Third Army Artillery Instructions No. 18
- Essential features of the Operation.
The essence of the operation is surprise. Every possible measure must therefore be taken to conceal the preparation of positions and accumulation of ammunition.
The amount of fire on the front prior to "Z" Day will be absolutely restricted to the normal daily average of the past three months.
No firing by natures heavier than those that have been continually in position on this front will be permitted. It follows that camouflage, preparation of battery boards, and calibration of guns, assume great importance.
The erection of camouflage to hide work and tracks must be taken in hand forthwith before any other work. Requirements in material should be notified to Corps camouflage officers with the least possible delay. Officers and N.C.Os. should be sent to the Corps Camouflage depots to inspect the various types of camouflage available and to receive instruction in their proper erection.
Movement where and when detection by the enemy is possible must be reduced to an absolute minimum.
- Battery Boards.
Battery positions must be selected and the sites marked with pegs so that the preparation of battery boards may be put in hand without delay.
The positions marked should include not only those for occupation at the commencement of the operation but also those positions close to our present front line, to which it is intended to move batteries during the progress of operations.
It is essential that batteries should occupy the exact sites which have been selected and surveyed, if this is not done the utility of the boards is almost entirely lost.
- Calibration of Guns and Grouping according to Wear.
As much calibration of guns and howitzers as is possible without increasing the volume of Artillery fire should be carried in the line, with the aid of the Observation Groups and Sound Ranging Sections. Units moving to III. and IV. Corps from other Corps within Third Army must have the calibration of their pieces checked before moving.
In addition calibration will be carried out by III. Corps on their range near Quinconce, and the Army range at Fricourt will be placed at disposal of IV. Corps for this purpose.
Assistance will also be given to III. Corps on the Army range if required.
Arrangements regarding the use of the Army range will be made with H.Q., R.A., Third Army.
Guns and howitzers should be grouped in batteries according to wear and loss of M.V., as determined by examinations by I's.O.M. [Inspectors of Ordnance Material] and the result of calibration shoots.
- Considerations affecting selection and preparation of position.
The scheme is based upon the attainment of a rapid break through without a pause.
The artillery must therefore be disposed to cover the whole operation of penetrating the hostile trench system with the minimum of forward movement.
This necessitates the most forward possible positions being selected for all natures especially 60-pdrs. As no fire will take place from these positions before Zero hour the danger of disclosure to the enemy will be considerably reduced.
The protection of the flanks of the attack from counter-attack will be of great importance; as the attack proceeds it will be necessary therefore to push forward field batteries rapidly positions from which an enfilade protective barrage can be established.
The Heavy and Siege Artillery must be placed sufficiently far forward to deal at Zero hour with the whole of the known hostile gun positions bearing on the front of attack.
Weather-proof shelter for ammunition and personnel and slit trenches for the protection of personnel is probably all the work that will be possible to complete in the time at disposal.
In the case of R.H.A. batteries temporarily allotted to III. and IV. Corps, special consideration must be given to facilities for rapid advance. For this reason these batteries should not be placed too far forward in the preliminary arrangement of the Artillery at disposal.
Camouflage and cover for ammunition must be prepared at such forward positions as it is proposed to occupy during earlier moves of batteries. Dumps of ammunition will have to be formed at such positions in anticipation of occupation.
The most completely sound-proof protection possible must be provided for wireless operators and battery command posts.
The positions of Brigade and Group Headquarters must be selected early and not changed or the provision of the necessary telephonic communication is rendered very difficult.
The selection of battery positions must not be arbitrarily fixed by Corps boundaries. If Corps are unable to adjust their requirements mutually the matter should be referred for Army decision. The requirements of the Tank Corps must be considered. A representative of the Tank Corps will be attached to III. and IV. Corps H.Q. and this officer should be kept informed of the proposals for placing the Artillery.
- Communications and O.Ps.
The selection and allotment of suitable and sufficient O.Ps. for reinforcing batteries will require immediate attention.
