French Artillery Bombardment and Advance: The Battle of Vimy Ridge

  • French artillery bombarded the German lines and launched a surprise attack on Vimy Ridge.
  • The German infantry fell into the trap of emerging from shelter during lulls in the fire, only to be caught in more intense bombardment.
  • By noon, the French had penetrated 2.5 miles into the German front defenses.
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French artillery bombarded the German lines overnight and then abated until 6:00 a.m. when a bombardment, slowly increasing in intensity began on the fronts of VII, XIV and I Bavarian Reserve corps, which from mid-morning reached the extent of Trommelfeuer. Lulls in the fire were ruses to prompt German infantry to emerge from shelter, only to be caught in more Trommelfeuer; the German artillery reply was sparse. The French infantry assembled unseen and the advance began after several mines were sprung, obtaining a measure of surprise. The main French attack was received at 11:00 a.m. on the left of XIV Corps and against I Bavarian Reserve Corps, from Lens to Arras, as a second attack began against the centre of XIV Corps along the Béthune–Lens road, which was repulsed by a counter-attack. The 28th Division on the Lorette Spur, was forced out of the front trenches, with many losses and in the evening a battalion of Jäger was sent forward. Further south, the villages of Ablain-St. Nazaire (Ablain) and Carency were held against determined French attacks. By noon 2.5 mi (4 km) of the German front defences had fallen and the French had penetrated up to a depth of 1.9 mi (3 km). In the I Bavarian Reserve Corps area (General Karl von Fasbender), the 5th Bavarian Reserve Division (General Kress von Kressenstein) south of Carency, was pushed back to a line from Cabaret Rouge to Neuville-St. Vaast (Neuville) and French troops advanced as far as artillery positions around Givenchy-en-Gohelle (Givenchy), where reinforcements arrived at noon and managed to forestall a new French attack. To the south, the 1st Bavarian Reserve Division (Lieutenant-General Göringer) managed to repulse the French in hand-to-hand fighting and then enfilade the French further north, who had broken through at La Targette. Crown Prince Rupprecht applied to Falkenhayn, for the two divisions in OHL reserve and the 115th Division (Major-General von Kleist) was moved behind the 5th Bavarian Reserve Division. The 58th Division (Lieutenant-General von Gersdorf) went into the 6th Army reserve and closed up to Lens, as artillery also released from the OHL reserve came forward. On the southern flank of the breakthrough, French attacks were also pushing slowly through the network of trenches known as the Labyrnthe. North of Ecurie, Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 12 took over more ground to the north and prevented the French from widening the breakthrough and in Neuville St. Vaast a counter-attack by a battalion of Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 10 retook the east end of the village and many of the field guns which had been lost earlier. A defence line was improvised between Neuville and La Folie to the north and was used to engage the French troops further north with flanking fire. Bavarian Infantry Regiment 7 was rushed up from reserve to counter-attack the French on Vimy Ridge.

