Appendix II

20th and 21st November 1917.


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.


(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.


(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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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

10th December 1917.


Opened on Nov. 1st 1916.
Started Intelligence Nov 21st 1916.
Norman Richardson
2nd Lieut S.O.
From 2 pm, 21st 11/16 till 6 am, 22nd/11/16
1. Enemy Artillery. 4.45 pm – 6 pm: Hostile Artillery was active on our front line, chiefly on the centre and left, and on YOUNG ST and YUSSIF. “R” line also received some attention near YULE ST.
It was mostly 77 mm H.E. fired from PUISIEUX direction together with a few rounds of 5.9 and 4.2 Howitzer.
Fairly quiet during night.
2. Own Artillery. Active all night with occasional bursts. Most of the firing seemed to be on our right.
3. Enemy Trench Mortars. 5.35 pm – 6.0 pm: Somewhat active on our front line.
A Medium T.M. appeared to be firing in the direction of YUSSIF.
Aerial Torpedoes ? Reported falling near advanced post, K.3.d.30.25.
4. Machine Guns. One M.G. was active from about 11.0 pm till 1.30 am traversing ‘R’ line in the vicinity of YOUNG ST. K.3.d.50.20.
Enemy movements: At 3.30 pm one of our posts saw a party of about 12 Germans leave their trench about K.4.b.40.20.
They came forward towards their wire. The post fired and they dropped down.
About 30 mins later, one man was seen to double back to the trench.
Observations: During the night a M.G. somewhere about K.11.a.central was sweeping the parapet of ’C’ line.
Our Lewis Guns replied with no apparent result.
N. Richardson
2nd Lt.
8.0 am.
From 6.0 am, to 6 pm.
Enemy Artillery: Occasional rounds were fired about midday into HEBUTERNE, mostly 77 mm.
Enemy fired about ten 77 m.m. shells on “R” line at the junction of YORKE. No damage was done.
Trench Mortars: Between 1.30 pm and 2.15 pm a few L.T.M. Bombs fell on the front line. These appeared to be fired from about K.4.c.80.65.
Machine Guns: Enemy machine guns slightly active during early morning.
Enemy Aeroplanes: 11.35 am, an enemy plane over our lines.
2.15 pm, another attempted to cross our lines.
3.30 pm, aircraft active on both sides. Two enemy aeroplanes appeared to bring down one of our fighters just south of HEBUTERNE.
Sniping: After having made a careful reconnaissance of our sector, it was found that there were no sniping posts, but good positions have been chosen.
Posts are under construction at two points:-
1. K.10.a.80.60. Field of fire over K.4.c.& d; nearest point of enemy lines, 350 yds.
2. At junction of Calvarie, Thorpe & Yus Trenches. Field of fire & frontage for observation will be given later. [K.3.d.5.4.]
There has been no sniping today on either side.
The light has been very bad.
N. Richardson
2nd Lt.

