NOTES ON RECENT FIGHTING – No. 8. 28 April 1918

K.J. Bunting Capt.
Issued down to Brigades.
T.9.
NOTES ON RECENT FIGHTING – No. 8.
(Issued by the General Staff)
Signal communication.
1. Trench warfare has unduly emphasised the use of telephonic communication, which cannot be extensively maintained in warfare of movement. It will very rarely be possible to provide any communication by wire in front of Infantry Brigade H.Q., and it is impossible to count upon the telephone forward of Divisional H.Q. Commanders of Infantry Brigades and units must accustom themselves to rely entirely upon other methods of communications. Greater attention must therefore be paid to the organization of such means of communication, especially visual and wireless.
2. In each divisional area, efforts should, if possible, be concentrated on one main artery of communication from front to rear, which should consist of cable, wireless, visual signalling and despatch riders, as circumstances permit. H.Q. of Divisions, and of Infantry and Artillery Brigades, should be placed in as close proximity as is practicable to this artery, on which signal offices should be established to serve several H.Q. It is for Corps to select the location of these arteries and to assist in their formation, so that Divisions may be enabled, if necessary, to move to points at which they will find both forward and rearward communication already provided.
3. It is essential that the move of H.Q. of a formation or unit should be notified as early as possible to higher, lower and adjacent formations or units. The difficulty of maintaining communication has sometimes been much increased by failure to indicate the position at which new H.Q. were to be opened, or to inform all concerned of alterations of plans in regard to movements arranged.
4. It would seem that there has sometimes been a lack of discretion in regard to the use of the signal cable wagon. Cases are reported in which all available cable was laid out while the situation was still obscure, so that the cable could not be recovered on withdrawal; and in other cases it seems that no use was made of the cable wagons, which were sent back when they might usefully have been retained.
5. In a withdrawal it is inadvisable to trust entirely to permanent overhead routes; when cut they take a long time to repair, and a cable line can be restored much more quickly.
April 28th 1918.
Printed in France by Army Printing and Stationary Services. PRESS A-4/18-6194S-3,500.

Advertisements

NOTES ON RECENT FIGHTING – No. 7. 24 April 1918

Issued down to Divisions
(for distribution down to Battalions)
T.9.
NOTES ON RECENT FIGHTING – No. 7.
GERMAN ATTACK NEAR GIVENCHY, APRIL 9th, 1918.
From captured German orders and the attached map which shows the dispositions and plans of the 4th Ersatz Division, it appears that the following method of attack was adopted by the enemy:-
1. A very careful study was made of our defences in this locality. It is noteworthy that three days before the attack the enemy issued to platoon commanders detailed information gathered from air reconnaissance carried out at low elevation on that day, together with a note indicating not only the force expected to oppose the attack but also the estimated quality of the opposition anticipated. As a result of his reconnaissance, the enemy seems to have based his plan on avoiding the strong locality at Givenchy itself, penetrating our line on either flank, and turning inwards so as to take Givenchy from the right rear (south-west and south). The attacking force was divided into two portions, a northern and a southern. The northern attack was undertaken by four battalions, of which two were in front line, one in support and one in reserve. The southern attack consisted of two battalions, one being in the front line and one in support. In these attacks, the leading battalions were ordered to push straight forward, while the supporting battalion of the southern attack was to turn north and to take Givenchy in flank and rear from the south-west and south, and the supporting battalion of the northern attack was to deal similarly with Festubert from the south. This method of dealing from the flank and rear with strong points which are not attacked frontally has been conspicuous in the German operations since the 21st of March 1918.
2. Our defences consisted of defended localities each of which was held by a complete unit of not less than a platoon; other platoons especially detailed for counter-attack were kept in support. The garrisons of the defended localities had received orders to hold on at all costs – orders which were carried out in every case – and the platoons in support had been instructed to counter-attack as soon as the occasion arose without waiting for further orders. Each defended locality was prepared and wired for all round defence. Many of the communication trenches were wired, and lines of wire running perpendicularly and obliquely to the front had been erected to check any lateral advance in the event of local penetration. These obstacles proved of great assistance in preventing the enemy from extending his flanks after he has forced his way into portions of our front defences.
3. The attack was launched in a heavy mist, which greatly assisted the enemy. The parties of Germans, however, which succeeded in penetrating our positions were held up by the garrisons of the defended localities. As soon as the enemy’s advance was thus checked, the platoons in support counter-attacked and worked round the flanks of the parties which had pressed forward into our line. The enemy was engaged, therefore, by fire and bayonet from all sides. Several hundred prisoners and a large number of machine guns were captured, and our line was maintained intact. There was very little bombing.
4. The failure of the enemy’s attack upon these defences was due to the stubbornness of the defence maintained by the garrisons of the defended localities, and to the promptitude and skill with which the supporting platoons made their counter-attacks. We employed the same tactics against the enemy as he was endeavouring to employ against us. No frontal counter-attack was delivered, but the enemy was defeated by a succession of immediate counter-attacks delivered from the flanks.