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>French artillery bombarded ~ reached the extent of Trommelfeuer.  Lulls in the fire were ruses ~ obtaining a measure of surprise. ⇒フランス軍の砲兵隊は、ドイツ軍を一晩中砲撃し、午前6時までで静まったが、それから第VII、第XIV、第Iババリア予備軍の前線で砲撃が午前中から徐々に強まり始めて、トロメルフェアのあたりに達した。  砲火の中の小康状態は、より広いトロメルフェアを捕獲すべくドイツ軍の歩兵が避難壕から出ることを促すための策略であった。ドイツ軍砲兵隊の報復はまばらであった。フランス軍の歩兵隊は目立たない状態で集合し、数発の地雷爆破の後に前進を始め、急襲の手順に成功した。 >The main French attack ~ to a depth of 1.9 mi (3 km). ⇒フランス軍の主な攻撃は、午前11時に第XIV軍団の左翼で受けられ、ベトゥーン-レンズ道に沿った第XIV軍団の中心に対する第2の攻撃としてレンズからアラスまでの第Iババリア予備軍団に対して開始されたが、反撃によって撃退された。ロレット山脚の第28師団は多くの損失を被って前線塹壕から追い出され、夕方にはイェーガー(狙撃)大隊が前方に送られた。さらに南では、アブレン‐サン・ナゼール(アブレン)とカレンシーの村々が、フランス軍の断固たる攻撃に対して持ちこたえていた。正午までにドイツ軍の前線防衛の2.5マイル(4キロ)が陥落し、フランス軍は1.9マイル(3 キロ)奥まで侵入した。 >In the I Bavarian Reserve Corps ~ through at La Targette. ⇒第1ババリア予備軍団地域(カール・フォン・ファスベンダー将軍)では、カレンシーの南にある第5ババリア予備師団(クレス・フォン・クレッセンシュタイン将軍)が、カバレー・ルージュからヌヴィーユ-サン・ヴァーストまでの戦線に押し戻された。そして、フランス軍は、ジバンシー-アン-ゴエユ(ジバンシー)周辺の砲兵隊の陣地まで前進し、正午にそこへ到着したのでフランス軍は新しい攻撃で先制することができた。南部では、第1ババリア予備軍師団(ゲーリンガー中将)がフランス軍を白兵戦で撃退し、その後、ラ・タルジェトを突破していたフランス軍をさらに北まで縦射突撃した。 >Crown Prince Rupprecht applied ~ trenches known as the Labyrnthe. ⇒ルプレヒト皇太子がOHL(ドイツ軍最高司令部)予備軍の2個師団を求めるためファルケンハインに申し出たので、第115師団(フォンクライスト少将)が第5ババリア予備軍師団の後ろに移された。第58師団(フォン・ゲルスドルフ中将)は第6方面軍予備役に入り、砲兵隊もOHL予備隊から解放されて前進したため、これらがレンズに接近した。突破口の南側では、フランス軍の攻撃も「迷宮」として知られる塹壕の組織網をゆっくりと貫通して押し進んでいった。 >North of Ecurie, Bavarian Reserve ~ the French on Vimy Ridge. ⇒エクリーの北では、ババリア予備歩兵連隊12がより北の地面を占拠し、フランス軍が突破口を広げるのを阻止し、ヌヴィーユ・サン・ヴァーストでは、ババリア予備歩兵連隊10の大隊による反撃で、村の東端と以前に失われた野戦砲の多くが奪回された。北のヌヴィーユとラ・フォリーの間で即席の防御戦線が造られ、フランス軍をさらに北の側面砲撃で交戦するために使用された。予備軍からは、ババリア歩兵連隊7がヴィミー・リッジでフランス軍に反撃するために駆けつけた。





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    Most of Ablain had been captured but French attempts to advance further, had been repulsed in mutually costly fighting and a lull occurred, except for a small French attack at Neuville during the day. Rupprecht rated the 29th Division as worn out, the condition of the 28th Division as not much better and the 5th Bavarian Reserve Division as exhausted. The 1st Bavarian Reserve Division, 58th and 115th divisions were severely damaged and c. 20,000 casualties had been incurred from 9–13 May. Rupprecht requested more reinforcements to replace all of the worn-out divisions and Falkenhayn began to strip more units from the Western Front. Falkenhayn also appointed General Ewald von Lochow, the III Corps commander to control the units being sent to the 6th Army. The 117th Division began to relieve the 28th Division on the night of 13/14 May and the 5th Bavarian Reserve Division remnants were relieved during the day. General Julius Riemann the VIII Corps commander, took over the 16th, 58th, 115th and part of the 15th divisions from Souchez to Neuville. The reinforcement of the 6th Army had drained the OHL reserve and further claims by Rupprecht were refused, which led him to complain to the Kaiser. North of the Lorette Spur and in the area of the 1st Bavarian Reserve Division, most of the old front line was intact. North of the Carency stream, XIV Corps held parts of the front line in Schlammulde, along Barrikadenweg (Barricade Way) and the east end of Ablain. South of the stream, the line was held by a mixture of the 58th and 115th divisions, the remnants of the 5th Bavarian Reserve Division and a regiment of the 52nd Reserve Infantry Brigade. In reserve, the 16th Division (Lieutenant-General Fuchs) was ready to move into line from Souchez to Hill 123 on a 1.2 mi (2 km) front, the 15th Division and the new 1st Trench Mortar Battalion had arrived in the 6th Army area. Lochow took over from 14 May to 12 June and continued to reorganise mingled units and withdraw tired troops into reserve. Artillery command in each area was centralised for barrage fire, counter-battery bombardments and flanking fire into other areas. The 5th Bavarian Reserve and 58th divisions were relieved by the 16th Division and three corps sectors established, XIV Corps on the right with the 117th Division and 85th Reserve Brigade, VIII Corps with the 115th and 58th divisions from the Carency stream to the Arras–Lens road and the 1st Bavarian Reserve Corps, with the 1st Bavarian Reserve Division and 52nd Infantry Brigade, from the road to the Scarpe river. Lochow planned a counter-attack by XIV Corps to regain the commanding ground of the Lorette Spur, from 15 to 17 May and succeeded only in exhausting the 117th Division, which had to be withdrawn.

