgt. A.D.M.S.
C.R.A. D.A.D.V.S.
C.R.E. “Q”
193rd Div. M.G. Coy. A.D.C.
56th Div. M.G. Officer. Camp Commandant.
56th Div. Signal Coy. Div. Depot Battalion.
56th Div. Train. French Mission.
56th Div. Gas Officer. Div. Employment Coy.
Forwarded for information.
** Brook Captain
General Staff.
Head Qrs 56th Divn.
4th August, 1917.

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