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.

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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.

WAR DIARY of H.Q. 29th DIV ARTY. September 1917

H.Q. 29th Div Arty
September 1917
WAR DIARY of H.Q. 29th DIV ARTY.

September 1917

VOLUME 30

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information

On 1st September Brigadier General G.H.A. WHITE C.M.G., D.S.O., handed over command of the 29th D.A. to Brigadier General E.H. STEVENSON D.S.O., General WHITE going as C.R.A. to 30th Division on exchange with General STEVENSON.
On September 1st, 15th Brigade R.H.A. and 17th Brigade R.F.A. moved from their Wagon Lines to the PROVEN Area, marching on September 2nd to rest billets at POLINCOVE near AUDRICQ, where they were joined by H.Q. 29th D.A. on September 5th. 29th D.A.C. remained in the line assisting Left Artillery (XIVth Corps) in the supply of ammunition and material in the construction of forward positions in the Valley of the STEENBEEK. In addition to parties from the D.A.C., each Battery left behind an Officer with a party of men to push on the work on these forward positions as their early occupation for the support of a further advance was anticipated. On 10th September 13th Battery (17th Bde. R.F.A.) marched from rest to HERZEELE and on 11th September to the neighbourhood of ELVERDINGHE where it came under the orders of RIGHT ARTILLERY (XIVth Corps). On September 14th and 15th the remaining units of 15th Brigade R.H.A. and 17th Brigade R.F.A. marched back to their old Wagon Lines near ELVERDINGHE billeting at HERZEELE on the night 14th/15th September.
On the night 16th/17th September batteries went into action under the orders of LEFT ARTILLERY (XIVth Corps). H.Q., 29th D.A. returned to “J” Camp on September 16th.
At 6 p.m. on 21st September C.R.A. 29th Division took over command of LEFT ARTILLERY (XIVth Corps) from C.R.A. Guards Division, the relief of the Infantry of Guards Division by the Infantry of 29th Division being completed on the morning of September 22nd.
LEFT ARTILLERY at this time consisted of:-
Left Group Right Group
74th Brigade R.F.A.) 11th Army Bde. R.F.A.
75th Brigade R.F.A.) Guards D.A. 17th Brigade R.F.A.)
(13th Bty. Rejoined 17th Bde. on Sept. 22nd ) 15th Brigade R.H.A.) 29th D.A.
On September 22nd/23rd 74th and 75th Brigades R.F.A. withdrew from the line to rest in the back areas, LEFT ARTILLERY (XIVth Corps) then consisted of 11th Army Bde. R.F.A., 15th Bde. R.H.A. & 17th Bde. R.F.A. each of which dealt direct with 29th D.A.H.Q.
On September 26th artillery action was taken in support of an attack by troops on our right, the Infantry on our front taking no part.

Appendices as under are attached:-

Appendix I – Orders for the march of 15th Brigade R.H.A. and 17th Brigade R.F.A. to and from rest area at POLINCOVE.
Appendix II – Orders for artillery action on September 26th.
Appendix III – Various Orders and Instructions issued by 29th D.A. during September.
Appendix IV – Strength at beginning and end of month, giving casualties and drafts received.
Appendix V – Honours and Awards received.
Appendix VI – Location statements for September.

NOTE: – Special maps of this area were appended to War Diary for August.

Signature unreadable.
Captain R.A.
Brigade Major, 29th Divisional Artillery

Summary of Operations carried out by 20th (Light) Division 3 Sept 1917

SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS CARRIED OUT BY 20TH (LIGHT) DIVISION
Between 6th & 19th August, 1917.
——————————————————-
1. TAKING OVER THE LINE.
(i) On the 6th August the 20th Division took over the Right Divisional sector of the XIV Corps from the 38th Division.
(ii) The latter had forced the enemy back on the 31st July from the original front line held by them to points just West of the STEENBEEK.
(iii) Owing to the bad weather and continual rain, the 38th Division had to be relieved sooner than it was intended. There had been no time to construct roads, tracks or tramways on any large scale before the 20th Division was placed in the Line. Fortunately, the weather improved after our taking over the new sector, enabling us to push on our communications, and prepare new battery positions.

2. OBJECTIVES. The task before the Division was to capture 3 objectives known as the BLUE, GREEN and RED Lines, the BLUE Line being just short of LANGEMARCK, the GREEN Line covering it, and the RED Line being a portion of the enemy’s GHELUVELT – LANGEMARCK Line.

3. ENEMY’S DISPOSITIONS.

(i) On the 6th August, when the Division took over the new front, the enemy held all the country E of the STEENBEEK; his dispositions so far as could be ascertained being – two Battalions of the 262 R.I.R in front of LANGEMARCK, and one Battalion in the GHELUVELT – LANGEMARCK Line, the 261 R.I.R. being opposite the 11th Division on our Right, and the 263 R.I.R. in POELCAPELLE, the latter’s role being to counter-attack should any portion of the hostile line be captured.
(ii) Occasionally, enemy patrols had crossed the STEENBEEK, keeping close to the Western bank of the river, and had encountered our patrols.

4. THE STEENBEEK. The first necessary preliminary to a successful attack lay in obtaining the mastery of the STEENBEEK valley, in order to enable the Division to form up its leading waves East of the stream. Any advance which included the crossing of the STEENBEEK would have proved difficult, especially as the stream was liable to floods, and would form a serious obstacle.

5. DEFENCE OF DIVL. SECTOR. The defence of the sector was entrusted to the B.G.C. 59th Inf. Bde., who had orders to dispose his Battalions in depth, one Battalion East of the road running N.W. and S.E. through IRON CROSS, one Battalion distributed along CANDLE and CANCER trenches on the PILCHEM Ridge, two Battalions in the CANAL Bank in C.13.a. and C., 19.a. and c.
6. COMMUNICATIONS. Between the 6th and the 15th, the construction of plank roads, duckboard tracks, and dry weather mule tracks was pushed on, as well as the extension of the GLIMPSE COTTAGE Railway; by the evening of the 15th, had reached the neighbourhood of JOLIE FARM.
7. ORIGINAL PLAN.
(i) The original intention, as regards the method of employing the three Infantry Brigades of the Division, was to hold the sector with the 59th Infantry Brigade until Y day, and then relieve the 59th Infantry Brigade with the 60th and 61st Infantry Brigades, who had been detailed to carry out the attack on the three objectives.
(ii) The attack being completed, the intention was to relieve the attacking Brigades in the captured line by the 59th Infantry Brigade.
(iii) Various circumstances prevented the carrying out of this plan in its entirety, one being the postponement of the date for the attack, and another the necessity of forcing the passage of the STEENBEEK with the 59th Inf. Bde., in the face of determined opposition from the enemy.

8. PROPOSAL FOR CROSSING THE STEENBEEK. It had been proposed to obtain a footing on the Eastern bank of the stream by peaceful penetration, but this soon proved to be impossible owing to the enemy’s resistance. The key of his defence lay at AU BON GITE, a strongly fortified point containing many concrete shelters; besides this there existed isolated concrete blockhouses at intervals along the Eastern bank of the stream.

