EXPERIENCES GAINED IN THE RECENT OPERATIONS 22 November 1917

Appendix II

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

1 ASSEMBLY.

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

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

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

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

2. R.A.

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. R.E.

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

4. COMMUNICATIONS.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT OF INFANTRY WITH TANKS.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. EQUIPMENT OF INFANTRY.

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

7. MACHINE GUNS.

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

8. LEWIS GUNS.

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

9. EMPLOYMENT OF CAVALRY.

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

“P” Bombs were not found necessary.

11. MOVES OF HEADQUARTERS.

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

12. CAPTURE OF STRONG POINTS.

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

13. SNIPERS.

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

14. STOKES MORTARS.

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

10th December 1917.

20TH (LIGHT) DIVISION – 20TH NOVEMBER 1917

G.O.C.
APPENDIX “A”
NARRATIVE OF OPERATIONS

20TH (LIGHT) DIVISION – 20TH NOVEMBER 1917

1. ORDER OF BATTLE.
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.

2. DISPOSITIONS OF TROOPS AT ZERO.
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).

3. OBJECTIVES.
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”.

4. PLAN OF ATTACK.
(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.

5. ACCOUNT OF THE ACTION.
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.

6. (a). GENERAL RESULT.
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.

(b). PRISONERS.
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.

(c). CASUALTIES.
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.

(d). MATERIAL CAPTURED.
A list of material captured is given in Appendix “I”

(e). LESSONS LEARNT
Any lessons learnt from these operations are to be found in Appendix “II”.

10th December 1917
………………………………………………………………………………………

APPENDIX “I”
LIST OF CAPTURED MATERIAL.

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.Z.20.)

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
wagons.

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

20TH (LIGHT) DIVISION ORDER NO. 218
—————————————————————–
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)

ACKNOWLEDGE

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.
12.)
13.) 3rd Bde. Tank Corps.
14.)
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,
.

20TH (Light) Division Operations (Medical Arrangemenst). 15 Nov 1917

SECRET.
Copy No. 1
20th Div. No. G.32.

20TH (LIGHT) DIVISION OPERATIONS
INSTRUCTIONS NO. 4.
(MEDICAL ARRANGEMENTS).

LOCATION OF MEDICAL UNITS. 1. A Prior to Zero.
(1) Battle Aid Posts. Left R.20.a.2.9. (XVI RAVINE) Right R.25.d.4.9.
(2) Relay Posts. (1) R.25.a.8.4. (HOTEL CECIL)
(2) R.19.d.3.7. (near XV RAVINE).
(3) A.D.S. GOUZEAUCOURT, Q.36.d.6.9.
(4) Div. Walking Wounded Collecting Station GOUZEAUCOURT BATHS, Q.36.b.1.4.
(5) H.Q. 60th F.A. (O.C. Bearers) & Bearer Camp, FINS V.12.c.8.8.
(6) Corps Main Dressing Station V.18.c.0.7. FINS – NURLU Road.
(7) Corps Walking Wounded Collecting Station V.18.c.0.7. – FINS – NURLU Road.
(8) Corps Sick Collecting Station. V.18.c.0.7. FINS – NURLU Road.
(9) C.C.S’s. (1) YTRES Group.
(2) TINCOURT Group.

B. At Zero.
(a). An Advanced Battle Aid Post (Right) at R.20.d.7.4. will be taken into use by the right (61st) Bde. The QUARRY (R.25.d.4.9.) will continue to be used for the Reserve Battalion of the 59th Bde. until this is ordered up by B.G.C. 59th Inf. Bde.

(b). A Forward A.D.S. (left) will be established at original left battle aid post R.20.a.2.9. (XVI RAVINE).

(c). An Advanced Battle Aid Post (left) will be established at R.14.a.8.9. (SURREY RAVINE) – destined eventually to become one of the chain of F.A. Relay Posts.

(d). A Forward A.D.S. (right) will similarly be established later at the Advanced Battle Aid Post, R.20.d.7.4.

POSITION OF MEDICAL OFFICERS. 2.

