53 Infantry Brigade Preliminary Instructions Poelcappelle 18 October 1917

53 Infantry Brigade Preliminary Instructions Poelcappelle 18 October 1917

SECRET. B.M.
Ref. Map “A”
53rd Inf. Bde. No. C. 754.
October 18th 1917.
53rd Inf. Bde. Preliminary Instructions No. 1.
For POELCAPPELLE OPERATIONS II.
1. Information. On “Z” day the 18th Div. will continue the attack in conjunction with the XIVth Corps on its left.
The attack of the 18th Div. will be carried out by the 53rd Inf. Bde. less 8th Suff. R. and 6th R. Berks. R.
4 Mortars each of 54th and 55th T.M. Bs will be attached to 53rd Inf. Bde.
The 7th Queens R. will hold the line now held by the 18th Div. and that part of the line now held by the 34th Div. as far North as V.14.c.15.15., from the night 20/21st October until “Z” day. This Bn. will be withdrawn as soon as the 53rd Inf. Bde. has established itself on its objectives.
I Bn 54th Bde will be attached to 53rd Bde from Zero hour as counter-attack Bn.
The 79th Fd. Coy. R.E. will be attached to the 53rd Inf. Bde during the operations.

2. Disposition of Units. The disposition of units on X/Y night and at Zero hour on “Z” day is shown in Appendix “A”.

3. Dividing Lines & Objectives. The dividing lines between units and the Objectives of units of the 53rd Inf. Bde. are shown on Map “A”. Map C showing new objectives of units is issued herewith & cancels Map A.

4. General Plan. The attack will be carried out in 3 Phases.

(a) Phase I. The 8th Norf. R. will attack with 3 Coys and capture that part of POELCAPPELLE still in the enemy’s hands including the BREWERY, and the S.Ps. at V.20.a.4.5. and 7.7., and make good the BLUE Dotted Line.
1 Coy will attack and capture the enemy trench about V.14.c.2.6. – HELLES HO., and the enemy S.Ps. just N.E. of it.

The attack on HELLES HO area will advance between REQUETE FARM and the track N. of this farm and will assault the enemy positions from the North.

The attack on POELCAPPELLE will be assisted by 4 Mortars 53rd T.M.B. and 4 Mortars 54th T.M.B.
As soon as the objective has been gained, the 8th Norf. R. will reorganize not less than 2 Platoons and hold them in readiness to exploit success, and move forward to occupy NOBLES FARM and the S.Ps S.E. of it when the protective barrage ceases. These platoons will move as close as possible up to the protective barrage as soon as they have been reorganized.

(b) Phase II. 23 Coys. 10th Essex R. will form up in rear of the 8th Norf. R., and will move forward so as to be close up to the protective barrage ready to advance to the attack on the 2nd Objective (BLUE Line), as soon as the barrage lifts back at Zero plus 2 hours.

(c) Phase III. 1 Coy 10th Essex R. will be formed up on the approximate line V.20.c.4.0. – V.20.c.3.5. by Zero hour, and will advance and capture the 3rd Objective at Zero plus 3 hours.
In the event of the assault on the 2nd Objective failing, the attack on the 3rd will not be carried out.

(d) 1 Coy will be in Bn. Reserve. In the event of the attack on POELCAPPELLE failing the attack of the 10th Essex R. will not be carried out.

(e) Instructions for 53rd M.G.C. will be issued later.

(f) 4 Guns 53rd T.M.B. and 4 Guns 54th T.M.B. will fire on POELCAPPELLE during the attack from positions in V.13.d. and V.19.b.
4 guns 55th T.M.B. will fire on BEEK HOUSES, Pts. V.20.c.8.1. – 84 and 96 during Phase III from positions in rear of GLOSTER HO.

5. Tasks of Units.
(a) 8th Norf. R. will be formed up by 1 a.m. on “Z” day on the line shown on Map “A”.

3 Coys. will fight their way through POELCAPPELLE and make good the 1st Objective. The Left Coy. Of this group will gain touch with the Coy. Attacking HELLES at about V.14.c.85.30.

The O.C. 8th Norf. R. will arrange that the area N. of POELCAPPELLE between that village and HELLES HO is cleared as far as the 1st Objective. 1 Coy. will capture the enemy trench about V.14.c.2.6., and will also capture the enemy S.Ps. in the HELLES HO area by moving N. of REQUETE FARM and attacking these S.Ps. from about V.14. central. Lewis guns will be posted about V.14.c.4.6. and REQUETE FARM to fire towards HELLES HO and cover the advance of the attackers.

