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  1. #76
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    Sunday 3rd September 1916 continued

    Guillemont








    20th Div was tasked with taking Guillemont. Zero Hour was noon. 59 Bde reinforced by 6th Bn, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (60 Bde) and 7th Bn, Somerset Light Infantry (61 Bde) attacked the southern endof Guillemont while 47 Bde of the 16th (Irish) Div was attached to the 20th Div from Corps Reserve. 10th Bn, King’s Royal Rifle Corps and 6th Bn, Connaught Rangers advanced before the bombardment lifted thus surprising the Germans at Zero Hour. The KRRC with 10th and 11th Bns, the Rifle Brigade reached their objective, the treet>Hardecourt Roadtreet> in 20 minutes. The KRRC mopped up here while the two Rifle battalions wheeled north to treet>Mount Streettreet>.
    North of Mount Street 6th Connaughts and 7th Leinsters advanced rapidly into Guillemont bypassing the quarry.In the face of heavy artillery and MG fire, the troops consolidated near treet>North Sttreet> and treet>South Sttreet> by 1.15pm.

    The advance resumed at 2.50pm on the Ginchy –treet>Wedge Wood Roadtreet>, which was reached at 3.30pm. 7th Bn, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry moved into the village to assist in consolidation.

    Counter attacks at 5.30 and 6.30 pm were repelled.

    For more detail on the Irish attack see;

    http://forum.irishmilitaryonline.com...t=2354&page=33



    South of Guillemont meanwhile, 5th Div sent 2nd Bn, King’s Own Scottish Borderers to attack Point 48 and Falfemont Farm at 9am in conjunction with an attack from The Ravine by the French 127th Regiment. The French were pinned down by MG fire and the KOSB attack failed disastrously with 300 casualties.

    The attack resumed at noon. 95 Bde with two battalions, 12th Glosters and 1st Duke of Cornwall’s LI, captured the German frontline in the face of enfilading fire from Falfemont Farm. 13 Bde also attacked with 14th and 15th Bn Warwickshire Regt. The 14th managed to enter the complex of trenches south of Wdge Wood. At 12.50pm 95 Bde again advanced and captured the German second Line between Wedge Wood and the south east corner of Guillemont. At 2.50pm they advanced to the Ginchy –treet>Wedge Wood Roadtreet> where they consolidated in contact with 20th Div.

    Meanwhile 15 Bde relieved 13 Bde in the attack on the Wedge Wood- Falfemont Farm line. 1st Bn, Bedfordshire Regt took the wood but 1st Bn, Cheshire Regt and 16th Bn Warwickshire Regt failed in the face of MG fire from positions left uncleared by the French.
    Last edited by Groundhog; 7th September 2006 at 16:56.

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  2. #77
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    Monday 4th September 1916. Day 66

    Ginchy

    9th Bn The Devonshire Regt attacked Ginchy at 8am but were forced back by 9am. At 2pm 21st Manchesters attacked from Delville Wood east bu failed to reach Hop Alley.

    Guillemont

    1st West Surreys (59 Bde, 20th Div) occupied Valley Trench. Two companies of 1st Devons then pushed forward to the edge of Leuze Wood which was under bombardment. When the barrage lifted they entered the wood and consolidated. 59 Bde was relieved late in the evening by two battalions of 49 Bde (16th Irish Div).

    South of Guillemont 5th Div made an attempt to capture Falfemont Farm. 1st Norfolks made the first attempt but, under fire from Combles Ravine, only a few troops entered the farm. 1st Cheshires then sent a company to flank the position while 1st Bedfords bombed south east along the German trench from Wedge Wood. By 4pm the northern and western corners of the farm were taken but another assault by the Norfolks and 16th Warwicks failed.

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  3. #78
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    Tuesday 5th September 1916. Day 67

    Delville Wood

    In 7th Div 2nd Bn, The Queen’s Regt cleared east of Delville Wood as far as Hop Alley.

    Guillemont

    Falfemont Farm was occupied by 1st Bn, The Norfolk Regt at 3am. Patrols were sent towards Point 48 and the whole objective was cleared by 7.30am. An hour later two companies of 16th Royal Warwickshire Regt established a line down the slope of Combles Ravine and linked up with 95 Bde in Leuze Wood.

    At 4pm 7th Royal Irish Fusiliers was sent by 15 Bde to take Combles Trench south east of Leuze Wood. It should be noted that the Fusiliers were in 49 Bde of 16th (Irish) Div while 15 Bde was part of 5th Div so the Irish were still reinforcing other divisions at this stage. The attack on Combles Trench failed due to wire which was hidden in standing corn. Another attempt at 7.30pm also failed.

    Meanwhile 48 and 49 Bdes of the 16th (Irish) Div relieved 59 and 60 Bdes of 20th Div. The posts on the treet>Guillemont-Leuze Wood Roadtreet> were converted into a continuous trench line.

    56th Div relieved 5th Div overnight.

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  4. #79
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    Wednesday 6th September 1916. Day 68

    Delville Wood

    In 55th Div, 1/6th King’s Regt made an unsuccessful bombing attack at dusk along treet>Wood Lanetreet>. Their sister battalion 1/7th King’s had more success along treet>Tea Lanetreet> at the same time.

