Orders For The Battle of Le Quesnoy
The following details were sourced and compiled by Richard Stowers.
Above is a photograph of the actual map used by the New Zealand Army commanders on the 4th of November 1918, kindly supplied by Richard Stowers. Below is a closer look.
Orders for attack on Le Quesnoy
Order No. 197
Headquarters, 2nd November, 1918
Ref. Maps: Sheet 51A, S.E.; Sheet No. 51, S.W.
1. The Fourth, Third and First Armies are resuming the advance on November the 4th. ZERO HOUR will be 05.30 hours, November 4th.
2. The New Zealand Division, in conjunction with the 37th Division (on the right) and the 62nd Division (on the left), will attack and establish itself on the line FRANC A LOUER (M.36.a.) -HERBIGNIES-TOUS VENTS (M.24.a.) and, if opportunity offers, will exploit success Eastwards through the FORET DE MORMAL towwards the SAMBRE RIVER.
3. (a) Objectives and boundaries will be shown on the attached Map “A”.
(b) The town of LE QUESNOY will not be attacked, but troops moving North and South of it to the BLUE DOTTED and GREEN LINES will form a flank to encircle the RAMPARTS, which will be screened by smoke.
4. The attack will be carrried out by the 3rd New Zealand (Rifle) Brigade Group, on the right, and the 1st New Zealand Infantry Brigade Group [including the Auckland, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago Infantry Regiments and the New Zealand Machine-Gun Corps], on the left.
[New Zealand Rifle Brigade] Battalion tasks are as shown on attached Map “A”.
The attack will be carried out in five phases as under:
(a) PHASE 1.
The 3rd New Zealand (Rifle) Brigade Group will attack at ZERO and capture the BLUE LINE. The timing of the advance South of LE QUESNOY will be co-ordinated to conform with that of the 37th Division, viz.: – 1st lift, ZERO plus 4 minutes, followed by seven lifts of 100 yards in 4 minutes, then at the rate of 100 yards in 6 minutes. The rate of advance North of LE QUESNOY will be for 3 lifts of 100 yards in 3 minutes, and then at the rate of 100 yards in 4 minutes. After reaching the Protective Line for the BLUE LINE, the [artillery] barrage will search the RAMPARTS of LE QUESNOY for 15 minutes, and then cease on the West and Northwest faces while patrols push forward to ascertain if the town is still occupied [by Germans]; if patrols are unable to penetrate the RAMPARTS, smoke will be fired intermittently from P bombs and No. 36 Rifle Grenades from ZERO plus 60 minutes until ZERO plus 180 minutes.
(b) PHASE 2.
The 3rd Battalion, N.Z.R.B. [New Zealand Rifle Brigade], will advance from the BLUE LINE South of LE QUESNOY to the DOTTED BLUE LINE, in conjunction with the 37th Division, at ZERO plus 119 minutes.
Troops will be on the BLUE LINE by ZERO plus 100 minutes.
Rate of [creeping] barrage, 100 yards in 6 minutes.
The 1st Battalion, N.Z.R.B., will, immediately after the advance to the DOTTED BLUE LINE, take over the frontage facing towards LE QUESNOY from R.36.a.7.2. to M.31.b.7.6. [Map references.]
The 1st New Zealand Infantry Brigade Group will pass one battalion through troops of the 62nd Division and 3rd N.Z. (Rifle) Brigade Group, on the front R.18.c.2.0. – R.18.a.0.0., at ZERO plus 141 minutes, and, in conjunction with the 62nd Division, will advance and establish itself on the DOTTED BLUE LINE, forming a flank facing LE QUESNOY as it progresses.
Rate of [creeping] barrage, 100 yards in 3 minutes.
For the purposes of this operation the Inter-Divisional boundary will run from R.18.a.00.00. to M.14.d.20.00.
A smoke screen will be put down on the line R.24.a.8.0. – M.20.c.3.2. – M.20.d.5.3. to cover this advance.
(e) PHASE 3.
