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Remembered Today:

Light Trench Mortar Batteries


Promenade
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Hi,

Does any one know how many men were on the complement of a LTMB in 1917 and is it correct that they would have retained the cap badge of their parent unit as they were attached being delineated in their skill by a skill-at-arms badge worn on the tunic?

Many thanks

Promenade

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Promenade,

The war diary for 164 Infantry Brigade shows the strength of 164 Trench Mortar battery running at around 4 to 6 officers and 65 or 66 other ranks in autumn and winter of 1916. In the early part of 1917, it drops to 4 and 45 and then builds up again towards 6 and 60. There is a small difference between fighting strengths and ration strengths of two or three men that indicates a HQ/Stores element that did not go into trenches.

Rifle strength 164 Bde at 11 February 1917 1/4 KORLR 25 and 558; 1/8 KLR 22 and 675; 2/5 LF 19 and 601; 1/4 LNLR 25 and 575; 164 MG Coy 9 and 120; 164 TM Battery 6 and 58; 164 Bde HQ 5 and 95

My understanding has always been that the LTMB personnel remained badged (and detached from) their parent battalions within the brigade. Certainly 1/10 KLR seem to have claimed all the decorations for those of their number posted to 166 TMB.

Ian

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Hello Promenade,

The following war establishment (official nominal stregth) applied from Aug 1916 onwards:

Light Trench Mortar Battery

(2 sections, each 4 x 3" Stokes mortars)

Captain, 3 Subalterns, 2 Serjeants, 8 Corporals or Lance-Corporals, 32 Privates, 4 Batmen.

There was no separate Trench Mortar Corps and the men wore the cap badges etc of their parent unit, as Ian says.

Ron

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Ron,

Any ideas as to where the extra numbers are coming from in 164 Infantry Brigade's battery? Possibly they are holding men for training in order to go back to their battalions but to be available as replacements as necessary. Their numbers do occasionally drop to 4 and 45 which would almost match your establishment figures. Twelve or fifteen might sound right as a training cadre but I am not seeing many diary entries for men going on courses and then coming back. Assuming that a course might last a month and for most months they appear to be running at least ten to fifteen over establishment, this would have generated a lot of 'spare' replacements. Possibly men are being held over establishment to carry ammunition, a recurring logistic problem, looking at the training pamphlets.

Ian

PS Not being a TM expert, I am assuming that the battery numbered to the brigade is the Light Mortar Battery. Happy to be corrected (preferably gently) as that would answer a question in my own mind.

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Ian

It is possible that the battery was temporarily increased from two sections to three. You would need to look at the War Diary at Kew in order to be certain. It's in file WO95/2924.

Yes, the light TM Batteries carried the same number as their brigade.

Ron

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