Likely positions for O.Ps. beyond the hostile front trenches must be selected from the map as it will be necessary to push forward Artillery observers very rapidly.
The question of the augmentation and improvement of telephonic communications should be considered with A.D. Signals of Corps. Points to be attended to were dealt with in Third Army letter No. R.A. 2510 of 4.10.17 addressed to G.O's.C.R.A., Corps.
Owing to shortage of time and labour it will be absolutely necessary to concentrate on those circuits which are essential for the operation. For the same reasons and for the sake of secrecy no new trenches for burying cable will be constructed.
Very careful consideration must be given however to ensure previously prepared air lines, or cables laid above ground are not destroyed during the artillery concentration.
Mobile cable equipment of units must be complete.
Arrangements for visual signalling communication, probably with the Lucas lamp, must be considered and the necessary practice of signallers carried out.
- Various tables attached.
Table "A" shows a proposed distribution of Artillery resources on the Army front at Zero hour.
Table "B" shows the allotment of Artillery units to III. and IV. Corps in detail and the sources from which they will be drawn.
Table "C" shows the units to be detailed by VI., VII. and XVII Corps for transfer to III. and IV. Corps. In certain cases there is no latitude for selection by Corps and in such cases the designation of units to be transferred is shown in Table "B." VI., VII. and XVII. Corps will report to Army H.Q., and repeat to Corps concerned, the designation of other units to be transferred so that Table "B" may be completed.
Table "D" shows the number of guns available in III. and IV. Corps for the operation.
Table "E" shows proposed dumps of ammunition.
- Trench Mortars.
No special allotment of Trench Mortars has been made.
The fullest possible use will be made of all natures of mortars to bombard the hostile trenches on the immediate flanks of the attack.
Any requirements in pieces which Corps cannot meet from their present allotment should be notified to Army H.Q. without delay.
Corps will also notify Army H.Q. as soon as possible of their requirements in Trench Mortar ammunition.
- Outline of Artillery action.
The Siege and Heavy Artillery will be employed in neutralization of hostile batteries, bombardment of O.Ps., positions of assembly, main routes of movement and of telephonic communication, rest billets, command posts. Particular attention will be paid to villages and approaches on the flanks, where troops might assemble and debouch to counter-attack.
Smoke barrages will be required from Zero hour on the following areas:
- The high ground in M.27, M.32, M.33 (sheet 57b) [Spur S.E. of Bantouzelle].
- On Spur R.28.d., R.29.c. [Spur E. of Gonnelieu], if this is not included in the attack.
- On known O.Ps. not at the time covered by the barrage.
- On the main Hindenburg Line L.32c. to the S.E. [Couillet Wood area].
- On the HavrincourtFlesquieres Spur.
The barrage covering the movement of the Tanks and Infantry will not be a creeping barrage but will lift from one Trench line to the next, or from objective to objective, as the case may be.
This barrage will consist of 13-pdr. and 18-pdr. firing Shrapnel, such 4.5" Howrs., firing H.E. instantaneous fuze as are not required for smoke barrages, and any 6" Howrs. that can be spared from counter-battery or bombardment also firing instantaneous fuzes.
The 6" Howr. barrage should concentrate on known O.Ps, machine gun emplacements and should not be placed nearer than 500 yards to the line of advancing Tanks.
It will be of special importance to deal at once by a heavy concentration with mobile anti-tank guns, or any guns moving into action in the open for the engagement of the Tanks or the infantry.
Certain Field and Heavy Batteries must be specially told off to engage immediately any counter-attacks, or bodies of hostile troops, reported by aeroplane or Kite Balloon Observes, or from terrestrial O.Ps.
- Miscellaneous points.
Attention is directed to the following points which will require consideration:
- Certain 6" Howr. batteries should be provided with teams from 60-pdr. batteries, to enable a proportion of 6" Howrs. to be advanced rapidly.
- It is a help to have parties of R.E. and infantry told off to assist batteries who are required to move forward early and rapidly, in the construction of ramps and bridges.