    Ginchy

    2nd Bn The Gordon Highlanders supported by 9th Bn The Devonshire Regt attacked Ginchy at 5.30am. The Gordon’s attack failed but the Devons took and held treet>Pilsen Lanetreet> on their left flank. The Gordons attacked again at 2pm supported by two Devonshire companies attacking on t21st Manchesters attacked fhe right in the direction of the Guillemont-Ginchy road. Some men entered the village but were driven outby a counterattack at 4.30pm.

    Guillemont

    7th Royal Irish Fusiliers was still attached to 15 Bde (5th Div) but was relieved by 168 Bde of 56th Div overnight. In the morning 8th Royal Irish Fusiliers relieved 1st Devonshire Regt south of Leuze wood. They advanced across the Combles-Ginchy road and entered Boulee Germna attaux Wood.A counterattack at dusk during the handover to 56th Div forced them back to Leuze Wood where the Fusiliers and the London Scottish drove off the German attack.

    In 16th Irish Div, 48 and 49 Bdes were in the line between Ginchy and Leuze Wood, straddling the railway line. Patrols were suffering heavily from fire from the Quadrilateral redoubt south east of Ginchy. 48 Bde was also subjected to shellfire directed at 7th Division’s efforts.

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  5. #80
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    Thursday 7th September 1916. Day 69

    Delville Wood

    1/5th South Lancashire Regt and 1/10th King’s were brought forward from 55th Div reserves to dig and occupy a new frontline southeast of Delville Wood.

    At 4pm 2nd Queen’s Regt (7th Div) made another attempt to clear the eastern corner of the wood with rifle grenades. That night 7th Div was relieved in the line by 55th and 16th Divs.

    North of the wood 1/5th King’s (2nd Div) occupied the eastern end of treet>Wood Lanetreet> unopposed.

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  6. #81
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    Friday 8th September 1916. Day 70

    Mouquet Farm

    After several attempts the Germans recaptured Fabeck Graben.

    High Wood

    1st Div made an attempt to clear the western half of the wood at 6pm. 2nd Bn the Welsh Regt had mixed success with half the battalion achieving it’s objective and the other being held up. 1st Bn, Gloucestershire Regt attacked the south west corner of the wood and cleared it while the 9th Black Watch (15th Div) captured a trench at the west corner of the wood. The Germans counterattacked and a general withdrawal was ordered.

    Delville Wood

    At 1.20am German Counterattack on treet>Wood Lanetreet> and Tea Trench was beaten back with Lewis gun fire. 1/5th and 1/9th King’s joined up in Tea Trench and sent out patrols along North Street and the Flers road. No enemy resistance was encountered.

    Guillemont

    169 Bde of 56th Div attempted to bomb down Combles Trench but were driven back.

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  7. #82
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    Saturday 9th September 1916. Day 71

    High Wood

    1st Division was still fighting in the area of High Wood. 1st Bn, Northamptonshire Regt, 10th Glosters and 3rd Bn, Royal Munster Fusiliers attacked in the wood. The Northants captured a mine crater blown 30 seconds before Zero Hour but were driven out of it 90 minutes later. The tate>Munsterstate> and Glosters made no headway.

    East of the wood 2nd Bn King’s Royal Rifle Corps and 2nd Bn, Royal Sussex Regt in 2 Bde captured part of treet>Wood Lanetreet>, the KRRC linking up with 55th Div troops while the Sussex had to dig a line ti link up with troops in the wood when the attack failed. Nearer Delville Wood, 1/5th and 1/6th King’s bombed forward along treet>Wood Lanetreet> from Orchard Trench.

    Ginchy

    In 47th Bde were 6th Royal Irish Regt, 8th tate>Munsterstate>, 6th Connaughts, 7th Leinsters. There were also two companies of pioneers from 11th Hampshires and the 47th MG Coy. These were the survivors of the capture of Guillemont a week before. The brigade strength was 1300 all ranks.

    48th Bde was formed from 1st tate>Munsterstate>, 7th Royal Irish Rifles and 8th and 9th Bns Dublin Fusiliers.

    49th Bde consisted of 7th and 8th Royal Irish Fusiliers and 7th and 8th Inniskillings.

    The artillery barrage began at 7am on Sept 9th, Zero Hour being set at 4.45pm. The assaulting battalions were sheltered in shallow trenches east and north east of the village. The division formation was front left 48th Bde, front right 47th Bde. Rear 49th Bde. Close to Zero hour orders were issued delaying the attack by two minutes. 48th Bde never received the order and advanced at 4.45. into their own barrage.

    47th Bde’s forward battalions-6th Royal Irish and 8th tate>Munsterstate> walked into the German counter barrage and also suffered heavily from close range MG and rifle fire from German positions south east of Ginchy. These positions were in dead ground and had been overlooked by the artillery barrage. 8th tate>Munsterstate> advanced only 100m. The Connaughts lost two company commanders as soon as they left their trenches. For the 7th Leinsters, Ginchy was the worst day in the battalion’s history. The assembly trenches were soon clogged with casualties, while out in No Man’s Land the living took shelter in shell holes. For the 47th Bde it was a story that many other units had experienced on July 1st. The brigade was pinned down and in fact had to beat off several German attacks until the morning of the 10th. An attempt at support from 7th Inniskillings failed to improve matters. When relieved the Bde had lost 450 men, including the battalion commander of the Royal Irish and his Adjutant. In addition the Inniskillings lost 200 men reinforcing the brigade.

