The Great War Part 96, June 17th 1916

IN FULL COLD-W EATHER KIT. Warmly clad British soldiers looking out for the enemy in a wood not far from the German lines in France. apparently by some of the Canadians and certain Yorkshire and other British regiments took up the new game with great zest until it became a general and regular feature. Both sides used to send out nocturnal patrols to scout in the zone between the two lines of wire entanglements. In many places there were little concealed breaks in the wire through which snipers Went out in the darkness with ammunition and food to work in the daylight hours. Our men began to 1)6 bored by the inactivity of trench duty at night and with some of their subalterns indulged in what they called “winter sports.” They crept out stealthily and cut the enemys wire climbed over his parapet and knocked the sentry on the head b y means of a spiked club. Sometimes instead of killing the Germans they took them prisoners and carried them, gagged and bound by stealth into our lines. Nothing was done to alarm the enemy and never a bomb was thrown nor a shot fired unless the little nocturnal raiding party Was surprised. Silence and stealthiness were the The new original marks of the new winter sports. “winter sports ”The Germans however held their line so weakly that they invited more daring attacks and in November 1915 the Canadian force near Messines began to extend their raiding operations. On the night of November 16th two sergeants and four corporals of the 7th Canadian Battalion undertook a brilliant raiding operation. Sergeant Meyerstein and Sergeant Ashby with Corporals Badcock, Odium and Weir and Lance-Corporal Berry worked for four hours cutting wire by a German trench. It was a bright WINTER EQUIPMENT OF THE BRITISH SOLDIER .The fur coat and woollen cap as seen in the horse lines in Fiance. moonlight night and the German position was heavily manned but with something of the craft of the Redskins of their country the Canadians not only cut through to the German position but placed abridge over the Douve River at a distance of only sixteen yards from the hostile parapet When all these prepara­tions were completed the scouts guided a large bombing party into the German lines, and in the conflict which ensued thirty enemy soldiers were killed and what was still more remarkable twelve were brought captive into our lines. The affair excited great attention, and General Joffre in person circulated a detailed account of all the work of preparation among the French armies as a classic example of the new development intrench warfare. Captain Andrew Henry Jukes an officer in the Gurkha Rifles attached to the Staff of the 6th Canadian Brigade seems to have been one of the first men in a position of authority to discern the large importance of the soldiers winter sports. The bored men who started raiding in order to get some excitement out of life were really following the old example of the Gurkhas, who in manoeuvres in India in the days of Canadians adopt peace had captured an English battalion .Gurkha tactics b y a nocturnal raid. So the experienced Gurkha officer Was able to give some sound tips even to the enterprising Canadians. He organised the training of the midnight fighters and twice led them into the enemy’s trenches with great success. The 10th Canadian Battalion produced in Lieutenant Younger Lieutenant Trimmer and Lieutenant Kent three leaders of fine skill and coolness. They quietly began by making reconnaissance crawls into- the German line and discovering machine-guns for their batteries to destroy the next day. Then they took to felling German sentries and finally they developed raiding, operations in a more deadly way. After the wire Was cut,, bombing parties were led into the enemys lines and a little, noisy battle was openly conducted. In every case there was- a sudden retreat on the part of the raiders whose sole object was to make quick a kill before the German supports arrived and get safely back into their own lines before any hostile machine-gun could direct an enfilading fire- upon them. B they first week of December 1915 the subalterns of our new armies occupying the fire-trenches were taking up the new form of warfare with great skill. The Cheshires soon distinguished themselves. Sec.- Lieutenant Harding of the 1st Battalion went out the-on
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