Drills should be carried out with any parties it is possible to detail.
The tools normally carried on battery vehicles are insufficient and should be supplemented by a special issue to batteries detailed to move early.
- R.A. officers who know the front well should be specially detailed to go round O.Ps. and point out the country to reinforcing Artillery. This is of particular importance in the case of incoming Heavy and Siege Artillery.
- The distribution of the battery personnel into proper reliefs. An unnecessary number of men at the gun position increases casualties with no corresponding increase in efficiency. Although the scheme of operations does not contemplate prolonged Artillery action, the exact duration cannot possibly be foreseen and a proper reserve of resting personnel for relief of detachment is essential.
- It is hoped to establish a forward Meteor office in each Corps area.
- Experience has shown that the control of several R.F.A. Brigades by one R.F.A. Brigade H.Q. as a group is an unsatisfactory arrangement if it can possibly be avoided.
- Map showing distribution of Artillery.
A map showing distribution of Artillery (Brigades F.A. and H.A., batteries Heavy and Siege, and Group and Brigade H.Q.) will be forwarded to H.Q., R.A., Third Army as soon as possible.
General Staff, Third Army
29.10.17 [as amended 5th and 11th November 1917]
Third Army Artillery Instructions No. 19
- Artillery fire before Zero hour.
No firing whatever will be carried out from any newly occupied position before Zero hour.
- Allotment of Field Howitzer Batteries to Cavalry Corps.
Each of III. and IV. Corps will detail one 4.5" Howitzer Battery to be attached to the Cavalry Corps as soon as the leading Cavalry Divisions advance from the line GouzeaucourtMetz en Couture. The batteries will each consist of 4 Guns and 8 wagons with 8-horse teams throughout.
50 per cent, of the ammunition in the echelons will be fuzed 106 fuze.
III. and IV. Corps will inform Cavalry Corps designations of units selected and positions in action.
Cavalry Corps will arrange with III. and IV. Corps when and where these batteries will actually join the Cavalry Divisions on the march.
- Reversion of R.H.A. Batteries to Cavalry Corps control.
R.H.A. Batteries of 2nd, 4th and 3rd Cavalry Divisions, allotted to III. and IV. Corps respectively in the preliminary distribution given in table "B" dated 5.11.17 attached to Army Artillery Instructions No. 18, will again be at the disposal of the Cavalry Corps as soon as the leading Cavalry Divisions advance from the line GouzeaucourtMetz en Couture.
The III. and IV. Corps will not move these batteries from the position in which they commence the action without reference to the Cavalry Corps.
- Artillery Liaison Officers with Infantry formations, etc.
A Field Artillery Liaison Officer will be detailed to accompany each Infantry Brigade Headquarters participating in the attack.
He must be aware of all the Artillery dispositions which may affect the Infantry unit to which he is attached.
A Senior Heavy Artillery Officer (Group or Battery Commander) will also be detailed to accompany Divisional Headquarters. This officer will act as a Liaison Officer from the Corps Heavy Artillery and will be prepared to offer suggestions as to suitable objectives for engagement by the Siege and Heavy Artillery, and will also give any information required by Divisional Headquarters as to the number and nature of Heavy Guns and Siege Howitzers that can be expected to be able to fire on any objective which it is desired to engage.
Corps will detail such other Artillery officers as are deemed necessary for the special mission of watching the progress of the Infantry and keeping Artillery Commanders informed of the tactical situation.
Artillery Liaison Officers must join the formation to which they are attached at least 24 hours before Zero.
It must be remembered that the ability to concentrate Artillery fire rapidly on troops massing for counter-attack, or on hostile batteries which are checking the advance of the Tanks and Infantry, will be essential to success.
- Allotment of an additional 4.5" Howr. Battery to III. Corps from IV. Corps.
IV. Corps will place one 4.5" Howr. Battery at disposal of III. Corps for the special purpose of assisting in the formation of a smoke barrage about Premy Chapel.
This battery may be the battery detailed to accompany the Cavalry according to Section 2.