A post will be established about V.14.b.3.0. in touch with the 34th Division.

As soon as the 1st Objective has been gained and the 10th Essex R. have moved forward to the attack of the 2nd Objective, the O.C. 8th Norf. R. will re-organize his Coys for defence. As the village will be heavily shelled, it will be lightly held. Sufficient shelters for the troops necessary for the actual defence of the village will probably be available.

One Coy will be retained for the defence of the line from V.19.b.9.2. to V.20.a.9.8., until the 2nd Objective has been made good by the 10th Essex R. When this has been done, this Coy will be held ready to exploit success and advance on NOBLES FARM when the protective barrage lifts. ready to take over the front from V.14.d.2.7. to V.20.b.7.9. from 10th Essex R. at dusk.

(b) 10th Essex R. 23 Coys will be formed up in rear of the 8th Norf. R. by 2 a.m. on “Z” day, and will advance not later than Zero plus 1 hour to the approximate line of the 1st Objective, where they will form up close under the barrage ready to assault at Zero plus 2 hours. These 2 Coys will make good the 2nd Objective.

The defence of the MEUNIER HO ridge is of the utmost importance.

As soon as the 2nd Objective has been made good, mentioned in last bit of para 5a this relief has taken place, the dividing line between the 10th Essex R. and 8th Norf. R. will be the SPRIET Road (inclusive to 8th Norf. R.) to the road junction at V.20.a.05.75. and thence to POELCAPPELLE – ST. JULIEN Rd.

1 Coy will be formed up on the approximate line V.20.c.4.0. – 3.5.by Zero, and will advance at Zero plus 3 hours, and make good the 3rd Objective.

1 Coy will be in Bn Reserve and may be retained on the ROSE TRENCH line until required.

(c) The 7th Queens R. will hold the present front line with 2 Coys during the attack. Only the actual posts will be held. The 2 Support Coys will be withdrawn at 1 a.m. on “Z” day to CANE TRENCH.

The troops holding the Divnl front line N. of a point which will be notified later, will withdraw at Zero minus 30 mins to a line which will be notified, in order that our barrage may be put down on our front line.

(d) 53rd M.G.C. will detail 8 guns to take up the positions shown in Appendix “B”.

1 section will be detailed for barrage work under the D.M.G.O.

1 section will be in reserve about FERDINAND FARM.

(e) 53rd T.M.B. will detail 4 Mortars to fire from positions S.E. of STRING HOUSES on the area shown red on attached Map from Zero plus 12 mins to plus 16 mins.

(f) 54th T.M.B. will detail 4 Mortars to fire from positions S.E. of STRING HOUSES on the area shown Green on attached Map from Zero to plus 5 mins.

(g) 55th T.M.B. will detail 4 Mortars to fire from positions W. of GLOSTER HO. on BEEK HOUSES and the enemy S.Ps. about V.20.c.8.1. – 8.4. and 9.6. from Zero plus 2 hours 55 mins to plus 3 hours 2 mins.

(h) 79th Fd. Coy. R.E. will detail 3 sections to construct S.Ps. about V.20.a.9.1. – V.20.a.7.5.75. and REQUETE FARM (1 sec. to each).

The S.P. at V.20.a.9.1. especially will be strongly wired.

These sections with their attached platoons will garrison and hold these S.Ps until relieved, or ordered to withdraw by Bde. H.Q.
They will carry rations and water for 48 hours with them.

(i) A definite unit will be detailed for the capture of every known centre held by the enemy.

6. Organization for Defence of Captured line. As soon as each objective has been captured, the defence will be organized in depth.

The main line of defence will where possible, be on the reverse side of the slope with posts pushed out on to the crest line for observation.

The Strong Points to be constructed, and the garrisons of these are shown in Appendix “C”.

7. Artillery Arrangements. Barrage Map and artillery programme will be issued later.

The barrage for Phase I will open at Zero, and remain on the initial line till Zero plus 8 mins.: it will then move forward at the rate of 50 yards in 4 minutes and halt on the Protective Barrage line for the 1st Objective.

At Zero plus 1 hour 56 mins. this barrage will intensify and move forward at Zero plus 2 hours at the rate of 50 yards in 4 mins to the 2nd Objective.

8. Signal Communications. Signal Communications will be as shown in Appendix “D”.

S.O.S. Relay Stations will be formed at V.19.a.6.1. and PHEASANT FARM.

Every possible use must be made of pigeons.

A Bde O.P. will be formed at V.19.b.4.0.