    On the right 48th Bde faced some difficulties too. Finding their positions separated by a wide swathe of ground from the Germans they spent the night before battle digging assembly trenches in No Man’s Land. When the barrage began the 48th suffered casualties fro their own ‘shorts’. Because of course no one had told the artillery that the brigade was now out further forward. The Germans also added to the toll.

    At 4.45 pm the two lead battalions left their trenches-1st tate>Munsterstate> on the left, 7th Royal Irish Rifles on the right. The tate>Munsterstate> were immediately held up by the same German positions that had decimated 47th Bde. All company commanders, but one, were casualties within seconds. One company was commanded by it’s CSM. The rifles were down to 150 men before they even left their trenches and needed to be reinforced by the 7th Royal Irish Fusiliers before they even left their trenches. But the tide of battle now turned in favour of the Irish. The two 7ths broke through the German lines and into the outskirts of the village. German opposition was mortared and at 5.30 pm both Dublin Fusilier battalions took the village and advanced 300m beyond it. Lacking support they were driven back to the village where they consolidated. The assault was costly, both battalion commanders were casualties-1 dead, 1 wounded and the brigade suffered 1,400 casualties overall, including 200 KIA.

    But the battle was not yet over. Ginchy now formed a salient in the German line and it was attacked during the night, with the 48th clinging desperately to the blasted rubble. 8th Irish Fusiliers were sent forward to reinforce the village, where the troops linked up shell holes to form defensive positions. Rations were provided courtesy of the German dead. Having beaten off two counter-attacks, the 48th Bde was relieved by the 3rd Guards Bde on the morning of the 10th.

    One of the 9th Dublins was Nationalist MP Lt. Tom Kettle. He wrote a letter to his brother the night before battle-“Somewhere the Choosers of the Slain are touching, as in our Norse story they used to touch, with invisible wands those who are to die.” His letter proved prophetic for Tom Kettle was to be one of the Chosen. His brother in law Francis Sheehy-Skeffington had been murdered in the Easter Rebellion a few months before. A famous nephew-in-law of both is Conor Cruise O’Brien.

    Another famous nationalist survived Ginchy-Lt Emmet Dalton, earned an MC on the day and lived to fight in the War of Independence and the Civil War.

    Other MC laureates that day were Fr Willy Doyle, Chaplain in 8th Royal Irish Fusiliers and another chaplain Fr Wrafter also merited the MC. Fr Maurice O’Connell received one of 6 DSOs awarded to the Division amongst the 300 decorations earned by the 16th at Ginchy.

    The 16th (Irish) Division suffered heavily during it’s first ten days on the Somme. 650 men were known to have been killed in action, 2800 wounded and another 800 were missing. Officer casualties were over 50%.

    Overnight the Guards Division relieved 16th Irish Div, 1st Welsh Guards took over in Ginchy from 48 Bde while 4th Bn Grenadier Guards took over from 47 Bde in the Ginchy Road-Leuze Wood area.
    Last edited by Groundhog; 9th September 2006 at 13:51.

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  8. #83
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    Saturday 9th September 1916 continued.

    Bouleaux Wood

    Located south east of Guillemont between it and Combles.

    At 4.45pm the London Rifle Brigade (169 Bde, 56th Div) advanced from the south eastern edge of Leuze Wood against Loop Trench. They were reinforced by the Queen’s Westminster Rifles (1/16th London Regt) at 11pm. Meanwhile 1/9th London Regt captured the German line in Bouleaux Wood and advanced tate>north westtate> as far as the treet>Morval Roadtreet>.

    168 Bde meanwhile moved north east and pivoted right, attacking the line from Leuze Wood to the Quadrilateral redoubt which was located east of Ginchy. 1/4th and 1/12th London took part with mixed results.

    During this attack, Maj. Cedric Dickens was killed. He was a grandson of Charles Dickens.

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  9. #84
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    Sunday 10th September 1916. Day 72

    Delville Wood

    164 Bde made an attempt to secure Ale Alley and Hop Alley. Some men entered Hop Alley but were driven out again.

    Ginchy

    The Guards Division spent the day fighting offGerman attacks on the village.

    Bouleaux Wood

    1/16th Bn, the London Regt attacked south east from Leuze Wood at 7am. The attack was halted by MG fire from Loop Trench and the treet>Combles Roadtreet>. A 100 yard advance by one company at 3pm was beaten back. Likewise an attempt to bomb up the trench leading to the Quadrilateral failed. During the night, the London Scottish attempted to link up between Ginchy and the Quadrilateral but they lost their way and scattered.

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  10. #85
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    Monday 11th September 1916. Day 73

    Ginchy

    3 Guards Bde was relieved by 1st Bn, The Grenadier Guards and 2nd Bn The Scots Guards. A certain Je ne sais quoi has been added to the whole tone of the battle, which had been, heretofore, merely an unseemly brawl.

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  11. #86
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    Tuesday 12th September 1916. Day 74

    Ginchy

    1st Grenadier Guards captured ground around the Morval road advancing towards Ginchy Telegraph. This location was a piece of high ground east of the village that had been used as a semaphore station during the French Revolution.

