Wednesday 31 May 2017

An Example of a Daily Intelligence Summary

Thursday 31st May 1917

The adjutant of 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, in a camp behind the lines, reports that this afternoon an enemy aeroplane was observed to attack two of our observation balloons nearby. Occupying these balloons is a dangerous task. The man hangs in a basket beneath the balloon and tries to work out such details as where the enemy artillery is, from muzzle-flashes observed. To do this he has to be at a dizzying height above the ground. He has no way of defending himself and the balloon makes a big target. In this case the two balloons were hit and began to fall to earth. Fortunately the men inside had parachutes, which they deployed successfully and landed unscathed.

Your correspondent thought that readers might appreciate a copy of a daily intelligence report, sent by battalions to brigade headquarters, who then pass on anything of interest, up the line to divisional and corps headquarters to army headquarters. If the information is particularly interesting it makes its way all the way to the headquarters of the British Expeditionary Force in Montreuil-sur-Mer. This example was sent by 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, who are in the front line near Zillebeke, east of Ypres. As will be seen, this specimen divulges no great secrets.

2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment
Daily Intelligence Summary - 31st May, 1917

1. Identifications.

2. Operations
(a) Enemy. Very inactive on the whole.
At 12.5 p.m. enemy fired 4 [x] 5.9 [shells] just outside front line of Right Company, and then lifted on to Support Line. Enemy shelled intermittently throughout the day.

(b) Our Artillery dispersed Bosche working party in I.13.c. at 3.15 p.m.
They fired intermittently during the day.

3. Enemy activity and attitude.
There has been no rifle fire and a Machine Gun which traversed our front line was firing over the heads of men working on the parapet.
The enemy was observed holding trench in front of CROSS Street very strongly at night, as though "Standing to" in anticipation of an attack.

4. Enemy defences
(a) Trenches
Enemy is building up his parapet. A man was seen on the parapet this morning and new planks were seen.
(b) Wire.
(c) O.Ps. [Observation Posts]
(d) M.G's. [Machine Guns]

5. Movement
No movement has been observed.

6. Signals
A few lights were observed to have been fired in advance of main enemy line.

7. Air Activity.

8. Patrols
See Patrol Report

9. Miscellaneous

H. Hargreaves, Lieutenant, for Major
Commanding 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment.

Source: X550/3WD

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