Battle of Menin, 13 September 1793

Battle of Menin, 13 September 1793


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Battle of Menin, 13 September 1793

The battle of Menin (13 September 1793) was a second victory in five days for the French army of General Houchard, and saw the French defeat the Dutch army under William V, prince of Orange, briefly knocking them out of the war. On 8 September Houchard defeated an Allied army at Hondschoote, forcing the Duke of York to abandon the siege of Dunkirk, and retreat east to Furnes (Veurne), just inside Belgium.

This left the 13,000-strong Dutch army under the Prince of Orange dangerously exposed between Menin and Lannoy. Houchard had 30,000 men available to attack the Dutch, and decided to attack from two directions. One attack, from Poperinghe, hit the northern end of the Dutch line while a second attack, from Lille, attacked the centre of their position.

The Dutch were overwhelmed, with the loss of 3,000 men and 40 guns. The French captured Menin, while William retreated back towards Bruges and Ghent. The French success would be short-lived. Two days later an Austrian army, under General Beaulieu, attacked west from Courtrai, routed the French and recaptured Menin. On the previous day the Austrians had won an impressive cavalry victory at Avesnes-le-Sec, destroying one of Houchard's infantry divisions. This combination of defeats help bring about Houchard's downfall, and eventual execution.

Napoleonic Home Page | Books on the Napoleonic Wars | Subject Index: Napoleonic Wars


South African troops carry a wounded German during the Battle of Menin Road Ridge

Rare photo of frontline South Africans in World War 1, and also one which shows compassion. This photo was taken from the Battle of Menin Road Ridge on the 21st September 1917. Here four South African “Scottish” from the 4th South African Infantry Regiment are carrying a wounded German on a stretcher to a medical station. Other wounded German prisoners are seen in the foreground.

The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge 20th to 25th September 1917 was an offensive operation, part of the Third Battle of Ypres on the Western Front, it was undertaken by the British 2nd and 5th Armies in an attempt to take sections of the curving ridge, east of Ypres, which the Menin Road crossed. This action saw the involvement of the South African Brigade – along with British, Newfoundland and Australian formations.

The attack was successful along its entire front, though the advancing troops had to overcome formidable entrenched German defensive positions which included mutually supporting concrete pill-box strongpoints and also resist fierce German counter-attacks. A feature of this battle was the intensity of the opening British artillery support and “leap frog” tactic used by the British to consolidate taken ground.

The South African Brigade saw most of its action at Borry Farm, easily overrunning the German strong points, except for four pill-boxes around Potsdam House, which were eventually attacked on three sides and captured, after inflicting heavy casualties on the attackers. The South African Brigade was also badly hit by German machine-gun fire from Hill 37, however in the end the South Africans managed to capture Bremen Redoubt and Waterend House in the Zonnebeek valley and extend a defensive flank.

Do note that the South Africans are wearing the “Murray of Atholl” (modern) kilts which was the dominant tartan worn by the South African Scottish in the 4th South African Infantry Regiment – Company A was made up of Cape Town Highlanders, Company B Transvaal Scottish and Company C was also Tvl Scottish in the main whereas Company D was made up of various caledonian regiments from the Orange Free State and Natal.

The tradition of the Murray of Atholl was carried over to The Transvaal Scottish Regiment and is still worn to this day, hopefully the SANDF will see its way clear to keeping the traditions of its fighting men and their sacrifice.


Fort Recovery, Ohio - Changing History 1790 - 1795

The repercussions of this battle were felt around the world. At this point the Northwest Territory was clearly not within the control of the fledgling United State. England, France and Spain each coveted this rich and strategically important territory, and without an army the very survival of the United States was in question.

The first cabinet meeting and the first congressional investigation in U.S. history took place after that battle. When, in the course of the investigation, the "evidence" began to implicate members of President Washington's own cabinet, the investigation was called off.