    1/8th Middlesex Regt made some ground south east of the Quadrilateral.

    6th Division occupied the line between Guards Division and 56th London Division.

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  12. #87
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    Wednesday 13th September 1916. Day 75

    Ginchy

    6th Div captured the Leuze Wood Ginchy road but failed to advance to the Quadrilateral. A second attempt at 6pm was equally unsuccessful with 9th Suffolks and 2nd Sherwood Foresters losing 520 men.

    In the north of Ginchy 2nd Grenadier Guards straightened the line while 2nd Irish Guards made an unsuccessful attempt to take some MG posts on the Ginchy-Morval road.

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  13. #88
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    Thursday 14th September 1916. Day 76

    Mouquet Farm

    Two companies of 9th Bn West Yorkshire Regt and two of 8th Duke of Wellington’s Regt (32 Bde, 11th Div) advanced from Hindenberg Trench at 6.30pm. They broke through the front linnea nd captured the redoubt called The Wonder Work. They also captured 250 yards of the Hoenzollern Trench and the line as far as the treet>Thiepval Roadtreet> on the left flank. 6th Bn Green Howards then secured this flank.

    Ginchy

    1/2nd London Regt was engaged in digging assembly trenches south of Leuze Wood and parallel to Combles Trench.

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  14. #89
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    Friday 15th September 1916. Day 77 Part 1



    The week-long Battle of Flers-Courcelette began. It heralded the dawn of modern warfare because on this day the British introduced to the battlefield a brand new weapon known as the tank.


    Mouquet Farm


    2nd and 3rd Canadian Divs of the Canadian Corps were in action near here. 8 Bde of the 3rd Canadian Div held the frontline south of Mouquet Farm. 7 Bde was in reserve and it was this brigade that was brought up for the attack at 6pm from Sugar Trench. Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry took McDonnell Trench and the eastern part of Fabeck Graben. You’ll recall that this was the German trench running east from Mouquet Farm to Courcelette. At 6.30pm the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles advanced and pushed westwards along Fabeck Graben. At 8.15pm 49th Edmonton Bn took the Chalk Pit and reinforced the two battalions in the old German line.


    2nd Canadian Div was astride the treet>Bapaume Road easttreet> of Pozieres. The attck here went in at dawn supported by six tanks. 4 Bde attacked on the right flank with 18th(West Ontario) Bn, 20th(Central Ontario) Bn and 21st (Central Ontario) Bn. 6 Bde was on the left with 27th (City of Winnipeg), 28th (tate>North Westtate>) Bn and 31st (tate>Albertatate>) Bn.


    4 Bde’s objective was the Sugar Factory roughly half way from Pozieres to Courcelette. The front line was cleared in 15 minutes and by 7amtreet>Factory Lanetreet> trench was reached and the 20th Bn cleared the Factory.


    6 Bde reached it’s objective by 7.30am. 28th Bn took a strongpoint on the Ovillers Courcelette track and then moved up McDonnell Trench. They moved beyond Gunpit Trench and established MG posts on the sunken road running from Courcelette to Martinpuich.


    The six tanks were outpaced by the infantry advance. Of the three supporting 4 Bde, one ditched before crossing the Canadian line and the other two reached the Sugar Factory to find it already taken. In 6 Bde all three tanks broke down in McDonnell Trench.


    By 9.30am, 6 Bde had linked with 15th Div on it’s right flank an da German counter attack was repelled.


    At 6.15pm, 5 Bde attacked Courcelette with 22nd (Canadien Francais) and 25th (Nova Scotia Rifles) Bns. The village fell easily.
    Last edited by Groundhog; 15th September 2006 at 23:04.

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    Friday 15th September 1916. Part 2


    Martinpuich

    Martinpuich lies south of the treet>Bapaume Roadtreet> between it and High Wood. It was captured by the 15th (Scottish) Division.

    45 Bde attacked on the right with 11th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and 13th Royal Scots in front and 6th Bn, Cameron Highlanders in support. The bombardment had neutralised most resistance though the Argylls had to bomb the Germans out of Tangle South Trench as well as some fighting on the sunken Longueval road.

    46 Bde attacked with 10th Scottish Rifles, 7th and 8th Bns King’s Own Scottish Borderers and 10/11th Highland Light Infantry. In support were 12th Bn, Highland Light Infantry, 6th and 7th Bns, Royal Scots and attached from 23rd Div 9th Yorks & Lancs. Their objective was treet>Factory Lanetreet> nort of Martinpuich which was captured at 7am. 46 Bde was supported by two tanks. One tank was hit at the departure point and the other silenced the enemy in Bottom and Tangle Trenches, then entered the village where it attacked some MG posts before returning for fuel.

    At 9.20am the artillery barrage lifted from Martinpuich and both 45 and 46 Bde sent patrols into the village. At 10am 10th Scottish Rifles dug in along it’s objective. By 3pm the Germans had evacuated Martinpuich with 6th Bn, Cameron Highlanders occupying the north east of the village. 46 Bde quickly consolidated the ruins and set up posts facing Courcelette. At nightfall 9th Yorks & Lancs and 12th Bn, Highland Light Infantry occupied the line in touch with the Canadians in Gunpit Trench. On the right the Cameron Highlanders linked with the Green Howards of 50th Div south east of Martinpuich.