Norman Richardson TACTICAL PROGRESS REPORT. 23 November 1916

Opened on Nov. 1st 1916.
Started Intelligence Nov 21st 1916.
Norman Richardson
2nd Lieut S.O.
From 6 pm, 22/11/16 till 6 am, 23/11/16
Enemy’s Artillery: was inactive during this period. Two 77 mm H.E. fell near YORK ST.
Own Artillery: Fairly active during the night and at intervals in answer to calls for retaliation, from Y.48, Y.49, and Y.50.
Trench Mortars: Enemy trench mortars were extremely active at intervals of ½ hour to 1 hour all night.
Our A Co, (Right Front) received attention between 6 pm & 9 pm.
A large number of L.T.M.s were fired on ‘B’ line. Both Heavy & light were directed on ‘C’ and ‘R’ lines. There were no cases of direct hits except one on ‘C’ line, about 30 yards W of YIDDISH.
Our ‘B’ Co (centre) and our ‘C’ Co (left front) both received attention this morning. The former (Y49) got retaliation at 3.40 am from our artillery.
The enemy sent over here a very large number of H.T.M & L.T.M. bombs at first mostly on ‘C’ line to the right on YOUNG ST but later beginning at the YUSSIF advanced post, working along the wire to YOUNG ST post and then down YOUNG ST towards ‘R’ line and back along the wire in front of ‘R’ line. The top of YOUNG ST was very much damaged.
Machine Guns traversed the parapet during some of the bursts.
Our artillery put over about 60 H.E. as retaliation to a burst of T.M. fire at 4.40 am.
Our ‘C’ Co (Y50) asked for retaliation at 5.20 am.
At 5.15 am. the T.M.s all switched round and seemed to concentrate their fire on the FONQUEVILLERS sector..
M.G. Hostile M.G.s were firing intermittently throughout the night.
Trench Mortars: Starlights were sent up with some of the M.T.M.s apparently to hide the track of the fuse as much as possible.
A horn was heard just previous to one of the bursts.
The T.Ms were firing apparently from about the points K.4.c.9.5. and K.3.c.9.5.
I enclose reports. They are rather scrappy. I’ll try to get things improved. I’m sorry there are no sketches.
N. Richardson
2nd Lt.
8.0 pm.
2nd Lt. Bradford tells me that T.Ms seemed to be firing from Left corner looking from Mousetrap.
From 6 AM, till 6 pm, 23/11/16.
Enemy Artillery:
8 am – 10 am: Very quiet & trench mortars silent.
10 am – 12 noon: Enemy trench mortars were fairly active. Also the Artillery, with whizz bangs and a few heavy shells on HEBUTERNE.
12 – 2 pm: Occasional whizz bangs on front line and heavy shells on left of our sector & behind.
2 pm – 5 pm: Bombardment on right starting about 3.30. also a few shells in HEBUTERNE.
Enemy M.G.s: A little activity about 4.30 pm.
Enemy Movement.
10.15 am Small party seen at K.4.d.4.8.
Small parties & single men seen frequently using road from Cemetery GOMMECOURT past NAMELESS FARM.
Enemy Work:
7.15 am: Working party seen in enemy front line trench at K.3.d.6.7. carrying planks of wood.
8.30 am – 9.15 am: Small working party digging & driving in stakes at K.4.c.9.4. – This was reported to R.F.A. who attended to the matter with H.Es & S. – Party ceased work.
11.0 am: Working party carrying sand bags from K.6.c.8.3. to K.6.c.6.5.
12.30 pm: Men seen walking on top of trench from K.5.a.7.2. apparently gathering wire or sticks.
Enemy Aircraft:
8.30 am } Two planes approached
9.45 am} our lines & then retired.
10.0 am Enemy aeroplane over our lines.
10.15 am “ “ “ “ “
10.45 am “ “ “ “ “
11.50 am “ “ “ “ “
2.0 pm “ “ “ “ “
We are working on our two posts. Sniping on both sides inactive.
N. Richardson
2nd Lt.
5.0 pm.

Norman Richardson 21 November 1916

Opened on Nov. 1st 1916.
Started Intelligence Nov 21st 1916.
Norman Richardson
2nd Lieut S.O.
No Name Rank Co Date of Enlistment Age Employment Religion Remarks
1176 Pallister T.R.
Thomas Russel Lcpl B 6/1/15 25 Painter & Decorator C.E.
1152 Taylor W.
William Pte B
159 J.H. Southern
Joseph Harle “ A
1275 W.E. Laidler
William Edward “ D Number 95368
485 J.F. Davidson “ C
211 J.E. Yorke “ A
581 G.H. Robinson “ C
782 G.H. Jacob “ D
70 C.H. Goldsmith “ A
286 G.R. Harrison “ B Taken on Orderly Room

No Name Rank Co Date of Enlistment Age Employment Religion Remarks

592 Johnson W.
Wilfred Allen
Purvis W.
William Pte

Pte A


No Name Rank Co Date of Enlistment Age Employment Religion Remarks Name sent in to Brigade
565 Norman R.C.
Robert Clarke Pte. H.Q. Trained X
577 Parlett G.
George Pte H.Q.

