Beaucourt Sur Ancre (63rd Naval Div.)
63rd Royal Naval Division
188th & 189th Brigades, 13th/14thNovember 1916. Attack towards Beaucourt sur Ancre, a brief summary..
Overview of info based on maps and corresponding nfo …
189th Brigade , just West side of the River Ancre,
188th Brigade to the left of them
Both had 2 leading battalions, 2 in support and 2 attached from 190th Brigade.
The Divisions first engagement on the Somme. All officers and men were well briefed.
Casualties caused by enemy shell fire waiting for Zero Hour.
Zero Hour, Hood and Drake Battalions were on Their way, both battalions suffered losses from enfilade fire, advance continued with success, German front line taken with 300 prisoners.
Advance continued despite fog and water logged trenches and trench holes.
Advance continued to Station Road and Trench towards Beaucourt station. Approx. 400 prisoners taken.
Whilst Hood and Drake reached objectives, Hawke and Nelson Btns (left side of of 189th) met heavy MG fire on advance to German front line. Officer casualties heavy, small groups of Men formed. Trench was entered where bomb and rifle fighting lasted for hours.
Howe Btn and 1st marines led the attack to the left, Anson and 2nd Marines in support. Again held up by accurate MG fire losing its momentum.
Mixed Troops from Howe, Anson and Nelson fought their way to next objective. On the left the marines lost all 4 Company Commanders before reaching front line. 2nd Royal marines had a similar fate. A few reaching contact with 51st Division Troops on the far left. German Mg’s in Medieval Tunnels, out of site prevented a good section of German line being captured.
188th Brigade organised bombing on the tunnels. 190th Brigade (attached) ordered to continue advance.
A mixed force of Hood and Drake Btns, headed towards 2nd objective, collecting some HAC on route. Headed up Railway Road and up Railway Alley, reaching the edge of Beaucourt. Friendly and hostile fire caused a withdrawal they moved forward after and took over the shell holes.
Communication lost, no reinforcements to attack Beaucourt. Too risky! All 63rd Units busy engaged and with bombing attacks and fighting throughout the day.
Attack ordered on 3rd German line but Troops could not be organised. During this time, the left flank now included Redoubt Alley with support from 111th Brigade due to a depleted 63rd .
Fighting continued over the ridges and on the full attack front.
Objectives were to be secured the next day with a pleasing outcome somewhat on the 13th.
Troops attached to 63rd Div, the 111thBrigade advanced from Station Road, 1st objective 900m ahead, advanced under heavy fire from Muck Trench and Beaucourt Village.
On the far right the 190th Brigade, 93rdDiv, with mixed units form HAC and Fusiliers advanced from Beaucourt Station towards the village and joined other 63rd Div units near the village.
Attack Mounted, center of village entered, village captured with little difficulty, 500 prisoners taken and a substantial amount of Germans killed. Due to the village falling, Beaucourt trench was also captured, many prisoners again.
Tanks called in, to clear, one damaged by shell fire, one two stuck in mud, although one opened fire with its Hotchkiss and which broke down any enemy resistance. Hundreds of prisoners taken, 63rdDivision were the relieved.