    50th Division was in action between High Wood and Martinpuich.

    The division started with 149 and 150 Bdes in the attack. 149 Bde attacked roughly northwards towards the German defences east of Martinpuich at 6.20am. 1/4th and 1/7th Northumberland Fusiliers had taken Hook Trench by 7am. By 8am they were under enfilade fire from High Wood and 1/4th Northumberland Fusiliers were ordered to help 47th Div by bombing towards the Wood. 1/5th and 1/6th Northumberland Fusiliers were sent to reinforce the attack. By 10am the sunken road east of Martinpuich had been reached by 1/7th Northumberland Fusiliers. 1/6th was providing flank protection tate>north westtate> of High Wood where heavy fighting continued.

    150 Bde used two tanks to support it’s attack. The first was blown up while attacking Hook Trench, the brigade’s first objective. The other drove on to the eastern outskirts of Martinpuich where it destroyed three German MG posts before returning to refuel.

    150 Bde’s infantry assault consisted of 1/4th East Yorkshire Regt, 1/4th and 1/5th Grenn Howards attacking in line. 1/5th Durham Light Infantry was in support. By 7am they were in Hook Trench and then moved on to Martin Trench. By 10am 1/4th East Yorkshire Regt had reached parts of the third objective, the Starfish Line in the eastern outskirts of Martinpuich. Here the attack started to falter. The East Yorks, with it’s flank unprotected, was forced to withdraw to Martin Trench. Two battalions were sent from reserve (151 Bde) but by 3.30 pm all 150 Bde troops had evacuated the Starfish Line and were back in Martin Trench and Martin Alley.

    At5.45 pm 150 Bde was ordered to attack Prue Trench which lay beyond the Starfish Line in order to link up with 15th Div troops in Martinpuich. This attack at 9pm stopped well short of the objective and the troops dug in.





    Last edited by Groundhog; 16th September 2006 at 15:36.

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  16. #91
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    Friday 15th September 1916. Part 3


    High Wood

    47th Div was in action here and also on both sides of the wood.

    East of the wood 1/7th and 1/15th Bns, London Regt advanced on the Switch Line at 6.20am reaching it with little difficulty. They linked up with the New Zealand Div on their right and dug in.

    The attack on the wood was supported by four tanks. Only one reached the German lines where it did some damage in the German support line until put out of action. The other three tanks all broke down in No Man’s Land. The infantry assault was stopped by MG fire and the fighting in High Wood became very confused when, at 7.20am the supporting battalions of 141 Bde advanced on the second objective. 1/4th Bn, London Regt then joined in at 8.20am on it‘s way to attack a strongpoint called the Cough Drop. A party of the battalion captured and held this area out of touch with their own division but in touch with the New Zealanders.

    The fighting in the wood continued all morning until a mortar bombardment on the wood in conjunction with a bombing attack on the flanks broke the German resistance. The survivors of 141 Bde were in control of the wood by 1pm.

    At 3.30pm 1/21st and 1/24th Bns, London Regt passed east of the wood to attack the Starfish Line. They were halted short of the objective. As night fell the Div had no organized front line.


    Flers

    The attack on Flers began from Delville Wood.

    The New Zealand Div attacked from North of Longueval towards the German positions west of Flers. 2nd Bn, the Otago Regt and 2nd Bn Auckland Regt advanced 30 seconds early and were caught in their own barrage as well as suffering from MG fire from High Wood. They managed to capture the Switch Line and 2nd Auckland Regt also occupied treet>Coffee Lanetreet>. At 7.20am the 4th Bn, New Zealand Rifles passed through and advanced on Flag Lane which they captured by 8am. 2nd and 3rd Bns, New Zealand Rifles then took over the assault. The 2nd captured Flers Trench and part of Flers Support. The dug in under MG fire from Flers and treet>Abbey Roadtreet> at 11am. The 3rd Bn was held up by wire in front of Flers Support where they waited for tank support. Two tanks (D11 and D12) arrived at 11am, crushed the wire and the rest of Flers Support was quickly occupied. At 11.30am two companies of 1st Bn, New Zealand Rifles attacked Grove Alley. They were forced to withdraw at 2.3pm. Two other tanks supporting the New Zealanders were put out of action, D10 at Flat Trench on it’s way to Flers Support while D8 reached treet>Abbey Roadtreet> but was unable to take further part in fighting because it’s viewing prisms were smashed. D12 having broken through the German line ditched west of Flers while D11 made it to Box & Cox where it waited all night for orders.

    41st Div was in action in Flers itself. It attacked from north of Delville Wood with 124 Bde on the right and 122 Bde on the left. The attack commenced at 6.20am.

    122 Bde attacked with 15th Bn, Hampshire Regt and 18th Bn, King’s Royal Rifle Corps in front and 11th Bn, Royal West Kents with 12th Bn East Surrey Regt in support. They too the Switch Line by 6.4 and advanced to Flers Trench. No less than seven tanks supported the assault of 41st Div. D15 was knocked out at the Switch Line, D14 ditched south of the village while D18 was hit in front of Flers Trench but was able to withdraw.

