«LONDON PRINTED BY AUTHORITY OF THE MINISTRY, OVERSEAS MILITARY FORCES OF CANADA. REPORT of the MINISTRY Overseas Military Forces of Canada LONDON ...»
In open warfare, guns of the Battery are usually attached to Infantry Battalions under one of the officers to cope with any Machine Gun emplacements, or other fortified places which hold up an advance. This requires quick eye for ground, as unless the gun is fired from a fold in the ground permitting protection from direct fire the crew can be readily knocked out. After positions have been gained, it is the duty of the guns immediately to occupy positions to cover approaches, so that the consolidation of ground gained can be carried out. The Battery Commander in this case acts as Liaison Officer at Brigade, and looks to the supplying of his guns with ammunition.
G.O.C., R.A., Canadian Corps.—The G.O.C., R.A., acts in the capacity of Artillery adviser to the Corps Commander and directs the Artillery policy with regard to the situation.
During battle conditions all Artillery, field and heavy, with the Canadian Corps is placed under the direct control of the G.O.C., R.A., in order to co-ordinate the artillery effort.
The G.O.C., R.A., is at all times responsible for the administration of all Canadian Artillery Units in France, with the exception of the Canadian Anti-Aircraft Batteries, which are an army formation.
Brigadier-General, Canadian Corps Heavy Artillery.—The B.G., H.A., is responsible to the G.O.C., R.A.. for the tactical control of all Heavy and Siege Batteries with the Canadian Corps. He is responsible for the carrying out of all destructive bombardments opposite the Corps front with the exception of counter battery work. The B.G., H.A., is responsible for the administration of all Canadian Heavy and Siege Batteries.
Corps Administration. 241 Counter Battery Staff Officer.—The Counter Battery Staff Officer is the Staff Officer of the G.O.C., R.A., responsible to him for the organisation and execution of all counter battery work of the Corps, in accordance with instructions issued by the G.O.C., R.A. For this purpose the Counter Battery Staff Officer is given a priority call on certain of the Heavy and Siege Batteries supporting the Canadian Corps.
During extensive operations, such as the Battle of Vimy, Hill 70, Passchendaele, etc., all Canadian and Imperial Artillery supporting the Canadian Corps come under the command of the G.O.C., R.A. The extent of the Artillery Command on these occasions was as follows:—
The amount of ammunition expended by the Artillery in large operations is enormous, and one of the most difficult problems to be solved by the Corps Staff is the provision and accumulation of gun ammunition preparatory to an operation, and its supply to the batteries in the course of an operation.
This will be realised when it is stated that during the Passchendaele Battle alone, lasting 30 days, the Canadian Corps Artillery fired 2,100,000 shells of all kinds. If this amount of ammunition could be loaded on one train, the length of this train would be 171- miles.
The distribution of the Artillery generally consists of 6-in. and 9.45in. trench mortars near the front line, throwing 52-lb. and 150-lb. bombs a distance of from 1,200 to 2,400 yards respectively.
An Anti-Aircraft Battery-five sections, 10 guns, 13-pounder, mounted on motor lorries.
Field guns, about 3,000 to 3,500 yards from the front line, for the rolling barrages and S.O.S.
Heavy and siege guns, from 60-pounder to 9.2-in. for harassing fire, demolition, counter battery work and gas shelling at ranges of from 10,000 to 14,000 yards, both delay and instantaneous fuses being used.
Counter Battery Work.—The enemy area is divided into squares.
Batteries are located by flash spotters, sound rangers, (642) R 242 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.
aeroplane and ground observation. A crime sheet is prepared for each enemy battery as located, showing its position, activity and general targets.
Destructive and neutralising shoots are directed by aeroplane with wireless or balloon with telephone, or from ground observation.
Neutralising is effected by shrapnel or gas shell.
Enemy batteries are located by the intersection of flashes, sound ranging, or by direct observation. On a report of activity, offending batteries can almost immediately be located.
