"We had done all that was expected of us."

Staffordshire's Territorials and the Assault on the Hohenzollern Redoubt  13th October 1915

46th Divison Operation Orders


October 10th 1915


References are to trench maps 1/10,000 and 1/5,000.

1. The 11th Corps is to attack and capture the QUARRIES and FOSSE No. 8, in order to establish the left flank of the 1st Army and render a further advance in conjunction with the French possible.

The line to be established is G.12.d39 - G.12.b.22, G.6.c.82 and 45-G6.a.42. - A.29.d.25 N.W. Corner of CORONS DE MAROC - A.29.c.1.6 - A.28.d.49 and along AUCHY LES-LA-BASSEE-VERMELLES road to our present front line A.28.c.33.

The task of 12th Division is to capture the QUARRIES and establish the above line as far North as the track at G.5.b.68. The task of 46th Division is to capture the HOHENZOLLERN REDOUBT and FOSSE No. 8, and establish the above line from the track in G.5.b.68 to our front trench at A.28.C.33. The attack will take place on the 13th instant. The infantry will assault at 2 p.m. Watches will be synchronised under Divisional Arrangements on the morning of the 13th.

2. The 46th Division will assemble for the attack in accordance with instructions for assembly to be issued separately.

3. The distribution of the Division for the attack will be as follows:-

Right Attack.

Commander - Brigadier E. Feetham, C.B.

137th Infantry Brigade

100 Grenadiers 139th Infantry Brigade.

2 sections Divisional Cyclist Coy.

1/2nd Field Coy. R.E.

Left Attack.

Commander - Brigadier-General G. C. Kemp.

138th Infantry Brigade

1st Bn. Monmouth Regt.

125 Grenadiers 139th Inf. Bde. (25 to be attached to 1st Monmouths).

2 sections Divisional Cyclist Coy.

1/1st Field Coy. R.E.

Divisional Reserve.

Commander - Brigadier C. T. Shipley.

139th Infantry Brigade (less 225 Grenadiers).

1 Platoon Divisional Cyclist Coy.

2 Troops Yorkshire Hussars

The Brigadier-General Commanding 139th Infantry Brigade will detail 1 Battalion to be at the disposal of the Brigadier-General Commanding 137th Brigade; and one Battalion to be at the disposal of the Brigadier-General Commanding 138th Brigade.

R.E. Reserve under C.R.E.

2/1st Field Coy. R.E.


The attack will be covered by the Artillery as follows:-

a) Three Groups of Heavy Artillery under the Corps Commander.

b) One group of Divisional Artillery (6 Brigades 18 pdr. and one Brigade 4.5" howitzers) under the C.R.A. 28th Division and at the disposal of the G.O.C. 46th Div.

F.O. Officers will accompany the Battalion Commanders of the assaulting columns as under:-

R. Battn. 137th Bde. F.O.O. of 22nd Bde. R.F.A. now with R. Battn. 1st Guards Brigade.

L. Battn,. 137th Bde. F.O.O. of 22nd Bde. R.F.A. now with L. Battn. 1st Guards Brigade.

R. Battn. 138th Bde. F.O.O. of 3rd Bde. R.F.A. now with R. Battn. 2nd Guards Brigade.

L. Battn. 138th Bde. F.O.O. of 146th Bde. R.F.A. now with L. Battn. 2nd Guards Brigade.

And will be attached to Brigade Headquarters as follows:-

137th Brigade Hqrs. F.O.O. of 22nd Brigade R.F.A. now with 1st Guards Brigade Headquarters.

138th Brigade Hqrs. F.O.O. of 36th Brigade R.F.A. now with 2nd Guards Brigade Headquarters.

