Norman Richardson 27 November 1916

ARMY BOOK 152
CORRESPONDENCE BOOK
(FIELD SERVICE)
Opened on Nov. 1st 1916.
Started Intelligence Nov 21st 1916.
Norman Richardson
2nd Lieut S.O.
DECK
SIGNAL SECTION.
27/11/16.
Maps Handed over to BOW.
1. Large Paper map. GOMMECOURT 2 B.
2. Large oilskin 1/2500.
3. 56 & 43 Aeroplane Photos
8.L.1258 “ “
4. Left Sub-sector Trench Map 1/5,000 (Paper)
5. Do 1/5,000 2 (Paper)
6. Do 1/5,000 (Linen)
7. Artillery Map
8. 1 Kite Balloon Map 11 M 186.
WJ Warner 2/Lt
KEEL.
———————————-
Patrol Report (Summaries)
26/27/11/16.
No Compn Time of Place of Object RESULTS
Exit Entry Exit Entry
1 1 Off + 4 men 6.10 pm 8.20 pm At advance front top of YOUNG ST. Do To examine enemy wire near K.3.d.4.6. 1 Found gap about point K.3.d.40.50. This gap was three yards wide, and completely through the wire. The wire was thin on each side of it.2 A German heard (& later seen) get out of a sap 30x N of this gap & march S.W.
3 Not much wire in front of S.W. corner of wood.

2 1 Sgt + 4 men
? ? At disused trench N of advanced Sap MOUSETRAP
K.3.d.30.60. Do To examine wire along N.W. side of GOMMECOURT PARK for 100 yards. 1 Observed Bosche covering party (10) at about K.3.d.50.70.
Note: mist became very heavy & party withdrew.
N. Richardson
2/Lt.
I.O.
DECK
———————————-

DECK
TACTICAL PROGRESS REPORT.
From 6 pm, 26/11/16 till 6 am, 27/11/16
OPERATIONS.
Enemy Artillery: Intermittent shelling of HEBUTERNE during the night.
At 8.10 pm, 8.30 pm and from 9.0 to 9.10 pm shells (5.9s & 4.2s) were put over near to the pond and the Aid Post at the entrance to the village.
At 10 pm about 12 rounds 77 mm were fired on ‘R’ line. No damage was done.
Own Artillery: A slow steady rate of firing was kept up with salvoes at intervals.
Enemy T.Ms: Active again.
At 4 pm yesterday the enemy opened out on to our lines with about 50 L.T.Ms.
About 9 pm he commenced again on the left & on the right.
All sizes were used, but no damage was done & the majority fell short.
At 4.0 pm yesterday, he appeared to be firing from K.4.b.10.15.
At 9.0 pm the Bosche seemed to take advantage of the mist for firing his T.Ms.
Enemy M.Gs: One M.G. kept traversing out parapets on the left at intervals. On the whole very quiet. There were bursts over the village at 6.5 and 6.10 am.
Our M.Gs: fairly active.

INTELLIGENCE.
See Patrol Reports (enclosed)
N. Richardson
2nd Lt.
I.O.
DECK
———————————-
DECK. 26/11/16
REPORTS on WIRE.
A. In front of ‘C’ line.
1. The only wire is round the posts at the head of YUSSIF and the head of YOUNG ST.
2. Between these two posts there has originally been a little wire but now a clear gap, which stretches almost from post to post, has been blown, and absolutely affords no obstacles at all.
3. The wire in front of the posts is not too strong and in places at the YUSSIF post the enemy could bomb the post from the wire.
Note: A complete new system of wire is required in front of ‘C’ line. It requires putting out beyond the present wire so as to place the posts out of bombing distance.
B. Wire between ‘C’ & ‘R’ Lines.
1. The main wire is about 30 yards in front of ‘R’ trench & attached to stout wooden pickets. The wire is in fairly good condition but in places has been blown up by shell fire. The ground between the latter wire and ‘R’ line is full of shell holes and seems to have been laid with cross “trip” wire on short pickets but owing to shell fire this has been badly mangled, the broken places having been filled in with barbed concertinas. This wiring comes to within 4 yards of ‘R’ line.
2. From YUSSIF Tr to MG2 the wire is very thin.
Illustration
From MG2 the wire stretches to within 20 yards of YOUNG ST, and is old, straggling, fairly good and wide. The remainder is very poor. There are no definite gaps apparent. No concertinas or gooseberries were noticed.
N. Richardson
2nd Lt.
————————-

DECK. 27/11/16
REPORTS on Wire.
{ A. Forward of ‘C’ Line.

