Saturday 13 May 2017

More 4th Division Success

Sunday 13th May 1917

A rare thing has, we understand, happened today. The 91st Brigade has been attacking The Red Patch in Bullecourt and that attack has caused a metaphorical casualty on the General Staff. Major-General T H Shoubridge has replaced Brigadier-General H R Cumming with the commanding officer of 21st Battalion, Manchester Regiment, Colonel W W Norman. This seems to have come about because the major-general disagreed with the brigadier’s plan of attack on The Red Patch. The new brigade commander decided on an attack from the south-west rather than the east as Cumming had planned. No progress has been made.

Another attack has been made today by the 4th Division, in conjunction with 17th (Northern) Division, near Roeux. 4th Division have again been completely successful, whereas the other division’s attack met with mixed success, but nevertheless managed an advance of 600 yards north of the road from Fampoux to Plouvain. In the last two days 4th Division, aided by 17th, has taken around five hundred prisoners we are told. From so small a force, however, a “butcher’s bill” of 28 officers and 511 other ranks is steep.

Yesterday evening 3rd Division attacked the enemy front line near the road from Monchy-l3-Preux to Pelves and 12th (Eastern) Division attacked bstween the Monchy to Pelves and the Monchy to Pelves Mill roads. Neither attack seems to have made much headway.

Elsewhere the 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment are to move tonight from being in support into the front line near Arleux. This line is not, in fact, continuous trenches but merely a series of pits which are not connected. This is evidently a hastily-constructed position which will be difficult to defend if the Germans attack.

Sources: X550/2/5; X550/9/1

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