4. The attack will be carried out as follows:-

1) Artillery.

a) The Heavy Artillery bombardment is now in progress and is being directed against the enemy's guns, machine-gun emplacements, observation stations, trenches (both front line and in rear) and the strong points such as the Pentagon in A.29c.53 and the houses in A.28.d.28.

b) There will be an Artillery bombardment of the position to be assaulted by every available gun in the Corps commencing at 12 noon on the day of the attack. This bombardment will last 2 hours. From 1 to 1.50 gas and smoke will be employed, the smoke being continued till 2, at which hour the Infantry assault will commence. The heavy artillery from 1 to 1.10 will bombard the CORON DE PEKIN, CORON DE MAROC, PENTAGON REDOUBT, and the N.E. end of the DUMP, and, for the remainder of the smoke and gas period, will devote its attention to counter-battery work and to bombarding the enemy's approaches and communications trenches and the likely positions of his reserves. During the assault the Divisional Artillery will form a barrage from about A.30.c.72 along PEKIN and CEMETERY ALLEYS to MAD ALLEY and MAD POINT, the Heavy Artillery assisting on the CEMETERY, LONE FARM and the houses near MAD POINT. This barrage will continue from 2.0 to 4.0, after which the fire will be lifted from MAD POINT and the houses near to it to the trench A.28c.48 - A.28.b.17, and a slower rate of fire maintained throughout the night.

2) Infantry.

The Infantry will assault as follows:-

The dividing line between the right and left attacks will be G.4.b.60 - right edge of village E. of CORONS ALLEY, PENTAGON REDOUBT, A.29.c.53 (latter to right attack).

a) Right Attack.

The 137th Brigade from the old British front trench between G.10.b.98 and G.4.d.26 and assembly trenches in rear will assault at 2 p.m. with their left directed on the N.W. corner of the DUMP.

1st Objective. - Track crossing FOSSE ALLEY at G.5.b.68 - G.5.b.39 and A.29.d.22 to PENTAGON REDOUBT at A.29.c.53 (inclusive). The assault will pass straight on without pause to the far side of the DUMP. Bombing parties will be told off by the Commander, Right Attack to bomb along the following trenches as they are successfully reached by the assault.

i) South Face.

ii) Fosse Alley to join up with left of 12th Division about the track at G.5.b.68.

iii) Trench running towards 3 Cabarets from A.29.d.22.

Bombing parties will also be organised to deal with DUMP TRENCH and SLAG ALLEY and with machine-gun emplacements and other defences found in the DUMP, and clear them of the enemy. Dug-outs must be cleared by bombing, and the greatest care taken that bone are left unsearched.

2nd Objective. - A.29.D.25 - 3 CABARETS, N.E. edge of CORONS DE PEKIN - W. edge of CORONS DE MAROC- railway A.29.c.16 (exclusive).

b) Left Attack.

The 138th Infantry Brigade from our front trench between G.4.d.26, and G.4.a.72, and the assembly trenches in the rear will assault at 2 p.m. with their right directed on the N.W. corner of the DUMP.

1st Objective:- PENTAGON REDOUBT, A.29.c.53 (exclusive) - A.29.c.16 - 28.d.63 and 43-1st L of LITTLE WILLIE to our present front trench at A.28.c.51.

The assault will pass straight over the HOHENZOLLERN REDOUBT without pause. The 1st Bn. Monmouth Regt. will follow immediately in rear of the assault and will occupy the Redoubt, clear it of the enemy, and organise it at once as a strong supporting point with all-round defence. They will connect the Redoubt to our present front line by Big Willie and the trench running through the first E. of HOHENZOLLERN (1/5,000 map).

Bombing parties will be told off by the Commander Left Attack to bomb along the following trenches as they are successfully reached by the assault, particular attention being paid to the clearing of dug-outs.

i) Trench leading N.W. from N.W. face of the HOHENZOLLERN REDOUBT. This must be cleared back to our present front line.



iv) Trench running N.W. through A.28.d.63.

v) Trench running to A.28.d.49.

vi) Trench running N. from A.29.c.16.

vii) Trench running N.E. towards A.29.c.69.

