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Battle Formation


bobshaw
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Can any one please help: In the War Diaries it states that the Battalion formed up in the following order - A Company on the left. D Company on the right.

B Company on the left and C Company on the right, 50 yards to the rear.

A & D Companies advanced in two waves, C Company in support in one wave, with B Company in reserve.

What was ment by two waves - did A Coy go first followed by D Coy or would the Companies be split so that Platoons 1 & 2 of each Coy was in the first wave and Platoons 3 & 4 in the second wave.

When saying that A Company was on the left - was this looking towards the enemy lines?

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Right to left is from the British positions looking at the enemy. I read the description to mean that the companies attacked side by side in two waves as said. That is half of A and half of D in a line followed by the same again. Support company C on the other hand, came immediately behind in one line across the field.

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Hello Shawrybob

Tom is basically right. If you can find a copy of Martin Middlebrook's The First Day of the Somme, it contains a diagram of a typical battle formation, which should make it clear.

Ron

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Shawry Bob,

Here you go, two waves:

↑↑↑ direction of advance ↑↑↑

A Coy| D Coy

- - - - | - - - - Wave 1

- - - - | - - - - Wave 2

Aye

Tom McC

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I haven't got Middlebrook's book but I can add that Richard Holmes's 'Tommy' has a full description and diagram of the 'official' structure of an attack. They are reprinted on the end-papers of the cover.

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Shawrybob,

What is the date of the attack. As this does have some bearing on the assault formation. As does any additional details concerning the deployment of the Companies.

Aye

Tom McC

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Shawrybob,

What is the date of the attack. As this does have some bearing on the assault formation. As does any additional details concerning the deployment of the Companies.

Aye

Tom McC

To Tom and all who answered my query, many thanks. Tom asks what was the date: my grandfather was with the 11th Bn Sherwood Foresters ("A" Coy 4th Platoon) when they attacked the German 3rd Line at Le Sars (Albert to Bapaume Road) at 3:15 pm on the 1st October 1916. The 8th Bn KOYLI were on their left and the Division Boarder 23rd & 50th on their right - The Durham Light Infantry were the next Bn in the 50th Division. Any further information would be most welcome. Bob S.

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Bob,

Many thanks for the reply. The reason why I asked is the attack formation is different to the one ascribded to the 1st of July 1916. Having looked at quite a few Divisional accounts. It looks like a typical formation of this period.

The formation in Martin Middlebrook's book is one specifically for 1st of July 1916 (Rawlinson's Tactical Notes May 1916) - not all Divisions adhered to this.

Formation diagrams from Tommy are from SS144 - 1917.

Aye

Tom McC

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Bob,

Many thanks for the reply. The reason why I asked is the attack formation is different to the one ascribded to the 1st of July 1916. Having looked at quite a few Divisional accounts. It looks like a typical formation of this period.

The formation in Martin Middlebrook's book is one specifically for 1st of July 1916 (Rawlinson's Tactical Notes May 1916) - not all Divisions adhered to this.

Formation diagrams from Tommy are from SS144 - 1917.

Aye

Tom McC

Thank you Tom, I feel that your explaination of the attack formation gives me a very good incling as to where the Platoons may have been, at least it narrows it down to about 150 yards............Bob

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