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Webmatters : War Diary: 12th Royal Irish Rifles -- 1st July 1916

War Diary

12th (S) Bn Royal Irish Rifles

Operational Order for the attack

By Lt Col G Bull Cmdg 12th (S) Bn Royal Irish Rifles

1 Information

The 36th Division is attacking on both sides of the Ancre and will have 32nd Division on its right and 29th Division on its left.

The 108th Bde will attack on both sides of the Ancre.

The 12th Bn Royal Irish Rifles in conjunction with 9th Royal Ir Fus will attack on the right bank of the River Ancre. Boundary for both Batts. Right Boundary – River Ancre. Left Boundary – A line drawn from the extreme point of MARY REDAN Q17A6.3.5 to the two houses in R7C2.0 Thence SE to ravine at R13A4.8 thence along the ANCRE to point where it crosses the railway at R8C4.5.6. Thence along the railway.

2 Objective

The triangle of trenches enclosed between the left boundary of the attack and the Ancre and Beaucourt Station.

3 Positions of assembly

One platoon B Coy LANCASHIRE POST and one Platoon B Coy on right of 9th Royal Ir Fus. Two platoons B Coy HEDGE ROWS. C Coy in front line trenches from LOUVERCY St to WINCHESTER St. A & D Coys in the New trench and in the trench at Q17 7 to 11.

4 Bombardment

There will be five days preliminary bombardment known as U,V,W,X,Y days and the attack will be delivered on Z day at a time to be notified later.

5 Plan of attack

One platoon of B Coy with a Lewis Gun under Lt Lemon will enter enemy trench at Q18C6.2 (Railway Sap) and clear it NE to Q18C78.75. This platoon will then proceed along the Railway Line to BEAUCOURT STATION, keeping touch with the 9th R Ir Fus on their left.

One platoon of B Coy (with a Lewis Gun under 2nd Lt M Neill) will reconnoitre the marsh to BEAUCOURT STATION. Their right boundary will be the RIVER ANCRE. Left boundary the Railway Line. They will keep slightly in rear of and in touch with Lt Lemon’s platoon.

The remainder of B Coy will support the 9th R Ir Fus leaving our own front line when the last wave of the 9th R Ir Fus has entered the enemy’s line.

C Coy with 2 Lewis guns and 2 Vickers will attack on a platoon front of four waves on the left of 9th R Ir Fus. Their right will be A25. They will clear the enemy’s trench 1st 2nd and 3rd lines north westward.

A & D Coys in eight waves of alternative platoons at 60 yards distance will attack the enemy’s salient between Q17B10.30 and will occupy their first line and support trenches. A Coy will clear trenches northwards and get into touch with the 29th Divn. D Coy will clear trenches eastwards and get into touch with C Coy both Coys will have their Lewis Guns. The rear platoons of each Coy will be a carrying platoon. The attack takes place at Zero Time on Z Day.

6 Infantry Attack

All movements on Z Day from moment of assault and timed from Zero. Prior to hour of assault the Coys will leave their trenches at point to be arranged by Coy Cmdrs under cover of bombardment and lie down in front in formation in which they are about to advance. The first wave of the attack to be within 150 yards of the A Line at Zero time.

7 Artillery Timetable

At 0.0 Lift from front line to support trenches

At 0.3 On to the B Lines B21 B23 B25

At 0.8 On to the lines B22 B24 B26

At 0.13 On to the BEAUCOURT Stn and on the trench north of it.

At 0.33 Barrage in rear of BEAUCOURT Station and on the trench running due north from Q12D6.0

8 Consolidating

Consolidation of eastward trenches will be begun immediately they are occupied of troops allotted to them.

The rear platoons of each Coy will carry the following:

2 Coils (12 Rolls) French Expanding wire 4 men
1 coil of plain wire 1 man
12 coils of barbed wire 12 men
40 screw iron stakes 10 men

In addition 12 picks & 12 shovels & 200 sandbags will be distributed amongst these platoons. All other platoons will carry 8 picks & 8 shovels per platoon and 4 sandbags per man.

9 Clearing Parties

Clearing parties will be detailed from 1st wave. Their task is to search trenches for small parties of enemy.

10 Blocking

Coys will block all trenches to their flanks outside their zone of action & trenches leading towards enemy in advance of their lines. Blocking parties will be at least 40 yards to the front or flank of other troops.

11 Flags and Discs

Yellow flags with two vertical black stripes will be carried by each platoon, Bombing party & patrols. Discs will be carried by bombing parties to mark their positions.

All officers and NCOs will carry three flares each if available. These flares will be used when the objectives reached. They will be fired in a row at 3 or 4 paces apart 1/4 minute between the firing of each flare.

12 Torpedoes and Very Lights

A B & C Coys will each carry one torpedo.

All Coys will carry two very light pistols & lights.

13 Equipment

All Ranks will carry waterproof sheets, cardigan waistcoat, rifle and equipment (less pack), 170 rounds SAA two mills grenades, 4 sandbags in belt, two smoke helmets & goggles, Iron rations & unexpired portion of days ration.

14 Traffic

Communication Trenches will be reserved for Up & Down Traffic as follows. CHARLES AVENUE, PROSPECT ROW and JACOBS LADDER – up- HAMELAVELUY ROAD – down.

15 Information to Enemy

OC Coys will ensure that no papers or orders are carried on either officers or men and will warn all ranks that if taken prisoner they are only bound to give their name & rank and should refuse to answer all other questions.

16 Watches

Watches will be synchronised at Bn HQs at 9 a.m. “Y” day and also at 8 p.m. same day & place.

17 Maps

All officers will carry 1/20000 57 DSE and 57 CSW and the special corps map. The maps will be referred to in reports and messages. Maps showing our trenches are not to be carried.

18 Rations

If situation permits rations will be brought up by 1st line transport on night 8/A and will be met at old mill on the HAMEL-THIEPVAL ROAD. Failing this they will be drawn from Bde Ration Dump in HAMEL. Eight rations will be carried up in one sandbag.

19 Battn Headquarters

Battn Hd Qrs will be in New dug out off ROYAL AVENUE where all reports will be sent.

20 Signal Station

A new Signal Station will be established in the Enemy’s lines at Q17B8.3 or as near this point as the situation admits. Three separate lines will be run to this point from our present front line, Each Coy taking a line with them as they advance.

21 Water

No water within the present German area will be used until the source has been tested by a Medical Officer.

G Bull Lt Col
OC 12 R Ir Rifles