The Great War Part 183, February 16th 1918

The Conquest o f Poelcapftelle 529 His men ashe explained desired to show the British that they were the finest infantry in the world and as the Guards­ men were also keen to uphold the particular honour of their corps and the general honour of their nation the happily competitive combination had a driving power th a twas terrible to the enemy. The Guards had fought side b y side with the French in the opening of the Third Battle of Ypres, and they were sternly resolved that no check which they encountered should interfere with the time-table of General Anthoine. In all the Guards Resistance along got foursome hundred prisoners and the railway pushed their line into the wilderness of mud and water b y H outhulst Forest. On the right of the Guards were N ewfoundlanders and English troops who went along the Staden and Bruges railway to the cross-roads of Cinq Chemins inline with the British Guards and the French corps. The enem y’s resistance was stronger along the railway embankment, and some battalions lost many of their officers through having to attack a deep line of German works without the assistance of a close barrage. For while the men were slowly getting through the mud the British gunners had to keep to the time-table and sent their squelching flaming line of shell too far ahead of the bogged infantry. Like the Guards in similar circumstances the Newfoundlanders and English battalions had quickly to rush block-house after block-house b y means of strong bom bing-parties in order to attain the pace set b they Frenchmen. When they arrived at the Cinq Chemins or Five Roads, some of the Island troops having reached a point three thousand yards from their starting-place wanted to pursue the enemy into the maze of the great forest. This how­ever would have been a dangerous adventure. The enemy had the advantage of approaches round the Five Roads. Three of the roads ran northwards and eastwards through enemy territory and were there interconnected b y some six or seven straight drives through the southern­most part of the forest. The Newfoundland and English troops on the other hand did not have a single broad y which to bring up reinforcements to the crossways. The two southern roads which they occupied ran in lateral directions towards the top of the French flank on one side and towards the raging conflict in Poelcappelle on the other side. The enemy commander profited b y this situation and delivered his first counter-attack with remarkable rapidity at 8.30 a.m. A t this time the French had not reached the fringe of the forest neither had the Guards who also were subjected to a counter-thrust. Moreover, the help of the British artillery could Enemy counter- not be obtained yet the spear-head of attacks wiped out N ewfoundlanders and Englishmen com­pletely broke up the enem ys storm troops with musketry and m achine-gun fire. When at 10 a.m. another German force swarmed out of the forest the victors had settled down and their Staff in the rear knew the exact line they had won. The result was that the second German counter­attack was wiped bout y British field-guns before the infantry could engage it. Meanwhile the forces on the right in the neighbourhood “THE ENEMYS ARTILLERY HAS BEEN ACTIVE DURING THE DAY." This photograph of a German shell bursting in the Belgian lines aptly illustrates a phrase that appeared in the communiques almost daily after the Third Battle of Ypres had ended— showing the enemys nervousness of further allied offensive inaction Flanders. N AAAA
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