The Battle of the Boar's Head was an attack on 30 June 1916 at Richebourg-l'Avoué in France, during the First World War. Troops of the 39th Division, XI Corps in the First Army of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), advanced to capture the Boar's Head, a salient held by the German 6th Army. Two battalions of the 116th Brigade, with one battalion forming carrying parties, attacked the German front position before dawn on 30 June. The British took and held the German front line trench and the second trench for several hours, before retiring to their lines having lost 850–1,366 casualties.
Richebourg-l'Avoué is a village and former commune in the Pas-de-Calais region of France. It was merged with Richebourg-Saint-Vaast to form the commune of Richebourg on 21 February 1971.
The 39th Division was an infantry division of the British Army, raised during the First World War. The division was part of Kitchener's New Armies and saw service on the Western Front and in Italy from 1916 onwards.
XI Corps was a corps-sized formation of the British Army, active during the Great War that served on the Western Front and in Italy. It was recreated as part of Home Forces defending the United Kingdom during World War II.
The operation was conducted when the British armies on the Western Front north of the Somme, supported the Fourth Army during the Battle of the Somme (1 July to 18 November). The British Third, First and Second armies conducted 310 raids against the Germans up to November 1916, harassing the Germans opposite to give novice divisions experience of fighting on the Western Front, to inflict casualties and to prevent German troops from being transferred to the Somme. From 19 to 20 July, XI Corps conducted the much bigger Battle of Fromelles, where British and Australian troops suffered an even greater number of casualties.
The Western Front was the main theatre of war during the First World War. Following the outbreak of war in August 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne. Following the Race to the Sea, both sides dug in along a meandering line of fortified trenches, stretching from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier with France, which changed little except during early 1917 and in 1918.
The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, was a battle of the First World War fought by the armies of the British Empire and French Third Republic against the German Empire. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of the upper reaches of the River Somme in France. The battle was intended to hasten a victory for the Allies and was the largest battle of the war's Western Front. More than three million men fought in the battle and one million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history.
On 1 June 1916, General Charles Monro, commander of the First Army, about 30 mi (48 km) north of the Somme, held a conference with the corps commanders for operations to be undertaken when the Fourth Army and the French Sixth Army began the offensive on the Somme. The First Army was to mislead the Germans, exhaust the forces opposite and reduce their efficiency during the preliminary bombardment on the Somme. On 7 June, the XI Corps commander, Lieutenant-General Richard Haking submitted the corps plan to fulfil the diversion policy, writing that saps had been dug towards the German lines and assembly trenches from 1915 had been refurbished. The divisions of XI Corps had plans for eight raids, to involve gas, smoke and wire-cutting bombardments each day, from 26 June until 10 July. A model of the German defences was built near each divisional headquarters (HQ) to be used in the planning of raids.
General Sir Charles Carmichael Monro, 1st Baronet, was a senior British Army officer who served during the Second Boer War and the First World War and became Commander-in-Chief, India for the latter part of the conflict. From 1923 to 1929 he served as Governor of Gibraltar.
The First Army was a formation of the British Army that existed during the First and Second World Wars. The First Army included Indian and Portuguese forces during the First World War and American and French units during the Second World War.
The Fourth Army was a field army that formed part of the British Expeditionary Force during the First World War. The Fourth Army was formed on 5 February 1916 under the command of General Sir Henry Rawlinson to carry out the main British contribution to the Battle of the Somme.
During March 1916, the month that the 39th Division (Major-General Gerald Cuthbert) arrived in France, Haking ordered divisional commanders to make lists of soldiers, NCOs and officers worthy of promotion, since quick advancement on merit encouraged efficiency and boosted morale. 14 raids with mixed results. On the night of 20/21 June, a party of 32 men of A Company, 2/5th Gloucestershire Regiment crossed no man's land, to identify units opposite. The British wire was found to be insufficiently cut, the troops were caught by German machine-gun fire in the bottlenecks and were forced back with many casualties.Haking was also ready to remove officers and in April wanted the three brigadier-generals of the infantry brigades sacked and replaced with younger men. The German troops opposite XI Corps were not passive and on 26 May, the 39th Division was raided. From 23 June to 14 July, XI Corps conducted
Major-General Gerald James Cuthbert was a British Army officer who commanded a battalion in the Boer War and a division in the First World War. Cuthbert joined the Scots Guards in 1882 and served in Egypt and the Sudan during the late 19th century. During the Boer War he served with his regiment, rising to command a battalion and after the war he was given command of a brigade in the Territorial Force and then in the British Expeditionary Force of 1914. He served on the Western Front from 1914 to 1917, rising to command 39th Division, then returned to home service before retiring in 1919.
