Page 471 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
1914-1918
little to help the operations; for there was a heavy ground mist.
Fortunately, the country was open in the early stages, though later
on orchards enclosed by thick hedges, several isolated farms and the
straggling village of Futoy had to be negotiated; the whole had been
carefully prepared for defence with machine guns placed in the most
unlikely positions under trees, in the middle of fields enfilading
hedgerows, and in houses. The 10th Battalion met little opposition
till it approached a copse west of the Louvignies-Englefontaine
road. Under the skilful direction of Captain F. W. Brittnell, Lewis–
gun and rifle fire was brought to bear on the garrison, and his two
leading platoons rushed in and cleared the position. He then
similarly dealt with a machine gun on the other side of the copse.
Two officers, thirty-one other Germans and several machine guns
were captured at this stage. At 6.5 a.m. the leading troops crossed
the Louvignies-Englefontaine road and pushed on past
La
Motte
Farm, half a mile south of Louvignies. But heavy machine-gun fire
from the farm buildings held up the left support company. Lewis
guns were promptly brought into action and a platoon detailed to
rush the farm while the rest of the company moved to the far side of
it, where they arrived in time to capture several of the enemy as they
emerged from an outhouse. The platoon "mopped up" the main
buildings and rejoined its company.
More rapid advance then became possible. Opposition from the
western edge of Futoy was overcome by the leading companies,
Brittnell again doing excellent work; and the clearing of the
village was left to the support companies, a task completed by
7.50 a.m. German artillery fire was by now increasing in intensity:
the rides and tracks of the forest, into which the advance had
now penetrated, were severely searched. The increasing closeness
of the country made it necessary to bring up three platoons of the
left support company to keep touch in the centre of the battalion.
Nevertheless the
final
objective was reached by 8 a.m. The work of
consolidation was much interrupted by heavy shelling from the
north and by desultory machine-gun fire from the direction of Pont
a
Vache, on the road running along the north-western face of the
forest. Soon after, however, another brigade passed through and the
battalion was left in reserve, moving into billets at Futoy that
evening.
The decorations awarded for this operation were :-
Military Cross
Captain F : W. Bri ttnell.
Military Medal
Company Serjeant-Maj or H . C.
B.
Smith .
Serj eant
J.
A. Gerrard .
Serjeant M. Shuttleworth.
Serjeant A. E . Smith.
Corporal
J.
Brearley.
Corpora l H. Eccles.
Corporal
J.
T. Webster.
Lance-Corporal M. T. Easterly.
P r ivate T . H. Edwards.
Private F . Howarth.
Private T .
'N.
Vindin .