{B. Between ‘C’ and ‘R’ Line.

A. Forward of ‘C’ Line. In front of Left Front Co. the wire is very good; that of the Right Front Co. is not so good, but here there are stretches of entanglements and wire, old but forming effective obstacles over 100 yds into No Man’s Land.
(a) Right Front Co.
1. Patrol Report of 25/11/16. Place of exit was Left Advanced Post from YOUNG ST. “On our return journey we entered our wire about 50 yards West of the wire fence. The wire was chiefly French wire and little barbed wire was encountered. We struck the wire fence about 30 yards from its junction with ‘Z’ Hedge.”
2. Patrol Report 24/11/16. Place of exit was junction of YOUNG ST & ‘C’ LINE K.3.d.2.9. “The outer edge of our wire is about 100 yards from our parapet”—-“ We left our lines at K.3.d.2.9. and proceeded along the wooden fence which runs out in a N.E. direction. We went about 100 yards along this, the going was fairly easy and we walked all the way. The wire on the fence is still standing. On the left hand side of the fence, very little of our wire is left. On the right the wire is much broken but would form a difficult obstacle.
3. There is fairly good wire round the posts at the head of YUSSIF and also of YOUNG ST.
4. Between these two posts there has originally been a little wire but much of it has been blown away & does not afford much of an obstacle at all.
5. The wire at the YUSSIF post is within bombing range.

(b) Left Front Co. [from YUSSIF to SAP]
1. From YUSSIF to YUZ. – Good; 20 ft wide.
2. From YUZ to SAP – On the whole good; about 20 ft wide.
3. Opposite the end of YUZ: – V. Good indeed. Posts wired all round.

Page 3 of report is missing. Recommences at page 4.

B. (b) Contd
to stout wooden pickets. The wire is in fairly good condition, but in places has been blown up by shell fire.
2 The ground between the latter wire and ‘R’ LINE is full of shell holes and seems to have been laid with cross trip wire on short pickets.
But owing to shell fire this has been badly mangled, the broken places having been filled in with barbed concertinas.
This wire comes to within 4 yards of ‘R’ LINE.

N. Richardson
2nd Lt.
DECK.
——————————–
Notes on Maps in Possession.
1. About 30 57C NW Edition 4A. Achiet Le Grand.
2. About 30 57C SW “ “ Martinpuich
3. About 10 1/20,000 Puisieux
4. 1 Achiet.

Norman Richardson 2nd Lieut S.O. 27 November 1916

ARMY BOOK 152
CORRESPONDENCE BOOK
(FIELD SERVICE)
Opened on Nov. 1st 1916.
Started Intelligence Nov 21st 1916.
Norman Richardson 2nd Lieut S.O.
DECK. 27/11/16
REPORTS on Wire.
{ A. Forward of ‘C’ Line.

{B. Between ‘C’ and ‘R’ Line.

A. Forward of ‘C’ Line. In front of Left Front Co. the wire is very good; that of the Right Front Co. is not so good, but here there are stretches of entanglements and wire, old but forming effective obstacles over 100 yds into No Man’s Land.
(a) Right Front Co.
1. Patrol Report of 25/11/16. Place of exit was Left Advanced Post from YOUNG ST. “On our return journey we entered our wire about 50 yards West of the wire fence. The wire was chiefly French wire and little barbed wire was encountered. We struck the wire fence about 30 yards from its junction with ‘Z’ Hedge.”
2. Patrol Report 24/11/16. Place of exit was junction of YOUNG ST & ‘C’ LINE K.3.d.2.9. “The outer edge of our wire is about 100 yards from our parapet”—-“ We left our lines at K.3.d.2.9. and proceeded along the wooden fence which runs out in a N.E. direction. We went about 100 yards along this, the going was fairly easy and we walked all the way. The wire on the fence is still standing. On the left hand side of the fence, very little of our wire is left. On the right the wire is much broken but would form a difficult obstacle.
3. There is fairly good wire round the posts at the head of YUSSIF and also of YOUNG ST.
4. Between these two posts there has originally been a little wire but much of it has been blown away & does not afford much of an obstacle at all.
5. The wire at the YUSSIF post is within bombing range.