- Rates of Fire.
For continuous bombardment, unless otherwise ordered (including "protective" barrages).
18-pdrs. or 4.5" Howrs.: 3 rounds per battery per minute or 1 round per gun per 2 minutes.
6" Howrs.: 1 round per battery per 3/4 minute or 1 round per howitzer per 3 minutes.
8" or 9.2" Howrs.: 1 round per battery per 1_ minutes or 1 round per howitzer per 5 minutes.
For counter-battery work.
The rate of fire must be decided according to the circumstances of each case.
For super-heavy Howitzers and Medium and Heavy Guns.
The rate of fire must be decided according to the circumstances of each case.
For barrage fire (including "creeping" and "standing" barrages but not "protective" barrages).
18-pdr.: 2 rounds per gun per minute up to 4 rounds per gun per minute, but latter rate is not to be maintained for more than 10 minutes.
4.5" Howr.: 1 round per gun per minute.
6" Howr.: 1 round per gun per 2 minutes.
- Records of Tasks.
Battery Commanders and F.O.O's. must have a record of the tasks to be carried out by their battery, together with all necessary orders, in a notebook on their person.
- Anti-aircraft Arrangements.
The attached map shows the scheme of anti-aircraft defence at Zero hour.
The first moves proposed are also shown, these will take place by Decauville Railway.
No anti-aircraft lorries will cross our present front line without orders from H.Q., R.A., Third Army, and such orders will not given until it is clear that the condition of the roads is satisfactory.
- Table of Moves, etc.
A Table of moves must be drawn up for all Artillery units until the line MasnieresMarcoingPremy ChapelFlesquieres been captured. This table must show designations of units, lines of advance, tasks, probable O.P.'s and approximate position to be occupied.
The preparation of routes across the wire must be put in hand at the earliest possible moment. The arrangements for bringing up the gun teams and ammunition wagons of batteries detailed to move must be carefully worked out in order to avoid delay.
Officers frequently find difficulty in fixing their own battery positions on the map after advancing across the hostile trenches, this must be considered and suitable points from which to resect decided upon beforehand. In determination of the position from detail on the map, the 1/10,000 scale map will give much more accurate results than the 1/20,000.
- Maintenance of Dumps and clearance of positions after the attack, etc.
- "Dumps" will be maintained after Zero hour at the following figures per piece :
|4.5" Howr||100 ||50
- In the event of the operation being completely successful the Army will be responsible for issuing orders regarding the clearance of any ammunition left behind in vacated battery positions.
If however the operations are only partially successful Corps must make every endeavour to utilize ammunition left at vacated battery positions to avoid pressure on the main lines of railway.
- In addition to Corps Reserve and Gun Dumps it hoped to hold the following stock of ammunition at Army Railheads for III. and IV. Corps at Zero hour.
|18-pdr.||100 rounds per gun
|4.5" Howr.||100 "
|6" Howr.||100 "
|6" Gun||100 "
|8" Howr.||100 "
|9.2" Howr.||100 "
|12" Howr.||50 "
- Collection of information regarding the Hostile Artillery.
Great reliance is now placed on the Observation Groups and Sound Ranging Sections of the Field Survey Company for the collection of information regarding the hostile Artillery.
After a successful attack some time must elapse before these organizations can be re-established and during this period it is most important that Artillery Observation officers should realize that the responsibility for locating the positions of the hostile batteries devolves very largely upon them.
- Co-operation with R.F.C.
Corps Squadrons will require a programme of the neutralizing fire it is proposed to carry out so that fire may if necessary be corrected.
Beyond this the R.F.C. work will consist of reporting hostile batteries that are active and observing and correcting our fire upon them, and in calling for fire on concentrations of hostile troops.
Slow and deliberately observed counter-battery shoots for destructive effect will not be attempted.
A Kite Balloon will ascend at as close a range as possible in each Corps area. These Balloons must be especially used for reporting and engaging hostile troops concentrating or in movement. Speed and a heavy concentration of fire will be important and direct telephonic connection to a selected Heavy Artillery Group will probably be the best arrangement.