21155 Smith J.
James Pte A X
952 Moon J.W.
John William Pte A

20759 Newton J.B.
John Bould Pte B X
18265 Perry W.
William Pte B

18 Cox H.H.
Henry Henderson Pte C Prefix 20/
8341 Downey G. Pte C X

1308 Colwell M.
Mark Pte D X
602 Salkeld G
Gerald Pte D

Total 10

Norman Richardson November 1916

Opened on Nov. 1st 1916.
Started Intelligence Nov 21st 1916.
Norman Richardson
2nd Lieut S.O.
Nov 1st 1916
No Co Name Rank Date of enlistment Age Employment Religion Remarks
812 D Mowbray W.
William Sgt. 10/9/14 33 Joiner & Builder C.E. Assistant Instr Cert. 1905. (Acting CQMS & Instructor in Sigs. 13 yrs in R.G.A. School of Gunnery 1910
828 D Picken R.
Richard Nelson Sgt 21/8/14 25 Engineer C.E. 1 Relation (General) Tynemouth Signals
2 ****(aeroplane) 3 Ripon (Telephone)
4. 5 yr in Territorials
167 A Stokes A.E. Lcpl Assistant Inst Cert
444 C Beadham J.
James Lcpl 12/10/14 41 Miner C.E. 1 13yrs 2nd D.R.G.A. (Semaphore)
2 General (Fovant)
3 Merrieres (3 weeks) Visual
50 A Ellison R. Lcpl 26/9/14 22 Clothier P.M. Assistant Inst Cert 1 Aeroplane Course
A Hutton Lcpl Booking Clerk C.E.
490 C Forster
Robert Lcpl 17/9/14 29 Bank Clerk Presb 1 Responsible
1 Aeroplane C.
99 A Kitching G. Pte 3/9/14 28 N.E. Clerk Wes Final Cert Telegraphy. N.E.R. Oct 1912. The Funny Man.
C Keen G.
George Pte 17/9/14 23 Jewellers Assistant C.E. Started Feb 8 1915
D Linten Pte 26/9/14 28 Gardiner C.E. Started 1915
D Skilbeck
George Pte 5/10/14 27 Sawyer C.E. “ 8 Feb 15
333 B Newcombe
Fred Pte 18/9/14 27 Schoolmaster C.E. “ June 1915
B Gibson
B Brown In hospital
C Carter
B Rutherford
C Garbett On Bde.

NO NAME Rank Date of Enlistment Age Employment Religion Remarks
207 Watson J.S.
John Stacey Lcpl 21/9/14 21 Dentist C.E. Started June 1915
109 Moses R.
Robert Lcpl 23/9/14 24 Traveller C.E. Started Aug 1915
94 Harrison Pte 28/9/14 21 Male Learner C.E. “ June 1915 Visual (3 weeks) General course Merrieres
202 Wise
Sydney “ 8/10/14 25 Window Dresser C.E. “ Sept 1915
172 Swailes
William James “ 14/10/14 33 Miner C.E. “ June 1916
1655 Thorpe
Frederick Bertram “ 6/7/15 21 Clerk C.E. “ 6/9/15 G[1st Class Sig Cert at Richmond
1925 Wragg
George Alfred “ 5/8/15 23 Attendant C.E. “ 6/9/15 Do
1733 Bullamore
JohnAlfred “ 3/8/15 24 Window Dresser C.E. “ 6/9/15 Do
1766 Robson “ 14/8/15 21 Rivet Maker R.C. “ 27/12/15

NO NAME Rank Date of Enlistment Age Employment Religion Remarks
237 Coltman T.J. Lcpl 19/9/14 23 Colliery Pay Clerk C.E Started Nov 1914
297 Johnson H.V.
Hervey Vincent Pte 21/9/14 26 Clerk C.E “ June 1915
283 Hall W.
Walter Pte 18/9/14 23 Reporter C.E “ June 1915
1617 Cooper F.
Henry Frederick Pte 15/6/15 27 Clerk C.E “ 6/9/16 1st Class Sig Cert Richmond
287 Hope R.P. Pte 26/9/14 25 Teacher C.E “ 12/7/16
1775 Jackson J.
John Pte 16/8/15 21 Clerk C.E “ 13/7/16 Shorthand & Bookkeeping
404 Walker H
Clarence Harcourt Pte 22/9/14 22 Clerk P.M. “ 15/7/16 Semaphore (Arty 1910)
419 Wilkinson W
William Pte 21/9/14 22 Clerk Wes “ 21/10/16 Typing
Pennington Pte