(b) Left Front Co. [from YUSSIF to SAP]
1. From YUSSIF to YUZ. – Good; 20 ft wide.
2. From YUZ to SAP – On the whole good; about 20 ft wide.
3. Opposite the end of YUZ: – V. Good indeed. Posts wired all round.

Page 3 of report is missing. Recommences at page 4.

B. (b) Contd
to stout wooden pickets. The wire is in fairly good condition, but in places has been blown up by shell fire.
1 The ground between the latter wire and ‘R’ LINE is full of shell holes and seems to have been laid with cross trip wire on short pickets.
But owing to shell fire this has been badly mangled, the broken places having been filled in with barbed concertinas.
This wire comes to within 4 yards of ‘R’ LINE.

N. Richardson
2nd Lt.
DECK.
——————————–
Notes on Maps in Possession.
1. About 30 57C NW Edition 4A. Achiet Le Grand.
2. About 30 57C SW “ “ Martinpuich
3. About 10 1/20,000 Puisieux
4. 1 Achiet.

——————————-
On separate leaf.

Dugouts. Left Coys Front.
1. Signallers 15 men lying supported by strong beams. 12’ cover.
2. Coy H.Q. 3 beds, supported by 6” props. 4’ cover.
3. Runners. 6 men. 8’ cover.
4. Holds 20 men. 2 entrances. 4’ top.
5. 12 men. good condition. 6’ cover.
6. Elephant dugout, holds 8. cover 3’.
7. Holds 6. Off servants. 4’ cover.

Shelters.
1. Weatherproof hold 3 men.
Others 4 each hold 4. 3’ cover.
2. 2 each hold 5 men. Corrugated iron cover
3. Patrol post. hold 4 men. Corrugated Iron cover
4. 5 others in SUPPORT LINE hold 3 men. Corrugated Iron cover.
F.C. Bootimore Lt.
D Coy
24.11.16.

Illustration of locations.

Norman Richardson 26 November 1916

ARMY BOOK 152
CORRESPONDENCE BOOK
(FIELD SERVICE)
Opened on Nov. 1st 1916.
Started Intelligence Nov 21st 1916.
Norman Richardson
2nd Lieut S.O.
DECK
SIGNAL SECTION.
DECK
TACTICAL PROGRESS REPORT.
From 6 pm, 25/11/16 till 6 am, 26/11/16
OPERATIONS.
Intermittent shelling of HEBUTERNE with 5.9” & 4.2”, commencing at 5.50 pm and at intervals of five to ten minutes, till 7.0 pm. Occasional rounds were sent over during the night but on the whole, the enemy’s artillery was very quiet.
Own Artillery: very quiet.
Enemy T.Ms: 6.30 pm: Enemy noticed our wiring party at top of YUZ and put 3 minenwerfer (small) close to them. No damage was done.
Enemy M.Gs: quiet.

INTELLIGENCE.
See Patrol Summaries (enclosed)
Note: Received Quadrant Periscope from BOW.
N. Richardson
2nd Lt.
I.O.
DECK
—————————————
DECK
TACTICAL PROGRESS REPORT.
From 6 am till 6 pm, 26/11/16
OPERATIONS.
Enemy Artillery: The morning was very quiet, owing to the rain and mist. In the afternoon it became much clearer and consequently there was greater artillery activity on both sides. A few 5.9” shells fell near the R. Support Co. H.Q. And between 3 & 4 pm shells of the same calibre (shrapnel) were directed on the batteries on the left of HEBUTERNE.
INTELLIGENCE.
Enemy Movement: sentry frequently seen at K.4.d.1.5.
10.30 am men seen going along commun trenches K.5.a.20 to K.5.a.5.2.
10.45 am Movements seen along trench K.4.d.7.9. to K.4.d.8.8. Our Artillery shelled this trench.
12.30 pm Men frequently during next hour were seen moving about trenches in the cemetery K.4.d.7.8. Our observers were unable to perceive their occupation.
1 pm – 2 pm Observation kept on point K.4.b.4.4. which we suspect to be an O.P. owing to its position & appearance.
1.15 pm man was seen to leave this position.
Men seen at intervals with full pack on.

