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La Boiselle 34th Division

La Bosielle 34th Division

Northumberland Fusilier objectives...Other photos show 34th Division Troops advancing on 1st July...

The 34th Division (New Army) was to attack along the Albert–Bapaume road, aided by the blowing of Lochnager mine and Y Sap mine either side of La Boisselle. The mine at Y Sap north of the village caused no casualties as the Germans evacuated the area in time but the springing of the Lochnagar mine, south of the village, temporarily trapped German troops in shelters nearby and the position was lost. Parties of the Grimsby Chums got into the Lochnagar mine crater before being pinned down by German small-arms fire. The Tyneside Scottish Brigade was to attack up Mash Valley and against La Boisselle at the Glory Hole and the Tyneside Irish were in reserve, ready to advance and capture the second objective from Contalmaison to Pozières.

At zero hour, the Tyneside Scottish Brigade started its advance from the Tara–Usna Line (a British reserve position behind the front line) to cross 1 mile of open ground before they reached no man's land. Despite machine-gun fire, a party of around 50 men survived to advance up Sausage Valley, south of La Boisselle, almost to the edge of Contalmaison. The survivors were captured after making the furthest British advance of the day, about 4,000 yds. The positions of Reserve Infantry Regiment 110 had been severely damaged in the bombardment, but the regiment was forewarned of the British attack by a Moritz device, which eavesdropped on British telephone signals and allowed the Germans to withdraw before the Y Sap mine exploded. The 34th Division suffered the worst casualties of the day, losing 6,380 men.

20th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (1st Tyneside Scottish)
21st Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (2nd Tyneside Scottish)
22nd Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (3rd Tyneside Scottish)
23rd Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (4th Tyneside Scottish)
18th (Service) Battalion (1st Tyneside Pioneers)

Ovillers La Boiselle 1.07.1916

3rd Sept 1916 Mouquet Farm, Pozieres 13th AIF Brigade

13th Brigade AIF

26th Sept 1916 Mouquet Farm, Pozieres 34th Infantry Brigade

Part of a larger scale offensive, on the 26th September 1916, the 34th Infantry Brigade of the 11th Division were tasked with a first line attack pushing NNW from Mouquet Farm area capturing Zollern Redoubt, Stuff Redoubt and Hessian trench keeping in touch with the Canadian 1st Division on their right. The 18th Division were on the 34th Brigade left whom were tasked with the left half of Hessian Trench and the Schwaben Redoubt. The 2 front line Battalions were the 9thLancashire Fusiliers on the left and the 8th Northumberland Fusiliers on the right. The 5th Dorset Regiment were in reserve with the 11th Manchesters’ remaining in Ovillers until required.

Assaulting formation was to be 3 Companies in columns of Platoons, 1 Coy in support, 20 yards between waves and 5 paces between Men. Under cover from Artillery Barrage. The Enemies positions must be assaulted by wave after wave until all opposition is broken down. Special clearing up parties will be detailed to deal with any Enemy left in the 1st and 2nd objectives.

ZERO 12.35pm: Intense barrage on High Trench. 34thLTMB on Mouquet Farm and High Trench.

ZERO + 1: Bombing Party of Lanc. Fus. Rushed and held entrances to Mouquet Farm. Remaining assaulting Troops left trenches for 1stobjective.

ZERO+2: Barrage moved slowly towards 1st objective.

Enemy must have been expecting some form od assault, perhaps only against Mouquet Farm, as his barrage was on our Front Trenches before the assaulting Troops were out of them, causing many casualties.

12.50pm: 1st objective reported to have been gained with apparently slight casualties.

1.18pm: 2nd objective reported to have been gained with apparently slight casualties.

3.00pm: Infantry reportedly in Stuff Redoubt. 100 Prisoners taken, Enemy are now shelling Stuff Redoubt heavily.

3.30pm: No reports having been received from the assaulting Battalions.

6.25pm: Report that the final objective had been taken, was corroborated by 2 wounded men from 9th Lancashire Fusiliers stating they had come from the Redoubt.

6.40pm: Reported that the 9th Lancashire Fusiliers were consolidating in Stuff Redoubt.

6.45pm: Mouquet Farm finally cleared of Germans, one Officer and 35 Men being taken prisoner. Messages received stating it to be doubtful whether our Troops were in the Final Objective.

8.00pm: 5th Dorset Regiment ordered to send 2 Companies through Zollern Redoubt to second objective. 11th Manchester Regiment to send 2 Companies to 1st Objective and 2 Companies to High Trench.

10.00pm: Reported 2 parties of the Enemy with MG’s were in Southern end of Zollern Redoubt and were causing many casualties and completely stopping all communication with the forward Troops. These Germans must have been passed over by the 8th Northumberland Fusiliers and not dealt with by the clearing parties.

11.00pm: Officers patrols were sent forward from each Battalion to endeavour to locate the exact positions of their units.

September 27th 3.30am: Orders issued that by daybreak the situation was to be cleared up.

6.30am: Zollern Redoubt reported clear of enemy.

8.25am: Aeroplane report received that neither Germans or our Men could be seen in Stuff Redoubt.

8.30am: 11th Manchesters ordered to push forward and occupy Stuff Redoubt and Hessian Trench. They were finally held up by MG fire from Hessian Trench, East of the Redoubt.

Situation now as per the MAP shown in this post.

Reports stated the 8th NF and 9th LF reached 1st objective with comparatively slight casualties, however upon advancing form this line to the 2nd objective they came under a heavy barrage and MG fire from both Redoubts and Hessian Trench.

The Platoon of 8th NF who were detailed to keep in touch with the Canadians on their right were wiped out, with the exception of 4 Men. Several others of the 8th NF joined with the Canadians in their attack and were highly commended for their services. Of these, every Officer was killed or wounded with the exception of Lieut. Macdonald. The Company attacking Zollern Redoubt lost heavily too. The 9th LF suffered equally severely, every Officer but one being killed or wounded.

The ground around the 1st Objective showed what fighting the Troops had done with many Germans lay killed with the bayonet.

From 1pm on the 27th, fighting continued with the 32nd Brigade attacking Stuff Redoubt and Hessian Trench. Further fighting throughout the afternoon and into the night for Zollern Trench and Stuff Redoubt. The 28th September saw continued fighting at Stuff Redoubt. At nightfall the 34th Brigade, less the 11th Manchesters were withdrawn to Ovillers. The Manchesters remained in the line attached to the 32ndBrigade.

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