“Y1” DAY – Somme Bombardment Day 6

“Y1” Day, Thursday 29th June 1916 – bombardment extended 48hrs.

Weather: Cool, windy, light showers, low clouds on the morning, over cast all day.

The 48hr postponement of the Infantry assault meant another consecutive night of firing for Frederick Buckland’s howitzer battery.  As day break comes, the bombardment of German positions at Fricourt stretches into its sixth day. It is now “Y1” Day, Thursday 29th June 1916.

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After the hurried conferences and re-planning of yesterday, “D” battery’s howitzers revert to shelling the same targets as laid out on “U”, “V” and “Y” day.  For Frederick Buckland it has been nothing but eat, sleep and shoot, eat, sleep and shoot, as the gun crews prepare for another long day.  They work as a well oiled machine, sighting, loading and firing the guns, with every man in his place.  The pattern hardly varies, as shell after shell takes it’s deadly course toward the target.  Frederick’s battery will have fired another 500 rounds of high explosive by nightfall.

FIRE TABLES & TARGET AREAS

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MAPS

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DAILY REPORT

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The daily report (REPORT 22 – MB205) reveals the nagging doubts over sections of wire that have not been cut. The weather conditions have made observation difficult and only 24hrs remain to cut wire.  The Germans have been shelling the 21st Division front line trenches and while their trenches appear badly knocked about, there are ominous signs that their machine guns are still active.  Bad luck continues to dog the medium trench mortars as more equipment fails, there are no more casualties but two men are suffering from shell shock.  A premature at a 4.5 howitzer wounds 4 men, but the gun is only slightly damaged.  Elsewhere, two officers and 4 other ranks are wounded.

Frederick Buckland’s “D” battery prepare for another night’s work, there can be no letup, no opportunity for the enemy to recover, the bombardment will continue to the following day break.  Another 200 plus rounds of H.E. will be fired.

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