Page 179 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
1914-19IB
by being in reserve under short notice to move into action at
Bouzincourt, Aveluy Wood and near Bray-sur-Somme from 10th
to 13th July.
Ovillers Again
19th Battalion
A slight northward swing of the limelight from the spot where
the IIth Battalion took part in the fighting just described shows
19TH BN.
up the 19th Battalion making its last appearance as a normal
infantry battalion before its conversion into a pioneer battalion,
though by no means its last appearance in heavy fighting, as
will
be seen from the story of I91B. After the hammering which it
received at Thiepval on 1st July, it withdrew to billets at Senlis.
Here, owing to the heavy casualties, it was reorganized into two
companies, No.
I
under Captain W. G. Haywood, and No. 2 under
Captain S. A. Palk. On Bth July it moved to a reserve post near
Ovillers and found carrying parties for the brigade. -On the IIth
it took over part of a line of captured trenches south and west of
Ovillers and rather less than a mile from the scene of the IIth
16TH
AND
Battalion's action of Jili-9th July. No.
I
Company was on the
19 THBNS .
right, No. 2 on the left, with the 16th Battalion next to it on its left.
On 12th July the 19th Battalion was ordered to push farther east
and to capture as much ground in the village of Ovillers as possible,
and in particular an enemy strong point known as " Point
IB"
which lay almost due south of Ovillers Church. No.
I
Company
was to attack Point IB, while No. 2, with strong patrols of the 16th
Battalion, pushed due east and tried to gain a good footing in the
village itself. The attack was timed for II p.m., and if Point
IB
was not taken a further attack was to be delivered at 3 a.m. in
co-operation with the 2nd South Lancashire Regiment. At II p.m.
the two companies advanced. No. I had great difficulty in making
any progress as the trenches leading to Point 18 were blocked by
fallen trees and other obstacles. Nevertheless, storming parties
moved forward until they came to a barricade put up by the enemy,
where they came under heavy machine-gun fire and a shower of
bombs and were forced to retire. A second attempt met with no
better result. On the left, however, No. 2 Company succeeded in
gaining possession of the village almost up to the church and dug
themselves in securely.
At 3 a.m. on 13th July, as previously ordered, No. I Company
renewed their attempt on Point lB. Two assaults were delivered,
the second of which succeeded in rushing the barricade, but was
immediately overwhelmed by fire from machine guns posted a short
way behind it. The simultaneous attack of the 2nd South Lan–
cashire Regiment was, however, a complete success. While the
Germans
in
Point
IB
were fully occupied with No.
I
Company of
the 19th Lancashire Fusiliers, the South Lancashire attacked them
in rear, with the result that the strong point and about a hundred
yards of communication trench running east from it were captured.