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    The French were pushed back from the heights of Hill 145 and Hill 119 (the Pimple) by 1:00 p.m. At the east end of the Lorette Spur the 28th Division was forced out of the first position. By afternoon, the left flank of XIV Corps had been uncovered near Carency. Rupprecht intended to use the remnants of the 5th Bavarian Reserve Division and the 115th Division to counter-attack and regain the lost positions. Instead, the 115th Division was sent to defend the right flank of the I Bavarian Reserve Corps and the 5th Bavarian Reserve Division was found to be too depleted to attack. Troops managed to counter-attack at Souchez and retook some ground, before being stopped by massed French artillery-fire around 8:00 p.m. By evening, Rupprecht knew that twelve French divisions had attacked four German divisions but believed that the French could be driven back. OHL sent the 117th Division to Douai and Rupprecht subordinated two regiments of the 58th Division to the I Bavarian Reserve Corps, for the counter-attack at Souchez. Artillery was sent to the east of Vimy Ridge, to support the attack. During the night, a French attack captured the front trenches astride the Béthune–Lens road and Lieutenant-General von Haenisch sent the last corps reserve to the 29th Division (Lieutenant-General Isbert); a counter-attack in the morning recovered the trenches. To the south-west of Carency, the trench to Souchez was lost, which left Carency almost surrounded. Rupprecht and Haenisch planned to counter-attack from Souchez to Neuville, with the I Bavarian Reserve Corps and the 58th and 115th divisions, rather than retire. At 4:00 p.m. French attacks began on the Lorette Spur and at Carency but were not able to push back the defenders. At 7:00 p.m., the 58th Division began the German counter-attack, with parts of the 115th Division to the south and at first made good progress, before being stopped by French defensive fire. The 28th Division headquarters began to fear that the line between Ablain and Carency would fall. On 10 May, the I Bavarian Reserve Division managed to retain its positions despite French attacks, particularly at Neuville on the right flank but several counter-attacks supported by parts of IV Corps and the 115th Division, recovered only small parts of the village. Next day, Fasbender doubted that the line from Ablain to Carency could be held and asked for more reinforcements. Falkenhayn released the 117th Division (General Kuntze) and sent the VIII Corps headquarters with the 16th Division to Douai as a replacement OHL reserve. To avoid a retirement, which would lead to the loss of the Lorette Spur, Rupprecht met the corps commanders and issued a standfast order, encouraged by the quietude of the French during the morning of 11 May. French attacks in the afternoon were poorly co-ordinated and repulsed with many casualties.

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    In Armee-Gruppe Lochow, the battle for the Labyrnthe continued and from 4 to 6 June, the French attacked Neuville. After an attack on 8 June, the defenders retired to a trench further east. French attacks on the Lorette Spur were co-ordinated with those at Neuville and exhausted the XIV Corps troops, which were replaced by the 7th and 8th divisions of IV Corps, which had been reserved for a counter-attack. To the south, the French had taken the cemetery at Neuville and built a strong point, from which attacks on the rest of Neuville were made, threatening the German hold on the Labyrnthe, 1,600 yd (1,500 m) to the south. By 7 June the defence of Neuville had begun to collapse, despite exhortations from the German high command that the area was to be held at all costs. Officers of the 58th Division wanted permission to withdraw from the village but freedom to make a temporary limited withdrawal in a crisis was given but only to organise a counter-attack. The north-west of the village fell on 8 June, after the last defenders of Infantry Regiment 160 were bombarded by their own artillery. A battalion of the 15th Division was sent to counter-attack a French salient, near the Lossow-Arkade in the Labyrnthe, as soon as it arrived on the Artois front, supported by grenade teams and flame-thrower detachments. The attack failed but the Tsingtau-Graben and some ground at the Labyrnthe was recovered. French attacks at the Labyrnthe were as frequent as those further north and the 1st Bavarian Reserve Division counter-attacked in the early hours of 11 June, which recaptured a trench. French preparations for another general attack were observed by the German defenders and large amounts of artillery ammunition were brought forward. On 10 June the senior gunner in the 15th Division predicted a French attack from Vimy to La Folie, Thélus and Neuville St. Vaast, which if successful, would lead to the loss of the German artillery around Vimy and La Folie. No forces were available for a spoiling attack and at Roclincourt, Reserve Infantry Regiment 99 had watched the French sapping forward to within 66 yd (60 m) of their positions and endured the French preparatory bombardment. The French shelling grew in weight until 11:30 a.m. when a mine was sprung. French infantry attacked, broke into the position and the defenders built flanking barricades to prevent the French from rolling up the flanks of the German position. Other German troops formed a blocking position in front of the French penetration and the German artillery bombarded the lost ground and no man's land, to prevent French reserves from moving forward. Counter-attacks by troops held back in reserve were able to push the French out of their footholds but at the cost of "grievous" losses.