    At 8.20am D16 entered Flers followed by the men of 122 Bde. D6, D9 and D17 worked along the east of the village smashing strongpoints and MG positions built into the ruins. By 10am the Germans had evacuated the village. There was much confusion amongst the British troops too and it took until 1am to round up groups of stragglers and consolidate on the positions called Box& Cox and the Hog’s Head. Of the four tanks that entered Flers, only D16 made it back unscathed. D6 advanced as far as the outskirts of Guedecourt where it caught fire. D9 was put out of action at treet>Glebe Streettreet> and D17 was hit by shellfire east of Flers.

    Meanwhile 124 Bde attacked with 10th Bn, Queen’s Regt and 21st Bn, King’s Royal Rifle Corps in the lead with 26th and 32nd Bns, Royal Fusiliers in support. The assaulting troops formed up in No Man’s Land and advanced behind a creeping barrage at 6.20am. Tea Support was quickly occupied and then the Switch Line at 7am. By 7.50 am they were in Flers Trench. At 3.20 pm 200 men of the two battalions that started the attackplus two companies of 23rd Middlesex who had been brought up from reserve occupied the western end of Bull’s Road. Where they linked with 122 Bde troops. Attempted attacks on Gird Trench that evening failed.

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    Friday 15th September 1916. Part 4

    Delville Wood



    This photograph shows the area of operation for 14th and 41st Divisions on Sept 15th 1916. The road from Longueval to Flers can be easily seen in the photo. The British front line ran through the triangular green field and parallel with the nort east side of the wood. It turned south and ran down to meet the east side of the wood and turned east again at the Ginchy road.

    Tea Support Trench cut the Flers road just above the bend. Cutting the road also were the Switch Line half way between the bend and Flers and Flers Trench just south of the village.At the south east corner of Flers the trench changed names to Gap Trench. The small dark brown field east of the bend is roughly the area where Cocoa Lane met Tea Support and ran back to the Switch Line. Here it became Gap Alley and continued north east to Gap Trench. Bull's Road began at the north east corner of Flers and ran east to Lesbouefs

    14th Div was in action east of Delville Wood. The Germans still occupied a small salient here between the wood and Ginchy.

    TwO companies of the 6th Bn, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI) supported by three tanks were ordered to expel the Germans from here at 5.15am prior to the main attack. Only one tank (D1) was operational and it advanced from treet>Pilsen Lanetreet> followed by the KOYLI’s bombers. The tank was hit by a shell and the infantry engaged by MG fire from their flank leading to a melee with bomb and bayonet.

    At 6.20am 8th Bn The Rifle Brigade and 8th Bn, King’s Royal Rifle Corps advanced from the wood supported by just one of the three tanks that they were supposed to have. D3 advanced from Delville Wood north east towards treet>Cocoa Lanetreet>. The infantry came under heavy fire from Pint Trench and Tea Support and also ran into their own barrage. However they captured Switch Line by 7am, losing D3 to shellfire on the way. The brigade’s supporting battalions advanced from Delville Wood at 6.30am. By 8am they had pushed through the advance battalions on to Gap Trench. At the same time the reserve brigade (42 Bde) came forward from CaterpillarValley 3kms to the rear. They continued the advance past Gap Trench to Bull’s Road (the Flers-Lesbouefs road) where they were halted just short of the objective by MG fire. By 11.20 am 42 Bde was dug in and in contact with Guards Div on their right. The Germans attacked at dusk but were driven off and 43 Bde relieved 42 Bde after dark.

    Ginchy




    The Guards Div was in action near Ginchy. 1st Gds Bde attacked on the left and 2nd Gds Bde on the right.

    1st Gds Bde’s first objective was part of Serpentine Trench. They reached this objective behind a creeping barrage at 7.15 am having suffered heavily to MG fire from Pint Trench and the sunken road leading to Flers. At 7.30am 2nd Bn, Grenadier Guards advanced from Ginchy but immediately came under fire from an uncaptured part of Serpentine Trench.They entered the trench and, bombing left and right, linked up with the units on their flanks. By 11.15 am 2nd and 3rd Coldstream Guards had pushed through to parts of Punch Trench.

    Meanwhile 2nd Gds Bde attacked the rest of Serpentine Trench and a strongpoint called The Triangle. The Triangle delayed them until late morning but by noon a mixed body of troops was digging in south of the treet>Ginchy-Lesboeufs Roadtreet>.

    Battalions from the reserve brigade were sent forward to reinforce in the evening.

    This attack was supposed to be supported by ten tanks but only five made the start line. Of the five three got lost and two ran out of petrol.
    The most famous casualty of the day was Lt Raymond Asquith, 3rd Bn Grenadier Guards. He was the son of the British Prime Minister, Herbert Asquith. A 37 year old barrister, he volunteered for a commission. He is buried in Guillemont Road cemetery in teh same row as his stepmother's nephew, Lt Edward Wyndham Tennant. A less famous casualty is Pte George Lawless, 1st Bn Irish Guards, from Clonmel. He ahs no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

    South east of Ginchy, 6th Div was in action. They had one tank in support of three allotted. This tank moved through the start line at the crossroads east of Guillemont and opened fire on it’s own troops as it did so. It then moved northwards along Straight Trench but returned later. I’ll bet the 9th Norfolks were glad to see it coming back.