Prelude

British offensive preparations

Passchendaele weather
September (1917) [11]
Date Rain
mm
Temp
(°F)
Outlook
1 0.2 59 50%
cloud
2 1.1 63 overcast
3 0.0 69 clear
4 0.0 71 clear
5 5.1 74 clear
6 24.6 77 overcast
7 0.1 72 overcast
8 0.0 72 fog
9 0.0 71 fog
10 0.0 66 clear
11 0.0 71 clear
12 0.0 62 overcast
13 1.7 61
14 0.4 66 overcast
15 0.1 67 overcast
16 0.0 73 overcast
17 0.0 67 overcast
18 0.4 65 clear
19 5.1 72 clear
20 0.0 66 overcast

The General Headquarters staff of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) quickly studied the results of the attack of 31 July and on 7 August, sent questions to the army headquarters about the new conditions produced by German defence-in-depth. The German army had spread strong points and pillboxes in the areas between their defensive lines and made rapid counter-attacks with local reserves and Eingreif divisions, against Allied penetrations. [12] [lower-alpha 2] Plumer issued a preliminary order on 1 September, which defined the Second Army area of operations as Broodseinde and the area southwards. The plan was based on the use of much more medium and heavy artillery, which had been brought to the Gheluvelt Plateau from VIII Corps on the right of the Second Army and by removing more guns from the Third and Fourth armies in Artois and Picardy. [13]

The increased amount of heavy artillery was to be used to destroy German concrete shelters and machine-gun nests, which were more numerous in German "battle zones", than the "outpost zones" which had been captured in July and August and to engage in more counter-battery fire. [14] Few German concrete pill-boxes and machine gun nests had been destroyed during earlier preparatory bombardments and attempts at precision bombardment between attacks had also failed. The 112 × heavy and 210 × field guns and howitzers in the Second Army on 31 July, were increased to 575 × heavy and medium and 720 × field guns and howitzers for the battle, which was equivalent to one artillery piece for every 5 ft (1.5 m) of the attack front and more than double the density in the Battle of Pilckem Ridge. [15]

Plumer's tactical refinements sought to undermine the German defence by making a shallower penetration and then fighting the principal battle against German counter-attack (Eingreif) divisions. By further reorganising infantry reserves, Plumer ensured that the depth of the attacking divisions roughly corresponded to the depth of local German counter-attack reserves and their Eingreif divisions. More infantry was provided for the later stages of the advance, to defeat German counter-attacks, by advancing no more than 1,500 yd (1,400 m) before consolidating their position. [16] When the Germans counter-attacked they would encounter a British defence-in-depth, protected by artillery and suffer heavy casualties to little effect, rather than the small and disorganised groups of British infantry that the Germans had driven back to the black line on the XIX Corps front on 31 July. [17]

Minor operations

During the lull of early September, both sides made local attempts to improve their positions. On 1 September, a determined German attack at Inverness Copse was repulsed. Further north in the XIX Corps area, a battalion of the 61st Division tried to rush Hill 35 but only took a small area and another attempt on 3 September failed. Next day, the division attacked Aisne Farm and was repulsed, as the neighbouring 58th Division took Spot Farm. On 5 September, the 61st Division tried again at night, took a German outpost on Hill 35 and then lost it to a counter-attack. An attack from south of Hill 35 by the 42nd Division with the 125th Brigade and a battalion of the 127th Brigade, took place on 6 September. For several days, practice barrages were conducted and a daylight reconnaissance by a small party probed to within 25 yd (23 m) of Beck House. During the night, the Germans sent up many flares and rockets, disclosed their barrage line and many undetected posts. [18]

The barrage schedule required four rounds per-gun-per-minute but the gunners fired up to ten. The 125th Brigade attacked Iberian, Borry and Beck House farms, with two battalions forward and two in reserve and the attached battalion acting as a carrying-party. Beck House was captured but small-arms fire from the south slope of Hill 35 stopped the rest of the attack, with many casualties. The Germans retook Beck House at 10.45 a.m. and enfiladed the rest of the attackers, who were withdrawn, except for the battalion on the extreme right. Another German counter-attack at 7.30 p.m. by fresh storm-troops, forced the battalion to retire, except from a small area 150 yd (140 m) forward, which was abandoned next day the division had c. 800 casualties. [19] Another night attack by the 61st Division on Hill 35 failed. In the XVIII Corps area, a company of the 51st Division made an abortive raid on Pheasant Trench. [18]