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    A captured order showed that the French were making a maximum effort to break through; a regiment of the 117th Division was made available to the 6th Army as a precaution and part of the 58th Division was moved closer to the 28th Division on the Lorette Spur. On 11 May, Rupprecht was ordered by Falkenhayn not to retire under any circumstances, with the discretion to achieve this by attack or defence and replied that a counter-attack was not feasible. Next day, two regiments of the 117th Division were added to I Bavarian Reserve Corps to protect Neuville and reinforcements arriving to re-establish the OHL reserve behind the 6th Army were taken over; part of the 15th Division was sent to Douai as a new OHL reserve and Falkenhayn suggested that a special headquarters be set up to co-ordinate counter-attacks. On 13 June, Rupprecht repeated his orders to XIV Corps to hold Carency and Haenisch sent pioneers to dig a reserve trench behind the left flank of the 28th Division. French pressure on the Lorette Spur had eased and a regiment of the 58th Division retook trenches on the northern slope. No counter-attack was possible at Carency and the I Bavarian Reserve Corps concentrated on holding the line from Souchez to Neuville and St. Laurent, which was attacked again during the afternoon. Gaps either side of Hill 123 were closed by counter-attacks but a gap between a depression known as Artilleriemulde, north of the Lorette Spur and Souchez could not be closed and Carency was almost surrounded. The defences to the west and south had been lost on 9 May and constant French attacks slowly overwhelmed the defenders. At 9:00 a.m. on 12 May, a French bombardment of 23,000 shells fell on the remaining German positions to the north of the village. The survivors were cut off and the village captured over the next two days. French attacks in the north began to diminish on 13 May, as rain storms turned the battlefield into a swamp but at 2:00 p.m. on 15 May a hurricane bombardment fell on Souchez until 6:00 p.m. but no infantry attack followed the bombardment. Late on 12 May Rupprecht created Armee–Gruppe Fasbender to control the units in the areas of the XIV and I Bavarian Reserve corps, to hold the existing positions and establish a defence line from Carency and Neuville. A counter-attack at the cemetery south of Souchez but failed without support from the Carency area, where a French attack at dusk had captured the village. The defeat threatened the rest of the German line, Haenish ordered an immediate bombardment of the village and the 28th Division to dig a new line, from the Lorette Spur to the Ablain church and Souchez. A battalion of the 117th Division was sent to the 28th Division and a 16th Division regiment was moved to Lens as a replacement. By 13 June, the right flank of the 28th Division still held the northern slope of the Lorette Spur, the line either side of the Lorette Chapel had been lost from the Schlammulde (Muddy Hollow) to the Ablain track.

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    However, a division of Gruppe Souchez, under VIII Reserve Corps General of the Infantry Georg Karl Wichura, was involved in the frontline defence along the northernmost portion of the ridge. Three divisions were ultimately responsible for manning the frontline defences opposite the Canadian Corps. The 16th Bavarian Infantry Division was located opposite the town of Souchez and responsible for the defence of the northernmost section of the ridge. The division was created in January 1917 through the amalgamation of existing Bavarian formations and had so far only opposed the Canadian Corps. The 79th Reserve Division was responsible for the defence of the vast central section including the highest point of the ridge, Hill 145.The 79th Reserve Division fought for two years on the Eastern Front before being transferred to the Vimy sector at the end of February 1917. The 1st Bavarian Reserve Division had been in the Arras area since October 1914 and was holding the towns of Thélus, Bailleul and the southern slope of the ridge. Byng commanded four attacking divisions, one division of reserves and numerous support units. He was supported to the north by the 24th British Division of I Corps, which advanced north of the Souchez river and by the advancing XVII Corps to the south.