The Gloucestershire Regiment, commonly referred to as the Glosters, was a line infantry regiment of the British Army from 1881 until 1994. It traced its origins to Colonel Gibson's Regiment of Foot raised in 1694, which later became the 28th Regiment of Foot. The regiment was formed by the merger of the 28th Regiment with the 61st Regiment of Foot. It inherited the unique privilege in the British Army of wearing a badge on the back of its headdress as well as the front, an honour won by the 28th Regiment when it fought in two ranks back to back at the Battle of Alexandria in 1801. At its formation the regiment comprised two regular, two militia and two volunteer battalions, and saw its first action during the Second Boer War.
On 13 June, troops from the 2/4th Royal Berkshire Regiment (2/4th Berkshire) rehearsed a raid on the Ferme du Bois area in the afternoon and after a bombardment, attacked at 11:15 p.m. The raiders found that most of the German wire was uncut and only a small group got into the German front trench. The raiders returned to the British lines having suffered 38 casualties, more than a third of the party. On 29 May, German raiders got into the 39th Division lines, killed two soldiers and induced several others to cast away their rifles. An attack was planned by the 39th Division for the 12th and 13th (Southdowns) battalions of the Royal Sussex Regiment, part of the 116th Southdowns Brigade to occupy the Boar's Head, a salient in the German front line.
The Royal Berkshire Regiment was a line infantry regiment of the British Army in existence from 1881 until 1959. The regiment was created in 1881, as the Princess Charlotte of Wales's , by the amalgamation of the 49th (Hertfordshire) Regiment of Foot and the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment of Foot. In 1921, it was renamed the Royal Berkshire Regiment .
The Royal Sussex Regiment was a line infantry regiment of the British Army that was in existence from 1881 to 1966. The regiment was formed in 1881 as part of the Childers Reforms by the amalgamation of the 35th Regiment of Foot and the 107th Regiment of Foot. The regiment saw service in the Second Boer War, and both World War I and World War II.
The 116th Brigade was a formation of the British Army during the First World War. It was raised as part of the new army also known as Kitchener's Army and assigned to the 39th Division. The brigade was originally numbered the 121st intended for the 40th Division of the Fifth New Army. The brigades first commander was Brigadier-General Reginald Barnes.
The preliminary bombardment and wire cutting by the British guns commenced on the afternoon of 29 June and was reported to have been successful. The final bombardment commenced shortly before 3:00 a.m. including smoke shells and the 12th and 13th battalions attacked shortly afterwards at about 3:30 a.m., the 11th Battalion providing carrying parties. The British guns lifted their fire off the German front trench to the support line as the infantry crossed no man's land and German machine-gunners inflicted many casualties. The 13th Battalion survivors got into the German front line trench and then advanced to the second trench, encountering more massed machine-gun fire but captured the trench. Several German counter-attacks were repulsed and after about half an hour, the raiders withdrew because of a shortage of ammunition and increasing casualties. The 12th Battalion was obstructed by uncut wire but returned to the German front line and held it for a short time before withdrawing. German defensive tactics included shelling their own trenches where the British had gained a foothold. On 6 July, the 2nd/1st Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (OBLI) near Ferme du Bois found that men of the Royal Sussex were still straggling back over no man's land.
The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry was a light infantry regiment of the British Army that existed from 1881 until 1958, serving in the Second Boer War, World War I and World War II.
After the fiasco of 30 June, Haking wrote that the 39th Division had been in France since March but lacked offensive spirit. The attack on the Boar's Head had led to a great improvement in the fighting value of the division. Haking reported that the attack would have persuaded the Germans to keep reserves in the area, fulfilling the diversion policy.Captain Christie-Miller of the 2nd/1st OBLI called the raid a "disastrous enterprise" which demoralised the British and cheered the Germans opposite.
In 1938, the British official Historian Wilfrid Miles wrote that the 116th Brigade suffered 950 casualties and in 2012, Michael Senior gave figures of about 850. In less than five hours, the three Southdowns battalions of the Royal Sussex Regiment lost 17 officers and 349 men killed, including 12 sets of brothers, three from one family. Another 1,000 men were wounded or taken prisoner. In the regimental history, the battle is known as "The Day Sussex Died". CSM Nelson Victor Carter was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his actions in the battle.
The Le Touret Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery and memorial is sited at Richebourg. It was begun in November 1914 by the Indian Corps (in particular by the 2nd Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment), remaining in use until the end of the war (barring a time in German hands from April–August 1918); the Le Touret Memorial is part of the cemetery. The Rue-des-Berceaux CWGC Cemetery is also here and includes the burial site of New Zealand tennis player Tony Wilding. [ citation needed ]A modern memorial to the men of the Royal Sussex Regiment is sited within Beach House Park in Worthing, West Sussex.