Enemy Work
8.30 am. Working party seen in trench K.5.c.6.1. to K.c.10.95. draining trench. Reported to artillery who shelled the trench.
9.15 am. Working party in trench K.4.d.4.7. to K.4.d.7.5. This party was also draining trench & were reported to artillery.
12.45 pm. Two men in great-coats & steel helmets, with full pack were seen leaving trenches at point E.28.b.5.2.
N. Richardson
2nd Lt.
I.O.
DECK

George Ryan’s letter home dated 26 Nov 1915

George Ryan’s letter home dated 26 Nov 1915

On headed notepaper with regimental crest 9th Middlesex Regt.
Dum-dum.
Bengal.
India.
26 Nov 1915

Dear M & F,

Thanks very much for your letter of Nov 4 also for the parcel of Tobacco & Gums which I received at Jafferpore the day after I wrote last week. I’ve had 2 or 3 of the chocolates with my bread & butter at tea-time each day, they are alright & the gums are quite a treat. They kept quite alright & they did not taste of Tobacco. The fags are all gone but about 4 so there’s no need to say anything more about them.

I didn’t do so well as I expected at Firing. I missed two days; that made a lot of difference. But I expect we shall fire another course before next Sept. We might possibly fire again next March at Dinapore.

I’ve asked Mr. Walker to send you an extra £1= I have not been able to go up to Calcutta to get anything so will you get them all something for me for Christmas about 2/- also something for yourself & what’s over put to the “General Expenses”.

We are moving on the 9th or 10th of next month but 40 of us are to be left behind. We don’t know who they will be yet.

Hoping you are all well.
Love to all,
Yr loving son
George

Answer to Dinapore.

Air Raid Damage Repts Brentwood Division Essex Fire Service 25 November 1939

Air Raid Damage Reports Brentwood Division Essex Fire Service November 1939

Date Time Location Damage

25/11/1939 14.14 Warley Barrage Balloon drifting towards Billericay shot
down in the sea off Rochford
25/11/1939 15.15 Shenfield Barrage Balloon grounded. Property damaged.
Electric and telephone wires down
25/11/1939 15.50 Brentwood Barrage Balloon drifting towards Billericay
grounded at Outward Common Billericay.

Norman Richardson 25 November 1916

ARMY BOOK 152
CORRESPONDENCE BOOK
(FIELD SERVICE)
Opened on Nov. 1st 1916.
Started Intelligence Nov 21st 1916.
Norman Richardson
2nd Lieut S.O.
DECK
SIGNAL SECTION.
DECK.
TACTICAL PROGRESS REPORT.
From 6 pm, 24th /11/16 till 6 am, 25th /11/16
OPERATIONS.
Enemy Artillery: Exceptionally quiet during the night.
Own Artillery: fired on various targets, some shells fell short close to the MOUSETRAP. No damage was done.
Enemy T.Ms: silent.
Enemy M.Gs: fired bursts at 2.30 am and 6.50 am over HEBUTERNE.

INTELLIGENCE.
Owing to being so misty, observation rendered very difficult.
PATROL REPORTS.
Sent in by Adjutant.
I enclose summaries which I made.
[Our patrol directed 18 pdr shrapnel on to Bosche Wiring party & a covering party near K.4.c.9.4.
N. Richardson
2nd Lt.
I.O.
DECK
—————————————
DECK.
TACTICAL PROGRESS REPORT.
From 6 am till 6 pm, 25th /11/16
OPERATIONS.
Enemy Artillery: At 11.30 am the enemy sent ten rounds of 77 mm shells into N.E. portions of HEBUTERNE.
At 12.30 pm this performance was repeated, but no damage was done.
On the whole the artillery of both sides has been very quiet today, owing to rainy & dull weather.
Enemy M.Gs: At 6.50 am, bursts of fire were directed on the left half of HEBUTERNE. This lasted till 7.0 am.
Enemy T.Ms: quiet.

INTELLIGENCE.
A very quiet day, owing to the wet & mist, observation has been very bad.
Snipers inactive on both sides.
Note: Work is still being done on Sniping Post L2 (YIDDISH)
N. Richardson
2nd Lt.
I.O.
DECK
—————————————
Patrol Report (Summaries)
25/26/11/16.
DECK
No Compn Time of Place of Object RESULTS
Exit Entry Exit Entry
1 1 Sgt + 4 men 9.0 pm Junction of Young St. & C line To listen for Bosche working parties U& patrols 1 Heard Bosche working party sounds coming from the N. The patrol was then at a point about K.4.c.5.3.
Note: Going was bad, owing to darkness and wet state of ground.

