8th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
16th Irish Division
OPERATION ORDER FOR THE
BATTLE OF MESSINES

SECRET ........................................Copy No.15.

8th R. INNISKILLING FUSILIERS. OPERATION ORDER
No.103 - 4.6.17. BY LIEUT.COLONEL T.H. BOARDMAN,D.S.O.

Reference Maps FRANCE 28 S.W. Edition 5A. 1/20,000 OOSTTAVERNE 1/5,000.

A sketch map of the Messines salient

GENERAL PLAN.

1. The attack on WYTSCHAETE RIDGE will be made by the 16th Division in conjuction with Divisions on either flank.

The Attack by the 16th. Division will be made by:-

47th Infantry Brigade on the RIGHT.
49th Infantry Brigade on the LEFT.
48th Infantry Brigade in RESERVE.

2. Battalions of the 49th Inf.Bde. will be disposed as follows:-

7th R.Innis.Fus. LEFT.
7th/8th. R.Irish Fus. RIGHT.

These two battalions will carry out the attack on the RED and BLUE Lines.

2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Regt. will pass through, and attack GREEN and BLACK Lines.

8th R.Innis.Fus. will provide Moppers Up and Carrying Parties for the three Attacking Battalions, 49th. M.G.C. and 49th. T.M.B.

B & D Coys. will act as Moppers UP and will be attached to 7th. R.Innis. Fus. and 7th/8th R.Irish Fus respectively. Full details as to their work is laid down in Appendices A & B.

A & C Coys. will provide Carrying Parties, and details as to their work are shown in Appendix C.

Having completed their task and reported to Units to which they are attached, Coys. and Platoons of 8th R.Innis. Fus. will reassemble in YUMYUM TRENCH.

3. The various Boundaries and objectives are marked as follows on Map already issued(OOSTTAVERNE).

(a) Boundaries.

Red dotted Lines, Northern and Southern, 49th. Inf.Bde.
Blue dotted lines, Dividing line between 7th. R.Innis. Fus., and 7th/8th. R.Irish.Fus.

(b) Objectives.

1st. Objective RED
2nd. Objective BLUE
3rd. Objective GREEN
4th. Objective BLACK

(c) The following will be the times of arrival at and departure from the various objectives:-
Arrive.Depart.
RED LINE0.351.05
BLUE LINE1.40 3.40
GREEN LINE4.104.20
BLACK LINE4.40

4. Positions of Headquarters.

49th Infantry Brigade and left Artillery Group----THE RIB N.16.d.35.50.

7th/8th. R.Irish Fus. -----------------------------S.P.13.
7th. R.Innis. Fus.---------------------------------Off YUMYUM TRENCH N.18.a.15.45.
2nd. R.Irish Regt.---------------------------------S.P.13.
8th. R.Innis. Fus.---------------------------------S.P.13 at first and afterwards N.18.a.15.45.
49th. M.G.C.---------------------------------------SWATOW TRENCH N.17.d.80.90.
157th Field Coy.R.E.-------------------------------THE RIB.
49th. T.M.B.---------------------------------------THE RIB.

The forward Command Post of the 2nd R.Irish Regt., for the attack on the BLACK LINE will be at the Brigade Forward Station.
The Brigade Forward Station will follow the last wave of the attack on the BLUE LINE and will be established about O.13.c.15.45.
When the BLACK LINE has been captured, communication will be extended forward to O.19.b.75.85.

5. COMMUNICATION TRENCHES.

The 49th Inf.Bde has been allocated two main Communication Trenches:-

WATLING STREET (IN TRENCH)
THE FOSSE (OUT TRENCH)

Five Communication Trenches connect the CHINESE WALL LINE with the PARK LINE. They will be allotted as follows:-

Right Battalion THE FOSSE, CHOW STREET, AND CORK TRENCH.
Left Battalion CLARE STREET & USNAGH STREET.
Four Communication Trenches connect the PARK LINE with the Front Line; they will be allotted as follows:-

Right Battalion. BIRR TRENCH & CROWBAR STREET(both to be rebuilt).
Left Battalion. TARA STREET(to be rebuilt) MAYO STREET.

The following roads in the Forward Area have been allotted to the 16th Division:-

(a) KEMMEL-WYTSCHAETE ROAD(SUICIDE ROAD)
(b) V.C. ROAD.