1200 Knaggs T.A.
Thomas Lcpl 8/1/15 23 Clerk Wes Started June 1915
690 Cornforth W.
Walter Pte
1281 Ramsay D
1279 Martin R.
Rickham Correct No 1277
270 Lamb R.
1767 Scott J.
1437 Illingworth
Arthur Leslie.
1582 Shipley B.F.
Bertram Frederick Pte 30/5/15 23 Clerk
1495 Cooper
Frank Toogood Pte 5/5/15 20 Architects Assistant

Sig N.C.O.
Lcpl Stokes: Nov 1st paid Lcpl
March recommended for Cpl.
G.O. No Inst. but preferred to remain in sigs, Telegraphist, Assistant Instructor 19th June .

Lcpl Ellison: Sept 16th 1915 got his stripe – paid – 10 days after refused promotion to get into Sigs G.I. Head.

Lcpl Hutton. Unpaid Lcpl 22nd Nov 1915 M
Lcpl Foster. Unpaid Lcpl 22nd Nov

Lcpl Beddam. 14th paid Lcpl.

Cheshires had 2 Sgt in Ft.




Divisional Commander Major General W. Douglas Smith C.B.
B.G.C. 59th Inf Bde. Br. Genl H.H.G. Hyslop, D.S.O.
B.G.C. 60th Inf. Bde. Br. Genl F.J. Duncan, C.M.G., D.S.O.
B.G.C. 61st Inf. Bde. Br Genl. W.E. Banbury, C.M.G.

59th Inf. (10th K.R.R.C. A/Lt. Col. A.C. Sheepshanks, D.S.O.
Bde. (11th K.R.R.C. Lt. Col. G.K. Priaulx, D.S.O.
(10th R.B. Lt. Col. L.H.W. Troughton, M.C.
(11th R.B. Lt. Col. A.E. Cotton, D.S.O.

60th Inf. (6th Oxf & Bucks L.I. Lt. Col. C.R.C. Boyle.
Bde. (6th K.S.L.I. A/Lt. Col H.E. Welch.
(12th K.R.R.C. A/Lt. Col G. Moore, D.S.O.
(12th R.B. Lt. Col H.L. Riley, D.S.O.

61st Inf. (12th King’s (L’pool) Lt. Col. A.N. Vince, D.S.O.
Bde. (7th Som. L.I. Lt. Col C.J. Troyte Bullock, D.S.O.
( 7th D.C.L.I. Lt. Col H.G.R. Burges-Short.
(7th K.O.Y.L.I. Major L.P. Storr.

Pioneer Battalion (11th Durham L.I.) Lt. Col. G. Hayes.

R.E. Units 83rd Field Coy. Major I.W. Massie, M.C.
84th Field Coy. Major P.G. Norman, M.C.
96th Field Coy. Major P.F. Story, D.S.O.

Map “A” is attached shewing dispositions of troops at Zero, which were as follows:-
(a) 60th Inf. Bde.
Front Line. 12th K.R.R.C. – from Rly. In R.8.c. to R.14.b.7.7.
Front Line. 6th Oxf. & Bucks L.I. – from R.14.b.7.7. to R.14.d.9.7.
Support. 12th R.B. – about R.14.a.8.7.
Support. 6th K.S.L.I. – about R.14.b.2.3.

The role of the front line battalions was to capture the BLUE Line from R.3.a.15.60. to R.10.a.3.5., after which the 2 Support Battalions were to take the BROWN Line from L.32.d.5.5. to L.34.b.2.5.

