Page 442 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

Basic HTML Version

1918:
AUGUST TO THE ARMISTICE
announcement that Germany had fonnally approached the United
States of America with a view to bringing about a cessation of
hostilities. On 8th October it moved forward through Gonnelieu, past
Villers Outreaux, Selvigny and Montigny, to the sugar factory at
Inchy, some three miles west-north-west of Le Cateau, moving
back a little a few hours later to a position south-west of Inchy and
digging in facing east.
There on the afternoon of IIth October it received orders to take
part on the following day in an attack at Neuvilly on the River
Selle, four thousand yards north-north-west of Le Cateau. The
brigade plan was that the 12th Manchester Regiment on the north
and the 9th Duke of Wellington's Regiment on the south should
cross the bridges over the Selle at 5 a.m., make good the line of the
railway beyond it under cover of a creeping barrage, and then
establish themselves on the high ground north-east of the village;
"B" Company of the lOth Lancashire Fusiliers behind the Man–
chester and "A" Company behind the Duke of Wellington's were to
cross the river, "mop up" the village from north and south
simultaneously and occupy a position north of the railway behind
the Manchester and be ready to support it if it was counter-attacked;
and the other two companies of the lOth were to be in reserve, "C"
on the right and "D" on the left, at call if needed by "B" or "A. "
At
1.15
a.m. on 12th October the battalion began to move up to
its assembly positions west of the river, which it reached by 4 a.m.,
except for "A" Company (Captain A. Wareham), which was delayed
by gas shelling. Our barrage came down at 5 a.m. and roused the
enemy to speedy retaliation which resulted in Wareham being
wounded and replaced by Lieutenant W. Davidson, M.C., from
battalion headquarters. On the left the attack went well in spite of
stiff opposition, the Manchester crossing the river, storming the high
ground and beginning consolidation. "B" Company (Captain
J.
Knowles) of the loth, following the Manchester, began to clear
Neuvilly village from north-west to south-east at 6 a .m., in the face
of strong resistance by a ]aeger regiment, which was supported by
many machine guns and cleverly posted snipers. Second-Lieutenant
S. W. Manning led
his
platoon with great gallantry in this phase,
capturing two parties of snipers, who were in a very strong position
in a house, by bombing them out. He was later ahnost entirely
responsible for the capture of some fifty prisoners, including two
officers, and for the killing of many snipers in the village.
Things had not gone so well on the right, where the Duke of
Wellington's had been unable to reach the top of the ridge, though
they had crossed the river and reached the railway. As their rear
platoons were still on the river, "A" of the 10th was unable to cross
it and suffered considerable casualties from German machine guns
and snipers still on the south bank. "C" Company (Lieutenant R.
Graham) therefore began at 5.48 a.m. to clear the enemy from the
eastern side of the village, meeting strong opposition from houses and
from a factory south-east of the cemetery.
It
was during this phase