9. FIRST ATTEMPT TO CROSS THE STEENBEEK (AUGUST 11TH).

(i) On the 11th August the 59th Inf. Bde. were ordered to force the stream, assisted by Artillery, and the 10th K.R.R.C. was detailed for this duty by the B.G.C.
(ii) The operation was to be carried out by two companies, one on each side of the main IRON CROSS – LANGEMARCK Road, these companies being formed up 200 yards West of the stream, with a line 200 yards E. of the STEENBEEK and parallel to it, as their objective. The hour for the attack was fixed at 4.15 a.m.
(iii) The operation was not a success, the chief cause of failure being that the attacking companies were formed up without a covering party having been deployed in front of them. By an unfortunate incident the enemy passed a patrol across the stream S. of AU BON GITE, and, discovering the concentration this patrol opened machine gun fire against the right company.
(iv) This disorganised the attack from the very commencement, and only elements managed to cross the stream. In the darkness direction was also lost, and casualties were considerable; some of the elements, which had passed over the stream withdrew during the 11th to the West bank.

10. SECOND ATTEMPT TO CROSS THE STEENBEEK. (AUGUST 14TH).
(i) The B.G.C. 59th Inf. Bde. carried out his task with six companies, two companies of the 11th R.B. attacking on the right and S. of the IRON CROSS – LANGEMARCK Road, whilst the 10th R.B. attacked on the left.
(ii) The attacking companies were formed up 250 yards W. of the stream with covering detachments thrown out 50 yards to their front.
(iii) Between the 11th and 14th the mastery of the stream had been ensured by detachments being pushed down to the Western Bank, where posts had been dug.
(iv) On the night of the attack these standing patrols on the Western Bank were withdrawn one hour before Zero in order that the artillery barrage might be placed on an alignment 50 yards W. of the stream.
(v) The arrangements for the artillery barrage for this attack provided for the initial barrage being put down 50 yards W. of the stream, in order to sweep up any enemy patrols which might have taken up positions on the Eastern bank, after the withdrawal of our standing patrols.
(vi) The barrage rested on this initial line for ten minutes in order to enable the attacking companies to get close up to it from their assembly positions 200 yards W. of it.
(vii) The first lift of 100 yards carried it to a line 50 yards beyond the stream, where it rested for five minutes; the next lift was for 100 yards, resting for ten minutes, the extra pause being made to enable the attacking companies to cross the STEENBEEK. The third lift was for a distance of 75 yards only to enable troops to form up on the East bank of the stream; subsequent lifts were 100 yards in five minutes.
(viii) The attack went well, and although losses were incurred, the six companies established themselves on an alignment 200 yards East of the stream, except opposite the German strong point at AU BON GITE. The company detailed for the attack of this strong point succeeded in capturing it temporarily, and killing a considerable number of the enemy, but they were eventually driven back by a counter-attack made from the direction of some concrete shelters 150 yards N.E. of AU BON GITE. They also suffered heavily from flanking fire brought to bear on them from points 400 yards to the East of AU BON GITE.

11. CONCENTRATION & ASSEMBLY.
(i) The crossings of the STEENBEEK having been made good as described above it was now possible to arrange for the main concentration for the attack to take place as originally intended, viz:- the leading waves to form up on the East bank while the remainder of the attacking Brigades formed up on the West bank, and in close proximity to the STEENBEEK.
(ii) The 59th Inf. Bde. (less covering troops on the East bank) were relieved by the 60th and 61st Inf. Bdes. on the night 14th/15th. It was decided that it would be dangerous to withdraw the covering troops of the 59th Inf. Bde. and to attempt to relieve them with new troops from the 60th and 61st Inf. Bdes., owing to the proximity of the enemy.
(iii) On the night of the 15th/16th the troops of the fighting Brigades were deployed according to the pre-arranged plan. Hostile artillery fire was at times heavy, and machine gun fire from AU BON GITE caused a few casualties.
The garrison of AU BON GITE did not appear to see that a concentration was taking place, although they fired Very light throughout the night.
(iv) On the success of this extremely difficult operation depended the whole plan of attack for the 16th. Great credit is reflected on all concerned in the arrangements made for forming up the attacking Brigades.

12. PLAN OF ATTACK.
(i) The plan of attack can be summarised as follows:-
(a) The 60th Inf. Bde. was to attack on a one Battalion front passing to the South of LANGEMARCK, the 6th Oxf. & Bucks L.I. being given the task of capturing the BLUE and GREEN Lines, whilst the 6th K.S.L.I. and 12th K.R.R.C. were allotted to the capture of the RED Line (final objective).
(b) The 61st Inf. Bde. included in their attack the whole village of LANGEMARCK.
This attack was made on a two Bn. front, two half Battalions being allotted to each of the BLUE and GREEN Lines, the remaining two Battalions “leap-frogging” after the capture of the GREEN Line, and moving on to the final objective. (the RED Line).
(ii) The reasons for the dispositions made were as follows:-
(a) That one Brigade should be made responsible for the whole village of LANGEMARCK.
(b) That the Right Brigade on reaching its final objective was more liable to counter-attack from the direction of POELCAPELLE, and therefore might require a fresh Battalion which could be held in reserve.
(c) In addition it was hoped that, should the village of LANGEMARCK hold up the 61st Inf. Bde., the 60th Inf. Bde. being on a narrower front would be able to push forward and drive a wedge round the South-eastern edge of LANGEMARCK, and thus partially surround it, and enable the 61st Inf. Bde. to advance. Any gap, on the right flank of the 60th Inf. Bde., which might occur owing to this movement could be filled up by the Reserve Battalion of the 60th Inf. Bde.
(iii) After events proved these dispositions to be quite sound.

13. ARTILLERY PLAN.
(i) The chief features in the artillery programme for supporting the attack on LANGEMARCK consisted in the two pauses arranged to take place, on the BLUE Line for 20 minutes, and on the GREEN Line for one hour.
(ii) The positions of troops on these two objectives were also to be screened by smoke barrages in order that the re-organisation and arrangements for consolidation might be made. Further advantage lay in the fact that if by mishap the infantry were unable to keep up with the barrage owing to incidents on the battle front, this would enable them to come up in rear of it for the advance to a subsequent objective.
(iii) The pace of the barrage was 100 yards every five minutes. This was considered sufficiently slow, except when crossing the boggy ground by LANGEMARCK Chateau, but there is no doubt that it was only owing to the strongest efforts on the part of the infantry engaged that they were able to keep up with this barrage.
(iv) The various forms of barrages use were:-
(a) A creeping barrage.
(b) A standing barrage.
(c) A distant barrage of 6” Hows.
(d) A machine gun barrage.
(v) These various barrages covered a great depth which would be very advantageous should the enemy be contemplating a counter-attack and endeavour to assemble his troops between LANGEMARCK and POELCAPELLE.