Full advantage was taken of counter-attacking platoons of their knowledge of the ground, with the result that the enemy was outmanoeuvred as well as outfought.

From a study of this engagement the fact emerges clearly that an enemy penetrating into gaps in our positions is very much at a disadvantage until he can widen the flanks of the gaps; if the defending troops strengthen the flanks of these gaps and hold on to their positions tenaciously, he is bound to be caught between two fires, and forced to surrender what he has gained.

April 24th 1918.

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NOTES ON RECENT FIGHTING – No. 6. 19 April 1918

K.J. Bunting Capt.
Issued down to Divisions
(for distribution down to Battalions)
T.9
NOTES ON RECENT FIGHTING – No. 6.
MACHINE GUNS.
(Issued by the General Staff)
1. The following translation of a German document (I/a48580) indicates good dispositions and handling of our machine gun units, during the fighting in March. It emphasises again the value of the disposition of machine guns in depth – both in attack and defence. In the attack, security against counter-attack is thereby given to the flanks; in defence, provision is thereby made for resistance to the enemy’s attempt to widen any gap into which he may penetrate.
2. Fire effect is the essential. Therefore, an extensive field of fire (1,000 yards or more) is required for machine guns; direct fire must be a primary consideration; and the employment of guns singly should be avoided. Generally, forward guns should be employed in pairs, and guns in rear should be in pairs or groups of four, so as to facilitate control of a considerable volume of fire.
3. In defence, the disposition of machine guns in depth must be based on definite plans for restricting the area into which an attacker might penetrate. The enemy generally attempts to effect penetration at the weaker portions of the line and to take our more strongly prepared positions in flank and reverse. This should be anticipated and should not necessitate bringing our machine guns into action in unforeseen directions as has sometime occurred.
4. Single guns with hostile infantry may be dealt with in previously prepared defences by single 18-pdrs in advanced positions, and on all occasions by the fire of rifles and Lewis guns used boldly in front of the main position.
Ia/48580
TRANSLATION OF A GERMAN DOCUMENT.
C.G.S. of the Field Army
Ia/II Nr. 82373 op. 30-3-18.
1. During the course of our offensive, the principal resistance was offered by the machine gun nests distributed in depth. Their total destruction by the artillery bombardment prior to the assault, even when this was of considerable duration, was not achieved and cannot be expected. We must be satisfied with the neutralization of as large a number as possible of these nests by means of heavy artillery fire and bombardment with blue cross gas shell.
The engagement of those machine gun nests which remain in action will then be carried out by single guns (of light Minenwerfer), which are under the orders of the most advanced infantry, follow this infantry as close as possible and fire over open sights at close range (1,1000 yards). It is advisable that batteries allotted to individual battalions should always be the same. Under the protection of the fire of these guns (or Minenwerfer), the infantry will advance by bounds with quite weak groups, the light machine guns forming part of these groups.

The heavy machine guns should generally be employed to keep down the occupants of the objective of the attack during the infantry attack, and to follow the latter up by large bounds. They also afford security against the enemy’s counter-thrusts.

The method outlined above has apparently not been employed universally, but where it has, it has been successful and casualties have been light. I request that steps be taken to ensure that this method is brought to the knowledge of all units as early as possible. The idea of compelling success by the employment of masses of troops must be absolutely eradicated. This merely leads to unnecessary losses. It is fire effect which is decisive, and not numbers.

