10th Battalion patch. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial
10th Battalion diary – August 1916
FRANCE, 1916 Aug 1st to 9th
Battalion at BERTEAUCOURT reorganising and training, route marching, receiving + distributing reinforcements
Marched from BERTEAUCOURT to BONNEVILLE where we were billeted until 14th August. route marching + training was carried out during this period…
Battn marched from VAIDINCOURT WOOD to BIRCHFIELDS near ALBERT where we bivouaced until Thursday 18th
Battn less transport marched to SAUSAGE VALLEY + slept in trenches.
19th to 23rd Aug
REPORT OF OPERATIONS
10th Batt A.IF 19th to 23 AUGUST 1916
The 10th Battn relieved the 3rd Battn of 1st Bgde on the evening of the 19th … Saps were at once commenced running towards the enemy’s line … + a LEWIS gun stationed … At this time there were two Companies B + C they occupied the … the remaining two Companies being left in SAUSAGE VALLEY- at 0600 on 20th. A Coy was brought up and placed in the front line – leaving D Coy in Reserve in SAUSAGE VALLEY. On the night of 20/21 all men in the front line were employed in joining up saps run out on previous night. This work was in part hampered by heavy enemy shelling, but was completed with the exception of that portion from sap R28.C.3. ½ to SUNKEN ROAD.
Orders were received to attack enemy’s line … + dispositions were made in accordance with Brigade orders. C + B Coys strengthened by one Platoon from D coy were detailed to attack + the 4 waves were disposed of as follows.
1st wave in new line of trench constructed on previous night 2nd wave in shell holes, between new line + firing line. 3rd + 4 waves in firing line – The LEWIS Guns of D Coy – Support Coy were handed over to the attacking corps –
‘A’ Coy was detailed to protect Right flank by manning new Sap called ANNIE SAP …Support Coy was moved into firing line as soon as the attack was launched.
At 1700 Enemy opened heavy shell fire on our front + support lines causing many casualties + a certain amount of disorganisation + it was decided to place another platoon (the second) of support coy to strengthen attacking force…
At 1800 the attack was launched + owing to heavy casualties went forward in 2 waves, instead of 4 – leaving 2 platoons of support Coy in firing line
… There was no element of surprise in the attack as the moment first wave left the trenches it was subjected to a heavy fire from MGs and rifles, and also Artillery. The enemy’s machine gunners fired through our barrage.
Before launching the attack the Battn. sustained over 120 casualties from shellfire, and immediately the attack was launched casualties were heavy and rapid. Only one Officer reached the final objective, and he was wounded there at once — the remaining 7 were killed or wounded within a few minutes of launching the attack.
The platoon advanced, but owing to disappearances in some parts, thinning of the line by casualties, they were compelled to fall back to the vicinity of our line of trenches, so that by shortly after 2000 … our left Coy. was “in the air” — The enemy was getting behind them — it had no touch on either flanks and was enfiladed from both flanks. The survivors therefore fell back to new line of trenches. The last remaining platoon was sent to their assistance …
The line was held from 2100 on night of 21st August until we handed it over to the 21st Battn on the night of August 22/23rd..
We formed this line to connect with 11th Battn. on left of the SUNKEN ROAD.
S. Price Weir (Col.) C.O. 10th AIF