The personnel of this O.P. will consist of:-
The Bde Intelligence Officer, 1 Observer each from 8th Norf. R. and 10th Essex R., 2 runners each from 8th Norf. R. and 10th Essex R.

These Observers and runners will report to the Bde Intelligence Officer at VARNA FARM at 2 p.m. on “Y” day, and will bring rations for “Z” day with them. This party will remain on duty at the O.P. from Zero hour on “Z” day until ordered to withdraw by the Bde Intelligence Officer. Observers will carry field glasses and maps.

9. Liaison. The 8th Norf. R. will detail 1 Officer from Echelon “B” and 2 runners to report to the Right Bde. 34th Div. by Zero hour on “Z” day.

The 8th Norf. R. and 10th Essex R. will each detail 1 N.C.O. and 2 runners to report to 53rd Bde. H.Q. at VARNA FARM by Zero hour on “Z” day.

The 8th Norf. R. will detail 1 N.C.O. and 2 runners to carry out liaison with the Bn. on their left.

The usual cross liaison between Companies will be maintained.

10. Administrative Orders. Administrative Orders will be issued separately.

11. Report Centres. Bde. R.C. VARNA FARM

Bde. Advd. R.C. PHEASANT FARM
8th Norf. R. R.C.) V.19.a.6.1.
10th Essex R. R.C. )
Bn. on Right (9th Div) HUBNER FARM
Bn. on Left (34th Div) FERDAN HO.
53rd M.G.C. PHEASANT FARM

ACKNOWLEDGE
John D. Crosthwaite
Captain,
Brigade Major, 53rd Infantry Brigade.
Issued at 6.30 a.m. 19/10/17
Copies to:-
Copy No:-
1. G.O.C. 13. 56th Fd. Amb.
2. B.M. 14. 79th Fd. Coy. R.E.
3. S.C. 15. 151st Coy. A.S.C.
4. S.O. 16. 54th Inf. Bde.
5. Supply O. 17. 55th Inf. Bde.
6. B.T.O. 18. Right Bde. 34th Div.
7. Norf. R. 19. Left Bde. 9th Div.
8. Suff. R. 20. 18th Div “G”
9. Essex R. 21. 18th Div “Q”
10. R. Berks. R. 22. War Diary
11. 53rd M.G.C. 23. War Diary.
12. 53rd T.M.B. 24. File.
NOTE:- Appendices will be issued later.
SECRET. 53rd Inf. Bde. No. C. 755.
19th October,1917.
Amendments to 53rd Inf. Bde. Preliminary Instructions No. 1.
For POELCAPPELLE OPERATIONS 11.
Para: 1. Sub-para: 4. line 3.
For “V.14.c.15.15.” read “V.14.a.15.15.”
Para: 4 Sub-Para 4 of (a).
After “protective barrage” read “moves forward” and delete “ceases”.
Para: 5. (a) Sub-para 7.
Erase “held ready to exploit success and advance on NOBLES FARM when the protective barrage lifts” and substitute “withdran into Reserve”.
Para: 5 (h).
For “V.20.a.7.5.75.” read “V.20.a.75.75.”
Para: 9 last line but one.
For “Companies” read “Units”.
John D. Crosthwaite
Captain,
Brigade Major, 53rd Infantry Brigade.
Issued to Recipients of
53rd Inf. Bde. Preliminary Instructions
No. 1 for POELCAPPELLE OPERATIONS II.

B.M.
SECRET. 53rd Inf. Bde. No. C. 757.
19th October,1917.
Amendments No 2 to 53rd Inf. Bde. Preliminary Instructions No. 1.
For POELCAPPELLE OPERATIONS 11.
Para 1. Add “1 Bn. 54th Inf. Bde. will be attached to 53rd Inf. Bde. from Zero hour as counter-attack Bn.
Para 3. Map “C” showing new objectives of units is issued herewith, and cancels Map “A”.
Para 4. (a). Phase I. Delete last para:
(b). Phase II. For “2 Coys” read “3 Coys” 10th Essex R.
Add:- “In the event of the attack on POELCAPPELLE failing, the attack of the 10th Essex R. will not be carried out.
Delete para (d).
Para 5. (a). Last two lines will now read:- “ready to take over the front from
.14.d.2.7. to V.20.b.7.9. from 10th Essex R. at dusk”.

(b). 10th Essex R. For “2 Coys” read “3 Coys”.
For “As soon as the 2nd Objective has been taken made good” read “as soon as the relief mentioned in last line of para: 5 (a) has taken place”
Delete last para:.
Add “1 Bn. 54th Bde will be accommodated in CANE TRENCH on Y/Z night. They will not enter the area before 9 p.m.
This B. will move up and be in position as follows
As Counter-attack Bn by Zero.
2 Coys on line of ROSE TRENCH.
2 Coys in PHEASANT TRENCH.
H.Q. PHEASANT FARM.
This Bn will only be used for the purpose of counter-attacking the enemy if he has gained a footing in our positions. They will on no account be used to reinforce the troops holding the line.
Hostile counter-attacks will be countered on the initiative of the O.C. Bn., who will immediately inform Bde H.Q. of any action taken.
Detailed instructions for counter-attack will be issued separately.
App. “C”. No 1. Delete:- Col.3 “1 M.G. team”, Col 4 “1 M.G.”, Col 5 “M.G. to fire
towards CAMERON HOUSES”
ACKNOWLEDGE.
John D. Crosthwaite
Captain,
Brigade Major, 53rd Infantry Brigade.
Issued at p.m.
to Recipients of
53rd Inf. Bde. Preliminary
Instructions No. 1 for
POELCAPPELLE OPERATIONS II.

SECRET. 53rd Inf. Bde. No. C. 763.
19th October,1917.
Amendments No 3 To 53rd Inf. Bde. Preliminary Instructions No. 1.
For POELCAPPELLE OPERATIONS 11.
1. During operations the boundary between the 18th and 34th Divisions, will be the line:- V.14.b.2.2. – V.14.a.0.2. – LANDING FARM – V.13.c.8.3. – FERDAN HOUSE.

Immediately after the capture and consolidation of objectives, the permanent inter-corps boundary which runs from:-
V.19.a.2.2. to V.14.b.2.2. will come into force.

2. The objective of the 34th Division is the line from:-
V.14.b.3.3. to V.14.c.1.4.

3. Reference para: 4 (e).
The whole of the 53rd M.G. Coy is now placed at the disposal of the Brigade Commander.
They will be employed as follows:-
8 guns consolidation.
2 guns with counter-attack Bn.
2 guns FERDINAND HOUSE.
4 guns CANAL BANK.

4. Reference para: 5 (a), sub-para 5.
The post in liaison with 34th Division will be established at junction of hedge and road at V.14.b.40.15., and not V.14.b.3.0. as stated.
John D. Crosthwaite
Captain,
Brigade Major, 53rd Infantry Brigade.
Issued at 6 a.m. Oct 20th.
To Recipients of 53rd Inf. Bde.
Preliminary Instructions No. 1
for POELCAPPELLE OPERATIONS II.
B.M.
SECRET. 53rd Inf. Bde. No. C. 760.
APPENDIX “A”
Dispositions of Units.
Unit X/Y Night Zero Hour
1.
2.
3.

4.
5.
6.
7.

8. 8th Norf R.
10th Essex R.
53rd M.G.C.

53rd T.M.B.
54th T.M.B.
55th T.M.B.
7th Queens R.

1 Bn 54th Bde. CANE Trench
CANE Trench
CANAL BANK

CANAL BANK
Present Billets
Present Billets
Line.

CANAL BANK Assembly Position.
Assembly Position.
2 secs Assembly Position
1 sec FERDINAND FARM
1sec under orders of D.M.G.O.
Battery position.
Battery position.
Battery position.
H.Q. and 2 Coys Line
2 Coys. CANE TRENCH
H.Q. PHEASANT FARM.
2 Coys. ROSE Trench.
2 Coys. PHEASANT Trench.

19th Oct 17.
Issued at p.m. to
Recipients of 53rd Inf. Bde.
Preliminary Instructions No. 1
for POELCAPPELLE OPERATIONS II.

B.M.
SECRET. 53rd Inf. Bde. No. C. 758.
APPENDIX “B”
The 8 consolidating guns 53rd M.G.C. will occupy the following approximate positions:-
No Position Line of fire.
3 guns.

2 guns

1 gun.
2 guns. OXFORD HOUSES

MEUNIER HOUSE

V.14.c.3.5.
V.14.d.0.8. 2 guns towards TRACAS FARM.
1 gun towards GLOSTER FARM.
1 gun towards TRACAS FARM
1 gun towards V.15.c.0.0
1 gun towards V.20.b. central.
Towards V.15.c.0.0.

Issued at p.m. to
Recipients of 53rd Inf. Bde.
Preliminary Instructions No. 1
for POELCAPPELLE OPERATIONS II.

Appendix “C”
LIST OF SPECIAL S.PS.
No Approximate Position By whom constructed Garrison Remarks
1.

2.

3.

4.

5.
6.

7.

8.

9.

10. BEEK HOUSES

V.20.c.7.7.

MEUNIER HO.

V.20.a.7.7.

V.14.c.75.35
V.14.b.2.0.

REQUETE
FM.

V.14.c.30.55.

V.14.c.5.2.

V.20.a.3.3. 10th Essex R.
1 M.G. Team.

do

10th Essex R.
1 Sec 79th Fd C.R.E. & attchd Inf Pn 1 M.G. team.

As for 3.

8th Norf R.
do

8th Norf. R.
1 Sec 79th Fd Coy R.E. & attchd Pn.

8th Norf. R.
1 M.G. team

8th Norf. R.

10th Essex R. 1 Pn Essex R.
1 M.G.

1 Pn Essex R. (1 L.G.)
1 Pn Essex R.
1 Sec 79th Fd Coy R.E. & attchd Pn
I M.G.
I additional L.G. Sec.
1 Pn Essex R.
1 additional L.G. section.
1 Sec 79th Fd Coy R.E and attchd Pn.
1 Pn.
1 Pn
1 additional L.G. Sect.
1 Pn 8th Norf. R.
1 Sec 79th Fd Coy R.E. & attchd Pn.
2 Secs 8th Norf.
1 M.G.
2 Secs 8th Norf. (including
1 L.G. Sec).
1 Pn M.G. to fire towards CAMERON HOUSES.
L.G.to fire across LEKKERBOTERBEEK Valley.
L.G. to fire across front of BEEK HOUSES.
M.G. to fire S.E. towards TRACAS FARM.
L.Gs. to fire N. & E.

L.Gs. to fire N.E. and S.E.

L.G. to fire N.E.

L.Gs to fire N.E. and S.E.

L.G. to fire N.E.

M.G. to fire S.E.

L.G. to fire S.E.

L.G. to fire E. by North.

The garrisons of the above S.Ps. will be specially detailed beforehand.
The names of the Officers in command of the Platoons detailed by Battalions and of the R.E. Sections, will be reported to Brigade H.Q./ by the C.Os. concerned (showing date of present rank) by 6 p.m. on the 20th inst.
O.C. 79th Fd. Coy R.E. should arrange for his Officers to see Infantry Officers concerned and discuss matters at CANE TRENCH on the morning of the 21st October.
*********************************************************

SECRET. 53rd Inf. Bde. No. C. 758.
APPENDIX “D”
1. Telephone and Telegraph Communications.
Telephone lines have been buried from VARNA FARM to SNIPE HO., and from there lines have been run out to PHEASANT FARM and V.19.a.6.1.
2. Visual.
A Visual Receiving Station will be established at PHEASANT FARM.
3. Pigeons.
30 birds have been allotted to the Bde. 6 pairs of birds will be allotted to each Bn, and 2 pairs will be kept at Brigade Report Centre at PHEASANT FARM, and 1 pair at Brigade H.Q.
Bn Signal Officers will make themselves responsible that these pigeons are used whenever possible.

4. Runners.
Runner Posts will be established at VARNA FARM, PARTRIDGE FARM, SNIPE HOUSE and PHEASANT FARM.

5. Wireless and Power Buzzer.
A Power Buzzer Set will be erected at V.19.a.6.1. working to PHEASANT FARM if sufficient accommodation is found for the former station.
A Wireless trench set will work direct from PHEASANT FARM to VARNA FARM.

6. Message Rockets.
A Message Rocket Station will be established at V.19.a.6.1. working direct to SNIPE FARM – the Rockets now having a range of over 2000 yards. Any message sent by rocket will also be sent by runner as soon as possible.

7. Message Dog.
One dog will be available for message carrying and will be used by the Brigade Intelligence Officer to take messages back from the Brigade Forward O.P. at V.19.b.4.0. to Brigade H.Q. at VARNA FARM.

8. The main line of communication will be:-
VARNA FARM
PARTRIDGE FARM
SNIPE HOUSE
PHEASANT FARM
V.19.a.6.1.

Battalions will arrange to send back messages to the nearest station on this line which is in some form of communication with Brigade H.Q.

Messages so sent by runner should have the word “WIRE” written on the outside of the message so that the message can be opened by a signaller and wired on at any station which is still in wire communication with Brigade H.Q.

19th Oct. 1917.
Issued at 10 p.m. to
Recipients of 53rd Inf. Bde.
Preliminary Instructions No. 1
for POELCAPPELLE OPERATIONS II.

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