2 1 Offr + 1 N.C.O + 3 men 930 pm 12.0 mn K.10.a.20.90. Do To examine German wire near K.4.c.1.50. 1 When patrol reached K.4.c.4.2. they heard Bosche working party (filling sandbags) to the N.
There was a covering party.
2 Many new shell holes.
3 1 Sgt + 4 men 7.0 pm K.3.d.25.60. Do To examine wire & saps from Western corner of GOMMCT Wood. 1. Bosche Sap directly opposite point of exit was being wired. Sap is very muddy, although sounds were heard as of a man stamping his feet on bricks or cement.
2. Two flares sent up from front along hedge, slightly N of the sap.
3. This hedge seems to be on a ridge.
4. Two M.Gs opened fire from corner of hedge near sap.
Note: Night very dark for good observation. Too much wind.

4 1 N.C.O. + 4 men 9.30 pm 12.15 am K.3.d.24.60. Do As No * 1 A circular trench about 20x beyond our wire seemed to lead to head of Bosch sap at 4 bare trees.
2 Bosch working in sap head. Saw cigarette being smoked. Heard voices further back in sap.
3 Saw flashes (like electric torches) in GOMMECOURT PARK.
4 Party of 11 Bosche (3 covering party came out of their wire to the N & ****.

N. Richardson
2/Lt.
I.O.
DECK

TACTICAL PROGRESS REPORT. From 6 am till 6 am, 24/11/16.

ARMY BOOK 152
CORRESPONDENCE BOOK
(FIELD SERVICE)
Opened on Nov. 1st 1916.
Started Intelligence Nov 21st 1916.
Norman Richardson
2nd Lieut S.O.
DECK
SIGNAL SECTION.
DECK.
TACTICAL PROGRESS REPORT.
From 6 pm, 23/11/16 till 6 am, 24/11/16.
Operations.
Enemy Artillery: HEBUTERNE was shelled during the night with about 30 rounds, 4.2” shells at 10 pm & 11 pm. About 20 of the same calibre came over near the Left Support Co. on the left of the village at 1.30 am and 5.0 am.
Own Artillery: carried out a prearranged programme at 9 pm, 9.45 pm & 10.30 pm; for the purpose of keeping gaps in the enemy wire open.
Enemy T.M’s: Fairly quiet. On the right of our sector a few L.T.Ms fell. Also about 20 L.T.Ms were sent over our left company frontage mostly on “B” line. No damage was done.
Enemy M.G’s: active between 4.30 pm and 7 pm traversing the parapets and striking the houses near Bn HQ.
INTELLIGENCE. (Movement)
A wiring party was heard at K.4.c.30.80. after the first burst of fire. Nothing else was heard of the enemy.
The T.Ms seemed to be firing from K.4.c.40.70.
N. Richardson
2nd Lt.
I.O.
DECK
Note: This was not sent in till 7.40 am. It may be late.
—————————————
DECK.
TACTICAL PROGRESS REPORT.  From 6 am till 6 am, 24/11/16.
OPERATIONS.
Enemy Artillery: Enemy shelled HEBUTUERNE intermittently with 5.9” H.E., especially between 8.45 am and 9.15 am and 1.30 pm and 2 pm.
A few whizz-bangs were distributed about the trenches. Some were registered around the MOUSETRAP, also the DISUSED TRENCH, but no damage was done. One bay about 30x N of YUZ was blown in, in ‘R’ line.
Own Artillery: continuous all day.
Enemy T.M’s: silent today.
Enemy M.G’s: firing on our aircraft in the early morning..
INTELLIGENCE.
Enemy movement. Parties of men seen moving about near E.23.d.81.
Enemy Work: 7.0 am: Small party working in communication trench at K.4.c.9.4. digging – Reported to R.F.A. who shelled with H.E. – Work ceased.
7.0 am – 8.0 am: Small parties working in trench at E.30.a.90.70.to E.30.d.58.
8.30 am: Small working party at K.4.d.5.7.
Reported to Artillery who dispersed this party.
Work continued at E.30.a.90.70. as above.
11.25 am. Small working parties observed again at K.4.c.9.4. & again dispersed by our artillery.
3.45 pm: Working party started digging in cemetery GOMMECOURT
Reported to R.F.A. who opened fire on them and the party cleared off.