(b) 61st Inf. Bde.
Front Line. 7th D.C.L.I. – from R.14.d.9.7. to R.20.b.65.35.
Front Line. 7th Som. L.I. – from R.20.b.65.35. to R.21.c.4.6.
Support. 12th R.B. – about R.20.a.
Support. 12th King’s (L’pool). – about R.20.d.3.5.
This Brigade attacked in 3 waves as follows:-
(i) 2 Coys of 7th D.C.L.I. were detailed for the capture of the trenches about CORNER WORK about R.15.central, while the Som. L.I. were to capture LA VACQUERIE.
(ii) The 2 remaining Coys. of the 7th D.C.L.I. and 2 Coys. of the 12th King’s (L’pool) were detailed to take the BLUE Line from R.10.a.5.6. to R.16.b.6.4.
(iii) The 7th K.O.Y.L.I. and the remaining 2 Coys of the 12th King’s (L’pool) were to take the BROWN Line from L.34.b.2.5. to R.5.d.2.9.

(c) 59th Inf. Bde. In and about GOUZEAUCOURT to carry out a special task as described in paras. 3 and 4 (iii).

Map “A” attached shows the objectives:-
BLUE Line. 1st Objective.
BROWN Line. 2nd Objective.
RED Line The Defensive Flank to be taken up by 59th Inf. Bde. in touch with 12th Div. on right flank to the South, and in touch with 29th Div. on the left flank to the North.
The final position actually reached by 9 p.m. is as shewn on attached map “B”.

(a) (i). The essence of the plan was to effect a surprise, overwhelm the enemy with a sudden rush of Tanks followed by Infantry, and to penetrate the first line before he had time to realise the nature or locality of the attack. With this end in view, there was no preliminary bombardment or wire cutting by the Artillery. The attack, besides being preceded by waves of Tanks was covered by standing barrages which included smoke. These barrages were arranged to lift from objective to objective as the attack progressed.
(ii). The 20th Div. was allotted 60 Tanks, and these were distributed to Brigades as follows:-
Right assaulting Bde. (61st Inf. Bde.) 1 Bn. – 36 Tanks.
Left assaulting Bde. (60th Inf. Bde.) 2 Coys – 24 Tanks.
(iii) The 59th Inf. Bde. was held in Reserve, but as soon as the successful issue of the operations undertaken by the two assaulting Bdes. Was notified, namely, the capture of the BROWN Line, this Bde. was ordered to advance down the LA VACQUERIE Valley, to follow the line of the Sunken Road from LA VACQUERIE Village to R.5.c.95.40., seize the bridges over the ST QUENTIN CANAL between MASNIERES and MARCOING until the arrival of the 29th Div., and then to establish itself on the line M.2.d.9.7. – LES RUE VERTES so as to form a defensive flank to cover the operations of the 29th Div. towards MASNIERES and MARCOING. This Bde. was also ordered to cover itself with an advanced guard, a portion of which was seize the crossings over the ST QUENTIN CANAL, if unoccupied, at G.26.b.4.4. – L.24.c.8.5. – L.23.d.9.3., and to form a bridgehead at the first-named place until relieved by the advanced guard of 29th Div. the 59th Inf. Bde. was allotted 10 Tanks for this operation to be taken from the original 36 allotted to the 61st Inf. Bde., which were to be at the disposal of the B.G.C. 59th Inf. Bde. as soon as the BROWN Line (2nd objective) was captured.

(b) The action of the artillery on Zero day consisted:-
(i). In placing a barrage on each objective prior to its being assaulted.
(ii). Forming smoke screens in front to cover the advance of the Tanks.
(iii). In neutralising hostile batteries.
(iv). In bombarding O.P’s, the positions of assembly, rest billets, and known centres of communication and command.