On account of the more open nature of the operations, it has not been feasible to make arrangements for any but the initial positions of Regimental Medical Officers. It has been tentatively arranged that these will be as follows at Zero.
(a). Advanced Left Battle Aid Post. R.14.a.8.9. (SURREY RAVINE). One or more M.O’s of 60th Bde.

(b). Original Left Battle Aid Post. R.20.a.2.9. (XVI RAVINE) One M.O. of 60th Bde. in Reserve until ordered up.

(c). Advanced Right Battle Aid Post. R.20.d.7.4.
(i). One or more M.O’s of 61st Bde.
(ii) One M.O. 61st Bde. remaining here in Reserve until ordered up.

(d). Original Right Battle Aid Post. (QUARRY) R.25.d.4.9.
One M.O. of 59th Bde remaining in Reserve until ordered up.

With the exception of the M.O. of each Bde. whom the B.G’s C. desire to keep in Reserve at first, all R.M.O’s will be prepared to establish R.A.P’s as situation demands.

The Line R.10. central – R.5. central is suggested as possibly suitable as a route of evacuation of wounded, while it may be found convenient to establish posts at the two points mentioned.

Should a considerable advance take place the chain of Field Ambulance posts will be pushed up by the establishment of Relay and Bearer Reserve Posts as may be necessary. The successful accomplishment of this will be largely dependant on the regularity and promptness with which the O.C. Bearers at A.D.S. GOUZEAUCOURT, is kept informed of all changes of position. The paramount importance of the above, as also of maintaining touch with posts left behind, cannot be too strongly emphasised.

EVACUATION. 3.

Cases will be conveyed as usual by Regimental Stretcher Bearers as far back as R.A.P’s, where they will be taken over by the Field Ambulance bearers who have been placed under the orders of the R.M.O. at these posts. (8 bearers to each R.A.P. of 60th and 61st Bdes., 16 in the case of 59th. These bearers will be rationed by the Battalions).

Cases will be conveyed by Relays to the Forward A.D.S’s and back to A.D.S. GOUZEAUCOURT. Wheeled stretchers will be used as much as possible for conveyance of cases back to Ambulance Car Loading Posts, which will be pushed up as far forward as possible as soon as the situation permits.

A Trolley line is being repared, and will be used as soon as the Advanced Battle Aid Post at R.20.d.7.4.4. is taken into use. By means of 4 trolley cars (capable of holding 4 lying cases each) cases will be conveyed to a Relay Post which is being constructed in the Railway Cutting at R.19.d.3.7., whence they will follow the ordinary route of evacuation to GOUZEAUCOURT.

From the A.D.S. GOUZEAUCOURT evacuation will be as follows:-

A. Lying & Sitting cases.

(i). by DECAUVILLE. A service has been arranged for lying and sitting cases by special ambulance trains conveying –
(a) Direct admissions straight through to C.C.S. at YTRES. (As many as possible).
(b) All other cases to FINS detraining point, whence a ferry service of horse ambulances will convey them to the Corps M.D.S.
(ii). Failing the Decauville by Motor Ambulance Cars direct from A.D.S. GOUZEAUCOURT, to C.C.S. at YTRES.

B. Walking Wounded.
Walking wounded will be directed to Div. W.W.C. Station established in the GOUZEAUCOURT BATHS. From here they will be conveyed by charabancs and possibly by Decauville (empty ammunition trains) to FINS, and thence to the Corps W.W. Station which has been established next to the Corps M.D.S.

From the Corps W.W. Station evacuation will be by Decauville to C.C.S’s at TINCOURT. Failing the latter a ferry service of busses will be used.

DIVISIONAL STRETCHER COY. 4.

The Divisional Stretcher Coy. has been re-organised and instructed, and will be utilised, if required, to assist in the work of clearing the battlefield. They will be controlled by O.C. Collecting F.A. (60th ) at A.D.S. (GOUZEAUCOURT) – with the exception of the section drawn from and attached to 59th Bde., which will come under orders of B.G.C. 59th Bde. at Zero, and will be rationed by the 59th Bde.

Calls for the services of the Divl Stretcher Coy. (with the exception of the 59th Bde. Section above mentioned), will be addressed to O.C. Collecting F.A., GOUZEAUCOURT A.D.S., direct.

CORPS SICK COLLECTING STATION. 5.