14. AU BON GITE.
(i) A point which required special consideration on the commencement of the advance consisted in the problem of how the German strong point at AU BON GITE should be dealt with.
(ii) There is no doubt that if the enemy had held on to this point firmly during the initial stages of the advance the attack would have been considerably disorganised; as it was casualties were caused in the 61st Inf. Bde. until this strong point surrendered.
(iii) The following plan was made to deal with this enemy stronghold. Two Coys. of the 11th R.B. were kept in the line when the 59th Inf. Bde. was relieved, and detailed to attack and mop-up AU BON GITE, moving with the leading wave of the 60th Inf. Bde. (6th Oxf. & Bucks L.I.).
(iv) Arrangements had been made for an aeroplane to fly at a low altitude over AU BON GITE at one minute before Zero, and by firing down at such of the enemy as were not in concrete shelters to induce them to keep down in their trenches and thus prevent them seeing the approach of the assaulting party.
(v) The attacking party were provided with smoke bombs, and at Zero hour these bombs were thrown on to the strong point by bombers who had crept up within a few yards and lay concealed in shell holes. The throwing of the smoke bombs was immediately followed by the attack which was perfectly successful, and resulted in the capture of one officer and 50 men of the 3rd Battalion 261 R.I.R.

15. THE ATTACK.
(i) The attack commenced at 4.45 a.m. At this hour it was just possible to see the country to our front for about 300 yards, but any troops not in motion could not be seen in this light.
(ii) The attack was carried out according to programmes, the chief centres of resistance being REITRES FARM on the left flank of the 61st Inf. Bde., and the village of LANGEMARCK and the houses to the East of the village all of which concealed many machine guns.
(iii) The Chateau grounds had been reduced to a swamp by the recent rains, and the advance of our infantry on the left was considerably impeded. The whole country East of the STEENBEEK up to the RED Line was a swampy crater field.
(iv) The attack of the 60th Inf. Bde. went through without a hitch, and the resistance did not appear to be formidable.
(v) The 29th Division on our left had made previous arrangements to assist the 61st Inf. Bde., should this be necessary, by bringing cross fire to bear from points West of the railway on the Northern exits of LANGEMARCK. The co-operation between the two Divisions could not have been better.
(vi) The final objective was reached at Zero plus 3 hours 30 minutes.

16. LANGEMARCK. The German Commanding Officer of the 3rd Bn. 261 R.I.R. was captured in LANGEMARCK, and it may be safely concluded that the whole of his Bn. was either killed or captured. The prisoners made by the Division numbered about 20 Officers and 400 O.R. The captured trophies included a section of 4.2” Hows., one 77 m.m. Field Gun, and 20 or 30 machine guns. Many more machine guns, and a considerable number of trench mortars, were no doubt buried in the debris; subsequent reconnaissance would probably confirm this.

17. ENEMY TROOPS INVOLVED IN THE BATTLE.

(i) After the attack of July 31st, the 3rd Guards Division, which was holding the front opposite to us, was replaced by the 29th Reserve Division, a fresh Division.
(ii) The sector immediately opposite the Divisional front was held by the 262nd R.I.R./ which had one Battalion between the STEENBEEK and LANGEMARCK, disposed in shell-hole positions. After our successful attempt to cross the STEENBEEK on August 14th, this Battalion, which already suffered losses through our artillery fire, became too weak, and two companies of the 261st R.I.R. were sent up to reinforce it.
(iii) On the morning of August 16th, the enemy had about two Battalions opposite our Divisional front between their front line trenches and the GREEN Line. During our attack these two Battalions appear to have been completely annihilated.
(iv) The RED Line was defended on our front by about one and a half battalions of the 261sr R.I.R. while LANGEMARCK Station was held by troops of the 50th I.R. belonging to the 214th Division on our left.
(v) The enemy soon realised that the 79th Reserve Division, which had sustained heavy losses, and was badly shaken by our artillery fire, was incapable of making counter-attacks, which, from captured documents, seem to have been expected of it.
(vi) Early in the afternoon on August 16th the prisoners of the 184th Regiment (183rd Division) were taken; this regiment was to have relieved the 262nd R.I.R. on the night 16th/17th. This relief, however, was never completed, as the 183rd Division was brought up and put into the line that evening opposite the 11th Division on our right.
(vii) About 4 o’clock in the afternoon of August 16th, two prisoners of the 119th Grenadier Regt. were taken, and we learned that the 26th Division was being rushed up from the POELCAPELLE Area to relieve or reinforce the remnants of the 79th Reserve Division. This was the regiment which delivered the unsuccessful counter-attack on our front on the evening of the 16th.
(viii) From prisoners’ statements, captured documents and intercepted messages, it would appear that during the 16th August, the utmost confusion reigned in the troops opposite our front. We captured prisoners of the 79th Reserve Division, the 183dr Division, the 26th Division, the 114th Division and the 9th Bavarian Reserve Division. Had the enemy’s troops not been disorganised, we should normally only have captured prisoners of the 79th Reserve Division and the 26th Division.
(ix) It would appear certain that any regiments which had been subjected for several days to our artillery fire are totally incapable of withstanding an infantry attack in force. This is especially true in the case of men of the 1918 class, which formed a large proportion of the troops in the 79th Reserve Division.
18. 11th DIVISION. The 11th Division on our right, through ill fortune, did not succeed in capturing all their objectives. This was mainly owing to the failure of the Corps further South, necessitating the forming of a defensive flank facing East by this Division. Their left flank, however, reached the RED Line, and was in touch with the Division about WHITE HOUSE.

19. F.O.O’s. The work of F.O.O’s. was as usual admirable, and the first information as regards the position of our troops was usually received from them.

20. ENEMY COUNTER-ATTACK.

(i) During the afternoon of the 16th instant S.O.S. Signals were sent up by our troops in the RED Line but the information available as regards local incidents was very conflicting.
(ii) A correct account of what actually happened after our assaulting battalions had reached the RED Line has not yet been received; there is no doubt, however, that the enemy, under cover of hedgerows, folds in the ground, etc., had succeeded in driving in our advanced posts in front of the Cemetery.
(iii) In their withdrawal the protecting detachments carried back elements of our troops which had been established in the centre of the RED Line about SCHREIBOOM.

21. A SITUATION ON THE EVENING OF AUGUST 16th.
(i) On the evening of the 16th the situation on the RED Line was as follows:- the two flanks of the Division, held by the 12th K.R.R.C. and 6th K.S.L.I. on the right, and the 7th D.C.L.I. on the left held firm, while the 12th King’s (L’pool) Regt. had fallen back approximately 200 yards.
(ii) Reinforcements were hurried up by the B.Gs.C. 60th and 61st Inf. Bdes. to secure our original position in the RED Line, and no further incidents took place that night.

22. MINOR OPERATIONS ON AUGUST 17th.
(i) At 6.30 p.m. on August 17th minor operations took place with a view to re-establishing our position on the RED Line about SCHREIBOOM.
(ii) These were not successful; the failure may be attributed to considerable machine gun fire from the direction of PHEASANT FARM and RAT HOUSE, which enfiladed our counter-attacking troops as they advanced towards SCHREIBOOM from their entrenchments 200 yards S.W. of that place.
(iii) The 11th Division had been asked to co-operate:-
(a) By placing a smoke barrage on the right flank of our line near RAT HOUSE and its enclosures, and
(b) by searching with 18 pdrs. PHEASANT FARM, and the ground between that and RAT HOUSE
(iv) Had the 11th Division been able to establish themselves on the RED Line according to programme it is very probable that our efforts to occupy SCHREIBOOM would have succeeded, notwithstanding the strong opposition put up by the enemy in front of our centre.