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    The 6th Army deployed in the XXI and XVI corps areas from the Vosges north to Metz, the III Corps arriving from 8–12 August and moving to the border from Beux to Béchy and Rémilly, the II Bavarian Corps deployed from 7–10 August from Lucy to Château Salins and Moerchingen and the XXI Corps mobilised around Dieuze on 10 August and moved a brigade of the 42nd Division to Igney, as a flank guard for the I Bavarian Corps. On 11 August a French night attack was repulsed but events in the Vosges led to the I Bavarian Corps moving quickly to Eyweiler and Sieweiler.

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    On 13 July all counter-attacks were cancelled and command arrangements were reorganised ready for an expected British attack, Gruppe Von Gossler from the Somme to Longueval with the 123rd Division and parts of the 12th and 11th Reserve divisions, Gruppe von Armin from Longueval to the Ancre with Division Burckhardt, 183rd Division and the 3rd Guard Division. Gruppe von Stein with the 2nd Guard Reserve Division, 52nd Division and the 26th Reserve Division, was made responsible for the front from the Ancre to Monchy au Bois. Many of the divisions were composed of units from other formations, brought in piecemeal to replace the "very heavy" casualties of existing units. Bavarian Infantry Regiment 16 was the last reserve of the 10th Bavarian Division and had lost many casualties around Mametz and Trônes Wood, the III Battalion having been reduced to 236 men.

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    Delivery of supplies was intermittent, because field kitchens had to be set up well back to avoid shellfire. The remaining defences had been improvised between attacks many were overlooked from a flank and some from French positions behind them. A big attack on 21 May, pushed the defenders back and a counter-attack failed to restore the position, which was re-established further back along a track at the northern fringe of Ablain. Trenches were dug forwards towards the Lorette Spur, which gave some flank protection. II Battalion, Infantry Regiment 157 was severely depleted in the fighting and was relieved by units from six regiments. Constant French attacks slowly forced the surviving defenders back but the consequences of losing ground north-west of Souchez were so dangerous, that a stream of German units were sent to hold the area between late May and 7 June. After several days of minor operations, French infantry attacked from the Lorette Spur to the Scarpe at 4:00 p.m. From Ecurie southwards, the French were seen assembling and bombarded, which stopped the attack in no man's land. In the north, several footholds were gained and only recaptured during the night. Lochow requested more reinforcements, IV Corps south of Arras with the 8th and 7th divisions, was exchanged with two burnt-out divisions and the 111th Division took over the line from the 8th Division; the 115th Division was relieved at Neuville by the 58th Division. French attacks continued from 25 to 26 May, from Liévin to Souchez which captured German trenches, then lost them to German counter-attacks. On 27 May, Ablain cemetery and trenches to the south were lost, which made the village untenable and on 28 May, the Germans retired to a line either side of the sugar refinery west of Souchez. Local attacks continued and on 29 May, a French attack up the road from Aix-Noulette to Souchez was repulsed by Reserve Infantry Brigade 85. Lochow suspected that the attack was a ruse and next day the French attacked further south. On 30 May, French artillery-fire fell in the south and extended into the VIII Corps area, before an attack at 5:00 p.m. from Souchez to Roclincourt, which was eventually repulsed. Late on 31 May, trenches between Angres, the Carency stream and the sugar refinery were lost and only the trenches to the north were recaptured on 1 June after many counter-attacks. During the evening, an attack from Neuville to Tsingtao Trench captured the trench, which threatened the German hold on the Labyrnthe. Lochow put Fasbinder in command with the 58th Division and moved the 15th Division to Neuville. British diversionary attacks around Givenchy-lez-la-Bassée, continued during early June and were repulsed in costly fighting by VII and XIX corps.

