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Heavy Artillery at Bellewaarde - 16th June 1915


RedCoat
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Hello all,

Having a little more time these days, I have been been re-reading the War Diary for my Great Uncles Siege Battery in 1914-15. I'd missed it before, but saw this time around that his Battery supported the attack on Bellewaarde, 16 June 1915.

I would be really interested in some first hand accounts that mention the British bombardment - I understand there was also an issue with friendly fire.

Anyway, below is the Brigade War Diary entry for my Great Uncles Battery -

16th June 1915

3:20am Bombardment commenced of line S.W corner of BELLEWAARDE LAKE Y18 to Y7. No.6 Battery engaging first Y16 to Y15. No.4 Battery - 125 yards to North of Y15 and in addition one position on rectangular patch of entrenchment to North of Y13. Rate of fire 3 rounds per minute per battery. 

4:15am Both Batteries lifted onto the trenches for 225 yds N of Y15. After a short time Batteries lifted to a line BELLEWAARDE FARM and on a trench running SE for 200 yards, subsequently fire again lifted onto a trench running NE from Y18 for a distance of 225 yds. Rate of fire gradually reduced.

3:20pm Renewed bombardment by both batteries on front 50 yards NE of Y17 to I12 7.7 fire being lifted at 3:40pm on to trench 50 yards N+S of Y8. Intermittent fire was subsequently made on DEAD MAN'S BOTTOM until 6:30pm. Total rounds expended during operations 4th Siege Battery 256, 6th Siege Battery 300. Standing by for counter attack.

 

Map showing "Y" references as per War Diary

Bellewaarde.jpg
Cheers

Redcoat

 

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"Very soon there appeared  at various points on the enemy's parapet screens stuck in to indicate to our gunners what portions of the position had been captured. These screens which were canvas  nailed to two poles about six feet long by three deep were coloured red and yellow. Each company carried six of them. They proved singularly ineffective. In the morning haze and the smoke and dust from the shelling they were not easy to see, and as, after zero hour , our artillery were not working to a time programme, it happened again and again during the action  that they continued to shell the trenches which had been captured and not a few of the Battalion's casualties were caused by our own guns............."

As related by the History of the Liverpool Scottish, 9th Brigade, 3rd Division

 

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On 31/07/2021 at 19:17, MaxD said:

This book ?  Bellewaarde 16th June 1915 (bellewaarde1915.co.uk)     book the battle of bellewaarde - Bing  Or indeed the war diaries of any of the attacking troops.

 

MaxD

Hi Max,

Two good suggestions, thank you!

22 hours ago, Yorke Scarlett said:

"Very soon there appeared  at various points on the enemy's parapet screens stuck in to indicate to our gunners what portions of the position had been captured. These screens which were canvas  nailed to two poles about six feet long by three deep were coloured red and yellow. Each company carried six of them. They proved singularly ineffective. In the morning haze and the smoke and dust from the shelling they were not easy to see, and as, after zero hour , our artillery were not working to a time programme, it happened again and again during the action  that they continued to shell the trenches which had been captured and not a few of the Battalion's casualties were caused by our own guns............."

As related by the History of the Liverpool Scottish, 9th Brigade, 3rd Division

 

Ouch, bar Neuve Chapelle, 1915 wasn't a good year for the Artillery.

Cheers

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On 31/07/2021 at 10:05, RedCoat said:

 I understand there was also an issue with friendly fire

Redcoat

The June 1915 WD of the Commander RA 3 Div (WO 95/1390 p 727/817 Ancestry) refers to Order File No 3 which are the Op Orders for 16/06/1915 and they list the RFA Units (page 755/817). The WD of 40 Brigade in WO 95/1400 starts on p 202/435 and 42 Brigade (WO 95/1401) starts on p 157/504. The 42 Bde WD refers to 4.5 am "Shells reported falling short of posts along Menin Rd - 6th Battery informed" and 4 30 am "Some guns shelling our men in German trenches". 

The diary of E Group, 6, 29 and 41 Batteries starts on p 193/504 and also refers to shells falling short.

Brian 

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