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Webmatters : Arras 1917 - XVII Corps
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Arras

XVII Corps

10th April 1917

Battle of Arras: XVII Corps

A lot of work was still to be done by XVII Corps on the 10th April if they were going to bring their front line up to the Green Line or 4th Objective.

The 4th Division had made excellent progress on the opening day of the battle and had attained all its objectives with the exception of the village of Fampoux.

The 34th Division in the centre of the Corps were short of the target on the left and the 51st (Highland) Division had made little progress at all. Their 154th Brigade thought they were in the Point du Jour Line but were in fact short of it.

It was possibly true for all the units out on the front that night but 34th Division reported that some of its soldiers had died due to the freezing conditions (Remember that the Army had been ordered to leave their greatcoats behind.).

Despite the cold the 34th Division’s three Brigades advanced up to the Green Line only being held back on the left by fire from the village of Bailleul.

The 1/5th Bn Gordon Highlanders of 51st (Highland) Division who were on the immediate left of the 34th Division were told to advance with them, covered by the 154th Brigade on their left.

As already pointed out the 154th Brigade were in fact not in a covering position at all and it was fortunate for the Highlanders that they decided to advance with their full strength whilst covering their left flank.

They advanced as far as the Point du Jour Line and considered advancing further to the railway line in front of them but without any sign of the missing 154th Brigade they decided to consolidate their gains and dug in.

In fact it was mid morning before anyone finally realised that the 154th were still some distance short of the Point du Jour Line and they were told to get their act together and advance. It was early afternoon though before they could attack and they came up against a determined defence and made little headway.

In the following weeks the left of XVII Corps’s sector would be taken over by XIII Corps from the reserve of First Army and it would be them who would carry the fight on towards Gavrelle.