23. RELIEF.
(i) On the night of the 17th/18th and 18th/19th the 38th Division relieved our left and right sectors respectively and the Division was withdrawn to refit on the 19th August.
(ii) Had the 59th Inf. Bde., which was in Divisional reserve, been in a fit condition to take over the line, as had been originally intended, the relief of the Division could well have been postponed four or five days.
(iii) This Brigade, however, had had considerable losses in its efforts to force the passage of the STEENBEEK, and had become so reduced in strength, and had lost so many officers that it was not possible for it to carry out its original role.
(iv) Throughout the whole period during which the 59th Inf. Bde. had been in the line it had suffered heavily from shell fire, not only against the units N.E. of IRON CROSS, but among carrying parties, and the working parties on roads. One company alone lost 25 officers and men, when moving down to the STEENBEEK from IRON CROSS, carrying out a relief.

(Sd) W. DOUGLAS SMITH,
Major-General,
Commanding 20th Division.
3rd Sept. 1917.

Defence of Guillemont 3 September 1917

47th Inf Bde
59th Inf Bde
60th Inf Bde

G.873. 3.

The defence of GUILLEMONT will be organised as follows AAA Brigadier 47th Brigade will be responsible for consolidation and defence of all village North of MOUNT STREET AAA When 60th Inf. Bde. relieves 47th Infantry Brigade front line 3 Coys. 7th Yorkshire L.I. will remain in GUILLEMONT to Garrison 47th Infantry Brigade portion aided by his one Coy, 11th Durham L.I. and 83rd Field Coy. R.E. AAA 6th Connaught Rangers and 7th Leinster Regt. when relieved will garrison GRIDIRON AAA 6th R. Irish and 8th Munsters when relieved will be withdrawn to vicinity of 47th Infantry Brigade H.Qrs, AAA Brig, 59th Brigade will be responsible for consolidation and defence of MOUNT STREET and all GUILLEMONT South of it AAA For this purpose he will use his command AAA C.R.E. will assist if he can be found in GUILLEMONT AAA 47th Infantry Bde, may know where he is AAA Details of arrangements made should be reported as early as possible AAA Acknowledge AAA
TRUMPET.
(sd) R.H. JAMES, Lt. Col
9.0 p.m.

20th Division No. G.961 2 September 1917

20th Division No. G.961
REPORT ON OPERATIONS
CARRIED OUT BY THE 20TH (LIGHT) DIVISION.
AUGUST 6TH – 19TH 1917.

TABLE OF CONTENTS.
1. ORDER OF BATTLE.
2. GENERAL SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS. (Sub-appendix “A”)
3. PERIOD AUGUST 6TH – 15TH
(a) Destructive and counter-battery shoots.
(b) Roads and tracks.
(c) Preliminary Preparations.
(d) Role of 59th Infantry Brigade.
(e) Role of 60th Infantry Brigade
(f) Role of 61st Infantry Brigade.
(g) Summary.
4. PRELIMINARY OPERATION – FORCING OF THE STEENBEEK.
(a) Peaceful penetration.
(b) First attempt by two companies.
(c) Second attempt by one and a half battalions. (Map “W”)
(d) Proposed operation to capture Strong Point at AU BON GITE.
5. DISPOSITIONS OF UNITS AT ZERO, AUGUST 16TH.
(a) The concentration and assembly.
(b) 60th Infantry Brigade.
(c) 61st Infantry Brigade.
(d) Dispositions of all units and location of dumps. (Map “X”).
6. PLAN OF ATTACK.
(a) Summary of plan. (Sub-appendix “B”).
(b) Diagrammatic plan of objectives. (Plate “Y”).
(c) Detailed instructions.
7. NARRATIVE OF OPERATIONS ON AUGUST 16TH.
(a) Night August 15th/16th.
(b) General course of engagement (from messages received.)
(c) Action of 60th Infantry Brigade.
(d) Action of 61st Infantry Brigade.
(e) Enemy counter-attack.
(f) Attempt to regain ground enemy had gained in counter-attack.
(g) Final position of Division. (Map “Z”).
(h) Relief of Division by 38th Division.
(i) Casualties. (Sub-appendix “C”).
(j) Prisoners captured.
(k) Captured material.
8. LESSONS LEARNT. (Sub-appendix “D”)
LIST OF SUB-APPENDICES.
A. SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS.
B. DIVISIONAL INSTRUCTIONS 8 – 15.
C. CASUALTIES INCURRED.
D. LESSONS LEARNT.
LIST OF MAPS, ETC.
W. MAP SHOWING COY. FRONTAGES AT FORCING OF STEENBEEK.
X. DISPOSITIONS AT ZERO.
Y. DIAGRAMATIC ORDER OF BATTLE FOR ATTACK.
Z. FINAL POSITIONS.
———–oOo———–

1. ORDER OF BATTLE.
G.O.C.
Major General T.G. MATHESON. August 6th/7th.
Major General C.G. BLACKADDER, C.B.,D.S.O, ADC August 7th/8th.
Major General W. DOUGLAS SMITH C.B., August 8th/19th.

59TH INFANTRY BRIGADE.
Commander: Brig.-General R.C. BROWNE-CLAYTON. D.S.O.
10th K.R.R.C. 10th R.B.
11th K.R.R.C. 11th R.B.
M.G. Coy. T.M. Bty.
Attached: 96th Field Coy. R.E.
———————————————–

60TH INFANTRY BRIGADE.
Commander: Brig.-General Hon. L.J.P. BUTLER, C.M.G., D.S.O.
6th Oxf. & Bucks. L.I. 12th K.R.R.C.
6th K.S.L.I. 12th R.B.
M.G. Coy. T.M. Bty.
Attached: 83rd Field Coy. R.E.
———————————-

61ST INFANTRY BRIGADE.
Commander: Brig-General W.E. BANBURY, C.M.G.
12th King’s (L’pool)Regt. 7th D. of Cornwall’s L.I.
7th Somerset L.I. 7th K.O. Yorkshire L.I.
M.G. Coy. T.M. Bty.
Attached: 84th Field Coy. R.E.
——————————–
Pioneer Battalion: 11th Durham L.I.
Divl. M.G. Coy. 217th M.G. Coy.
————–

RIGHT ARTILLERY OF THE XIV CORPS
(20th and 38th Divisional Artilleries.).
Commander: Brig-General W.A.M. THOMPSON, C.B.
———–oOo———–

2. GENERAL SUMMARY.
A general summary of operations during the period August 6th to 19th is given as Sub-appendix “A” of this report.