- Action after the 1st stage is completed.
- A Heavy Artillery Group consisting of one 60-pdr. battery and one 6" Howitzer Battery under a Group Headquarters should be allotted to each of the leading Divisions.
Arrangements should be made within Corps to provide the 6" Howitzer Battery detailed with horse draught from one of the Heavy Batteries.
- On Z + 1 day it will probably be necessary for the 40th Divisional Artillery to rejoin its division with the V. Corps.
- On Z/Z + 1 night at least two 12" Howitzers (Railway Mounting) from Velu [5 m. W. of Havrincourt] and possibly also one 9.2" Gun (Railway Mounting) will be moved round to Vaulx Vraucourt [8 m. N.W. of Havrincourt].
- On Z + 1 day the VI. Corps will probably be called upon to assist IV. Corps by the bombardment of Queant and Pronville [1 m. S.E. of Queant].
- The following points are drawn attention to, being lessons drawn from the advance in the Bapaume area during March 1917.
- Until the roads have been thoroughly repaired, it is not advisable to push forward many heavy Siege Howitzers and Heavy Guns.
Even if the pieces themselves are got forward it is impossible to maintain the ammunition supply.
On the other hand a single 9.2" or 8" Howr. and a single 6" Gun will prove invaluable, and a fair chance exists of maintaining a sufficient supply of ammunition for a small number of pieces.
One Heavy Howitzer will frequently be the quickest, and will always be the least expensive way of expelling the enemy from a village or hastily prepared strong point which cannot be passed by.
- Battery Commanders having become accustomed to very detailed orders and instructions and to the stagnation of trench warfare do not realize the necessity for resolute initiative and speedy action.
The drill of batteries too is slow.
All ranks must realize that speed and vigour are essential to attain complete success.
- The necessity of appointing a Commander of the artillery of any detached force is not always realized. If this is not done any attached Heavy Artillery are sometimes left without orders.
This Commander must be given an adequate staff and suitable communication facilities.
60-pdrs. and 6" Howrs. should always form part of an advanced guard of any size.
- As soon as a check occurs and an organized Artillery action becomes necessary it is essential for the Corps to resume close tactical control without delay. The Corps Heavy Artillery Commander and his Staff must keep in close personal touch with the progress of mobile operations so as to be in a position to take over immediate tactical control of the Heavy Artillery.
General Staff, Third Army.
Third Army Artillery Instructions No. 20
The action of the Artillery on the day of attack will be based on the following instructions:
- All Guns, Howitzers, and Trench Mortars in III. and IV. Corps will open fire on their respective tasks at Zero hour.
Before Zero hour the normal night firing programme will be carried out. It is necessary that there should be no increase of fire, and it is almost equally important that the night should not be abnormally quiet.
At Zero hour the leading echelon of Tanks will cross a line approximately parallel to the First Artillery barrage line and about 800 yards away from it. The exact distance will vary according to the nature and slope of the ground and will be adjusted within Corps.
- 442nd Siege Battery (9.2" Gun Rly. Mtg.)
Both Guns: Target (a) Sailly [map co-ordinates given]. Resting battalion. 25 rounds a gun. 50 rounds in all.
One Gun: Target (b) Haynecourt [map co-ordinates given]. Resting battalion. 50 rounds.
One Gun: Target (c) Billets in the barracks at A.17.a.65.45. [in Cambrai] 50 rounds.
At all above places resting battalions are billeted. Target (a) will be engaged by both guns at the same time, and will be engaged first.
Fire will be opened at Zero hour by both Guns.
Further tasks may subsequently be ordered by the Army according to the progress of operations, but, in the event of no further tasks being ordered, Corps will be at liberty to issue orders to these guns direct, informing H.Q., R.A., Third Army of the action taken.
Corps will be responsible for arranging aeroplane observation for ranging on the targets allotted, if such observation is possible, but it is to be clearly understood that the carrying out of the programme is not to be delayed or abandoned on account of inability to obtain aeroplane observation.