The I ANZAC Corps was a combined Australian and New Zealand army corps that served during World War I.
The Battle of Loos took place from 25 September – 8 October 1915 in France on the Western Front, during the First World War. It was the biggest British attack of 1915, the first time that the British used poison gas and the first mass engagement of New Army units. The French and British tried to break through the German defences in Artois and Champagne and restore a war of movement. Despite improved methods, more ammunition and better equipment, the Franco-British attacks were contained by the German armies, except for local losses of ground. British casualties at Loos were about twice as high as German losses.
The first day on the Somme, 1 July 1916, was the beginning of the Battle of Albert (1–13 July), the name given by the British to the first two weeks of the Battle of the Somme. Nine corps of the French Sixth Army and the British Fourth and Third armies, attacked the German 2nd Army from Foucaucourt south of the Somme northwards across the Ancre to Serre and at Gommecourt, 2 mi (3 km) beyond, in the Third Army area. The objective of the attack was to capture the German first and second positions from Serre south to the Albert–Bapaume road and the first position from the road south to Foucaucourt.
The Battle of Bazentin Ridge(14–17 July 1916) was part of the Battle of the Somme (1 July – 18 November) on the Western Front in France, during the First World War. The British Fourth Army made a dawn attack on 14 July, against the German 2nd Army in the Brown Position from Delville Wood westwards to Bazentin le Petit Wood.
The Battle of Delville Wood(15 July – 3 September 1916) was a series of engagements in the 1916 Battle of the Somme in the First World War, between the armies of the German Empire and the British Empire. Delville Wood (Bois d'Elville), was a thick tangle of trees, chiefly beech and hornbeam, with dense hazel thickets, intersected by grassy rides, to the east of Longueval. As part of a general offensive starting on 14 July, which became known as the Battle of Bazentin Ridge (14–17 July), General Douglas Haig, Commander of the British Expeditionary Force, intended to capture the German second position between Delville Wood and Bazentin le Petit.
The Battle of Le Transloy was the last big attack by the Fourth Army of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in the 1916 Battle of the Somme in France, during the First World War. The battle was fought in conjunction with attacks by the French Tenth and Sixth armies on the southern flank and the Reserve/5th Army on the northern flank, against Heeresgruppe Rupprecht created on 28 August, from the 1st and 2nd armies of the dissolved armeegruppe Gallwitz-Somme and the 6th and 7th armies. General Ferdinand Foch, commander of groupe des armées du nord and co-ordinator of the armies on the Somme, was unable to continue the sequential attacks by the Anglo-French armies achieved in September, because persistent rain, mist and fog grounded aircraft, turned the battlefield into a swamp and greatly increased the difficulty of transporting supplies to the front over the few roads in the area and the land that had been devastated since 1 July.
The Battle of the Ancre Heights, is the name given to the continuation of British attacks after the Battle of Thiepval Ridge from 26–28 September during the Battle of the Somme. The battle was conducted by the Reserve Army from Courcelette near the Albert–Bapaume road, west to Thiepval on Bazentin Ridge. British possession of the heights would deprive the German 1st Army of observation towards Albert to the south-west and give the British observation north over the Ancre valley to the German positions around Beaumont-Hamel, Serre and Beaucourt. The Reserve Army conducted large attacks on 1, 8, 21, 25 October and from 10–11 November.
The Attack at Fromelles 19–20 July 1916, was a British and Australian military operation on the Western Front during the First World War, subsidiary to the Battle of the Somme. General Headquarters (GHQ) of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) had ordered the First and Second armies to prepare attacks to support the Fourth Army on the Somme, 50 mi (80 km) to the south, to exploit any weakening of the German defences opposite. The attack took place 9.9 mi (16 km) from Lille, between the Fauquissart–Trivelet road and Cordonnerie Farm, an area overlooked from Aubers Ridge to the south. The ground was low-lying and much of the defensive fortification by both sides consisted of building breastworks, rather than trenches.
The Battle of Albert, comprised the first two weeks of Anglo-French offensive operations in the Battle of the Somme. The Allied preparatory artillery bombardment commenced on 24 June and the Anglo-French infantry attacked on 1 July, on the south bank from Foucaucourt to the Somme and from the Somme north to Gommecourt, 2 mi (3.2 km) beyond Serre. The French Sixth Army and the right wing of the British Fourth Army inflicted a considerable defeat on the German 2nd Army but from the Albert–Bapaume road to Gommecourt, the British attack was a disaster, where most of the c. 57,000 British casualties of the day were incurred. Against the wishes of General Joseph Joffre, General Sir Douglas Haig abandoned the offensive north of the road to reinforce the success in the south, where the Anglo-French forces pressed forward through several intermediate lines closer to the German second position.