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    That the BEF might assemble at Maubeuge was known to the Germans but a concentration at the Channel ports was thought possible. On 21 August, General Karl von Bülow ordered the 1st Army (General Alexander von Kluck) to veer southwards towards Maubeuge. On 24 August, the VII Corps, on the right flank of the 2nd Army, advanced until the 13th Division was stopped by fire from the Maubeuge garrison. On 25 August, the corps was ordered to isolate the south-eastern fringe of the town with the 13th Division and advance against the right flank of the BEF, south of Maubeuge towards Aulnoye with the rest of the corps. German air reconnaissance revealed the beginning of a French general retreat towards Verdun, Mézières and Maubeuge. The 14th Division of the VII Reserve Corps, was ordered south to Binche to join the IX and VII Corps to surround Maubeuge and the BEF; late in the afternoon it was found that the BEF had escaped. Bulow made General Karl von Einem responsible for the investment of Maubeuge, with the VII Corps (less the 14th Division), VII Reserve Corps (less the 13th Reserve Division), IX Corps and the artillery and siege units released by the end of the Siege of Namur. The German 2nd Army bypassed Maubeuge to the east and the Entrenched Camp was surrounded on 26 August. On 27 August, General Hans von Zwehl (VII Reserve Corps) was ordered to conduct the siege with the 17th Division of IX Corps; the 13th Reserve Division was diverted to Maubeuge and VII Corps was ordered south, less one brigade. Zwehl planned to attack the fortress from the north-east, with a secondary attack from south of the Sambre. Three sectors were established, one from the Trouille stream to the Sambre below Maubeuge, the second from the Sambre to the Solre brook and the third sector from the Solre to the Sambre north of the fortifications. A regiment of cavalry was to cover the gap to the west and north. The 21 heavy Austrian 305 mm howitzer and super-heavy German 420 mm Gamma Mörser batteries from Namur were to be deployed between Givry and Solre. By 2 September, the 27th Reserve Infantry Brigade had taken over the first sector, the 26th Infantry Brigade held the southern sector and elements of the 13th Reserve Division held a new fourth sector to the west around Bavay. From 24 August, Fournier received information from spies on the German advance and planned a reconnaissance in force north of Maubeuge, to discover German intentions, harass the besiegers and give his troops more experience. On 25 August, the garrison reserve advanced towards Quévy and Havay over the Belgian border and engineers cut the narrow-gauge railway along the frontier.

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    The 6th Army attacked with the XIV, VII, XIII and XIX corps, intending to break through the Allied defences from Arras to La Bassée and Armentières. German infantry advanced in rushes of men in skirmish lines, covered by machine-gun fire. To the south of the 18th Brigade, a battalion of the 16th Brigade had dug in east of Radinghem while the other three dug a reserve line from Bois Blancs to Le Quesne, La Houssoie and Rue du Bois, half way to Bois Grenier. A German attack by the 51st Infantry Brigade at 1:00 p.m. was repulsed but the battalion fell back to the eastern edge of the village, when the German attack further north at Ennetières succeeded. The main German attack was towards a salient at Ennetières held by the 18th Brigade, in disconnected positions held by advanced guards, ready for a resumption of the British advance. The brigade held a front of about 3 mi (4.8 km) with three battalions and was attacked on the right flank where the villages of Ennetières and La Vallée merged. The German attack was repulsed by small-arms fire and little ground was gained by the Germans, who were attacking across open country with little cover. Another attack was made on Ennetières at 1:00 p.m. and repulsed but on the extreme right of the brigade, five platoons were spread across 1,500 yd (1,400 m) to the junction with the 16th Brigade. The platoons had good observation to their fronts but were not in view of each other and in a drizzle of rain, the Germans attacked again at 3:00 p.m. The German attack was repulsed with reinforcements and German artillery began a bombardment of the Brigade positions from the north-east until dark, then sent about three battalions of the 52nd Infantry Brigade of the 25th Reserve Division forward in the dark, to rush the British positions. The German attack broke through and two companies of Reserve Infantry Regiment 125 entered Ennetières from the west; four companies of Reserve Infantry Regiment 122 and a battalion of Reserve Infantry Regiment 125 broke in from the south and the British platoons were surrounded and captured. Another attack from the east, led to the British infantry east of the village retiring to the west side of the village, where they were surprised and captured by German troops advancing from La Vallée, which had fallen after 6:00 p.m. and who had been thought to be British reinforcements; some of the surrounded troops fought on until 5:15 a.m. next morning. The German infantry did not exploit the success and British troops on the northern flank were able to withdraw to a line 1 mi (1.6 km) west of Prémesques, between La Vallée and Chateau d'Hancardry.