Super-howitzers and guns are often in support of, although not belonging to the Corps. These are 12-in. and 15-in. howitzers firing shells weighing 750 lbs. and 1,400 lbs. respectively, 9-in. guns firing shells weighing 380 lbs. and 6-in. Mark VII guns firing shells weighing 100 lbs. The former are on railway mountings.
Observation Posts and Communications.—O.P.s are the eyes of the Artillery and practically of the Corps. They are manned by an officer and telephonists with wires to Batteries, Brigades, Divisions and Corps Headquarters. Aeroplanes signal by wireless when targets of opportunity are seen.
Divisional Artillery.—The function of the Divisional Artillery is to render direct support to the Infantry of the Division. The Batteries take up positions averaging 3,000 yards behind the line held by the Infantry, and render this support by means of engaging all enemy targets seen by ground observation and by forming protective barrages in the event of the enemy attacking. The support to the Infantry during our own attack is rendered by means of the Batteries taking up suitable positions to form creeping barrages which move forward and have the effect of keeping the enemy down while our Infantry assault.
The Divisional Artillery fires shrapnel and high explosive, and is also provided with gas and smoke shell for special tasks.
Heavy Artillery.—Heavy batteries (60-pounders) are used principally to neutralise hostile batteries and to harass the enemy on roads and lines of approach beyond the range of field artillery.
Siege Artillery.—The Siege Batteries (6-in., 8-in., and 9.2-in.) are used principally in counter battery work, to destroy to the enemy the value of his Artillery, and also for the purpose of bombarding houses, trenches and strong points which contain machine guns or riflemen which might hinder our advance.
Corps Administration. 243 Siege Batteries are also used for cutting wire entanglements, for which purpose an instantaneous fuze is used. Shell filled with this fuze has great effect against personnel, and are used on enemy's most likely assembly areas when it is expected he may be massing for an attack.
Anti-Aircraft.—Anti-Aircraft Batteries engage all enemy aircraft which come within range, principally by direct fire, but in special cases these Batteries are organised for the defence of cities and great railway centres, and in such cases during darkness, when searchlights are unable to pick up enemy aircraft, these Batteries form barrages with a view of preventing the enemy from reaching any objective which he may wish to bomb.
Medium Trench Mortar.—The Medium Trench Mortar Batteries (6-in. mortars) are used principally to destroy machine gun emplacements and trenches and wire in the enemy's front systems. They are also very valuable for counter mortar work against the enemy's trench mortars.
Heavy Trench Mortar.—The Heavy Trench Mortar (9.45-in.) are used similarly to the mediums, but owing to the greater weight of shell and range have greater effect.
The Subaltern.—In all natures of Artillery the subaltern normally commands a section (two guns). He is responsible in every way for his command, and in addition assists the Battery Commander in observation and liaison duty. During trench warfare it is necessary at all times for every battery to have a forward observation officer, and as the Battery Commander is responsible for the whole of the fighting of the Battery, it is the custom to have subalterns, in turns, remain on duty in forward observation posts. In each Battery there are supernumerary subalterns to assist. Batteries in action have an officer at the headquarters of the Infantry formation supported, and a subaltern is required to perform this liaison duty.
The Captain.—The Captain of the Battery is second-incommand of the Battery, and in addition is responsible for the supply of ammunition, rations, clothing and equipment, and all duties pertaining to transport.
mathematical calculations and orders relating to firing. He selects his Battery positions, organises his observation post, communication and liaison with the Infantry, and instructs his Captain in relation to the ammunition supply.
The Brigade Commander.—The Brigade Commander receives a task for his Brigade and is responsible for the allotment of tasks to his Batteries, and for the organisation of the tactical scheme, by which support is given to the Infantry by means of his Batteries.
The Chief Engineer is the technical adviser of the Corps Commander on all Engineer Services, and administers the Canadian Engineer personnel in France. His staff consists of a Staff Officer, a Staff Captain for " A " and " Q " duties, a Staff Captain for Stores and Transport, and four Field Engineers : one each for defences, water supply, tramways and roads. Assistant Field Engineers may be attached as required in times of stress.