The 3rd Battalion, N.Z.R.B., will continue to advance from the DOTTED BLUE LINE to the GREEN LINE, in conjunction with the 37th Division, at ZERO plus 197 minutes, at the rate of 100 yards in 6 minutes, until its right reaches the GREEN LINE, when it will swing up to the GREEN LINE, the rate of the [creeping] barrage on the left conforming with the lifts of the [creeping] barrage covering the 1st New Zealand Infantry Brigade Group.
The 1st N.Z. Infantry Brigade Group will move forward two battalions to advance in conjunction with the 62nd Division, from the DOTTED BLUE LINE, at ZERO plus 206 minutes, to the GREEN LINE. The [creeping] barrage will move at the rate of 100 yards in 3 minutes, and will pick up the barrage covering the 3rd N.Z. (Rifle) Brigade Group at the corner of the lake, M.26.c.65.80.
Junction between the 1st N.Z. Infantry Brigade and the 3rd New Zealand (Rifle) Brigade will be effected at Cross Roads M.26.d.1.9. and at M.27.c.1.5. [Thus causing the total encirclement of Le Quesnoy.]
On reaching the GREEN LINE, the 1st New Zealand Infantry Brigade will extend its right flank to the Southern Dissional boundary in readiness to continue the advance; troops may be moved South of LE QUESNOY for the purpose if desired.
(d) PHASE 4.
The 1st New Zealand Infantry Brigade Group will, at ZERO plus 290 minutes, continue the advance from the GREEN LINE to the RED LINE, under a [creeping] barrage of all available artillery, moving at the rate of 100 yards in 3 minutes.
This barrage will die out on reaching the limit of the range of the guns, and the advance will be continued without a barrage, but supported by FORWARD Sections or Batteries.
The 3rd New Zealand (Rifle) Brigade will mop up LE QUESNOY.
(e) PHASE 5.
Should enemy resistance weaken on reaching the RED LINE, patrols will be pushed forward to secure the DOTTED RED LINE, whence the 2nd New Zealand Infantry Brigade Group from Divisional Reserve will continue the advance.
Should opposition be met with, a definite line will be established by the 1st New Zealand Infantry Brigade Group, and artilllery brought forward preparatory to an attack by the 2nd New Zealand Infantry Brigade Group during the afternoon.
5. (a) The attack will be carried out under a Field Artillery barrage, for which barrage maps and instructions will be issued separately.
(b) The IVth Corps Heavy Artillery are co-operating in the attack by bombardment on special points to be notified later.
(c) One Forward Section, Field Artillery, will accompany the 3rd Battalion, N.Z.R.B., going forward to the GREEN LINE. (This section will be supported as soon as possible by batteries and brigades which will be moved forward on completion of their barrage tasks.)
(d) The attack on the BLUE LINE will be carried out covered by twelve 6-inch Medium Trench Mortars and two batteries of Light Trench Mortars, the 2nd New Zealand L.T.M. [Light Trench Mortar] Battery having been placed at the disposal of the 3rd New Zealand (Rifle) Brigade Group for this purpose.
Tasks: 2 guns, 3rd L.T.M. Battery, will be attached to the 3rd Battalion, N.Z.R.B., and will report at 3rd Battalion Headquarters at 17.00, 3rd November. The 3rd Battalion, N.Z.R.B., will detail two carriers to accompany each gun.
Tasks of remainder of 2nd and 3rd New Zealand L.T.M. Batteries and “X” and “Y” Medium T.M. Batteries are as shown on attached Map “B”.
Barrages of M.T.M.’s and L.T.M.’s will conform to keep 300 and 100 yards respectively in advance of the Field Artillery [creeping] barrage.
The 3rd New Zealand L.T.M. Battery will, in addition, detail the following to accompany Battalions after completion of the barrage task:
1st Battalion, N.Z.R.B., 2 guns.
4th Battalion, N.Z.R.B., 1 gun.
2nd Battalion, N.Z.R.B., 2 guns.