Two battalions of the 58th Division conducted raids on 8 September and next day the 24th Division (II Corps), withstood another determined German attack at Inverness Copse. On 11 September, a night attack by a battalion of the 42nd Division failed to capture The Hut and a covering party for a group of soldiers working in no man's land, discovered an Inniskilling Fusilier, who had lain out wounded since 11 August, subsisting on rations recovered from dead soldiers. [20] On 13 September, the Guards Division was pushed back from the far side of the Broembeek and the Wijdendreft road. Next day a battalion of the 42nd Division edged forward 100 yd (91 m) and a battalion of the 58th Division attacked Winnipeg. In the evening a German counter-attack took ground towards Springfield. [21] On 15 September, a battalion of the 47th Division, under cover of a hurricane bombardment, attacked and captured a strong point near Inverness Copse, fire from which had devastated earlier attacks in the vicinity and took 36 prisoners . [22] A battalion of the 42nd Division captured Sans Souci and the 51st Division launched a "Chinese" attack using dummies. A day later, a German attack on the strong point captured by the 47th Division and renamed Cryer Farm, was defeated with many German losses and in the XIV Corps area, another attack was stopped by small-arms fire on the 20th Division front. A party of the Guards Division was cut off near Ney Copse and fought its way out a lull followed until 20 September. [21]

Plan of attack

Plumer planned to capture Gheluvelt Plateau in four steps, with intervals of six days for time to bring forward artillery and supplies, a faster tempo of operations than that envisaged by Gough in the planning before 31 July. [23] Each step was to have even more limited geographical objectives, with infantry units attacking on narrower fronts in greater depth. The previous practice of attacking the first objective with two battalions and the following objectives with a battalion each was reversed, in view of the greater density of German defences the further the attack penetrated double the medium and heavy artillery was available than for on 31 July. Reorganisation in this manner had been recommended in a report of 25 August, by the Fifth Army General Officer Commanding RA (GOCRA) Major-General H. Uniacke. [24] The evolution in organisation and method was to ensure that more infantry were on tactically advantageous ground, having had time to consolidate and regain contact with their artillery, before they received German counter-attacks. [10]

The British began a "desultory bombardment" on 31 August and also sought to neutralise the German artillery with gas before the attack, including gas bombardments on the three evenings before the assault. [17] [25] Aircraft were to be used for systematic air observation of German troop movements to and on the battlefield, to avoid the failures of previous battles, where too few aircraft had been burdened with too many duties and had operated in bad weather. [26] The three-week pause allowed by Haig originated from Lieutenant-Generals T. Morland and W. Birdwood, the X and I Anzac corps commanders, at a conference of 27 August. The attacking corps made their plans within the framework of the Second Army plan, using General Principles on Which the Artillery Plan Will be Drawn of 29 August, which described the multi-layered creeping barrage and the use of fuze 106 to avoid adding more craters to the ground. The Second Army and both corps did visibility tests, to decide when zero hour should be set and the use of wireless and gun-carrying tanks were discussed with Plumer on 15 September. X Corps issued its first Instruction on 1 September, giving times and boundaries to its divisions. [27]

A pattern for British attacks was established and Second Army orders and artillery instructions became routine, with an Attack Map showing stages of attack and timetable for the corps involved corps moves and the time of attack were briefly noted. [28] Nine divisions were to attack on a 10,000 yd (9,100 m) front. The Second Army had three times and the Fifth Army twice the ammunition than for Pilckem Ridge. In late August, destructive fire by super-heavy artillery began and counter-battery fire commenced in early September, in poor visibility. [29] The air plan standardised methods used by battery commanders and artillery observation crews, as informal liaison methods had been found to be insufficient, with the increase in artillery and aircraft. Wireless codes were standardised and better training introduced for air–ground liaison. Attacks were to be made on German billets, railways, aerodromes and infantry counter-attacks. The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) contributed 26 squadrons, including the two night-bombing squadrons and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) Handley-Pages from Coudekerque, beginning the night before the attack. After dawn, aerodromes were periodically to be attacked by small formations of low-flying fighters and by day bombers from high-altitude. [30]