The Engineer Services within the Corps are divided, roughly, into Divisional areas and Corps area. A line of demarcation is settled upon in front of which Divisions are responsible for carrying out the work. In rear of this line extends the Corps area, in which work is carried out by the C.R.E. Corps Troops, or directly under the Chief Engineer.
When the Canadian Corps undertakes an operation involving more than one Division the Engineer Units are pooled and come under the executive control of the Chief Engineer for the operation.
Under the Chief Engineer are defences, roads, tramways, water supply, offensive and defensive mining, tunnelling, bridging, demolition, the, supply and manufacture of the necessary engineer stores, and the construction of accommodation for troops and horses.
Defences.—The general policy concerning Defences and their nature and siting is laid down by the General Staff, and the Defences are constructed by or under the supervision of the Engineers, the Officers Commanding Engineer Brigades being responsible in the Divisional areas and the Chief Engineer in the Corps area.
In this manner Defences in depth are ensured.
The Corps Machine Gun Officer selects the machine gun positions and works up a scheme for the " heavy " machine gun Corps Administration. 245 defence of the various trench systems, and when approved by the General Staff, the construction of the machine gun emplacements, dugouts, tactical wiring, etc., are carried out under the Chief Engineer.
Under the category of Defences is included wiring, construction of trenches, deep dug-outs, gun and machine gun emplacements, offensive and defensive mining, Infantry subways, preparation of roads, bridges, machinery, etc., etc., for demolition, construction of Infantry and mule tracks, roads, deep dug-out or protected accommodation for Regimental Aid Posts, Advanced Dressing Stations, Battalion, Brigade and Divisional Headquarters, and the camouflage of this work to protect it from ground or aerial observation.
The Artillery are particularly affected by the provision of the following:—Tramways and roads to enable the guns to be got into position, and to ensure their ammunition supply ; materials for and the placing of camouflage ; materials for and the construction of gun emplacements, ammunition recesses and dug-outs for the protection of guns, ammunition and personnel from hostile fire.
Housing, Water, Roads, etc.— An important duty is the construction of the necessary facilities for the existence of what is practically a " moving city," with a population varying from 105,000 to 160,000 men and from 25,000 to 60,000 horses, the whole or part of which moves on short notice. This involves. the provision and erection of the necessary hutting for Headquarters, officers and men, and, in winter, standings and shelters for horses; the necessary sanitary arrangements, such as ablution tables, latrines, and the construction of bath houses, laundries, disinfectors, incinerators, etc. ; the provision of water for man and beast, and the hundred and one things which are necessary for the maintenance of this population in the Field. Arrangements have also to be made for the reception of the necessary supplies, rations and forage, ammunition, etc., provided by " Q " Branch. This involves arrangements for railway sidings, " in " and " out " roads to them, and the development and maintenance of welldefined traffic routes, to enable the heavy traffic to move without interruption. Supplies and ammunition, under " Q " arrangements, are cleared to dumps and refilling points, from which they are distributed, and at these dumps and refilling points facilities have to be provided for means of access and footings, cover from weather and protection from bombs and shell-fire.
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Arrangements made by the Medical Services for the handling of sick and wounded involve provision of roads or tramways for their evacuation, and the construction of Regimental Aid Posts, Advanced Dressing Stations, Main Dressing Stations, and Casualty Clearing Stations.
Engineer Purposes, etc.—The purpose of the Engineers is to apply engineering science to the emergencies of modern warfare, in order to protect and assist troops ; to ameliorate the conditions under which they are serving, and to facilitate locomotion and communication.
In addition to the defences of the sectors actually held, defences in rear must be provided in case of an enforced retirement, and in the case of an advance the provision of the necessary communications, material and defences, to enable the troops to hold the ground they have gained.
In addition to the provision and maintenance of the necessary roads to enable the movement of traffic of the Corps, the construction of forward roads, field tracks, Infantry tracks, etc., to enable the Corps to advance, must be undertaken. As this is in the Forward Area, it generally has to be carried out at night and under great difficulties. In the case of an enforced retirement provision for the demolition of roads and bridges and anything which will obstruct or delay the enemy, must be made.