2. The extraordinary moral and explosive effect of the medium and heavy Minenwerfer has been once more proved during the attack on the 21st March. The selection of the position of the Minenwerfer companies during the advance must be based on the consideration that they must be able to bring their medium Minenwerfer into action as soon as the attack comes to a standstill, especially against defended villages, farm buildings etc. There is no question of employing heavy Minenwerfer and Flugelminenwerfer in open warfare; there is therefore all the more reason to make use of them in trench warfare. Apart from the preparatory bombardment prior to the actual attack, their principal task will always be to annihilate the enemy’s infantry. Villages which lie within range form, on account of their strong garrisons, particularly suitable targets.

(Signed) LUDENDORFF.
GENERAL STAFF,
GENERSAL HEADQUARTERS,
19th April, 1918.

Printed in France by Army Printing and Stationary Services. PRESS A-4/18.

42 Infantry Brigade Signals note 3 April 1918

SECRET

********

42nd Inf Bde.

S 6/113 B.M.

5th Oxf & Bucks L.I.

5th Shrops L.I.

9th K.R.Rif.C.

9th Rif Brig.

42nd Machine Gun Company.

42nd Trench Mortar Battery.

8th Inf Bde.

9th Inf Bde.

41st Inf Bde.

43rd Inf Bde.

76th Inf Bde.

14th Division

14th Div’l Signals.

B.T.O.

No 3 Section Signals (3 Copies).

No 8 Squadron R.F.C. (2 Copies).

14th Divl Artillery (5 Copies)

 

*********************************************************************

  1. Herewith copy (or copies) of Instructions for Communications in the 42nd Inf Bde during forthcoming Operations.
  2. Where more than one copy has been sent the additional copies are for distribution as considered suitable.
  3. O.C. Battalions of 42nd Inf Bde will ensure that their Signalling Officers are fully acquainted with these instructions. If doubt exists regarding any points, their Signalling Officer should arrange to see the Brigade Signalling Officer with regard to them.
  4. Please acknowledge.

 

B Jagel

Capt.

Bde Major

42nd Inf Bde.

3rd April 1918.

 

 

 

COMMUNICATIONS

********************

  1. TELEPHONES AND TELEGRAPH.
  • From W Day until ZERO Battalions will be in communication with Advanced Brigade H.Q. at G.34.b.95.70 (Position Call J.P. 50) through which office communication with Covering Artillery Advanced Dressing Station and Advanced Transport Lines can be obtained.
  • At ZERO telephone lines will be switched over to Brigade Command Post at M.5.b.60.90 (Station call Z.D.B.)
  • The B.T.O. will detail orderlies for duty at the Signal Office in Advanced Transport Lines.
  • The following are positions where telephone offices will be situated from W to Z Day inclusive:-

————————————————————————————-

Position of                   Position           Locality           Map Reference

Telephone Office        Call

————————————————————————————-

Advanced Bde HQ     J.P.50              ——-               G.34.b.95.70.

Adv Dressing Stn.      J.P.63              HUNTER        G.35.d.10.85.

STREET

Battalion H.Q.                        H.L.                 HUN L            G.35.d.50.05.

Battalion H.Q.                        J.P.3                HUNTER        G.35.d.15.90.

STREET

Battalion H.Q.                        B.A.                MIDDLESEX            M.5.b.65.60.

TRENCH

Battalion H.Q.                        B.B.                 HOG LINE     M.5.b.83.95.

Bde Command Post    B.C.P.             HOG LINE     M.5.b.60.90.

————————————————————————————-

 

  • As soon as the situation allows, a line will be extended and an advanced Signal Office established in the Old Battery Position at M.6.d.40.30 (Call B.P.)
  • Battalions will send messages, for transmission from that Office, by runner.

NOTE.  Reference para (a) Fullerphone with telephone in series will be installed in each Battalion H.Q. but the former must be used in preference to the latter whenever possible owing to their being no possibility of its being overheard by the enemy.

 

  1. VISUAL.

(a). Brigade Receiving Station (Call Z.D.B.) will be established at M.5.b.60.90 equipped with Lucas Lamp, Helio, and Dietz Disc.