3. PERIOD AUGUST 6TH/15TH.
(a) Destructive and Counter-battery Shoots. Destructive and counter-battery shoots were carried out continuously by Divisional and Heavy Artillery.
(b) Roads and tracks. Roads, tramways and tracks were extended and improved by the Divisional Engineers and Pioneers, assisted by Infantry working parties.
(c) Preliminary Preparations. The following preliminary preparations were made:-
(i). Signal Communications. (Instructions No 10).x
(ii). Machine Gun Barrage Positions. (Instructions No 11).x
(iii). Medical Arrangements. (Instructions No 13).x
(iv). Dumps; (S.A.A., Grenades, etc. (Instructions No 14).x
X NOTE: Vide Sub-appendix “B” of this Report.
(d) Role of 59th Infantry Brigade. The 59th Infantry Brigade relieved the 61st Infantry Brigade on the Divisional front on the night of August 7th/8th.
During the period August 8th/15th, the 59th Infantry Brigade:-
(i). Essayed to establish themselves on the East bank of the STTENBEEK by peaceful penetration, and on this being unsuccessful,
(ii) Attempted to force the passage with two companies, in the early morning of August 11th, again without success, vide para: 9 of “Summary of Operations”, (Sub-appendix “A” to this report.)
(iii) Forced the passage with six companies in the early morning of August 14th, vide para: 10 of “Summary of Operations”, and para 4 of this report.
(iv) Prepared a special operation for the reduction of the enemy strong point at AU BON GITE on the night of the 14th, but were prevented by darkness, shell, and machine-gun, fire from carrying it out.
(v). Left covering troops on the East bank of The STEENBEEK when the rest of the Brigade was relieved on the night of August 14th/15th.

(e) Role of 60th Infantry Brigade. The 60th Infantry Brigade, from August 6th to 14th, was in support in the MALAKOFF FARM Area.
Throughout this period it furnished working parties on an average of two battalions per diem.
(f) Role of 61st Infantry Brigade. The 61st Infantry Brigade relieved the 114th Infantry Brigade (38th Division) on the night of August 5th/6th, and was itself relieved by the 59th Infantry Brigade on the night of August 7th/8th.
From August 8th to 14th, the Brigade was in Reserve in the GARDOEN FARM Area, whence it furnished working parties on an average of one battalion per diem throughout the period.
(g) Summary. This period may be summed up as follows:-
(i) All preliminary preparations were made, and the way paved for the attack by the 60th and 61st Infantry Brigades by the forcing of the STEENBEEK by the 59th Infantry Brigade.
(ii). The 59th Infantry Brigade, owing to the casualties incurred in forcing the STEENBEEK, was no longer fit for operations, with the result that two battalions of the 114th Infantry Brigade (38th Division) were ordered up to form part of the 20th Division Reserve; with the 59th Infantry Brigade practically out of action, the Division had to be relieved on the conclusion of the battle.

4. PRELIMINARY OPERATION – FORCING OF THE STEENBEEK. (vide Instructions No. 9)
(a) Peaceful Penetration. During the first week of August, the enemy, profiting by the bad weather which had prevented any advance to the East bank of the stream, organised his defences there, with the result that it proved impossible to establish bridgeheads on the East bank by peaceful penetration as had been intended.
(b) First attempt by two companies. Two companies of the 11th K.R.R.C., with artillery support attempted to establish themselves on the East bank at 4.15 a.m. on August 11th.
The right company appears to have crossed the stream, but suffered severe losses from an enemy patrol who crossed to the West bank of the stream and enfiladed them. The left company was unable to effect any progress.
(c) Second attempt by one and a half battalions. Another attempt was made on August 14th by one and a half battalions (10th R.B. and two companies 11th R.B.), (vide map attached, marked “W”).
(i). The final objective was a line about 300 yards East of the STEENBEEK; this would provide room for the attacking troops of the 60th and 61st Infantry Brigades to assemble for the attack on August 16th.
(ii). At 3.0 a.m. on August 14th, the attacking troops were successfully assembled on a taped line 250 yards West of the STEENBEEK.
(iii). Zero was at 4.0 a.m. at which hour the artillery barrage fell; the enemy’s barrage was fairly heavy, but generally speaking fell West of the attacking Companies.
(iv). The crossing of the STEENBEEK proved on the whole easy, but a certain amount of delay arose owing to the swampy ground.
(v). The fixing of bridges had not been sufficiently practiced and proved difficult at some points.
(vi). The first waves of Nos. 1, 2, and 3 companies reached their objective about 4.30 a.m.; the second wave continued mopping-up shell craters and inflicted a number of casualties on the enemy, besides taking prisoners.
(vii). No 4 company suffered rather heavy casualties, and was held up by machine-gun fire from the right flank and rifle fire from the front.
(viii). No 5 company was considerably delayed in crossing the STEENBEEK, and both assaulting waves got mixed up. The company carried straight on for AU BON GITE, although met with heavy machine-gun fire from there; the mill mound at AU BON GITE was reached and taken possession of.
Behind that was a solid concrete structure practically untouched by our bombardment, and to the right of that and connected to it by a trench, were four dugouts also of concrete.
These four smaller dugouts were mopped-up without much difficulty, but the larger structure behind the mill could not be captured. Our troops were all around it and some on top of it, when the enemy counter-attacked in large numbers from a trench some 70 yards to the East. In face of this No. 5 company which was now very short of S.A.A. and had run out of bombs, was compelled to fall back and take up a position some 200 yards West of AU BON GITE, and partially encircling it.
(ix). No 6 company on the extreme right crossed the STEENBEEK fairly easily, and advanced to, and occupied, their objective without much opposition. They remained there for some time, but were involved in the counter-attack on No. 5 company and had to withdraw, some of them recrossing the river. When No. 5 company had established itself in a position surrounding AU BON GITE, No. 6 company was brought up again and used partly as a defensive flank of No. 5, partly to form a post on the extreme right, practically on the line of the original objective.
(x). At about three hours after Zero the artillery was ordered to keep under fire the triangle U.28.b.4.5. – U.29.c.2.9. – U.28.b.75.80., in order to prevent enemy reinforcements coming up.
(xi). By this time No. 4 company had become disorganised, and part of it was absorbed by No. 3 company and part by No. 5 company.
(xii). Nos. 1, 2, and 3 companies remained in their objectives until the morning of the 16th without being seriously interfered with by the enemy.
(xiii). Early in the morning of the 15th the enemy attempted to force back No. 5 company by working round the right flank. Their advance was impeded from the start by the boggy nature of the ground, and was met by a steady fire from our troops, under which the attack soon melted away.
(xiv). On the morning of the 15th, after this attack on No. 5 company, parties were pushed up from the two companies of the 11th Bn. R.B. which had not taken part in the assault, as reinforcements for the troops across the STEENBEEK; 60 men were sent to the right, and 50 to the left flank. These parties suffered rather severe casualties on the way up, but succeeded in reaching the forward troops.
(xv). Although the strong point at AU BON GITE itself had not been reduced, the STEENBEEK was definitely crossed, and the way paved for the major operation on the 16th. One officer and 38 other ranks of the 262 R.I.R. were captured, and many of the enemy were killed. Our own casualties, especially in officers, were fairly heavy.
(d) Proposed operation to capture Strong Point at AU BON GITE. Preparations were made for a company of the 10th K.R.R.C./ and a company of the 11th K.R.R.C. to capture the Strong Point at AU BON GITE at 2.0 a.m. on August 15th with the assistance of trench mortars, machine-gun fire from the 217th M.G. Coy and 6 R.E. detachments from 83rd Field Coy, for blowing in the doors. Owing , however, to the darkness, heavy rain, and continuous shell and machine-gun fire on the line of the STEENBEEK, this attack did not materialise.
NOTE: On the morning of August 16th the assaulting troops of the 60th Infantry Brigade passed forward on each side of AU BON GITE, which was then mopped-up by the original No. 5 Coy. of the 11th R.B. (59th Infantry Brigade) and a party of 83rd Field Coy., R.E. at their leisure.