(c). The 2 assaulting Bdes. and their respective Tanks were moved to the assembly positions after dusk on “Y/Z” evening. Considerable congestion of traffic occurred N. and S. of R.19.central on the GOUZEAUCOURT – VILLERS PLOUICH Road which the Tanks had to cross at R.19.d.1.8. and R.19.b.3.2. in order to reach their positions of assembly. This congestion was due to the following causes:-
(i). Transport and Infantry personnel of 2 other Divs. Using this road instead of the one allotted to them.
(ii). The blocking of the Northern end of the two Tank crossing places by trains on the light railway which crosses the road near R.19.central. and then runs parallel to the road to VILLERS PLOUICH between the road and broad gauge railway.

These unforeseen difficulties somewhat delayed the assembly, but nevertheless all the units taking part in the assault were in position by
11 p.m.

The assembly positions were all approximately 1,000 yards from the enemy front line, and the noise of assembly was no doubt covered by the pre-arranged intermittent bursts of machine gun fire throughout the night.

It suffices to say that the attack by the Infantry and Tanks allotted to this Division went entirely according to plan from the hour of Zero 6.30 6.20 a.m., until the 59th Inf. Bde. took up its position so as to form the defensive flank facing Eastwards. The enemy was completely surprised, and in those places where he held out for a time, his resistance was overcome by Infantry and Tanks.

The enemy front line was reported taken about 6.45 a.m., the BLUE Line, 1st Objective, about 9.30 a.m., then the BROWN Line about 12 noon. The 59th Inf. Bde. took up their position forming a defensive flank while the 29th Div. moved on MASNIERES and MARCOING, the bridges across the Canal at and W. of MASNIERES having been seized by the 59th Inf. Bde.

At 4.15 p.m. the situation was reported to be as follows:-
20th Div. in the BROWN Line with a defensive flank thrown out in M.2., the 12th Div. on the right held the BROWN Line including LATEAU WOOD, and were continuing the defensive flank to M.8.a., the 6th Div. held BROWN Line and PREMY CHAPEL Ridge, and were in touch on left with 51st Div. in BROWN Line near Corps Boundary. The 29th Div. held NINE WOOD with troops across Canal at L.33.a.0.8., while the 88th Inf. Bde. (29th Div.) were working through MASNIERES in co-operation with 59th Inf. Bde.
Div H.Q. moved forward from W.9.d.7.3. to VILLERS PLOUICH where they were established at about 2.45 p.m.

The situation at 9 p.m. on evening of the 20th was as shewn on the attached map marked “B”.

At 10.20 p.m. on the night of the 20th, orders were received from III Corps to the effect that every effort was to be made to gain possession of the MASNIERES – BEAUREVOIR Line to allow the early passage of Cavalry and also to capture CREVECOEUR.

The role of the Div. was to push on to CREVECOEUR, seize the bridges there and effect a junction with the 29th Div in CREVECOEUR. 12 Tanks from 3rd Bde. Tank Corps were placed at the disposal of 20th Div. for this purpose.

The 59th Inf. Bde. were detailed for this operation, and Zero hour was fixed in conjunction with the 29th Div for 11 a.m. The 12 Tanks were to assemble in G.33.c. The attack by the 29th Div. was, however, cancelled, and the 59th Inf. Bde. were to attack alone.

This attack was only partially successful, the assaulting columns coming under enfilade fire from high ground N. of Canal and E. of RUMILLY, and several efforts were made during the day to cross the Canal at CREVECOEUR, but owing to the bridges not being strong enough to bear Tanks, and the fact that some Tanks had run out of fuel and could not be moved, no appreciable advance was made. At 10 p.m. on the evening of the 21st the situation was as follows:-

11th K.R.R.C. consolidating about REVELON CHATEAU and guarding the bridges from the W bank of the Canal; 11th R.B. forming a defensive flank covering the crossing at G.34.a.2.9. and G.34.b.2.9., while 1 Coy. of the 10th R.B. held bridgehead in M.5.c. This Coy. was forced to retire during the night, and all efforts to destroy the bridge in M.5.c. failed.

The general result of the operations of the 20th and 21st Nov, were as follows:-
Thorough disorganisation of the enemy.
A large breach in his defensive system.
A loss to him of considerable personnel and guns.
On the other hand our lines at the conclusion of the operations formed a very dangerous salient completely overlooked from the high ground E. of RUMILLY.