Four Cross-country routes (two to each Brigade Area) leading forward from KIM ROAD to the neighbourhood of WYTSCHAETE are being prepared for wheeled traffic, as far forward as our front line.
These tracks are lettered "C","D","E",& "F".
"D" & "F" will be reserved for IN or Eastward traffic;
"C" & "E" for OUT or Westward traffic.

6. DRESS

All Officers will be dressed and equipped the same as the men; sticks are not to be carried.

Fighting Order for all ranks:-

(a) Clothing, Arms and Entrenching Tool, as issued.
(b) Equipment as issued with the exception of the pack. Haversacks are to be worn on the back, except for Lewis Gunners, Rifle Bombers and carrying parties, who will wear it at the side.
(c) Box Respirators and P.H. Helmets.
(d) Iron Rations, unexpended portion of the day's rations, Mess tin and cover.
(e) 120 rounds S.A.A. except Bombers, Signallers, Runners, Lewis Gunners and Rifle Bombers who carry 50 rounds. Carrying Parties, 50 rounds S.A.A.
(f) Every man(except bombing sections) two Mills Bombs one in each top pocket. These Bombs will be collected into dumps as soon as the Objective has been gained.
(g) Moppers Up and Carrying Parties will not carry flares, nor will carrying parties carry (f).
(h) Three sandbags per man for Moppers Up only.
(i) Water Bottle, full.
(j) Mopping Up parties will carry one "P" Bomb in addition to two Mills Bombs.
(k) Bombing Sections will carry:-

(1) Bayonet Men 6 Mills Bombs.
(2) Remainder of Section, 12 Mills Bombs per man.

(l) Bombing Sections of Mopping Up Parties will carry 10 Mills Bombs and 1 "P" Bomb per man.

7. In making reference to times before or after which operations will commence, the following Nomenclature will be adopted in future:-

Referring to days -

"Z" Day is the day on which operations take place.
One day before "Z"..............................."Y" day.
Two days before "Z".............................."X" day.
Three days before "Z"............................"W" day.
Four days before "Z"............................."V" day.
Five days before "Z"............................."U" day.

Days before "U" day will be referred to as "Z" minus 6, "Z" minus 7, "Z" minus 8 etc.

(a) One day after "Z"........."A" day.
Two days after "Z"........"B" day.
Three days after "Z"......"C" day.
Days after "C" day will be referred to as "Z" plus 4, "Z" plus 5, "Z" plus 6 &c.

(b) Referring to hours on "Z" day.
Zero is the exact time at which operations will commence and times will be designated in hours and minutes plus or minus from zero, even if they encroach on "Y" day.

(c) In making reference to times before and after which operations will take place symbols + or - are not to be used. The word plus or minus is to be written in full. In referring to times before of after Zero Hour, the words "Zer plus........." or "Zero minus......" must be inserted, so as to prevent possible confusion with clock time.

8. No marked maps of any description of our own lines will be taken in advance of Bn.H.Q. by any Officer, N.C.O. or Man. All maps so marked will be handed in to Battn. H.Q. at once.

9. INFORMATION.

Unit Commanders will send reports to Bn. H.Q. at every half hour from Zero onwards.

10. All ranks except strectcher bearers are strictly forbidden to leave thir work in order to assist wounded

11. All men should be warned against the probable misuse of white flags and signs of surrender by the enemy, who has been known to sham death and then shoot into the back of our assault.

The order "Retire" must be absolutely ignored.

Deep Dug-outs in enemy lines are on no account to be entered, except with permission from an Officer. Before clearing a dugout containing a number of the enemy, a sufficient number of men must be present to act as an escort.

12. Watches will be synchronised at 9 a.m. 12 noon and 6 p.m. daily, under arrangements to be made by the Signal Officer.

13. All commanders down to Platoon Commanders will keep in touch throughout with the Commanders of similar formations on their flanks. They must know the disposition and action being taken by their neighbours, more particularly so when the Units on their flanks belong to another Division.

14. All mines in the 16th Division Front will be exploded at Zero Hour. If the explosion of any of the above mines has not taken place by Zero plus 15 seconds, it is to be understood that it will not take place at all.

"Instructions to troops in connection with the firing of large mines" will be forwarded to all concerned

15. Danger areas are being marked under Divisional arrangements. Notice Boards will be put up in all subways.

16. No telescopic rifles are to be taken forward in the attack. They are to be kept at Quartermaster's Stores for use when when required.

17. To prevent congestion of ordinary traffic during the movement of troops, Battaliosn will march at 500 yards' distance.

18. It is most important that every precaution should be taken to prevent bayonets from flashing in the moonlight when Units are moving to their positions of assembly.