- The following objective should be engaged by the long range guns and long range howitzers of Corps at Zero hour.
- Les Rues des Vignes apparently much used as a billet. Special attention should be paid to the neighbourhood of the locks and bridges. Resting battalion here [map co-ordinates given].
- Crevecoeur the buildings about [map co-ordinates given] appear to be of the most importance. Resting battalion here.
- Masnieres with special attention to the Station and the buildings about [map co-ordinates given]. Care to be taken to safeguard the bridge on the BonavisMasnieres Road. 106 Fuze to be used by Howitzers. Resting battalion here.
- Rumilly. Southern half of the town seems to be of the greater importance. Resting battalion here.
- Marcoing and Marcoing Station. It is most important not to damage the road bridge and lock and also the railway bridge. 106 Fuze to be used by Howitzers. Regimental H.Q. and Resting battalion at [map co-ordinates given].
- Noyelles Sur L'Escaut. Battalion H.Q. and Resting Battalion [map co-ordinates given].
- Cantaing Billets. Resting Battalion [map co-ordinates given].
- Nine Wood. Dug-outs in Quarry L.16.a.5.4. [S.W. of wood].
- Fontaine Notre Dame. Regimental H.Q. Probable billets [map co-ordinates given].
- Bourlon Billets [map co-ordinates given].
Fire will be maintained on Marcoing and Masnieres throughout the operation until the approach of the Infantry or Tanks renders it necessary to lift or switch fire from these objectives.
In other cases fire will be readjusted by Corps according to the tactical information in their possession.
- At Zero hour as heavy a concentration as possible will be opened by all Siege Howitzers, less those required for barrage or for bombardment of the trenches on the flanks of the attack on all known or suspected billets, H.Qs., communication centres, O.Ps., and command posts.
At this stage the 60-pdr. batteries will open neutralizing fire on hostile battery positions known to be occupied, with Lachrymatory shell. This distribution of fire will subsequently be adjusted by Corps according to the activity and effect of hostile Artillery.
The fire of the 60-pdr. batteries, using shrapnel, will gradually be turned on to the probable lines of approach and positions of assembly of the hostile infantry and the task of neutralization will then fall more to the Siege Howitzers.
- Attention is directed to the importance of maintaining the following areas under fire until, in certain cases, the approach of our own troops renders this unsafe.
Banteux, and Bantouzelle, Pont la Grenouillere [where St. Quentin road crosses canal], Vaucelles, and the bridge and locks in M.15.c. [at Vaucelles].
These places must be kept under fire with Siege Howitzers, using the authorized proportion of instantaneous fuzes, until right flank of the attack to Lateau Wood and thence towards Masnieres is securely established.
Havrincourt and Flesquieres
These places must be maintained under a heavy fire from Siege Howitzers, using the authorized proportion of instantaneous fuzes, until the proximity of our own troops renders it unsafe to continue.
- In addition, it will be necessary to bombard heavily the hostile front system of trenches for at least 500 yards on the immediate flanks of the attack.
For this purpose Trench Mortars must be utilized to the utmost extent possible in order to release all possible Siege Howitzers for tasks at longer ranges.
- As regards other points not specially mentioned in para. 5, Corps will be responsible for arranging the bombardment within their own allotted areas as shown on the accompanying map.
- At Zero hour the Artillery barrage, including special standing barrages of smoke, will be opened as shown on the accompanying map, and according to the following instructions:
- The rates of fire laid down for "Creeping" and "Standing" barrages, in Third Army Artillery Instructions No. 19, Section 6, will be adhered to during those periods in which the Tanks and Infantry are actually progressing between their various objective lines.
During periods of consolidation the rate of fire should be reduced to the bombardment rates laid down in the same section.
It may, however, be necessary to increase this rate on certain known machine gun localities or strong points, or for the formation of special smoke screens. This must be decided by Corps according to the circumstances of each case, or according to reports received at the time.