The total number of unwounded prisoners captured by the Div during these operations was 17 officers and 700 other ranks, including one Regtl. Commander. The prisoners were chiefly men of the 9th Res. Div. and 54th Div.

Our casualties during the attack itself were slight; the total casualties up to 12 mn. The 20th/21st being only 31 Officers and 515 O.Rs.

A list of material captured is given in Appendix “I”

Any lessons learnt from these operations are to be found in Appendix “II”.

10th December 1917


Map Spotting. Calibre. Condition Ammunition.

L.28.c.55.20. 15 c.m. All badly damaged. (Blown Plentiful.
(L.Z. 7) Up, no sights.)

L.34.a.95.40. 77 m.m. Bolts and breaches missing. Plentiful.
(in open) No sights.

L.34.d.50.90. 77 m.m. No sights. 1 no wheels. Plentiful.

L.36.b.30.01. 12 c.m. (4) 1 can probably be fired. Very Plentiful.
(L.Z.21.) (Captured The remainder no breeches.
French or All no sights.
Belgian How.)

R.6.a.75.70. 10.5 c.m. (3) 1 complete with sights. Very Plentiful.
(R.X.24.) Remainder no sights.

G.33.a.0.0. A.A. G uns (4) Complete.
on 4 wheeled

R.5.a.00.90. 77 m.m. 1 sight only All used more (R.X.33.) being collected.

L.34.a.2.6. 1 T.M.
4 M.G’s

20TH (LIGHT) DIVISION ORDER NO. 218 18 Nov 1917

SECRET. Copy No. 1

18th November 1917.
Ref. Map: 1/20,000, Sheets 57.c. S.E. & N.E.,
57 B. S.W. & N.W.
1. The 20th Div., in conjunction with other Divisions, as already notified in Instructions No. 1, will, on a date and at an hour to be communicated later, attack the enemy on our front.
Subsidiary attacks and feints are being carried out along the remainder of the Army Front.

2. The 12th Div. will be on the right, and the 6th Div. on the left of the 20th Div.
The 29th Div. will be in Corps Reserve, and will pass through the 20th and 6th Divns. In order to capture the heights S.W. of RUMILLY, NINE WOOD, PREMY CHAPEL.
The objectives and boundaries of the Div. are shown on the map issued with Instructions No. 1.

3. The attack will be carried out under the protection of waves of Tanks, as already detailed in Instructions No. 1 and amendments thereto.
The attack will also be supported by
(a) Standing Artillery and Smoke barrages which will open on the enemy’s front line and lift from trench to trench as the advance progresses (see Artillery barrage map issued on the 15th instant).
(b) Back and flank barrages of smoke and heavy artillery.
(c) Machine-gun barrages.
The first wave of Tanks will advance from their assembly positions 1,000 yards distance from the enemy’s front line at Zero minus 10 minutes, followed by infantry; succeeding waves are timed to advance so that they may reach their objectives without checking on intermediate objectives.
The Artillery and Machine-gun barrages will open at ZERO.
The final protective barrage beyond the second objective (BROWN line), will lift at times varying from Zero plus 210 minutes, to ZERO plus 240 minutes, to enable the Tanks to push on ands exploit the success.