6. The advance of the 1st Battalion, N.Z.R.B., will be covered by the OTAGO Machine-gun Company, opening on line R.35.c.6.6. – R.29.c.6.6., conforming to the artillery barrage to full range, and then ceasing, except those guns covering Square R.30., which will place a barrage on the Southern outskirts of LE QUESNOY.
Upon completion of the barrage tasks the O.C. Otago M.G. Company will place 1 section at the disposal of the O.C. 3rd Battalion, N.Z.R.B., to accompany the battalion in its advance to the GREEN LINE.
The advance of the 2nd Battalion, N.Z.R.B., will be covered by a barrage by the AUCKLAND Machine-gun Company, which will open on line R.23.d.00.70. – R.17.d.00.60., conforming to the artillery barrage to full range, and then ceasing.
In addition, two sections (8 guns) of the CANTERBURY Machine-gun Company will carry out the special task of enfilading the streets and RAMPARTS of LE QUESNOY from ZERO to ZERO plus 30 minutes.
On conclusion of the above tasks, The AUCKLAND Machine-gun Company will be placed at the disposal of the 1st N.Z. Infantry Brigade Group, and the two sections CANTERBURY Machine-gun Company will rejoin the 2nd N.Z. Infantry Brigade Group.
7. (a) “Q” Special Company, R.E. [Royal Engineers], is arranging to project oil drums on to the RAMPARTS of LE QUESNOY at ZERO hour.
(b) No. 5 Special Company, R.E., is arranging to fire smoke on to:
1. R.29.d.0.9., from ZERO plus 15 minutes to ZERO plus 35 minutes, and from ZERO plus 110 minutes to ZERO plus 140 mniutes.
2. R.23.d.4.2., from ZERO to ZERO plus 20 minutes.
8. The C.R.E., New Zealand Division, will arrange for the following:
(a) A proportion of N.Z.E. [engineers] and Tunnellers to investigate for mines, etc., in LE QUESNOY. A party of 1 N.C.O. and 6 Sappers will be attached from the 3rd Field Company, N.Z.E., to each of the 2nd and 4th Battalions for this purpose.
(b) A similar party to work in the area East of LE QUESNOY.
(c) Field Companies, N.Z.E., and Pioneers (less parties detailed above) to be concentrated in the vicinity of BEAUDIGNIES by ZERO plus 2 hours, in readiness to commence work on Roads and Bridges as soon as the situation permits.
An Offficer will be detailed to keep touch with the situation at Headquarters, 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade.
(d)A special party to prepare crossings for Field Artillery over the Railway in R.35.c.
9. For the above operations of 3rd New Zealand (Rifle) Brigade Group will be constituted as follows:
3rd New Zealand (Rifle) Bde.
Otago Machine-gun Company.
2 sections O.M.R. [Otago Mounted Rifles]
Detachment N.Z.E. and Tunnellers.
10. The 59th Squadron, R.A.F., is arranging for a Contact Aeroplane at the following hours:
ZERO plus 110 minutes; ZERO plus 170 minutes; ZERO plus 270 minutes; and at intervals of 2 hours afterwards.
A counter-attack machine will also be in the air during the hours of daylight.
11. Liaison with 37th Division will be established at Road on BLUE LINE, M.31.d.
12. Watches will be synchronised on November 3rd at Headquarters, 3rd New Zealand (Rifle) Brigade, X.2.a. central, at 16.00 hours.
13. Battle Headquarters will be as follows:
Brigade Headquarters: R.28.c.3.6.
1st Battalion, N.Z.R.B.: R.28.c.7.4.
2nd Battalion, N.Z.R.B.: R.16.d.6.0.
3rd Battalion, N.Z.R.B.: M.31.b.7.5.
4th Battalion, N.Z.R.B.: R.22.d.30.75.
14. Brigade Headquarters will close at presnr location at 22.00 hours on the 3rd November, and re-open at FME du FORT MARTIN, R.28.c.3.6., at the same hour.
15. The strictest measures will be taken to maintain secrecy.
All movements of troops and dumping of ammunition will take place in darkness. There will be no increase or decrease of artillery fire.
D.E. BREMNER, Major.