A Corps Sick Collecting Station has been established next to the C.M.D.S. and C.W.W.C.S. on the FINS – NURLU Road, and will deal with ALL sick, both from the forward and surrounding areas. Cases will be conveyed by charabancs or busses to the C.R.S. at MOISLAINS.

DUMPS. 6.

Dumps of Stretchers, Blankets, extra Dressings etc will be formed at Relay Posts as early as possible.

ACKNOWLEDGE.

J. McD Haskard
Lieut. Colonel,
General Staff, 20th Division.
15th Nov., 1917.

Distribution overleaf.

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. Divl. Signals.
10. Divl. Pioneers.
11. Divl. M.G. Coy.
12. }
13. }
14. }
15. } A.D.M.S.
16. }
17. }
18. }
19. D.M.G.O.
20. A.P.M.
21. III Corps.
22. War Diary.
23. File.

20TH (Light) Division Operations. Instructions No 7. 18 November 1917

G.O.C.
SECRET.
Copy No. 1
20 DNG67
SECRET.
20TH (LIGHT) DIVISION OPERATIONS. INSTRUCTIONS NO 7.
3RD STAGE.

1. As soon as the 29th Div. has captured the MASNIERES – BEAUREVOIR line, East and North of MASNIERES, its right flank, held by the 88th Inf. Bde., will rest on the Canal about G.27.c.4.8.
The 59th Inf. Bde. will push forward its left flank to get into touch with the right of the 29th Div. on the Canal at the above mentioned place.

2. In order to carry out the 3rd Stage as early as possible, it is essential that every advantage be taken of any demoralization of the enemy which may occur during the 1st and 2nd Stages to push forward Advanced Guards boldly.
It is also important that the original breach be widened as soon as possible towards both flanks by turning and operating against the flanks of the hostile troops holding the line of defence.

3. The Lucknow Cav. Bde., under the orders of G.O.C. III Corps, will be raiding Southwards in the direction of WALINCOURT for the purpose of widening the original breach.

4. In pursuance of the above object future action will be as follows:-
(a) The 29th Div. will, when they have secured the ground mentioned in para. 1 and the detachment mentioned in para. 3 have passed through, push out and hold the edge of the spur in G.23.c. & d., sending Tanks, supported by infantry, into CREVECOEUR to clear the village and seize the crossings.
(b) The 59th Inf. Bde. will move forward 2 Bns simultaneously with the advance of the 29th Div., and establish a line on the BONAVIS – CREVECOEUR ridge overlooking the LES RUES DES VIGNES, and extend this line to about G.35.a.1.9., where the right of the 29th Div. will rest. The remaining 2 Bns will move up in close support.
This line is to be at once consolidated.
On relief of the 2 Troops 1/1 Northumberland Yeo by the infantry on this position, the Cavalry will withdraw and remain with the 59th Inf. Bde. H.Q. until further orders.
(c) The 61st Inf. Bde will move to the vicinity of LES RUES VETRES, G.26. in support of the advance of the 29th Div., keeping South of the Canal.
(d) The 60th Inf. Bde. will move to about L.35.b. & d. in support of the above dispositions.

5. The action outlined above is dependent upon the course of the battle, but it is intended if possible to carry out these moves on the afternoon of ‘Z’ day, and if that is not possible, to push on at dawn on Z+1 day.

6. In order not to interfere with the rapid exploitation of successes, artillery action against the following places will cease on the hours detailed below:-
LES RUES DES VIGNES – Z plus 360
CREVECOEUR – Z plus 320
MASNIERES – Z plus 250
MARCOING – Z plus 235
Any bombardment by heavy artillery of these places after the above hours will only be carried out at the request of the Divisions concerned.
7. The further action of our troops, which is intended to set free the Cavalry for active work in a North-easterly direction, and which will take place on Z+1 day, can be outlined as follows:-
(a) At 6.15 a.m., the 61st Bde. will advance and take over the front of the 29th Div. between the Canal and H.19.a.; the point of junction between 29th Div and 61st Inf. Bde. will be on the track in H.19.a.
(b) The 60th Inf. Bde. will move into Div. Reserve at LES RUES VERTES, G.26. and be prepared to support either Bde.