4. After the capture of the BROWN Line, the Tanks will immediately exploit any success obtained as follows:-
(a) The Tanks from a Coy of ‘A’ Bn. allotted to the 60th Inf. Bde. will advance immediately to the Canal and seize the Lock and bridges at L.24.c.8.5., L.24.c.5.3., L.23.d.9.3., and L.23.d.25.05., and clear the area adjacent to the Canal Bank from G.25.b. (exclusive) to the RIBECOURT – MARCOING Railway line (exclusive).
(b) The Tanks from a Coy. allotted to the 12th Div. will proceed immediately from BONAVIS to MASNIERES, seize the bridges at G.27.a.2.0., G.26.b.4.4. and G.26.a.8.7., and form bridgeheads there.
(c) The above Tanks will maintain their positions on their objectives until relieved by the 29th Div., or in the case of (a), until the 29th Div. has passed through.
(d) Simultaneously with the action to be taken in (a), the 59th Inf. Bde. will advance and form a defensive flank from about M.2.d.9.7. to the road junction at G.26.b.3.0., obtaining touch at the first named point with the 12th Div.: and supporting, until relieved by the 29th Div., at the latter point, certain Tanks which are being pushed forward from BONAVIS to form a bridgehead about MASNIERES.
To assist the 59th Inf. Bde. in forming this defensive flank, the Tanks of one Coy. of ‘I’ Bn., hitherto covering the advance of the 61st Inf. Bde., will be attached to the 59th Inf. Bde. These Tanks will advance and clear the BONAVIS – CREVECOEUR ridge, supported on the right by the 12th Div. and in the centre and on the left by 2 Troops of the III Corps Cavalry, 1/1 Northumberland Yeomanry.
(e) The 2 Troops of Corps Cavalry above mentioned will rendezvous at Zero hour on the open ground immediately E. of FOX HILL (R.19.d.), at which hour they will come under the orders of the B.G.C. 59th Inf. Bde.
The role of the 2 Troops Corps Cavalry will be to establish posts along the BONAVIS – CREVECOEUR spur so as to deny it to the enemy, and to prevent his observation from this spur of the passage of the 29th Div. and Cavalry across the Canal at MASNIERES.
The Cavalry will be closely supported with strong detachments of infantry by the B.G.C. 59th Inf. Bde. It is intended eventually, when the Cavalry has pushed through, to establish a front facing E. along the line BONAVIS – CREVECOEUR – LA BELLE ETOILE.
(f) The 59th Inf. Bde. will support the Tanks mentioned in (a) with strong patrols followed by a company. These patrols will obtain touch with the 6th Div. at L.22.d.3.5.

5. Instructions for consolidation and for liaison posts on the flanks with neighbouring Divisions have been already issued.

6. After the capture of the heights above MASNIERES and MARCOING by the 29th Div., the 5th and 2nd Cavalry Divisions cross the Canal at the above two villages, and operate in a North-easterly direction.
7. A contact aeroplane will fly over the Corps front at
Zero plus 45 minutes,
Zero plus 2 hrs. 15 mins.,
Zero plus 3 hrs.,
Zero plus 3 hrs 30 mins.,
and subsequently as ordered.

8. Watches will be synchronised by a Staff Officer from Div. H.Q. at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Y day at the H.Q of the 61st Inf. Bde. Representatives of the 60th and 59th Inf. Bdes. will be present. Tank Bn. Commanders will synchronize their watches at the Bde. H.Q. to which they are being attached.

9. Divl. H.Q. will be at W.9.d.7.3. If operations are successful, the first move of the Divl. H.Q. will be to VILLERS PLOUICH, R.13.d.8.6., taking over the 60th Inf. Bde. H.Q.

10. All other details connected with the operations have already been issued in Instructions 1 to 6. (Instructions No. 7 is being issued to Inf. Brigadiers and B.G., R.A. only)


J.McJ Haskard
Lieut. Colonel,
General Staff, 20th Division.
Issued to Signals at 7 a.m.

Copies to :-
No. 1. G.O.C.
2. “G”
3. “A”
4. 59th Inf. Bde.
5. 60th Inf. Bde.
6. 61st Inf. Bde.
7. B.G., R.A.
8. C.R.E.
9. Div. Signal Coy.
10. Div. Pioneers.
11. A.D.M.S.
13.) 3rd Bde. Tank Corps.
15. III Corps.
16. G.O.C., R.A. III Corps.
17. 6th Div.
18. 12th Div.
19. 29th Div.
20. 59th Sqdn. R.F.C.
21. A.P.M.
22. D.M.G.O.
23. Div. M.G. Coy.
24. III Corps Cavalry.
25. Lieut. The Hon. C.F.N. Ramsay, 1/1 Northumberland Fus.
26. War Diary.
27. File,