We left the British ‘big push’ at the end of the Morning Turn in a tricky position.
The Right hand brigade (Rhb) had stormed through the German lines and reached its objective – the German Second Line. However in doing so, it had taken horrific casualties, and its reserves stalled in the German First Line. It was now facing the German reserves counter attack.
The Left hand brigade (Lhb) had been bounced by the German Front line and was mired on the wire in No Mans Land taking casualties.
The British command had a problem – the Rhb won’t be able to hold its objective if the reserves don’t come to support it. Also in the long term the Rhb would not be able to keep the objective if the Lhb didn’t break through the German First Line and at least draw level with it. However the Lhb was currently held up in No Mans Land.
The British command came up with a plan;
Firstly, put down a ‘static’ barrage on the German Reserve line on the Rhb side to break up any counter attack, and assist its defense.
Secondly, bring up the Rhb reserves and dig in within the captured German Second Line.
Thirdly, put a destructive ‘stonk’ on the Lhb side German Front Line as possible.
Finally, move the Lhb reserves up and assault once again the German Front line, and then, rather then keep going, dig in against any counter attack. A bite and hold strategy.
Lets see how this plan played out:
Supported by an aerial spotter the artillery opened a ‘static’ bombardment on the Rhb side German Reserve Line – however 2 batteries failed, but some damage was made to the assembling German counter attack. On the Lhb side the ‘stonk’ opened on the German Front Line, again 2 batteries failed, and no casualties were caused. Not a great start for the British!
The German counter ‘stonks’ hit fresh air – seems the artillery is having a bad day all round!! However the Germans have deployed ‘static’ bombardments, so perhaps they may cause problems later…..
The British Rhb reserves move up (through the small ‘static’ German bombardment)to the captured German Second Line and dig in, awaiting the expected German counter attack.
On the Lhb side, the reserves moved forward and assault the German First Line…….
…….and sweeps through to capture it. However, according to plan, it stops and digs in awaiting the expected counter attack. Some troops are still mired in the wire of No Mans Land though.
On the Rhb side the expected German counter attack from the Reserve Line comes in and is decisively beaten off. This time.
On the Lhb side the counter attack from the German Second Line is fought off as well!!!
So, at the end of the Afternoon Turn, the situation has turned out pretty well as planned for the British. The Rhb has been reinforced and sits dug in on its objective. The Lhb has captured the German Front Line, and held, as planned. Casualties have been relatively light for the British, for the Germans attacking against a dug in defense, with ineffective artillery support, the casualties have been high.
The British, through a bite and hold strategy have given the Germans a problem.Lets see how they sort that out in the Evening Turn.