The Great War Part 197, May 25th 1918

242 The Great W ¦zr Division almost undisturbed until the end of the month on the Marcoing and Masnieres line and placed his main counter-attacking divisions at some distance from the Bourlon and Moeuvres critical front. Whenever a British force won any considerable part of ground there he used his men like human battering-rams and by downright weight of numbers recovered the key positions. On the British side the gallant Ulstermen were strengthened by the 56 th London Territorial Division. The splendid West Riding Division which had entered Bourlon Wood and with­drawn after hard fighting was relieved by the 40th Division. One brigade of the 40th the 119th was a Welsh unit formed of the 9th Welsh Fusiliers the 12th South Wales Borderers and the 17th and 18th Welsh. In its 120th Brigade were the nth Lancashires the 13th East Surreys the 14th Highland Light Infantry and the 14th Argyll and Sutherlands. Its 121st Brigade was composed of the 12th Suffolks the 13th Yorkshires and the 20th and 21st Middlesex. British forces The 51st Highland Territorial Division, outnumbered one of the most tried in the field, remained in front of the salient village of Fontaine two miles from Cambrai. The Guards were being brought up to relieve the Highlanders and the 2nd Division was moving down to replace the Ulstermen, while the West Riding men who had fought from Havrin- court into Bourlon Wood could only be given a short period of rest before they resumed their attack upon the ridge alongside the British Guards. Again therefore the British forces were very small and SOME OF GENERAL B YN G TENS THOUSAND CAPTIVES. German prisoners incoming from their captured second line near the Canal du Nord and Havrincourt. At the end of November 1917 after ten days fighting the number of prisoners taken by Sir Julian Byng’s forces in the operations south-west of Cambrai exceeded 10500. worn in comparison with the large fresh German forces rapidly and continually forgathering the pitched battle. The old British standard strength of twelve battalions to a division had not been maintained through lack of trained man-power. The German commander had another great advantage in the matter of heavy artillery fire as his undamaged railways and roads enabled him to move his pieces quickly forward while the British heavy guns were being dragged over the old broken battlefield soaked with rain and unconnected with the roads and light railways serving the original British front. B they morning of November 23rd however there­ organisation of Sir Julian Byngs forces was sufficient to allow the new attack to be undertaken. In the previous night a battalion of the Queens Westminsters obtained an important tactical success by storming forward on the left of the Ulstermen and pushing the Germans out of the wooded point of Tadpole Copse rising west ot Mceuvres village. The copse was a valuable spot in connection with the left flank of the Bourlon Ridge but only when the ridge itself was conquered with the village could the military im­portance of the success of the Queens Westminsters become fully evident. The morning attack was made in aline stretching from Tadpole Copse and Moeuvres to the village and hill of Bourlon and the hamlet of Fontaine-Notre-Dame. Four British divisions swung upon and around the great black hummock of Bourlon and against the fortified villages and entrench­ments on either side of th§ height. The 40th Division with armoured cars in front and Hussars behind swept up- the slopes of the rounded ridge and along the road to Bourlon village, while the indefatigable Highland Territorials again attacked Fon- taine-Notre-Dame and the equally WOUNDED BOUND FOR HOSPITAL AND BEARERS FOR THE CAGES. Wounded British soldiers being carried back to dressing-stations by German prisoners over duck-board tracks laid through the woods. Copses and woods were a feature of the terrain of the Cambrai Battle, and added greatly to the difficulties of the British infantry in their attack.
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