German defensive preparations

"Elastic" defence tactics had been rejected by the 4th Army Chief of Staff, Major-General Fritz von Lossberg, who believed that a tactical withdrawal by trench garrisons would disorganise the counter-attacking reserves, leading to the loss of the sector and danger to flanking units. Lossberg ordered the front line of sentry groups (Postengraben) to be held rigidly British attacks would exhaust themselves and then be repulsed by local German reserves or by Eingreif divisions. Lossberg also judged that there was little prospect of British attacks being delayed by their need to move artillery forward and build supply routes. The British had a huge mass of artillery and the infrastructure necessary to supply it with ammunition, much of it built opposite Flandern I in the period between the attack at Messines and 31 July. [31]

German defensive tactics had been costly but succeeded on the front of XIX Corps on 31 July and against II Corps on the Gheluvelt Plateau on 31 July and during August, although the counter-attacks had been stopped in their turn by British artillery fire, when they reached areas where observation and communications between British infantry and artillery had been restored. [16] Ludendorff later wrote that losses in the August battles had been unexpectedly high. [32] The pause in British operations in early September helped to mislead the Germans. General von Kuhl (Chief of Staff, Army Group Crown Prince Rupprecht) doubted that the offensive had ended but by 13 September had changed his mind. Despite urging caution, Kuhl sent two divisions, thirteen heavy batteries and twelve field batteries of artillery, three fighter squadrons and four other air force units from the 4th Army. [33] In the area about to be attacked, the army had six ground-holding divisions backed by three Eingref divisions and 750 guns. [34]


King's Shropshire Light Infantry during WW1

The regiment raised 12 Battalions and was awarded 60 Battle Honours during the course of the First World War.

1st Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Tipperary as part of the 16th Brigade of the 6th Division.
20.08.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at St. Nazaire and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
1914
The actions on the Aisne heights.
1915
The action at Hooge
1916
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval, The Battle of Le Transloy.
1917
The Battle of Hill 70, The Cambrai Operations.
1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bailleul, The First Battle of Kemmel Ridge, The Second Battle of Kemmel Ridge, The Advance in Flanders, The Battle of Epehy, The Battle of the St Quentin Canal, The Battle of Beaurevoir, The Battle of Cambrai 1918, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Bohain, France.

2nd Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Secunderland, India.
13.10.1914 Embarked for England from Bombay arriving at Plymouth and then moved to Winchester to join the 80th Brigade of the 27th Division.
21.12.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
1915
The action of St Eloi, The Second Battle of Ypres.
04.12.1915 Deployed to Salonika and engaged in various actions against the Bulgarian Army including
1916
The capture of Karajakois, The capture of Yenikoi, The battle of Tumbitza Farm.
1917
The capture of Homondos.
1918
The capture of the Roche Noir Salient, The passage of the Vardar river and The pursuit to the Strumica valley.
30.09.1918 Ended the war north of Doiran, Macedonia.

3rd (Reserve) Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Shrewsbury and then moved to Pembroke Dock.
Nov 1914 Moved to Edinburgh and then back to Pembroke Dock.
Dec 1917 Moved to Crosshaven, Queenstown Harbour, Cork.
Early 1918 Moved to Fermoy, County Cork and remained there.

1/4th Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Shrewsbury attached to the Welsh Division and then moved to Cardiff.
04.09.1914 Moved to Sittingbourne, Kent.
29.10.1914 Embarked for India from Southampton as part of the Middlesex Brigade of the Home Counties Division arriving at Bombay.
10.02.1915 Deployed to Singapore at Andaman Isles.
April 1915 Two companies deployed to Hong Kong.
13.04.1917 Concentrated at Singapore.
19.04.1917 Arrived at Colombo, Sri Lanka.
30.05.1917 Deployed to South Africa arriving at Cape Town.
29.06.1917 Embarked for England from Cape Town landing at Plymouth.
27.07.1917 Embarked for France at Southampton landing at Havre.
29.07.1917 Joined the 190th Brigade of the 63rd Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
1917
The Operations on the Ancre, The Second Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Arleux, The Second Battle of Passchendaele, The action of Welsh Ridge, The Cambrai operations.
04.02.1918 Transferred to the 56th Brigade of the 19th Division
1918
The First Battle of Arras, The Battle of Albert, The Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of the Canal du Nord, The Battle of the Cambrai, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre, The passage of the Grand Honelle.
11.11.1918 Ended the war Bry west of Bavai, France.