 

(b). Z.D.B. will receive from Station established in Old Battery position at M.6.d.40.30 (Call B.P.). B.P. will be manned by Signallers of the 5th Oxf & Bucks L.I., one N.C.O. and 3 men, and will be equipped with Lucas Lamp, Helio, and Dietz Disc.  The Lucas Lamp will be employed in preference to the other instruments.  The Station will be regarded as a transmitting centre for messages from all Battalions.  Messages must be short and concise and will be sent from Battalion H.Q. by Runner to the Visual Station (B.P.)

 

(c). Personnel for B.P. will proceed to take up position about 15 minutes in rear of Battalion.  A series of dashed will be sent until O.K. is given by Z.D.B.

 

(d). The method of sending from B.P. will be as follows:-

 

The prefix will be sent repeatedly until answered by “G” when the prefix will be sent once more followed by code time, number of words, “address to”, text, “address from” and V.E.; Office of origin and service instructions will not be sent; after V.E. the whole message will be repeated immediately and the second V.E. given; if the message has been correctly received the answer R.D. will be sent; should R.D. not be given the message will be repeated until acknowledged by the Receiving Station. R.D. will be answered by ”T”.

 

  1. PIGEONS.

(a). Pigeon men with birds should be detailed to accompany definite Officers. It is hoped to be able to supply two pairs of birds to each of the following:-

5th Oxf & Bucks L.I.

5th Shrops L.I.

9th K.R.Rif.C.

(b). A forward dump of birds will be formed in Advanced Brigade H.Q. G.34.b.95.70.

(c). Immediately any birds have been released, a pigeon man should be sent back to the dump with the empty basket to fetch more pigeons.

(d). Battalions must ensure that they are in possession of message book, refill and spare clips.

(e). On release the birds fly to the Loft near Div’l H.Q. Average time taken is 9 minutes.  From the Loft the message is telegraphed to the addressee and diatelegrams delivered direct by Special D.R.

(f). Code names should be used in the messages: remainder may be sent in clear. Care should be taken to enter on the message the time at which it is written.  Diagrams whenever possible should accompany report.  They must however be made on the special message form.

(g). A copy of every pigeon message should be sent by the next Runner endorsed ”COPY ORIGINAL SENT BY PIGEON AT (Time)”.  Runners should not be sent specially.

 

  1. POWER BUZZER.

(a). One Power Buzzer is allotted to this Brigade (Call – C.S.)

(b). The Amplifier will be installed in LEWEN SCHANZE (M.5.d.70.40.) and manned by Signal Service personnel. The call for this Station will be Z.D.C.  It will receive also from Power Buzzer on the 43rd Inf Bde Front (Call C.Q.).  The  notes of the two Buzzers will be so adjusted that they can be distinguished and the adjustment will be made before the instruments are sent forward.  Base lines of all instruments will be North and South.

(c). The Power Buzzer will move forward with the 9th K.R.Rif.C. H.Q.  For this purpose the 9th K.R.Rif.C. will detail 4 men instructed in the use of the Power Buzzer.

(d). The 5th Shrops L.I. will detail 4 Signallers, similarly instructed, to follow 10 minutes in rear of their Battalion H.Q. and take over the Power Buzzer from the 9th K.R.Rif.C. and proceed to re-instal it in Battalion H.Q. at Second Objective.

(e). They in turn will hand the instrument over to personnel detailed by the relieving unit.

(f). Messages, which must be as short and concise as possible, may be sent in clear except names of units. For these, Code Names must be used.  Messages will be sent slowly three times in succession with short interval.  The whole message, less ’Office of Origin’ and ’Service Instructions’ will be sent.

(g). A copy of every message sent by Power Buzzer should be sent by next Runner endorsed ”COPY ORIGINAL SENT BY POWER BUZZER AT (Time)”.

(h). It must be remembered that the Power Buzzer can be overheard by the enemy.