2nd Objective:- Railway A.29.c.16 (inclusive) - A.28.d.49. MAD POINT - front of trench A.28.c.33. If possible both assaults will be pressed straight through to 2nd objective, which will be immediately consolidated. If the assault is checked at the first objective, immediate measures will be taken to consolidate the position won, and a further attack will be organised against 2nd objective, which in its turn will be consolidated as soon as secured, in order to obtain two good strong lines of defence. The first essentials of consolidation are wire along the front and the establishment of a fire trench. Machine guns must be brought up as quickly as possible to points whence their fire will cover the front and flanks during consolidation. A smoke curtain will be established to cover the work of consolidation. Instructions are attached - Appendix "B".


5. Infantry will carry 3' square screens divided diagonally into red and yellow, to mark the position of the firing line. Bombing parties will mark their positions in captured trenches by red flags 18" square.


6. Main communication trenches are allotted as follows:

a) In. 137th Brigade.

GORDON ALLEY to junction with HULLUCH ALLEY - HULLUCH ALLEY to G.10b.89. and thence to G.5.5.c.57.

138th Brigade.


b) Out.

Both Brigades.


c) Evacuation of wounded.

i) HAYWARDS HEATH and BARTS ALLEY (stretcher and walking cases).

ii) CENTRAL BOYAU and CENTRAL TRENCH (walking cases only).

After the capture of the enemy's position, SLAG ALLEY, N. FACE and CORONS ALLEY will, as far as possible, be reserved for IN traffic and S. FACE and the trenches between the DUMP and the village for OUT traffic.


7. Troops will carry greatcoats and waterproof sheets in the attack, but not packs.

All men in the front trenches must have their smoke helmet (old pattern) and carry a tube helmet in addition. The smoke helmet will be worn on the head tucked in at the back of the neck in such a manner that it can easily be pulled down on encountering gas.

Every man will carry 220 rounds of ammunition (grenadiers 100 rounds), his iron ration and 2 empty sandbags.

1 Vermorel Sprayer per company will be carried forward, and, if possible, 4 gallons of solution in addition.


8. Depots of grenades and engineer material and food will be formed as detailed in Appendix "C".


9. Every endeavour will be made to maintain communication with Battalion and Brigade Headquarters by carrying forward telephones and wire with the attack and by running.

In addition, the O.C. Divisional Signal Coy. will arrange for visual signalling to be established from the South of the DUMP to a suitable point or points in our present system of trenches, informing all concerned as to the arrangements made.


10. Prisoners of war will be immediately disarmed and then collected in batches of 50 to 150 and passed back by Units to the road junction G.2.d.60 N.E. of VERMELLES, whence they will be forwarded under escort of the Yorkshire Hussars to Divisional Headquarters. Officers and if possible, N.C.O's must be kept separate from their men.

Escorts for prisoners should be on the following scale:-

For 50 prisoners: 10 N.C.O.s and men.

100 prisoners: 15 N.C.O.s and men.

150 prisoners: 20 N.C.O.s and men.

Prisoners should be collected and sent back in as large parties as possible in order to economise escorts. Infantry escorts before returning from VERMELLES to their Battalions, will report to their Brigade Headquarters in case they may be required to carry up stores, water, etc.


11. A Collecting Station will be established at BARTS G.3.c.66., to which all wounded will be taken or directed if able to walk. From here wounded will be taken to an advanced dressing station at the CHATEAU, VERMELLES, G.8.c.38, whence they will be evacuated by Motor Ambulance.


12. The C.R.A. will arrange for a carrying party of 5 officers and 250 men to be at the advanced R.E. Park, THE BREWERY, VERMELLES, at 5 p.m. on the day of the attack.


13. Advanced Divisional Headquarters will be at house in SAILLY LA BOURSE on the main BETHUNE-LOOS Road in L.3.b.

(signed) P. Game, Lieut.- Col.

G.S. 46th Division.

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Copyright © Andrew Thornton, January, 2000.

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