8. In order to render the flank more secure, it is proposed, on ‘Z’ night, to destroy the bridges at LES RUES DES VIGNES and BANTEUX. The destruction of the bridges at LES RUES DES VIGNES will be undertaken by the 20th Div and at BANTEUX by the 12th Div.
It is also intended to clear the enemy with Tanks from the Western bank of the Canal between BANTEUX and CREVECOEUR.
The 59th Inf. Bde. will co-operate with the 12th Div in carrying out these operations, which will form the subject of subsequent orders.

9. The boundary between the 12th Div. and the 59th Inf. Bde. on the BONAVIS – CREVECOEUR spur will run from M.3.c.0.6. to the Canal at M.10.a.5.3.

ACKNOWLEDGE.

T. McN. Haskard
Lieut. Col.
General Staff, 20th Division.
18th Nov, 1917.
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. Signals.
10. A.D.M.S.
11.) 12.) 3rd Bde. Tank Corps.
13.)
14. III Corps.
15. III Corps R.A,.
16. 6th Div.
17. 12th Div.
18. 29th Div.
19. 59th Sqdn R.F.C.
20. III Corps Cavalry.
21. Lieut. The Hon. C.F.N. RAMSAY 1/1 Northumberland Yeo.
22. D.M.G.O.
23. War Diary.
24. File.

Frank Springett letter 28 November 1917

56153 Rfln F.W. Springett

A Company 3rd Platoon

51st G. Battn Kings Royal Rifles

Cliftonville

Margate

Kent

Nov 28th 1917

 

My Dear Brother Sid,

Just a few lines in answer to your welcome letter I have just received.  So pleased to hear that you were quite well as it leaves me very well at present.

Thanks very much indeed for the 10/- note it will come in very handy, it’s awfully good of you to think of me.

Dad sent me one the other day so you see I’ve been awfully lucky this week. “Ha Ha”.

Dear Sid, I think perhaps I shall be home for Christmas, our Captain is trying to get it for us I hope for the best, we will have a nice time if I do manage to get home. “You bet”.

It’s a grand day here today just like a spring day, but it as been something awful.

We are still busy, plenty of route marches my word, some of them want a bit of sticking. Ha Ha.

We are going to Deal next week to fire a few rounds, just a refresher course.

Of course, you know that we are finishing our training shortly, I have passed out bombing this week

Well, Sid I don’t think I have any more to say this time, there seems very little to write about as usual, once again thanking you kindly for the 10/- note I will close.

With Best Love

I remain

Your Affec Brother

Frank

 

With cover to Mr S.K. Springett, 29 Bath Road Dartford Kent

Postmarked Maidstone 3 PM 29 NO 17

Alf Smith letter 24 November 1917

Nov 24th 17

 

Dear Father

 

I found your parcel waiting for me when we arrived here & it was very welcome; the contents were tres bon as usual especially the cake, & jam thank you very much.

Well Dad I was very pleased to receive your letter, & to know you are all well.

We are getting along farely well out here although the weather is jolly rough as you can guess now.

I believe you mentioned about sending me a large parcel for Xmas I should appreciate it very much as you know but I think the usual size you send would be best as we might be on the move when it came & as you know we have to carry our house on our backs so there is not much room for spare stuff.  I might be coming home soon but don’t count on that I think myself it will be early in the New Year.

I should like some Harrises Pomade when you are sending another parcel so as to slaughter a few germs as well as Germans.

Ciss wrote to me yesterday I suppose you have to go very steady with the whisky at 12/- per bottle.  I was pleased to receive Ethel’s letter I will write to her next time.

Where do you think of moving to this time I suppose you hardly know at present?

Well I think I must stop now no more news this time.

Hoping you are all merry & bright & in the best of health glad to say I am A1.

Remember me to Mr & Mrs Warman & Lilian I hope they are quite well.

I was wondering if you can still get Shortbread or Shortbread biscuits I should very much like it if it is not too much trouble to get them.

Well Au revoir keep smiling.

With much love

Your devoted

Son

 

Narrative of Operations November 1917

Appendix II

 

EXPERIENCES GAINED IN THE RECENT OPERATIONS

20th and 21st November 1917.

