“Y” DAY- Somme Bombardment Day 5

“Y” Day, Wednesday 28th June 1916 –  “Z”  day postponed

Weather: Cool, several storms, very wet, clouds very low all day, with frequent showers.

After the effort of maintaining four consecutive days of non-stop bombardment, the men of “D” battery may have been weary in body, but they were still keen in spirit, they stood by the guns ready for another day’s hard work.  They knew what was at stake, they knew the Infantry was depending on them to smash the German defences to give them a fighting chance when they went over the top. This was meant to be the final 24hrs of the preparatory bombardment, “Y” Day, Wednesday 28th June 1916.

The howitzer of “D” battery would fire 440 H.E. shells at various Fricourt targets over the next 14 hours, between 4.30am until 6.30pm.

FIRE TABLES & TARGET AREAS

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MAPS

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DAILY REPORT

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The weather had deteriorated and light was very bad all day for observing fire, reports from Infantry patrols confirmed the wire had been badly damaged along the whole of the 21st Division front and “laned” in several places. The daily report up for the 24 hours up to 28th June 1916 shows again the vital importance given to wire cutting.  German artillery has begun to shell the front line and support trenches of the 21st Division’s front.  The 96th Brigade’s medium mortar positions have suffered one destroyed and four other mortars buried.  Lt. Stower was killed along with three men and two others wounded. Two of the men had been killed by a mortar premature, some of the heavy mortar ammunition has proved defective.

The Infantry were meant to attack tomorrow when special fire plans would come into effect, but the weather was so bad the decision is made to postpone the attack for 48hrs. The urgent order (MB157) to this effect was transmitted to all batteries and their commanders.

URGENT ORDER

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Batteries were to maintain their full capacity of fire and the importance of night firing to prevent repairs being made by the enemy was stressed, cut wire must not be allowed to be repaired.  The Brigade officers had the task of rapidly re-calculating all plans, selecting targets for the next 48hrs and ensuring sufficient supplies of ammunition for the guns, and food and water for the men who must have been dog tired.  Sergeant Frederick Buckland would have had the task of passing on the news: “Two more days lads, two more days …

 

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