Sunday, November 26, 2017

Battle All Sunday -- November 26, 2017

Bismarck Tribune, 26-November-1917

This action was part of the Battle of Cambrai, which followed the Battle of Passchendaele. 



Another Intense Struggle Staged at the Little Village of Moeuvres.
Capture of New Positions Gives Allies a Better Chance to Take Camhrai.

London, Nov. 26 -- The Germans have not repeated their attacks on the Bourlon position west of Camhrai, since their failure of yes­terday, Field Marshal Haig report­ed today. The statement says: "On the Camhrai battlefront, the enemy has not repeated his attacks on the Bourlon position, since the failure of his attempt at midday yesterday snd the situa­tion is unchanged.

Northeast of Ypres there was considerable artillery activity on both sides early last night in the
Passchendaele sector, but no infant action developed.

(By Associated Press)

British Army Headquaters in France, Sunday, Nov. 25. -- This morning found the line of battle of the weary but determined British troops stretch­ed in a semi-circle about Boudlon wood, and Burlon village, which nes­tles at the northwestern edge of the forest. It was a line which had been established in the face of dogged re­sistance on the part of the Germans, who have fallen back step by step fighting with the fury or despair.

All day yesterday the opposing forces struggled bitterly at close quarters for possession of the little village from which the British were forced Friday after gaining a footing in the rush that took them through Bourlon wood. Nightfall still found waves of infantry surging back and forth through the streets and among the houses, their crimson bayonets tell­ing the story of the terrible conflict being waged. Gradually the Germans fell back, the British pressing, forward with grim persistence, which the enemy could not withstand, and that hamlet was finally cleared of the ma­jor portion of the German troops.,

Streets Cleared

Today some of the-enemy still re­mained but: all the main streets of Bourlon had been cleared, and it was surrounded by a strong force of British soldiers.

A little to the southwest of here, another intense struggle was being staged in the village of Moeuvres into which the British have battled their way with rifle and bayonet, and push­ed the Germans out of the southern half. Elsewhere, along the Camhrai front, there was no infantry action of importance.

10,000 Prisoners

Prisoners continued to arrive from the front. Nearly ten thousand cap­tives thus far have been counted, in­cluding 200 officers.

In the capture of Bourlon wood and village, the British have acquired pos­session of one of the most important points they have secured since the great drive last Tuesday. This high ground controls a wide sweep of ter­ritory, and its occupation holds out the possibility that the Germans eventually will be forced to withdraw their lines to the Northwest.

A large amount of traffic In the last few days has been pouring out of Cambrai, indicating the probability that the Germans have evacuated the civilian population, and are preparing for eventualities.

Most Spectacular.

The fighting over Bourlon wood has been among the most spectacular of the war, for the occupation of the for­est was due largely to the work of tanks and airmen, who paved the way for the on rushing infantry. A num­ber of iron monitors lead the ad­vance Friday with British planes circling over the enemy, at a height of from 30 to 50 feet and carrying on a vigorous warfare with their machine guns and bombs. It was hard fighting, but the advance was con­tinued successfully until the north­east corner of the wood was reached, where the tanks were held up by a strong force of the enemy.

British airmen, who had been fight­ing close to the ground, deliberately charged down on the enemy infantry with machine guns pumping a steady stream of bullets into the German ranks. The battle was short and de­cisive. The airplanes wheeled and rewheeled over the heads of the Ger­mans and maintained such an intens­ive fire that the defenders were forced to retire from the position af­ter suffering considerable losses. The tanks then pushed on, the conquest of the wood being completed.

Heavy Counter Attack.

Almost immediately the Germans delivered a heavy counter attack on the troops and after a stiff engage­ment forced them to withdraw again to the edge of the wood. The Brit­ish renewed the attack Saturday morning on the village.

It was a battle in which the British troops gloried for it took thent back to the days of other wars, when men struggled in the open.

The period of fighting behind sand­bag parapets was temporarily passed and they were at close grips with the enemy, where they could em­ploy the bayonet, which they know so well how to use.

No more grim tragedy has been en­acted since the war began than was staged among the ruins of Bourlon village last night. Its finish found the shattered German forces outside I the village boundary, but still full of determination. Several times through the night they reformed and swept forward against the village, but each time were hurled back with heavy losses.

Work of Airplanes.

The work of 'British airplanes during the present offensive forms a graphic chapter itself. Despite the vile weather which compelled them to operate within a few feet of the ground, they kept steadily at their task and rendered invaluable assist­ance both in reconnaissances and of­fensive operations.

There have been almost continued battle between German infantry andBritish airmen flying as low as 30 feet above the ground. Never beforehas this kind of warfare been carried out on such a large scale. Pilots have attacked infantry and gun crews indiscriminately wherever they encountered .them and have inflicted heavy casualties on the en­emy, with bombs and machine guns.

The nature of the fighting can be seen from the experience of a Brit­ish pilot, whose machine was literally shot to pieces by rifle and ma­chine gun fire, and who finally crash­ed down behind his own lines with ten bullet holes through his clothing, although he, himself, was unhurt. Another young airman, yesterday, pre­sented himself at headquarters after having keen shot down for the third time within two days. He was delighted with his experience and im­mediately applied for another ma­chine.

One aviator attacked a column of German infantry marching in close formation and hurled two high power bombs directly among them. The troops scattered and as the airman whirled away, he saw two heaps of dead about huge craters which the bombs had torn in the road. There were innumerable cases of airmen successfully bombing airdromes, troop transports and gun crews. A large number of artillery crews have been wiped out either by machine gunfire at close range or by bombs. Natural­ly, many of the airmen had miracul­ous escapes from death. Among the hairbreath escapes reported is that of an aviator whose machine was torn to pieces while fighting German in­fantry with his machine gun. He was caught in the fire and the wings of his machine was shot away. For­tunately he was flying only about 20 feet from the ground. He crashed to earth unhurt, and he immediately came under rifle and machine gun fire, but he found (a - JT) German rifle with some ammunition and engaged the enemy single handed. As he fired he worked his way back until he reached one of his own patrols.

There is not much humor ip fighting of this nature, but one incident occur­red which is making the whole British air service laugh today. One of the youngest British airmen was flying at a low altitude when four enemy ma­chine guns opened on him. He swooped .down and shot 3 of his op­ponents as he swept by. The fourth machine gun kept firing, and the avi­ator in a spirit of boyish mischief leaned over the side of his car and whiggled his fingers in joyous derision at the German. Just as he was in the midst of this interesting perform­ance, his opponent put a bullet spare­ly through the palm of the airman's opened hand. The aviator presented himself at the dressing station, and when querried admitted the truth. His consolation from his wound was a roar of laughter, and to be more polite in the future.

No comments: