53 Infantry Brigade instructions 21 October 1917
SECRET. Bde Major. 53rd Inf. Bde No. C. 770.
POELCAPPELLE OPERATIONS II
Instructions for Counter-attack Battn.
1. If we succeed in making good all our objectives, the most probable point of attack by the enemy is MEUNIER HO.
The attack is most likely to be made from the direction of CAMERON HO, as it can form up unseen from MEUNIER HO and NOBLES FARM.
By attacking Westwards on both sides of the SPRIET Road, the enemy might include the S.Ps. South-east of NOBLES FARM in his objectives. The attack would be assisted by fire from TRACAS FARM.
2. As advance on NOBLES FARM and HELLES HO due West from V.15.c. is improbable, as the enemy would have to pass over very wet ground.
Similarly the ground about TRACAS FARM does not offer any advantages to the enemy attacking troops.
3. An attack from the N.E. directed about V.14. central is a likely one.
4. The MEUNIER HO is the most important point in our objective so that the Hun will almost certainly make his main attack on this.
The position is best defended by means of cross fire from both flanks. The M.Gs. at OXFORD HOUSES are in a good position to do this from the right flank.
Lewis guns will be sited with a special view of bringing oblique fire to bear up the slopes of the MEUNIER Ridge.
5. Any attack from the N.E. can be dealt with by one or both of the M.Gs about V.14. central: these guns are primarily intended to fire S.E., but alternative positions for firing N.E. will be made.
L.G. fire from REQUETE FARM can also be brought to bear on this attack.
6. The action of counter-attacking troops cannot be definitely fixed until the situation is fairly clear, and the following instructions only take into consideration:-
(i) A counter-attack by us on the MEUNIER hill.
(ii) The same on HELLES and REQUETE FARMS.
7. In the case of (i) the most covered line of approach is close to the POELCAPPELLE Rd. The best forming up position will probably be along the Northern side of the HELLES HO Road under cover of the debris. The attack would be made from the same direction as the attack of the 10th Essex R. (i.e. from N.W.) and the same barrage lines could be used. The attack must be developed quickly and the frontage of it should extend well out to both flanks of MEUNIER HO.
In the case of a counter-attack by us on HELLES HO., the line of approach will be much the same as for the attack on the MEUNIER. Troops with L.Gs (& M.Gs if available) should be pushed up to the crest of the REQUETE FARM spur to bring fire to bear on HELLES HO. area while other troops are pushed forward on both flanks to envelop the enemy: it will probably be found best to make the main attack from the North as carried out by the 8th Norf. R.
8. The O.C. counter-attack Bn. will establish his Advd. H.Q. at V.19.a.6.1. when his Bn. has moved forward from the PHEASANT FARM area, and will keep in close touch with the Bns. holding the line.
John D. Crosthwaite,
Brigade Major, 53rd Infantry Brigade.
21st Oct. 17.
Issued at 7 a.m.
11th R. Fus. 10th Essex R.
18th Div “G”. G.O.C.
8th Norf. R. File.