    6th Div’s objective was the strongpoint called the Quadrilateral east of Ginchy. At 6.20am 8th Bedfords attacked the Quadrilateral but were stopped by MG fire. The same happened to 1st Buffs at 6.35am. 9th Norfolks and 1st Leicesters advancing on Straight Trench north of the Quadrilateral ran into uncut wire and MG fire. By 9am all attacking troops in 6th Div were digging into shell holes.

    Last edited by Groundhog; 18th September 2006 at 14:22.

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    Friday 15th September 1916. Part 5

    Leuze Wood

    56th Div was still in occupation in Leuze Wood. 169 Bde was tasked with securing Loop Trench and maintaining touch with the French on the Railway track south of Combles Ravine.

    At 6.20am 1/2nd Bn, The London Regt, supported by a tank, occupied the northern part of Combles Trench but the attack on Loop Trench was halted by MG fire. In the afternoon bombers from London Rifle Bde came up in support and a bombing attack commenced up Loop Trench and down Combles Trench. The tank was immobilised at the Loop but kept it’s MGs in action for five hours. By 11pm Combles Trench had been barricaded 80 yards short of the road.

    167 Bde meanwhile attacked Bouleux Wood at 6.20am with one tank of two allotted. One lost a track, the other moved to Middle Copse at 6am. 1/1st London Regt attacked at Zero Hour but met heavy MG fire before reaching the copse where they dug in. The tank advanced to Bouleaux Wood followed by 1/7th Middlesex Regt. They were pushed back to 1/1st London’s positions where the survivors were reinforced. At 1.40pm 1/8th Middlesex took over the attack but were pushed back to Leuze Wood. 167 Bde troops consolidated on the line of Middle Copse.

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    Saturday 16th September 1916. Day 78

    Thiepval

    In the area of Thiepval, 49th Div launched several raids on the German lines. 1/7th Duke of Wellington’s Regt bombed up the old German line towards the village.

    Mouquet Farm

    In 11th Div, the bombers of 6th Bn, Lincolnshire Regt secured all of Constance Trench as far as the treet>Thiepval-Pozieres Roadtreet>. 6th Bn, Border Regt captured the western half of Danube Trench. An attempt by the Germans to retake Constance Trench was beaten off by 9th Bn Sherwood Foresters.

    At 5pm 3rd Canadian Div launched a two battalion attack from Fabeck Graben northwards to Zollern Graben and Zollern Redoubt. They were stopped by MG fire. After dark Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and 49th Edmonton Bn bombed towards each other in Fabeck Graben, closing the gap between them. 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles bombed some dugouts in Mouquet Farm.

    Martinpuich

    The Germans attacked Martinpuich early in the morning but were repelled by 15th Div troops. Heavy shelling of the village followed. The Scots established posts close to treet>26th Avenuetreet> and took over the line up to the treet>Bapaume Roadtreet> from the Canadians.

    Troops of 50th Div launched attacks on Prue Trench. Parties from 1/9th Durham Light Infantry and 1/5th Border Regt attacked east of Crescent Alley and reached the objective but were forced out. West of Crescent Alley, 1/5th Durham Light Infantry launched an unsuccessful frontal attack on Prue Trench and later on an equally unsuccessful bombing attack along it from Martin Alley.

    1/23rd Bn, London Regt in 47th Div attacked from Crest Trench. Their objective was Prue Trench via the Cough Drop, a distance of 1300 yards. Caught by MG and shellfire they took cover in the Starfish. One company reinforced 1/6th London in the Cough Drop.

    Flers

    1 New Zealand Bde repelled a German advance from Ligny at 9am and was then brought forward to launch an attack of it’s own. 1st(Wellington) Bn secured it’s sector of Grove Alley at 9.30am. Because 64 Bde’s advance failed the New Zealanders consolidated just short of the treet>Ligny Roadtreet>. 1st (Canterbury) Bn dug a trench back to Box & Cox as part of the consolidation. In these actions tank D11 helped repel the German attack but in the assault advanced only 300 yards before being immobilised by shelling.

    41st Div sent 64 Bde (attached from 21st Div) to take Gird Trench. In the lead were 9th Bn, KOYLI and 15th Bn, Durham Light Infantry with 10th Bn, KOYLI and 1st Bn, East Yorkshire Regt in support. Darkness and rain hindered the advance to the start line so that when the brigade advanced it was over 1,000 yards behind the barrage. Before passing 41st Div’s forward positions 64 Bde had already suffered heavily from MG and shell fire. A few men got within 100 yards of Gird Trench before pulling back and rallying in Bull’s Road. A fresh attack was ordered in the evening but never materialised. Tank D14 participated in this attack and advanced to Guedecourt before being destroyed.

    Delville Wood

    14th Div attempted to push forward to the Ginchy-Guedecourt road. 6th Bn, Somerset Light Infantry made little progress, suffering casualties to fire from Gas Alley. 10th Bn, Durham Light Infantry suffered a similar fate and dug in in shell holes. An attempt to reinforce with 6th Bn, KOYLI and 6th Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry failed. A renewed attack at dusk also failed.