Sniping:
9.30 am: Four men were seen working on broken part of Trench at point K.3.d.6.5. One was observed to be using a mall. He was immediately fired on and fell face downwards into the trench. The other three at once rushed for cover. Only one of the party was observed to be wearing a steel helmet, the others round caps.
10.30 am: Two men were seen to be carrying New Wood deals into front line trench at point K.3.d.8.7. These were fired on but no hits observed.

Enemy Snipers: inactive.
Note 1. Light was bad in the morning especially between 6 am & 7 am and 8 am and 12 noon.
Note 2. Work continued on Sniping post L2 (YIDDISH)
N. Richardson
2nd Lt.
I.O.
DECK
————————————–
Patrol Reports (Summaries)
DECK
No Compn Time of Place of Object RESULTS
Exit Entry Exit Entry
1 1 N.C.O + 4 O.R. 6.30 pm 1 German seen walking from Bosch Sap at K.3.d.72.63. to sap at K.3.d.55.67.
2. Wiring party of 10 seen outside their wire a little right of K.3.d.69.66.

2 1 N.C.O + 4 O.R 6.30 pm 8.45 pm K.3.d.2.9. K.10.a.7.7. 1. Our Wire is about 100x from our parapet. On left of point of exit, wire is poor. On right it is much broken, but a good obstacle.
2. Ground: fair condition. Many new shell holes, with no water in them.
3. Patrol had to return, being fired on by a covering party of Bosche wiring party at a point about 300 yards half right from point of exit.
3 1 Offr + 5 O.R. 10.15 pm 11.55 pm K.10.a.25.90. Do Listening to working parties 1. Heard Bosche wiring party about K.4.c.6.6.
2. Noises from our side of line clearly audible e.g. “Fire” (batteries), Coughing & talking. Also transport.

4 1 Offr + 5 O.R. 9.35 pm 12.5 am K.3.d.3.6. 40 yds to left of point of exit. 1 Bosche Wire is a considerable distance from his trench.
2 Heard German transport distinctly.
Note: Very bad visibility

N. Richardson
2nd Lt.
I.O.
DECK

Norman Richardson 24 November 1916

ARMY BOOK 152
CORRESPONDENCE BOOK
(FIELD SERVICE)
Opened on Nov. 1st 1916.
Started Intelligence Nov 21st 1916.
Norman Richardson
2nd Lieut S.O.
DECK
SIGNAL SECTION.
Notes on Maps in Possession.
1. About 30 57C NW Edition 4A. Achiet Le Grand.
2. About 30 57C SW “ “ Martinpuich
3. About 10 1/20,000 Puisieux
4. 1 Achiet.

——————————-
On separate leaf.

Dugouts. Left Coys Front.
1. Signallers 15 men lying supported by strong beams. 12’ cover.
2. Coy H.Q. 3 beds, supported by 6” props. 4’ cover.
3. Runners. 6 men. 8’ cover.
4. Holds 20 men. 2 entrances. 4’ top.
5. 12 men. good condition. 6’ cover.
6. Elephant dugout, holds 8. cover 3’.
7. Holds 6. Off servants. 4’ cover.

Shelters.
1. Weatherproof hold 3 men.
Others 4 each hold 4. 3’ cover.
2. 2 each hold 5 men. Corrugated iron cover
3. Patrol post. hold 4 men. Corrugated Iron cover
4. 5 others in SUPPORT LINE hold 3 men. Corrugated Iron cover.
F.C. Bootimore Lt.
D Coy
24.11.16.

Illustration of locations.

Letter to Dick-Cunyngham dated 24 Nov 1916

Letter to Dick-Cunyngham dated 24 Nov 1916

Written on embossed Government notepaper.
24.11.16
Dear Dick-Cunyingham,

Please congratulate those concerned on the work done in connection with Beaumont-Hamel and clearing up generally.

We are sorry to loose you hope you may yet come back to the V Corps

Yours **
Gerald Boyd

EXPERIENCES GAINED IN THE RECENT OPERATIONS 22 November 1917

Appendix II

EXPERIENCES GAINED IN THE RECENT OPERATIONS
20th and 21st November 1917.