5. DISPOSITIONS OF UNITS AT ZERO AUGUST 16TH.
(a) The concentration and assembly. The concentration and assembly of the Division was carried out in accordance with orders No. 199x and 200,x and Amendment No. 1 and special Instructions to Order No. 200x.
The forming up of the assaulting troops on the line of the STEENBEEK was a difficult manoeuvre, and its successful accomplishment reflects the greatest credit on all concerned.
x NOTE: Included in War Diary as Appendices.
(b) 60th Infantry Brigade.
(i). At dusk on August 15th parties from 12th R.B. and 83rd Field Coy. R.E. carried forward 16 bridges covered with canvas (which had been specially prepared by the 83rd Field Coy., R.E.) from CANDLE TRENCH, where they had been dumped the previous night, to the STEENBEEK, and placed them across the stream.
(ii). During the night the 6th Oxf. & Bucks L.I. assembled in two waves, with two platoons of the 12th R.B. attached to each wave as moppers-up. The leading wave crossed the STEENBEEKE by means of the bridges, and assembled on the East side of the stream; this wave was covered by the posts of the 11th R.B. (59th Infantry Brigade.) The hostile posts were on the average less than 150 yards from this bank of the stream; opposite AU BON GITE they were considerably nearer.
(iii). The second wave assembled on the West bank of the stream, together with two guns of the 60th T.M. Battery, and two sections of the 60th M.G. Company.
(iv). The 6th K.S.L.I. and 12th K.R.R.C. formed up in artillery formation, (a series of lines of platoons, each in single file), their positions being roughly indicated by tapes, which had been laid out on compass bearings by the Brigade staff.
(v). In spite of the difficulty as regards the laying of the tapes, the bad state of the ground, and the fact that the 6th K.S.L.I. came under heavy shell fire at IRON CROSS while on the march up from CANAL Bank, the assembly was successfully carried out; the 6th K.S.L.I. on the right from about C.4.a.9.9. to about U.28.c.7.2., and the 12th K.R.R.C. thence N.W. to DAVIES STREET.
(vi). The 12th R.B. (less one company) assembled in CANDLE TRENCH.
(c) 61st Infantry Brigade.
(i). At 10.0 p.m. August 15th two officers of the 84th Field Coy., R.E. laid out tapes about 175 yards East of the STEENBEEK, also at right-angles to the line of advance, and in prolongation of it.
(ii). When this had been accomplished 7th Somerset L.I. on the right, and 7th K.O.Y.L.I. on the left, crossed the STEENBEEK. By 3.30 a.m. the whole of these two battalions were on the East bank of the STEENBEEK, deployed on a two company front, each company being formed of three platoons. Two guns of the 61st T.M. Battery, and two sections of the 61st M.G. Company were also East of the stream.
(iii). The 12th King’s (L’pool) Regt. from MALAKOFF FARM Area, and 7th D.C.L.I. from West Canal bank moved forward during the night; the 12th King’s (L’pool) Regt. were across the stream by Zero, and the 7th D.C.L.I., who came under shell fire en route, at Zero plus 15 minutes.
(d) Dispositions of all units and locations of dumps. The dispositions of all units of the Division, including transport, and the locations of dumps are shewn on attached map marked “X”.
Brigade Headquarters were as follows:-
59th Inf. Bde. H.Q. C.19.c.50.05.
60th Inf. Bde. Adv H.Q. STRAY FARM.
Rear H.Q. C.13.c.30.15 (HUDDERSFIELD ROAD DUGOUTS).
61st Inf. Bde. Adv. H.Q. GDE BARRIERE HOUSE.
Rear H.Q. C.13.c.10.20. (FUSILIER HOUSE)

6. PLAN OF ATTACK.
Summary of plan.
(a) The plan of attack is summarised in paras: 12 and 13 of “Summary of Operations” (Sub-appendix “A”). additional details are shewn in the following Instructions:-
Summary of plan – Instructions No. 8 x (Revised)
Action of Engineers – Instructions No. 12. x
Action of Artillery – Instructions No. 15 x
(b) Order of Battle for attack. The plan for the capture of the various objectives is shewn diagrammatically on attached plate marked “Y”.
(c) Detailed Instructions. Various other Instructions for this operation, already referred to, are as follows. Nos. 1 to 7 were attached as Appendix “D” to War Diary for July, the remainder are included as Sub-appendix “B” of this report.
(d). General Instructions. – Instructions No. 1 (Revised 15th July,
1917).
Role of 20th Division – Instructions No 2.
General Principles and
Instructions.
System of Inter-communications. – Instructions No. 3.
Officers and other ranks – Instructions No. 4.
to be kept out of battle; Liaison Officers.
Orders regarding – Instructions No. 5.
Prisoners and captured
Territory.
Equipment, Transport – Instructions No. 6.
and dumps.
Captured Guns, Evacuation – Instructions No. 7.
and Maps
Summary of Plan. – Instructions No. 8. x
(See para: 6 (a) (Revised)
The passage of the – Instructions No. 9. x
STEENBEEK (See para: 4 above).
Signal Communications. – Instructions No. 10. x
(See para:3 (c) above).
M.G. Barrages. (See – Instructions No. 11. x
Para 3 (c) above).
Action of Engineers – Instructions No. 12. x
(see para: 6(a) )
Medical Arrangements. – Instructions No. 13. x
(see para: 3 (c) above).
Dumps. (See para: 3 – Instructions No. 14. x
(c) above)
Action of Artillery – Instructions No. 15. x
(See para: 6 (a) )
X NOTE: Vide Sub-appendix “B” of this report.

