Tuesday 15 August 2017

Sixteenth Day of the Third Battle of Ypres

Wednesday 15th August 1917

More rain has fallen today, though temperatures have not been so stifling. I can only remember two days this month where we have had no rain, which must, I am sure, be a rarity in August. Rain, of course, means mud, which means everything on a battlefield has a greatly increased order of difficulty. Today, once again, there has been no major action and one would have thought, over a fortnight in to a major offensive that we would have had far more fighting than we have had. This can only be down to the rain and the mud.

Generals in modern warfare have a timetable by which they try to run their battles, almost with the efficiency of a railway service. Of course, such efficiency is never realised because the enemy are doing their best to delay the timetable. In the present offensive it seems the enemy are being aided very materially by the weather and, certainly, we hear rumours of high command tearing its hair out over the state of the ground and the state of the offensive. Those of us who are old hands out here have no doubt such rumours are greatly exaggerated, nevertheless the commander-in-chief of this offensive, General Gough, must be far from happy(1).

 Second Lieutenant Craig [X550/1/82]

The only Battalion from the Bedfordshire Regiment to be close to action at this point is 7th Battalion. Their adjutant told me today that the night having passed off quietly at Stirling Castle, with only the usual amount of shelling, the Battalion continues to hold the line. Heavy shelling of their positions took place during the day. B Company has been detailed to carry out an attack on an enemy strong-point at the north-west corner of Inverness Copse tomorrow (marked with an x on the map at the top of the page). Second Lieutenant Craig will be in command and today examined the ground and explained the situation to his company.

Source: X550/8/1

(1) Gough would lose the overall command of the battle to 2nd Army’s General Herbert Plumer on 25th August. 

No comments:

Post a Comment