 

1 ASSEMBLY.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

  1. 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.

 

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. COMMUNICATIONS.

 

(a). R.A.  It is strongly recommended that a limbered G.S. wagon be substituted for a Brigade Cable Cart, which is in no way suited for travelling over rough country and is incapable of carrying the amount of  wire required.

D.1 and D. 3 are the heaviest cables suited for Artillery Bdes. And Batteries.

The use of mounted orderlies was most necessary as all other methods of communication continually failed.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

  1. TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT OF INFANTRY WITH TANKS.

 

(a) Training.

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

 

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

 

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

 

(iv). The most careful training is required in the matter of keeping direction of Tanks, and the strictest discipline should be inculcated in troops at training.

A real course must be mapped out, real trenches and real wire. Taped trenches and imaginary wire give quite a wrong impression.

 

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

 

(b). Employment.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

  1. EQUIPMENT OF INFANTRY.

 

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

 

  1. MACHINE GUNS.

 

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

 

  1. LEWIS GUNS.

 

The Lewis Gun confirmed its value in every way. In one instance, after enemy guns had knocked out 2 Tanks, our Lewis gun fire killed all the gunners and allowed the advance to continue.

Lewis Gun teams were the first to cover and make possible the capture of the bridges. Too great stress cannot be laid upon the need for ample supplies of ammunition for Lewis Guns; Yukon Packs loaded with spare drums on pack animals were most useful in this connection.

Luminous sights proved of great value.

 

  1. EMPLOYMENT OF CAVALRY.

 

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

  1. BOMBS.

 

“P” Bombs were not found necessary.

 

  1. MOVES OF HEADQUARTERS.

 

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

 

  1. CAPTURE OF STRONG POINTS.

 

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

 

  1. SNIPERS.

 

Snipers were employed with considerable success in LES RUES VERTES and RUE DES VIGNES, and many casualties caused. One sniper killed 7 Germans in RUE DES VIGNES on the 21st November.

Telescopic sights were found useful, but the difficulty in replacing them in cases of loss caused diffidence in bringing them forward.

 

  1. STOKES MORTARS.

 

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

 

 

10th December 1917.

 

 

F Springett letter 23 November 1917

56153 Rfln F.W. Springett

A Company 3rd Platoon

51st G. Battn Kings Royal Rifles

Cliftonville

Margate

Kent

Nov 23rd 1917

 

My Dear Brother Sid,

Just a few lines in answer to your welcome letter received today, so pleased to hear that you were quite well, as it leaves me very well at present, except for a bit of a cold.

Very pleased to hear that you still have plenty of work, also that you are having a good time. The weather is rather cold down here but we don’t get much rain, that’s one thing.

I see we have another moon now. I expect the Germans will soon be over again to have another try to frighten us.  “Ha Ha”.

We have to get up and go down the cellars but Frank doesn’t stop there long.  I generally manage to crawl back upstairs and get in bed.  One night some of us were caught “my word” you should have heard the Officer crack on.  Ha Ha.

I heard from Dad the other day and he told me what he was giving Mother for her birthday of course with your help and Ted’s.

I think that’s a jolly good present for her.  Well she is well worth all she gets, “what do you say?”  I had a letter from Ted the other day.

The old Colonel is getting awfully strict, now we are in a regiment he’s properly put the wind up the troops this week.  Ha Ha.

One chap for swearing at a L/Corporal got 20 day’s pay stopped and 20 day’s pay stopped and 20 day’s C.B. this is some life. Ha Ha.  I have been awfully lucky I have never been up for orders yet, a jolly good record eh?

Things are a bit hopeful again, that’s a jolly good victory for us out in France this week.

Well, Sid I haven’t any more news this time, so will pack up.

You ask me if there is anything I want, which I am sure is very kind of you, of course another note would be very acceptable indeed.

Well Sid, I thank you very much for what you are doing for me, and hope to repay you some day.

Hoping this letter finds you quite well. I will close

With Best Love

I remain

Your Affec Brother Frank

 

With cover to Mr S.K. Springett, 29 Bath Road Dartford Kent

Postmarked Margate 9.45PM 23 No 17