 

  1. WIRELESS.
  • One Trench Wireless Set is allotted to this Brigade.
  • One Officer and Carrying Party of 4 men trained in the erection of the set will be detailed by the 9th Rif Brig to take charge of the Station. The operating will be done by Signal Service personnel.  The Officer in charge will keep the set packed up and in readiness in a dugout near Brigade Command Post, to go forward as soon as the Second Objective has been gained and consolidated.  The Officer will then take his party forward with the set and report to O.C. 5th Shrops L.I.  It will be the duty of the Officer in charge of the set to keep in touch with the Brigade Staff and to find out directly the captured position is sufficiently consolidated to make it feasible to bring the Wireless Station into to
  • C. 5th Shrops L.I. will if possible, select a suitable dugout or shelter in the captured position, preferably in a Battalion H.Q. He will if necessary provide a guide to the site selected.
  • The call of the Station will be Y.M.M/. and it will work to Y.U. (..–) situated at ACHICOURT which is in telephone communication with VII Corps.

The station will subsequently be handed over to personnel detailed by        the relieving Brigade.

  • It must be remembered that wireless messages can be overheard by the enemy. It is necessary to send wireless messages in Playfair cipher whenever possible.  Key-word will be notified later.
  • The responsibility for enciphering, encoding, deciphering and decoding of all wireless messages rests with the Commander of the unit to whom the wireless station is allotted.
  • The Wireless personnel are trained to encipher, encode, decipher and decode messages and under the authority of the Commander of the unit or his representative but the entire responsibility rests with the Commander.
  • No message in cipher of code is to be transmitted until it has been endorsed by the Commander or his representative that the message is to be sent ”By wireless as written”.
  • For the purpose of para (g) and (h) the Officer in charge of set may be regarded as the Commander’s representative.
  • Messages will be confirmed as given in para 4 Sub-pars (g).

 

  1. RUNNERS.
  • Runners will wear a RED band sewn on left sleeve below the elbow. They will carry despatches in the right left **** breast pocket, and this pocket will be kept empty of all other papers while the runner is carrying a despatch.  All ranks should be told that despatches are carried in this pocket and that if any man sees a runner killed or wounded it is his duty to search the pocket and himself to deliver the despatch found therein.  Runners should be distributed as follows:-

TWO with each Platoon Commander.

FOUR at each Company H.Q.

EIGHT at each Battalion H.Q.

FOUR from each Battalion, ONE from 42nd Machine Gun Company, and ONE from 42nd Trench Mortar Battery at Advanced Brigade H.Q. at G.34.b.95.70 to report at Signal Office at 3 pm. On ’Y’ Day each with one days rations.

Runners form a branch of the Signals of a unit.  Trained Signallers should not be employed as runners.

  • Brigade Runners will be worked on the relay system and posts of 4 men each will be established at:-
    1. Brigade Command Post M.5.d.60.90.
    2. junction of TELEGRAPH LANE and CORDITE TRENCH.

The Battery Position at M.6.d.40.30. will be Runner Post No 3.  Runners will proceed to take up position there about 2 hours and 30 minutes after ZERO.  At this Post 8 men will be stationed, 4 working to Right Battalion H.Q. and 4 to Left Battalion H.Q.  This Post will be responsible also for delivering to the 5th Shrops L.I. at the second objective.

 

  1. AEROPLANE LIAISON.
  • Contact Aeroplanes working with the 14th Division will have a special marking, a broad black band under the lower starboard (right) plane, with streamer.
  • Flares will be lit by the most advanced troops when the Contact Aeroplane calls for them. Flares can be seen if lit at the bottom of trenches or shell holes.  The Signal for ”LIGHT FLARES” is a series of ”A”s on a Klaxon Horn or the firing of a white light.
  • Messages will be signalled to the aeroplane by means of a French Lamp or ground signal panel which should be at least 15 yards away from the ground signal sheet (the semi-circular sheet indicating the position of Battalion H.Q.) and the ground signal strips (indicating code letter of Battalion H.Q.). Messages will be signalled to aeroplanes only when all other means of communication fail.
  • Q. will indicate that they have a message for the aeroplane by calling up in the usual way.

When the aeroplane is ready to receive the message it will send the Battalion call letters and ”G” by Klaxon or Lamp.