1 ASSEMBLY.

It is essential that Staff Officers with a full knowledge of orders for the forthcoming operations should control the traffic during the assembly and forming up of troops prior to attack. The assembly and forming up of troops prior to attack. The assembly and forming up was carried out up to time and successfully – but hitches occurred owing to an insufficient number of Staff Officers having been utilised.

In circumstances where the assembly of four Divisions can only take place by means of the roads originally at the disposal of one Division, the number of Staff Officers available from that Division for traffic control is insufficient.

The Staff Officers of the incoming Divisions had little or no time to grasp the essentials of the problem.

It is suggested that on such occasions a special Traffic Control Conference should be held and the points for which each Division should be responsible agreed upon.

2. R.A.

The operations under review have proved that a satisfactory barrage can be fired without previous registration, if care is taken to ensure accuracy of line beforehand.

If sufficient R.A. Officers are available it would be of the greatest assistance if an Artillery Liaison Officer could be attached to each forward Battn. for the purpose of keeping Battalion Commanders informed of Artillery arrangements and enabling them, when possible, to obtain Artillery co-operation.

The fascines carried by batteries proved most useful.
The enemy barrage, which fell on our front and support lines, was feeble and ragged.

The timing of our barrage and the proportion of smoke fired, i.e. from 18-pdrs 1/ 3 smoke appeared to be satisfactory.

It was again demonstrated that in an attack, risks can safely be taken that would not otherwise be justified, batteries can get into and out of action in the open, without undue casualties.

In all operations of this nature close co-operation between R.A. and Tanks is essential. The R.A. must know exactly the forming up places of the Tanks in order that there may be no chance of Tanks masking the fire of batteries. Instances occurred during the recent operations in which Tanks, owing to the nature of the ground, were obliged to form up in positions which temporarily masked the fire of guns.

3. R.E.

The light railway proved unreliable and could not be depended upon for getting up material other than ammunition during the time of preparation.
The urgent necessity of large parties of pioneers being employed at the earliest possible moment to repair roads, cut wire, fill in trenches, and make temporary bridges, etc., was most marked, and artillery will be seriously hampered when this is not attended to on a large scale.

4. COMMUNICATIONS.

(a). R.A. It is strongly recommended that a limbered G.S. wagon be substituted for a Brigade Cable Cart, which is in no way suited for travelling over rough country and is incapable of carrying the amount of wire required.
D.1 and D. 3 are the heaviest cables suited for Artillery Bdes. And Batteries.
The use of mounted orderlies was most necessary as all other methods of communication continually failed.

(b). Tanks. It is most necessary that routes for returning Tanks should be laid down and marked back to the original front line as the greatest difficulty was experienced in coping with the damage done to lines by returning Tanks.

(c). Power Buzzer and Amplifiers. The arrangements were for these to work from original Bde. forward Station to Cable Heads. As events proved they were not required in this position, and in the subsequent advance distances were too great.

(d). Wireless Sets. One set was allotted to the 59th Inf. Bde., and one to the 60th Inf. Bde. Both these sets were eventually used at Bde. H.Q., but they were not carried forward quickly enough. In future it should be laid down that the set moves with the Brigade Staff.

(e). Visual. Visual Signalling again proved of great value in spite of the use of smoke. The Lucas Lamp was much superior to any other system – a minimum issue of 6 per Battalion is recommended.

(f). Pigeons. The number of pigeons available (10 birds for this Division) were insufficient; 10 birds with each Brigade forward party would have been invaluable. Eight messages came through by this means.

(g). D.R’s – Motor Cyclists and Mounted. The Signal Service rule that Despatch Riders can go by any road at any time does not appear to be known to Traffic Control personnel. Mounted men were stopped and delays caused.

5. TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT OF INFANTRY WITH TANKS.

(a) Training.
(i). Realistic training of infantry with Tanks is essential to the success of operations of this nature. The lack of training in this particular instance was counteracted by the element of surprise, but in all future operations, or operations of a deliberate nature, careful prolonged training will be essential.

(ii). Enemy machine guns and points of resistance should be simulated either by men or rattles in unknown localities, so that the subordinate commanders should have the opportunity of dealing with conditions as they present themselves on the spot.

(iii). Training should impress on the Infantry the absolute necessity of not keeping too close to the Tanks and of not bunching.