7. NARRATIVE OF OPERATIONS ON AUGUST 16TH – 19TH.
(a) Night August 15th/16th. During the night August 15th/16th there was intermittent artillery and machine-gun fire from the enemy, who also fired Very lights from AU BON GITE and neighbourhood.
As already described (para 5), however, the assembly of the 60th and 61st Infantry Brigades was concluded without incident.
(b) First attempt by two companies. The general course of the engagement may be followed from the précis of messages given below, which were received at Divisional Headquarters during the day. A feature of these messages was the accuracy and promptitude of F.O.O’s reports. In all cases these reports proved accurate, though on at least one occasion, a report received from the air was at variance with the corresponding report received from the F.O.O.
4.45 a.m. Zero Hour. Our barrage opened and enemy sent up
many lights, chiefly Green.
5.0 a.m. Our barrage appears to be very good, and one of our
aeroplanes is over and engaging enemy machine guns.
5.2 a.m. An enemy barrage which started shortly before zero still
continues on the line of the STEENBEEK, but is light.
5.40 a.m. F.O.O. with 61st Inf. Bde. telegraphs the first objective
taken, all going well, and prisoners coming back.
5.45 a.m. F.O.O. at RUDOLPH FARM reports that our men can be
seen round ALOUETTE FARM, showing 60th Inf. Bde. to be beyond its first objective.
6.10 a.m. F.O.O. with 61st Inf. Bde. reports attack passed
CRUCIFIX, U.28.b.83.60., and LANGEMARCK Church at 5.40 a.m.
6.12 a..m. 29th Div. on our left report their first objective taken.
6.30 a.m. Wounded officer of the 60th Inf. Bde. gives account of the
taking of AU BON GITE without difficulty, but says that when he left the front line, the 61st Inf. Bde. seemed to be having some trouble at REITRES FARM.
6.35 a.m. F.O.O. reports enemy shelling LANGEMARCK.
7.20 a.m. 29th Div. on our left report that they can see our infantry in
strength on our second objective, and that they themselves have captured the GREEN line. (Second objective).
7.30 a.m. F.O.O with 60th Inf. Bde. reports we are holding the GREEN Line. (Second objective).
8.15 a.m. B.G.G.S. of Corps telephones that contact planes are
confident our troops were not in LANGEMARCK at 7.5 a.m.
8.20 a.m. Telephone messages from B.G.C. 60th Inf. Bde. says he
can see our men in RED Line, near MILL at U.24.c.10.15.
8.25 a.m. Intelligence Officer, 20th Division reports capture of
enemy Battalion Commander defending LANGEMARCK, who confirms fall of village.
8.30 a.m. 29th Div. on our left consolidating GREEN Line and in
touch with both flanks.
9.2. a.m. F.O.O. with 61st Inf. Bde. reports that he has established
himself at U.22.d.5.8., and that our Infantry are 800 yards in front of him.
9.30 a.m. F.O.O. with 60th Inf. Bde. reports that the RED Line was
taken at 7.45 a.m. Our infantry are now consolidating the RED Line.
11.0 a.m. 60th Inf. Bde. state they are consolidating line 150 yards
in front of salient on our right front, and are in touch with the 11th Div.
12.57 p.m. 29th Div. on our left report all RED Line captured.

(c) Action of 60th Infantry Brigade.
(i). At Zero, 4.45 a.m., the barrage fell, and the 11th R.B. (59th Inf. Bde.) threw smoke bombs at AU BON GITE, (In order to mask the advance of the Infantry) and rushed forward to capture it; a party of 83rd Field Coy. R.E., co-operated.
(ii). The first wave of 6th Oxf. & Bucks L.I. moved forward well under the barrage, while the second wave crossed the STEENBEEK by means of the bridges previously laid. The ground between the STEENBEEK and the BLUE Line was practically a bog, and troops had the greatest difficulty in advancing; a certain amount of opposition was met with from a blockhouse at U.28.b.6.1., but at Zero plus 35 minutes the first objective was reached with trifling loss; 35 prisoners were taken during the advance to the BLUE Line.
(iii). At Zero plus 1hour (5.45 a.m.) the advance to the GREEN Line was begun, by the second wave of the 6th Oxf. & Bucks L.I. The GREEN Line was captured, without special incident, with little loss, and was consolidated.
(iv). At 5.10 a.m. the 6th K.S.L.I. and 12th K.R.R.C. had crossed the STEENBEEK; the 6th K.S.L.I. reached the BLUE Line without incident, but the 12th K.R.R.C. came under machine-gun fire from a concrete emplacement at about U.28.b.8.6. The commanding Officer (Lieut. Colonel PRIOLEAU, M.C.) was wounded and casualties caused. Captain LYCETT assumed command, and ordered Sergeant COOPER and his platoon to rush this post; this was done very successfully, and the garrison of 40 were taken prisoners.
(v). The two battalions (6th K.S.L.I., and 12th K.R.R.C.) then continued the advance to the GREEN Line; a certain amount of mopping-up had to be done with the result that many of the enemy were killed, and 46 prisoners taken. Beyond some opposition on the outskirts of LANGEMARCK from machine-guns and snipers, and from ALOUETTE FARM, no serious trouble was met with, and the two battalions deployed about 100 yards East of the GREEN Line preparatory to a further advance.
(vi). The advance to the third objective began at 7.20 a.m.; the ground East of the GREEN Line was firmer; both battalions pressed on and occupied the RED Line as soon as the barrage lifted. Strong opposition had been met with from hedges and ditches, and from concrete dugouts at U.23.d.4.0., U.23.d.9.0.; also from the MILL, WHITE HOUSE, and the neighbourhood of RAT HOUSE. Many Germans were killed, and several batches of unwounded prisoners, numbering in all 135, were sent back during this period.
(vii). At 7.45 a.m. patrols were sent forward from the RED Line, made good a line across the salient from U.24.c.45.00. to U.24.c.50.00., and began consolidating. WHITE HOUSE was dealt with by rifle grenades, and then rushed by an officer and 8 men. The N.E. edge of the Cemetery was also occupied, with posts, by the 12th K.R.R.C.
(viii).Valuable help was given to the Brigade, both before, during, and after action by the 83rd Field Coy. R.E.

(d) Action of 61st Infantry Brigade.
(i). After the barrage fell at 4.45 a.m., the attacking waves of the 7th Somerset L.I., and the 7th K.O.Y.L.I. advanced across the boggy marsh which lay in front of them. Considerable trouble was caused by machine-gun fire which came from AU BON GITE, and other concrete blockhouses, – notably REITRES FARM, and the strong point near the station at U.22.c.8.4.
(ii). Great dash and initiative was shewn by individual officers, N.C.O’s and men during this period, – instances occurring of bombs being thrown, and Lewis-guns, rifles, and revolvers, fired, through the loopholes of the concrete blockhouses. Not only was the advance facilitated by these actions, but considerable casualties were inflicted upon the enemy, over 70 prisoners being taken including a Battalion Commander.
(iii). The advance from the BLUE to the GREEN Line met with opposition on the right from machine-gun fire and snipers located about U.23. central; on the left, little resistance was encountered once, the Station had been taken.
(iv). The “mopping-up” parties (200 per cent of the actual assaulting waves), did their work thoroughly; each concrete dugout was “mopped-up” separately “mopping-up” parties working forward from shell hole to shell hole under Lewis gun fire and then bombing the enemy out. Over 70 prisoners were captured during this period.
(v). Up till now the enemy’s standing barrage on the STEENBEEK had been ineffective, and though he now began to shell the S.W. entrance to LANGEMARCK, little damage was done.
(vi). The 12th King’s (L’pool) Regt. and 7th D.C.L.I. had suffered casualties while following up the two leading battalions. In spite of this, and of the morass through which they were moving, the men showed such keenness that some of them became involved in the attacking waves. East of the BLUE Line little resistance was offered as far as the 12th King’s (L’pool) Regt. was concerned, but the 7th D.C.L.I. on the left encountered greater opposition; they were moreover delayed by the holding-up of the 7th K.O.Y.L.I. at REITRES FARM. One platoon of the 7th D.C.L.I, actually assisted the 7th K.O.Y.L.I. in reducing this obstacle.
(vii). At 7.20 a.m. the 12th King’s (L’pool) Regt. and 7th D.C.L.I. reformed on the GREEN Line, and continued the advance to the RED Line under the barrage. Little opposition was met with, except from a group of buildings on the Railway at U.23.a.00.50 and U.17.c.50.00., from which about 60 prisoners were taken.
(viii). Throughout the advance the left flank was in touch with the 88th Infantry Brigade (29th Division), both battalions with one another, and on the right flank with the left battalion of the 60th Infantry Brigade.
(ix). Consolidation proceeded throughout the morning; the 7th D.C.L.I. and 12th King’s (L’pool) Regt. working on the RED Line, the 7th Somerset L.I. and 7th K.O.Y.L.I. on the GREEN Line.
(x).Valuable assistance was given by the 84th Field Coy. R.E. in arranging for the crossing of the STEENBEEK and construction of strong points; it was found impossible to repair the DAVIES STREET Bridge, in spite of two hours’ work under shell fire. A ford was constructed however, at U.28.c.8.8. Mules could cross at 7.30 p.m. on the 16th, and limbers by the following morning.