Each word or code letter of a message from the ground will be answered by the aeroplane by the general answer ”T” and the receipt of the message will be acknowledged after V.E. by the code call of the sender followed by ”R.D.” This will be answered from the ground by ”T”.

  • Should ground signal strips not be available the Battalion code call will be sent continually until the aeroplane replies by sending code call followed by ”G”.
  • Messages sent on the panel must be confined to code given below and co-ordinates.
  • When the observer has obtained information either from the flares, ground sheet or panel, he goes to the “dropping station” at BERNEVILLE, drops the message and at once return to the Battalion for further work. The message is telegraphed from the “dropping station” to the addressee.
  • Code letters allotted are as follows:-

Brigade H.Q.              Z.D.B.

5th Oxf & Bucks L.I.   O.L.I.

5th Shrops L.I.             K.L.I.

9th K.R.Rif.C.             K.R.I.

9th Rif Bde                  R.B.I.

  • Signals between aeroplanes and Infantry are as follows:-

The rest of the paper is missing.

 

Messages 30 March 1918

“A” Form

MESSAGES AND SIGNALS

 

To        G.S.O. 1

 

Senders Number                     Day of Month             In reply to Number     AAA

G 2                                                      30

 

Cavalry regiment moving from South to North behind Wood C.21.2.9.

 

From: G.O.C.

Place:

Time: 9.15 am.

G.A. Greig Capt.

Signature of Addressor.

——————————————————————————————————-

 

“A” Form

MESSAGES AND SIGNALS

 

To        G.S.O. 1

 

Senders Number                     Day of Month             In reply to Number     AAA

G 3                                                      30

 

Two squadrons British cavalry halted behind wood I.3.b.

 

From: G.O.C.

Place:

Time: 9.30 am.

G.A. Greig Capt.

Signature of Addressor

———————————————————————-

 

“A” Form

MESSAGES AND SIGNALS

 

To        G.S.O. 1

 

Senders Number                     Day of Month             In reply to Number     AAA

G 4                                                      30

 

Infantry or dismounted cavalry advancing in extended order through C.10.d. towards southern end of wood C.10.d. strength about 300.

 

From: G.O.C.

Place:

Time: 9.40 am.

G.A. Greig Capt.

Signature of Addressor

——————————————————————

 

 

 

 

“A” Form

MESSAGES AND SIGNALS

 

To        G.S.O. 1

 

Senders Number                     Day of Month             In reply to Number     AAA

G 5                                                      30

 

SEELY’s Brigade cavalry is operating strength about 1800 is operating in wood C.21.22. information received from cavalry officer.

 

From: G.O.C. 20

Place:

Time:

G.A. Greig Capt.

Signature of Addressor

———————————————————————

 

“A” Form

MESSAGES AND SIGNALS

 

To        G.O.C.

 

Senders Number                     Day of Month             In reply to Number     AAA

G 6                                                      30

 

Cavalry officer reports that 4th & 5th Cavalry Brigades in wood BOTS LABBE N CACHY at 10.25 am. AAA Australian Infantry Bde were in CACHY 10.20 am & they had just sent out patrols towards VILLERS BRETONNEAU

 

From: G.S.O. 3

Place:

Time:

G.A. Greig Capt.

Signature of Addressor

——————————————————————

 

30 March 1918

20 Div message 30 March 1918

“A” Form

MESSAGES AND SIGNALS

 

To        G.O.C.

 

Senders Number                     Day of Month             In reply to Number     AAA

V.L. 1                                                  30

 

Our front is apparently holding AAA A tendency to withdraw on the right has been rigidly checked.

 

From: 20th Div

Place:

Time: 9 A.M.

G.A. Greig Capt.

Signature of Addressee

 

30 March 1918

 

 

 

Message 30 March 1918

“A” Form

MESSAGES AND SIGNALS

 

To        G.S.O. 1

 

Senders Number                     Day of Month             In reply to Number     AAA

G.1                                                      30/

 

About 2 squadrons of Cavalry seen advancing towards Southern corner of wood in I.3.b. from the direction of MOREUILL & have now disappeared from view into the wood.

 

From: G.O.C. 20

Place:

Time: 9.5

G.A. Grieg Capt.

Signature of Addressee

30 March 1918.