(iv). The most careful training is required in the matter of keeping direction of Tanks, and the strictest discipline should be inculcated in troops at training.
A real course must be mapped out, real trenches and real wire. Taped trenches and imaginary wire give quite a wrong impression.

(v). After reaching the final objective there is a tendency for men to unload themselves of their various impediments and wander about. This, of course, is chiefly due to the loss of officers. Training then, must include practicing of casualties among officers and N.C.O’s.

(b). Employment.
(i). The formation adopted, namely, irregular lines of Sections in file was found to be satisfactory, but it is suggested the 5 Tanks per Section would give better results that the present Sections of 3. With 3 Tanks, if one becomes a casualty, the pre-arranged plan for mopping up becomes ineffective, and the Infantry attached is left alone, and probably would not get through the wire.

(ii). Marauding Tanks are required to attack enemy nests and pockets.

(iii). During the attack Tanks were destroyed by approaching within point blank range of enemy field guns. in one instance, 4 Tanks were discovered “knocked out” within 150 yards of a hostile Battery. It would appear that known positions require special attention. The Infantry operating with a group of Tanks should advance in front of the Tanks on approaching a known Battery, and put the enemy out of action with Lewis Gun fire, the accompanying Tanks slowing down or halting under cover. An inspection of the battle-field showed that this could have been done in several cases. The enemy Batteries in question were all clear of the “wired-up” zone, and therefore the Infantry did not require Tank assistance.

(iv). Very clear markings are required on Tanks so that affiliated Infantry can recognise their own.

(v). In this particular attack the enemy did not appear to discover the approach of the Tanks until these were within about 200 or 300 yards.

6. EQUIPMENT OF INFANTRY.

The equipment as laid down in S.S. 135 was found satisfactory. The ordinary picks and shovels issued are too heavy for Infantry who have to attack over a considerable distance. Entrenching tools proved of no use and were merely an encumbrance.

7. MACHINE GUNS.

The principle of sub-dividing machine guns into Barrage Groups under Divisional control and consolidating guns under direct Brigade control was again found to be a suitable arrangement. Brigades in their turn allotted certain guns to Battns. for use as “opportunity guns”. In principle this seemed a sound arrangement, but in practice the C.O’s of Battns. neglected to give these guns a task, and owing to inexperience, or lack of initiative, these guns were not used to the best advantage by their crews.

8. LEWIS GUNS.

The Lewis Gun confirmed its value in every way. In one instance, after enemy guns had knocked out 2 Tanks, our Lewis gun fire killed all the gunners and allowed the advance to continue.
Lewis Gun teams were the first to cover and make possible the capture of the bridges. Too great stress cannot be laid upon the need for ample supplies of ammunition for Lewis Guns; Yukon Packs loaded with spare drums on pack animals were most useful in this connection.
Luminous sights proved of great value.

9. EMPLOYMENT OF CAVALRY.

In the operations under review, 2 troops of Corps Cavalry attached to 59th Inf. Bde. rendered invaluable service in maintaining touch between the 59th Inf. Bde. and the 12th Division on the BONAVIS – CREVECOEUR Ridge. As the operations of the 59th Inf. Bde. were in the nature of open fighting, the attachment of Cavalry was both necessary and suitable. Cavalry would, however, not have been of great use to the 60th and 61st Inf. Bdes. whose duty it was to break through the HINDENBURG LINE. Some mounted orderlies should be attached to all Bdes. as an adjunct to the Signal Service.
10. BOMBS.

“P” Bombs were not found necessary.

11. MOVES OF HEADQUARTERS.

It must be insisted that no Headquarters must close down one Station before another is established. Several instances occurred of Headquarters moving forward and all communication being lost for a considerable time.

12. CAPTURE OF STRONG POINTS.

The capture of strong points was effected in every case by out-flanking tactics, using Bombers and Lewis Guns.

13. SNIPERS.

Snipers were employed with considerable success in LES RUES VERTES and RUE DES VIGNES, and many casualties caused. One sniper killed 7 Germans in RUE DES VIGNES on the 21st November.
Telescopic sights were found useful, but the difficulty in replacing them in cases of loss caused diffidence in bringing them forward.

14. STOKES MORTARS.

Stokes Mortars were brought forward, but were not of great use owing to the open nature of the fighting.

10th December 1917.