19. In the event of Hostile Aeroplanes flying low over our lines to ascertain whether our trenches are more strongly manned than usual, all ranks will remain still and will not look up.

20.In order to assist the Artillery in locating own our Infantry, distinguishing flags will be carried on the scale of not less than two per platoon. S Strict orders are to be issued against planting these flags in the ground in order to avoid mistakes which might be acused by flags left behind in evacuated positions. The flags will be provided under Divisional arrangements. At the time of issue all concerned will receive full details as to their size and colour and the way in which they should be carried.

The S.O.S. Signal will remain RED Signal Cartridges as at present.

The following R.E. Dumps will be established in the Forward Area:-

RESERVE DUMP...................R.E. FARM, N.15.c.1.5.
INTERMEDIATE DUMP..............QUEBEC VILLA,N.16.d.5.8.
ADVANCED DUMPS.................(1) N.17.d.2.2.
...............................(2)WATSONVILLE N.17.d.6.7.
As soon as feasible a Dump will be formed at NORTHERN BRICKSTACK.

In order to avoid casualties the whole of the Infantry detailed for the assault of the RED & BLUE LINES should get rapidly across NO MAN'S LAND. As few troops as possible will be left in our own front and support lines.

The wearing of captured German Headdress, Uniform or Equipment is strictly forbidden.

After taking the BLACK LINE troops will be pushed forward to establish themselves on a more advanced line.

26.(a)The New Objective will be known as THE OOSTTAVERNE LINE. The portion allotted to IXth Corps extends from O.28.b.5.2 to O.16.c.4.2.

(b) The 33rd Inf. Bde. and 68th Field Coy. R.E. from the 11th Division will be attached to the 16th Division for the purpose of this advance.

27. TANKS

One section of Tanks (four tanks) has been allotted to the 16th Division for the advance from the BLUE to the BLACK LINE. Four Sections of Tanks and any others which can be rallied have been allotted to the 16th Division for the advance from the BLACK LINE to the OOSTTAVERNE LINE

Details as to the employment of these Tanks will be issued later to all concerned

It must be impressed on all ranks in the Infantry that the Tanks are there to assist their advance if possible, but that they must never for a moment suppose that success depends upon their presence. The men must never wait for the Tanks but must push on to their Objective irrespective of whether they come up or not.There is a great danger of the attack being held up if this is not thoroughly realised by all ranks. On no account must men gather around the Tanks.

28. S.A.A. & BOMB LIMBERS, of Regimental and M.G. Coy. Transport and all Mobile Reserves of tools will be ready loaded up by ZERO Hour and Brigaded under arrangements to be made by the Staff Captain. They are not to be unloaded without orders from Brigade H.Q.

29. Position of Lewis Machine Guns will be as follows:- "A" Coy. 4 Guns with Teams and all magazines in YUMYUM Trench.

"B" Coy. 1 Gun and team with 15 magazines with 13th line 7th R. Innis.Fus. and 3 guns with Nos.1 of each in YUMYUM Trench.

"C" Coy. 4 guns with teams and all magazines in YUMYUM Trench.

"D: Coy. 4 Guns with teams, carrying 15 magazines per team to report to B.L.G.O. 7/8th R.Irish Fus. Remainder of magazines going into action will be dumped in YUMYUM TRENCH.

30 POLICE ARRANGEMENTS

Police Posts will be formed along CHINESE WALL LINE to direct Stragglers to the abttn. Assembly Trenches and to prevent escorts to prisoners being too large.

31. ACKNOWLEDGE.

A. J. WALKEY
Major
Lieut. Colonel.
Commanding,
8th R. Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Issued through Signals:

Copy No.1 to O.C. "A" Coy.
Copy No.2 to O.C. "B" Coy.
Copy No.3 to O.C. "C" Coy.
Copy No.4 to O.C. "D" Coy.
Copy No.5 to Signalling Officer.
Copy No.6 to Intelligence Officer.
Copy No.7 to B.L.G.O.
Copy No.8 Medical Officer
Copy No.9 H.Q. 49th Inf. Bde.
Copy No.10 to O.C. 2nd R.Irish Regt.
Copy No.11 to O.C. 7th R.Innis. Fus.
Copy No.12 to O.C. 7/8th R.Irish Fus.
Copy No.13 to 49th. M.G.C.
Copy No.14 to 49th. T.M.B.
Copy No.15 War Diary.
Copy No.16/17 Retained.


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