    Ginchy

    Guards Div reinforced by 61 Bde of the 20th Div renewed it’s attack north of Ginchy at 9.25am.

    7th Bn, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry and 7th Bn, Somerset Light Infantry moved forward from Trones wood before dawn and formed up 200 yards in front of 2 Gds Bde in Serpentine Trench. At Zero Hour they advanced and captured the section of the treet>Ginchy-Lesbouefs Roadtreet> that had been the Guards’ third objective the day before. 7th Bn, KOYLI was then brought forward to secure the right flank while 12th Bn, The King’s Regt secured the left. German bombing attacks on the flanks continued all day. It was 1.30pm before 3rd Gds Bde was organised after the fighting of the previous day. The brigade advanced without artillery support.1st Grenadier Guards and 1st Welsh Guards suffered heavy losses to MG fire before digging in between Punch and Calf Trenches, 250 yards short of their objective.

    Guards Div was relieved after dark by 20th Div.

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    Sunday 17th September 1916. Day 79

    Courcelette

    5 Canadian Bde attempted unsuccessfully to clear the trenches east of Courcelette.

    Flers

    55th Div relieved 41st Div.

    Delville Wood

    21st Div relieved 14th Div.

    Ginchy

    60 Bde was attacked by the Germans south of the treet>Ginchy-Lesbouefs Roadtreet> at 6.30pm. The attack was beaten off by 12th Bn The Rifle Brigade and 12th Bn, King’s Royal Rifle Corps. A 59 Bde advance was beaten back at dusk.

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    Monday 18th September 1916. Day 80

    Martinpuich

    23rd Div relieved 15th Div overnight and also took over the Starfish Line and Prue Trench from 150 Bde of 50th Div.

    At 4.30pm 1/5th Durham Light Infantry supported by bombers of 1/4th and 1/5th Green Howards (150 Bde, 50th Div) bombed east along Starfish Line and Prue Trench almost as far as Crescent Alley. 1/8th Durham Light Infantry failed in an attempt to bomb up Crescent Alley.

    In 47th Div, 140 Bde bombers worked along Flers Trench and Drop Alley in conjunction with an attack on the Starfish Line by men of 1/23rd and 1/24th London Regt. No further gains were made in the area and German bombers drove the men in the line back to the Starfish. However the British retook the lost area after dark.

    Flers

    The bombers of 1st (Otago) Bn, NZEF forced the Germans back up Flers Support almost to the junction with Goose Alley.

    Ginchy

    6th Div sent 1st Shropshire Light Infantry (6 Bde) forward at 6am to take the Quadrilateral. At the same time 18 Bde attacked Straight Trench with 14th Durham Light Infantry and 1st West Yorks. The Quadrilateral fell easily while Straight Trench held out until the battalions’ bombers worked along the length of it as riflemen swept around the rear to capture 140 Germans and 7 MGs. Further sout 2nd Yorks and Lancs worked forward and linked with 56th Div in Middle Copse. An enemy counterattack was spotted forming up on high ground near Morval during the day and was dispersed with artillery.

    Leuze Wood

    In 56th Div an unsuccessful dawn attack on the Combles road was launched by the Queen’s Westminster Rifles (1/16th London Regt). The London Rifle Brigade made a small advance by bombing forward. 167 Bde’s planned attack on the south east side of Bouleaux Wood never meterialised because the troops could not get forward to the start line due to mud. It had been raining heavily all day.

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    Tuesday 19th September 1916. Day 81

    Courcelette

    A two hour long assault by the Germans on the north east sector of Courcelette was beaten off by 4th Canadian Bn.

    Martinpuich

    2nd (Auckland) Bn, NZEF continued bombing up Flers Support in conjunction with a 1/5th London bombing assault on Drop Alley. The Londoners were forced back to Cough Drop.

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    Wednesday 20th September 1916. Day 82

    Courcelette

    4th Canadian Bn drove off another German attack at 4am.

    At 5am, 58th Canadian Bn (9 Bde, 3rd Canadian Div) began to bomb west along Zollern Graben in cojunction with an attack on it by the 43rd Bn (Cameron Highlanders of Canada). The Germans later drove them back.

    Martinpuich

    2nd (Canterbury) Bn, NZEF made a joint attack with 1st Bn, The Black Watch on Flers Trench. The New Zealanders drove the Germans back beyond Goose Alley while the Scots bombed up Drop Alley as far as the junction with Flers Trench which was then occupied.

    The Black Watch was part of 1st Div which had relieved 47th Div that morning.

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    Thursday 21st September 1916. Day 83

    Martinpuich

    Patrols of 1st, 23rd and 50th Divs found Prue Trench and the Starfish Trench evacuated by the enemy. The trenches were occupied by the British.

    Lesboeufs

    Guards Division relieved 20th Div in this area north east of Delville Wood.

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    Friday 22nd September 1916. Day 84

    Courcelette

    1st Canadian Div occupied some tenches east of the village and consolidated the line west of the village running along Fabeck Graben and the Mouquet Farm Track.

    23rd Div reported that treet>Twenty-Sixth Avenuetreet>, a communication trench running back from Courcelette to Le Sars appeared to be unoccupied.


    Martinpuich

    Starfish and Prue Trenches were consolidated and patrols reported no enemy south west of Eaucourt L’Abbaye.

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