General Sir Richard Cyril Byrne Haking was a British general who commanded XI Corps in the First World War.
The Capture of Trônes Wood was an action in the First World War fought by the British Fourth Army and the German 2nd Army, during the Battle of the Somme. Trônes Wood lay on the northern slope of Montauban ridge, between Bernafay Wood and Guillemont. The wood dominated the southern approach to Longueval and Trônes Alley, a German communication trench between Bernafay Wood and the northern tip of Trônes Wood to Guillemont. A light railway ran through the centre, which was in a dip formed by the east end of Caterpillar Valley sloping away to the west. The wood was pear-shaped, with a base about 400 yd (370 m) wide on Montauban ridge, the rest of the wood running north for about 1,400 yd (1,300 m), coming to a point on a rise towards Longueval village.
Fricourt is a village that was fought over in July 1916, during the Battle of the Somme, which took place in France during the First World War. Fricourt is 3 mi (4.8 km) from Albert, north of Bray and west of Mametz, near the D 938 road and at the junction of the D 147 with the D 64. The village is 20 mi (32 km) north-east of Amiens and on the route of the Albert–Péronne light railway. Fricourt Wood was north-east of the village, with a château on the edge of the village and a number of craters, known as the Tambour on the west side. Fricourt formed a salient in the German front-line and was the principal German fortified village between the River Somme and the Ancre.
The Capture of Martinpuich took place on the 15 September 1916. Martinpuich is situated 18 miles (29 km) south of Arras, near the junction of the D 929 and D 6 roads, opposite Courcelette, in the Pas-de-Calais, France. The village lies south of Le Sars, west of Flers and north-west of High Wood. In September 1914, during the Race to the Sea, the divisions of the German XIV Corps advanced on the north bank of the Somme westwards towards Albert and Amiens, passing through Martinpuich. The village became a backwater until 1916, when the British and French began the Battle of the Somme (1 July – 13 November) and was the site of several air operations by the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), which attacked German supply dumps in the vicinity.
The Capture of Mametz took place on 1 July 1916, when the British Fourth Army attacked the German 2nd Army on the Western Front, during the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Mametz is a village on the D 64 road, about 20 mi (32 km) north-east of Amiens and 4 mi (6.4 km) east of Albert. Fricourt lies to the west, Contalmaison is to the north, Montauban to the north-east and Carnoy and Maricourt are to the south-east. Mametz Wood is 1,000 yd (910 m) to the north-west and before 1914, the village was the fifth largest in the area, with about 120 houses and had a station on the line from Albert to Péronne. During the Battle of Albert (25–29 September) 1914 the II Bavarian Corps attacked westwards north of the Somme but was fought to a standstill east of Mametz. Reinforced by the XIV Reserve Corps the Germans on the north side of the Somme attacked again and took Mametz on 29 September. After a mutually costly battle for Fricourt, where the French were eventually forced out, the front line stabilised and both sides began to dig improvised defences. In mid-December the French conducted a local attack in the Mametz area but were repulsed with many casualties.
Contalmaison is a commune in the Somme department in Picardy in northern France. The village is 4 mi (6.4 km) north-east of Albert on the D 104, north-west of Mametz Wood and south of Pozières, at the junction of several roads, atop a spur with a good view in all directions. In 1914, there was a church and a château just to the north, a chalk pit nearby and 72 houses, making it the seventh-largest village on the Somme. Military operations in the area began when the German XIV Reserve Corps advanced down the Bapaume–Albert road and Contalmaison was captured at noon on 28 September, by Reserve Infantry Regiment 40 and RIR 110 of the 28th Reserve Division which took 20 prisoners for a loss of three men killed and 21 wounded.
The Gloucestershire Regiment was formed in 1881 as a line infantry regiment of the British Army, and at the outbreak of World War I it comprised two regular battalions, three territorial battalions, and a reserve battalion. As the war progressed, it raised 18 more battalions, most of them New Army battalions of citizen soldiers answering Lord Kitchener's call to arms. The Battle of the Somme was one of many battles to involve the Gloucestershire Regiment in World War I. It was a major offensive launched on 1 July 1916 by the British Army, with French support, on the River Somme between Montauban in the south and Serre in the north. Initially planned to break through the German lines and restore mobile warfare to the Western Front, a stubborn defence by German forces in well-defended positions forced the British into a succession of battles and a lengthy war of attrition that was brought to a halt by bad weather on 18 November 1916.
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