XIV Corps No. G.25/6
Fifth Army No. S.G. 635/12
1. Sufficient copies of attached paper on “Attack Barrages” are forwarded for issue down to Battalions.
2. In issuing this paper, the Army Commander at the same time wishes to draw attention to the value of Machine Gun barrage fire and Smoke Shell in combination with Artillery Barrages.
3. Close liaison between Machine Guns and Artillery and a careful study of the enemy’s known defences and dispositions should be ensured so as:-
(a) During the advance, to search for enemy Machine Guns which are still beyond our creeping barrage and able to fire through it at our advancing troops. To effect this the barrage should not be closer than 400 yards from our troops and forward of the creeping barrage. Lifts should be co-ordinated with the artillery programme.
(b) After reaching their objective, to bring up guns as early as possible to protect the infantry, and to strengthen the artillery barrage which at this period will have been weakened when the counter-battery guns have returned to counter-battery work (vide paras. 8 and 9 “Attack Barrages”. To effect this, guns should be brought to within 2,000 yards of the final barrage line.
4. Smoke shell may be used to mark the protective barrage more clearly and thus give our infantry a better indication as to where the barrage is placed. Its chief value, however, is for screening purposes and to smother enemy observation. A few smoke shell should be fired unobtrusively two or three minutes before zero in order to get the screen started, otherwise it may not become sufficiently thick in time to prevent the enemy gleaning some information. Smoke screens, if too thick, may interfere with counter-battery work, and, if too close to our troops, may serve to conceal the movements of the enemy’s counter attack troops till their detection is too late.
(Sgd) N. Malcolm
General Staff, Fifth Army.
14th September 1917.