Gerald Benham’s notes from diaries 14 September 1918

Gerald Benham’s notes from diaries

14 September 1918 Saw two French Liaison Officers in Holnon Wood. Very
busy getting platoons posted out.

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Fifth Army No. S.G. 635/12 14 September 1917

SECRET.
XIV Corps No. G.25/6
Fifth Army No. S.G. 635/12
XIV Corps

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
Major General,
General Staff, Fifth Army.
14th September 1917.

Letter of Occupation PJ Lister 14 September 1916

On headed notepaper of
Government Controlled Establishment.
The Parsons Motor Co., Ltd.
Oil & Petrol Engine Builders
Town Quay Works SOUTHAMPTON
Sept. 14th 1916
Our Ref PES/GES.

This is to certify that Soldier L/Cpl. P.J. Lister, Regt. No. 28407. 12th Field Coy. R.E. Release Ref No. D.A. 25421. Occupation No. 04430, has been temporarily released to the Parsons Motor Co., Ltd., Town Quay Works, Southampton, by the Ministry of Munitions for the execution of important War Work
THE PARSONS MOTOR CO: LTD:
P.E. Sharp
Cachet of ASSISTANT PROVOST MARSHAL SOUTHAMPTON 1/6/18

FIRST ARMY SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 13 September 1917

FIRST ARMY SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS
for the 24 hours ending in the early morning of 13/9/17.
FIRST ARMY. Enemy light and heavy trench mortars fired on our trenches near ACHEVILLE yesterday, and his artillery shelled back areas near VIMY, PETIT VIMY and LA CHAUDIERE. We carried out a successful minor operation at 11.30 p.m. last night S. of FRESNOY capturing 1 prisoner. Gas was successfully projected N. of FRESNOY PARK, N of ACHEVILLE and into LENS during the night. The enemy retaliated heavily immediately N. of SOUCHEZ River. We captured one prisoner in a patrol encounter N. of LENS.
There was some shelling of our front line near BOIS HUGO, NEUVIL and HOUPLINES and BOIS GRENIER yesterday. We projected gas successfully near CAMBRIN during the night without drawing any retaliation.
Our artillery was active bombarding SALLAUMINES, CITE St. AUGUSTE, and the enemy’s defences in this area. Moving troops were fired on by our howitzers, and hostile trench mortars were successfully engaged during the afternoon, 3 direct hits being obtained.
ROYAL FLYING CORPS. Some artillery and photographic work was done in spite of low clouds and mist. Enemy aircraft activity was nil in the forenoon, and only slight later. One of our machines was attacked by a hostile scout while engaged on photography, but drove it off successfully. Bombs were dropped on a hostile gun position near HARNES; the bombs were observed to fall on and around the objective, causing an explosion on a railway close to the gun position.
OTHER ARMIES. Hostile artillery was very active S. of the YPRES – COMINES Canal, particularly on back areas and W. of WYTSCHAETE and near MESSINESE.
The enemy shelled our trenches E. of LAGNICOURT yesterday.
The Army on our right carried out some successful air raids, bombs being dropped on aerodromes and railways behind the enemy lines. During the night the enemy put down a barrage on our trenches E. of BULLECOURT, but no infantry attack followed.
The Army on our left projected gas successfully this morning S.W. of BEULEMONT, near the River LYS.
FRENCH FRONT. French aeroplanes carried out successful air raids on enemy railheads and aerodromes in Belgium.
In CHAMPAGNE, the French carried out two successful raids, one N.E. of AUBERIVE, and the other E. of road from St. HILAIRE to St. SOUPLET. At the latter point the enemy’s third line was reached, and his defences considerably damaged. N.E. of TAHURE, a hostile raid was repulsed.
On the right bank of the MEUSE the French repulsed two attacks on their advanced posts N. of the BOIS des CAURNERES and N. of BEZONVAUX.
ITALIAN FRONT. (12th Sept.) Yesterday, the Austrians counter-attacked on the Bainsizza Plateau, but were repulsed at all points. After an intense bombardment of the positions held by the Italians along the summit of Monte San Gabriele and on the western slopes descending towards SALGANO (1½ miles W, by S. of Monte San Gabriele), the enemy attacked them from E. and S. Fighting began at dawn, and was most fierce on the Western edge of the Plateau of Santa CATERINA (1 mile E.S.E. of Monte San Gabriele). Finally towards noon, the enemy, beaten and repulsed, gave up his fruitless attempts.
RUSSIAN FRONT. (11th Sept.) On the RIGA front, Russian advanced detachments moved to the line of the River INDUBE – LOSA – PAUSKE (all unidentified), meeting with slight opposition. Between the PSKOW road and the DUNA, encounters between advanced units on both sides have, for the most part, ended in favour of the Russians.
The Russians captured a height to the East of KIMPOLUNG.

A.R. ABERCROMBIE Captain
General Staff, First Army.
13/9/17.

60th INFANTRY BRIGADE OPERATIONS 10 September 1917

SECRET.
60th INFANTRY BRIGADE OPERATIONS
INSTRUCTION No. 1.
(2nd Series).
September 10th, 1917.
1. (a) The Fifth Army is resuming the offensive on a date to be notified later.
(b) 20th Division will attack on XIV Corps Front with 60th Infantry Brigade on right, and 59th Infantry Brigade on left. 61st Infantry Brigade will be in reserve.

2. The proposed objectives and boundaries are shewn on the map issued to Commanding Officers at Brigade Conference.

3. Artillery programme will be issued later.

4. The 60th Infantry Brigade will attack with 12th R.B. on right, 6th Oxford & Bucks L.I. on left, 6th K.S.L.I. in support, and 12th K.R.R.C. in reserve.

5. 60th T.M. Battery will be prepared to send forward at ZERO hour, 2 guns and at least 150 rounds to assist the advance and subsequent consolidation.

6. The following will be the amount of munitions to be carried:-
Rifle Section. 170 rounds S.A.A., 2 Mills, (Hand).
Bombing Section. 120 rounds S.A.A., 9 Mills (hand), and 3 Mills (rifle).
Two men of each Section carry instead of above, 120 rounds S.A.A, 10 Mills (hand), and 1 Pain’s Smoke candle.
Rifle Grenade Section. 120 rounds S.A.A. 7 smoke P.G. (No 27), and five Hales R.G. (No 24).
Lewis Gun Section. 50 rounds S.A.A. (or 24 rounds revolver ammunition) 2 men carry the gun, spare parts etc., and 5 men each carry 4 drums.
T.M. Battery. 50 rounds S.A.A.

7. ACKNOWLEDGE.
P.M. Broadmead Captain,
A/Brigade Major,
60th Infantry Brigade.
Copies to:-
6th Oxford & Bucks L.I.
6th K.S.L.I.
12th K.R.R.C.
12th Rifle Brigade.
60th M.G. Coy.
60th T.M. Battery.
60th Bde. Signal Section R.E.
20th Division “G”
Staff Captain
59th Infantry Brigade.
61st Infantry Brigade.
War Diary
War Diary.
83rd Field Coy. R.E.