The Great War, I was there - Part 21

TROPHIES OF BATTLE— NOW JUNK These two machine-guns, which have apparently aroused (he keen interest of the Tommies who are handling them, were captured from the enemy during the Battle of Morval, which opened on September 25,1916. Only a short time before the photograph was taken these vicious weapons had been pouring death from a German strong point as the resolute Fourth Army renewed the offensive. Later the guns, with other trophies of the battle, were carried to a dump in the back areas to join arising pile of war junk. Imperial War Museum We were told that the chances were against us being called up, but we had to be prepared the morning continued brilliant and so we waited events. Punctually at 12.30 p.m. our artillery opened the bombardment on the villages and surrounding German positions and we all stood to ready to act. The noise was deafening from the rear of us, and from the front and from both flanks guns of all calibres poured one con­tinuous stream of shells over onto the German positions. The ground shook and vibrated with the firing. We looked atone another. We had been in such bombardments ourselves, but at the other end, and we knew the effects. In less than half an hour the first batch of German prisoners passed us and we knew that our fellows were getting busy in the German lines, but could get no information we were still pouring over shells. At 1.30 orders were passed along to he ready to move at any moment, and shortly afterwards, in columns of platoons, the Batt. moved forward. The first two or three hundred yards was easygoing until we began to get amongst our own light batteries and had to encounter the reply from the German guns. It was one of the few instances when I preferred to remain in the infantry. The replies came in the shape of heavies, which came crumping over. They served to spur on.us We reached the crest of the hill at the double and over the top and dropped in the old main German trench fairly blown to the wide. The whole panorama was exposed to our view. When I had recovered my breath I got up to look. Across and up the opposite slope I saw the 14th and 15th Brigades advancing line after line they appeared to rise out of the valley and as one line went up the hillside to be followed by another twosome hundred yards behind, and then another and another. It was an exhilarating sight. 819 We could see each man distinctly, and they appeared not to have many casualties but kept on advancing, to divide as they reached Morval, sur­rounding the village and disappearing over the crest of the hill. Morval itself was obscured in smoke, our artillery the whole time pounding it to dust. That their fire was accurate we could tell by the reddish haze that hungover the place there would not be many bricks left standing when they had finished with it. In the meantime large batches of prisoners were in,coming which gave us the idea that the attack was going well. By this time our artillery had abated, the haze cleared and we could see what was left of Morval. It looked and was a heap of ruins. As our men moved forward so we advanced down the slope of the hill, x 1
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