(e) Enemy counter-attack.
(i). Between 12 noon and 1.0 p.m. several reports were received from Infantry and F.O.O’s stating that the enemy appeared to be forming up along the hedges in front of the Division; there was undoubtedly considerable enemy movement on our front. At 3.0 p.m. fire became more noticeable, and at 4.0 p.m. the enemy delivered a counter-attack, and effected a lodgement somewhere about the junction of the 60th and 61st Infantry Brigade. During this attack “B” Company 12th K.R.R.C. suffered heavy casualties.
(ii). Survivors from the left battalion front of 60th Infantry Brigade, which had now been driven in, fell back on the Reserve Company. 12th K.R.R.C., where touch was effected with “A” Company 12th K.R.R.C. on the right, and 12th King’s (L’pool) Regt. (61st Infantry Brigade) on the left. A company of the 6th Oxf. & Bucks L.I. was ordered forward to assist 12th K.R.R.C.
(iii). About 6.30 p.m. a report was received from the Right company commander of the 12th King’s (L’pool) Regt. that he had been compelled to withdraw his company some 200 yards. This appears to have influenced the centre company of the 12th King’s (L’pool) Regt., which had lost all its officers and senior N.C.O’s., and this company withdrew from the RED Line.
The left company of the 12th King’s (L’pool) Regt. then swung back its right flank in order to fill the gap caused by the retirement of the centre company.
(iv). During the night 16th/17th, Lieut Colonel E.A. WOOD D.S.O., Commanding 6th K.S.L.I., being unable to join up with the 9th Lancs. Fusiliers (34th Infantry Brigade, 11th Division) at WHITE HOUSE, and fearing that his right flank was too exposed, withdrew his posts from WHITE HOUSE, and formed a defensive flank. This flank was taken over about midnight by two platoons of the 12th R.B.
(v). During the counter-attack nearly all S.A.A., had been expended, and a company of the 12th R.B. was ordered forward to carry up more ammunition.
(vi). At 7.0 p.m. the 10th (Welsh ) Regiment (114th Infantry Brigade), (38th Division), was placed at the disposal of B.G.C. 60th Inf. Brigade. One company was placed in position from about U.28.b.8.3. to U.28.d.7.5.; the remaining three companies were employed in carrying water and ammunition to ALOUETTE FARM from JOLIE FARM Area.
(vii). About the same time the 15th Welsh Regiment (114th Infantry Brigade), (38th Division) was placed at the disposal of B.G.C. 61st Infantry Brigade; this battalion also gave valuable assistance in carrying water, rations, and S.A.A. One company assisted consolidation on the GREEN Line.
(viii). The night 16th/17th was comparatively quiet, and passed without incident. At 11.0 p.m. Lieut Colonel C.J. TROYTE-BULLOCK, D.S.O. Commanding 7th Somerset L.I. who had received orders from B.G.C. 61st Infantry Brigade to clear up the situation, reported all quiet and the line continuous.

(f) Attempt to regain ground enemy had gained in counter-attack.
(i). Orders were issued from Divisional Headquarters at 9.0 a.m. on the 17th August, for the 60th and 61st Infantry Brigades to attack, and re-occupy, that part of the RED Line from which they had been driven by the enemy counter-attack the previous day. Artillery co-operation was arranged for, and the 11th Division on our right were asked to assist by placing a smoke barrage on the right flank of our line near RAT HOUSE, and by searching with 18 pdrs. PHEASANT FARM, and the ground between that and RAT HOUSE. Zero was to be at 6.30 p.m.
(ii). The 60th Infantry Brigade detailed two and a half companies of the 12th R.B. for the attack; the 61st Infantry Brigade detained the 12th King’s (L’pool) Regt., supported by the remainder of the 7th Somerset L.I. and one company of the 7th D.C.L.I.
(iii). The enemy’s barrage fell at Zero plus 6 minutes but did little damage. Machine-gun fire and sniping commenced from the direction of RAT HOUSE and U.24.c.central, however, as soon as our troops left the shelter of the buildings and the hedges along the ALOUETTE FARM – LANGEMARCK ROAD. On the left of the 12th King’s (L’pool) Regt. the RED Line was occupied with little opposition, but the right flank of the 61st Infantry Brigade troops, and the whole of the 12th R.B. (60th Infantry Brigade) suffered severe casualties from the heavy machine-gun and rifle fire from the direction of RAT HOUSE. Owing to this the attack failed and it was decided to dig in on the original line.
(g) Final position of Division. The final position reached by the Division is as shown in Map “Z”.
(h) Relief of Division by 38th Division.
(i). On the night 17th/18th the 61st Infantry Brigade were relieved by the 114th Infantry Brigade
(ii).On the night 18th/19th the 60th Infantry Brigade were relieved by the 114th Infantry Brigade .
(iii). The G.O.C. 20th Division handed over command of the Sector to G.O.C. 39th Division at 10.0 a.m. on 19th August.
(iv). On relief the Division was concentrated:-
Divisional H.Qrs. PROVEN, F.7.d.6.9.
59th Inf. Bde. P.1. Area.
60th Inf. Bde. S.1. Area.
61st Inf. Bde. P.4. Area.

(i) Casualties. The casualties incurred during the 13 days’ numbered just over 3,000; details are shewn in Sub-appendix “D” to this Report.
(j) Prisoners captured. As far as can be ascertained, the total prisoners captured by the Division were as follows:-
Officers. O.R.
Unwounded. 13 335
(includes 1 Bn. Comdr.)
Wounded. 7 70
Total. 20 405

Units identified on Divisional Front.
261 R.I.R.) 79th Reserve Division.
262 R.I.R.)

184 I.R. 183rd Division.
119 Gren: R. 26th Division.

(k) Captured material. No accurate account of captured material was possible before the Division was relieved, but the following figures are approximately correct:-
Guns. 2, 4.2” Howitzers.
1, 77 mm. Field Gun (less breech block)

Machine Guns. 15, 2 of which were definitely used in action
against the enemy.

8. LESSONS LEARNT. The lessons learnt from these operations are summarised in the two attached letters, addressed to the XIV Corps, and shewn as Sub-appendix “C” of this Report.
(Signed) W. Douglas Smith.
Major General.
Commanding 20th Division.
2nd September, 1917.