- At Zero hour, and subsequently at Z+ 150 minutes, all Artillery employed on the frontal barrage will fire a salvo of one round smoke shell. Natures not provided with smoke shell will use shrapnel, or H.E. if also unprovided with shrapnel.
In the event of the order "fire no smoke" (see sub-para. (d) below) being issued, the salvo at Zero hour will, as far as possible, consist of shrapnel.
Under the same circumstances (i.e., no Smoke in frontal barrage) all 13-pdrs., 18-pdrs. and 4.5" Howrs. employed in the frontal barrage will fire from +150 to +153 at the rate of 3 rounds per gun per minute, Shrapnel to be used by 13-pdrs., 106 Fuzes by 4.5" Howrs.
- The ammunition fired in the 13-pdr. and 18-pdr. frontal barrage will be 1/3 Shrapnel (long corrector 50 per cent. graze), 1/3 H.E. and 1/3 Smoke. H.E. with delay fuzes will be expended at the shorter ranges; at ranges over 3,500 yards on level ground non-delay fuzes must be used. If firing against a slope, H.E. with delay fuze will not ricochet at shorter ranges even than this, and non-delay fuzes should then be used.
- The amount of smoke to be fired is calculated on the assumption that the conditions are most favourable (i.e., wind S.W. 10 to 15 m.p.h.).
A wire will be despatched from Army Headquarters to Corps at 12 midnight Y/Z in the following form: "Fire full ration," "fire half ration," "fire no Smoke," etc., this will indicate that the amount of Smoke to be fired in the frontal barrages should be reduced accordingly.
The wire from Army Headquarters will be based on a forecast of probable weather conditions.
When conditions are uncertain, and when variable weather, visibility, and wind currents are likely in small areas, the conditions most unfavourable to the use of smoke will be assumed to be universal and to be most probable and the Army order will refer to such conditions.
It will be permissible for Corps to increase the proportion of Smoke beyond that ordered, up to the full ration only according to the local conditions, and as these conditions change during the course of the operation.
Corps may delegate this authority to Divisions if considered desirable.
Under certain conditions it may also be desirable to order no smoke to be fired on any barrages West or South of the Blue line, while East or North of this line a certain proportion will be fired, and Corps must be prepared for such order.
As regards the standing smoke barrages Corps will be responsible for issuing instructions as to the rate and duration of the fire according to the meteorological conditions at the moment.
Attention is directed to Third Army "Notes on Smoke Barrages" as regards placing of the M.P.I., and rate of fire required for the formation of Smoke screens.
- The M.P.I, of the whole barrage will be kept on the barrage line. That is to say the point of ricochet and not the point of burst of 18-pdr. H.E. (delay fuze) will be on the barrage line, and smoke shell in this case will also be placed on, and not short of, the line to be barraged. This is necessary in order to reduce to a minimum the danger of a direct hit on a tank from short rounds.
- All 13-pdr. and 18-pdr. Guns will be employed in the frontal barrage preceding the Tanks and Infantry save certain 18-pdr. batteries in IV. Corps necessarily employed in the formation of a flank barrage.
Such 4.5" Howitzers as are not required for formation of Smoke barrages or other special tasks will join in the frontal barrage.
In addition any 6" Howitzers not required for the tasks specified in Sections 3, 4 and 5, will also join in the frontal barrage but not fire within 500 yards of the projected leading line of Tanks.
Howitzers will use the largest possible proportion of 106 Fuze, and their fire will be concentrated on particularly important machine gun nests, O.Ps. and communication trenches.
- Care will be necessary to ensure that the advance of the Cavalry is not delayed or hampered by tardiness in lifting or switching fire from points in their line of advance.
- A special Artillery weather wire will be sent out from Army Headquarters at Zero2 hours.
During Z-day Artillery weather wires will be sent out from Army Headquarters at 2-hour intervals.
General Staff, Third Army
[as amended 15 and 18 November 1917]
"The Infantry cannot do with a gun less": The Place of the Artillery
in the British Expeditionary Force, 1914-1918