Page 279 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
I9I4-I9I8
The Territorial Battalions
If
mud and confusion added to the difficulties of the Regular
battalions on 9th October, this was even more the case with the
I97th Infantry Brigade farther to the south. This fonnation com-
3RD/5TH,
prised the 3rd/Sth (Lieutenant-Colonel A. S. Bates, D.S.O., T .D.),
2ND/6TH,
2nd/6th (Lieutenant-Colonel H.
L.
Anderton), 2nd/7th (Lieutenant-
2N~~TH
Colonel W. A. Robbins) and 2nd/8th (Lieutenant-Colonel H.
2ND/8TH
Cordon
Roberts) Battalions, and had spent the summer on the
BNS.
Belgian coast, moving by bus on 27th September to Arques, near
St . Omer. On 2nd October it marched some sixteen miles to Eecke,
five miles south-east of Cassel, and two days later to a camp
about 2,000 yards north of Winnizeele. Its stay there was short,
for late on 5th October it received orders to embus early on 6th
for Brandhoek. There was only just time to prepare for the move,
but fortunately the buses were late-"as usual" the record unkindly
adds. From Brandhoek the brigade marched to a very wet and
uncomfortable bivouac on the western slope of the Frezenberg
Ridge, where it spent the next two days, suffering intermittent
shelling and a number of casualties.
It had been brought thither in order to take part in the operations
on 9th October. One brigade of the 66th (East Lancashire) Division
was already in the line, which ran in a north-westerly direction from
the Ypres---Roulers railway, crossing the latter at a bend about
half-way between Zonnebeke and Passchendaele. The I97th
Brigade, \',,;th the 2nd Australian Division on its right and the 198th
Brigade on its left, had two objectives. The first, called the "Red
Line," was parallel to the existing line, its right resting on "Defy
Crossing" where the Ypres-Roulers railway crossed the Broodseinde–
Passchendaele road. The second was named the "Blue Line" and
lay roughly parallel to the "Red Line" and about half a mile to the
north-east of it and about the same distance from the village of
Passchendaele. The 3rd/Sth Battalion was to take the whole of the
"Red Line" within the brigade's frontage, and then be ready to
detail parties to carry stores and ammunition to the second objective
on its capture. The 2nd/8th on the right and the 2nd/6th on the left
were to support the 3rd/5th closely and pass through it on the "Red
Line" and be responsible for reaching and holding the "Blue Line."
The 2nd 7th was to be in reserve and to follow behind the 2nd/6th
and 2nd/8th, detailing one company for the close support of the
latter and being prepared to thicken its line where necessary. The
3rd/Sth was to relieve the 2nd/7th Manchester Regiment in the line
on the night 8th/9th October and all troops were to be in position
on the tapes which marked their forming-up lines by 3.20 a.m.
It
was not considered advisable that large numbers of troops
should cross the Frezenberg Ridge during daylight and the approach
march was therefore timed to begin at 6.30 p.m. on 8th October,
which allowed eight and three-quarter. hours in which to cover the
two and a half miles to the tapes. Two tracks, called "Jack" and
" Jill," were available and had also been marked with tapes; and