2/4th Battalion Territorial Force
Oct 1914 Formed at Shrewsbury and then moved to Cardiff.
Nov 1915 Moved to Ramsay, Isle of Man.
26.11.1915 Moved to Bedford and joined the 204th Brigade of the 68th Division.
1916 Moved to Lowestoft & Yarmouth.
1917 Moved to Aldeburgh and then absorbed by the other battalions of the 204th Brigade.

3/4th Battalion Territorial Force
May 1915 Formed at Shrewsbury and stationed at Oswestry & Tenby.
April 1916 Became the 4th (Reserve) Battalion.
1917 Moved to Swansea.
1918 Moved to Pembroke Dock.

5th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Shrewsbury as part of the First New Army (K1) and then moved to Aldershot to join the 42nd Brigade of the 14th Division.
Mar 1915 Moved to Chiddingfold and then back to Aldershot.
20.05.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
1915
The Action of Hooge, part of the first flamethrower attack by the Germans, The Second Attack on Bellewaarde.
1916
The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette.
1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The First Battle of the Scarpe, The Third Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Langemark, The First Battle of Passchendaele, The Second Battle of Passchendaele.
1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of the Avre.
04.02.1918 Disbanded at Jussy and remaining personnel transferred to the 1st 1/4th 6th & 7th Battalions.

6th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed at Shrewsbury as part of the Second New Army (K2) and then moved to Aldershot to join the 60th Brigade of the 20th Division.
April 1915 Moved to Larkhill, Salisbury Plain.
22.07.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
1915
Trench familiarisation and training in Fleurbaix area.
1916
The Battle of Mount Sorrel, The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Guillemont, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval, The Battle of Le Transloy.
1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Langemarck, The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Cambrai Operations.
1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The actions at the Somme crossings, The Battle of Rosieres, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of Valenciennes, The Battle of the Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war N.W. of Maubeuge, France.

7th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed at Shrewsbury as part of the Third New Army (K3) and then moved to Codford, Salisbury Plain to join the 76th Brigade of the 25th Division.
May 1915 Moved to Bournemouth and then Romsey and then Aldershot.
28.09.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and engaged in various actions on the Western Front.
15.10.1915 Transferred to the 76th Brigade of the 3rd Division.
19.10.1915 Transferred to the 8th Brigade of the 3rd Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
1916
The Actions of the Bluff and St Eloi Craters, The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of the Ancre.
1917
The First Battle of the Scarpe, The Second Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Arleux, The Third Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of the Menin Road, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Cambrai 1917.
1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The First Battle of Arras 1918, The Battle of Estaires, The Battle of Hazebrouck, The Battle of Bethune, The Battle of Albert, The Second Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of the Canal du Nord, The Battle of Cambrai 1918, The Battle of the Selle.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Romeries near Solesmes, France.

8th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed at Shrewsbury as part of the Third New Army (K3) and then moved to Seaford to join the 66th Brigade of the 22nd Division and then moved to Eastbourne.
May 1915 Moved to back to Seaford and then Aldershot.
05.09.1915 Mobilised for war and landed in France.
28.10.1915 Embarked for Salonika from Marseilles and engaged in various actions against the Bulgarian army including
1916
The Battle of Horseshoe Hill, The Battle of Machukovo.
1917
The Battles of Doiran.
1918
The Battle of Doiran
30.09.1918 Ended the war near Lake Doiran, Macedonia.

9th (Service) Battalion
Oct 1914 Formed at Pembroke Dock as a service battalion of the Fourth New Army (K4) and joined the104th Brigade of the 35th Division.
10.04.1915 Became 2nd Reserve Battalion at Kinmel and then moved to Prees Heath, Shropshire as part of the 11th Reserve Brigade.
01.09.1916 Became the 48th Training Reserve Battalion.


The Long, Long Trail

The history of 19th (Western) Division

This Division was established by the Western Command in September 1914, as part of the Army Orders authorising Kitchener’s Second New Army, K2. Early days were somewhat chaotic, the new volunteers having very few trained officers and NCOs to command them, no organised billets or equipment. The units of the Division initially concentrated in the Bulford area with the infantry being at Tidworth, Ludgershall and Grately. The battalions moved into billets for the winter, in Andover, Whitchurch, Basingstoke and Weston-super-Mare. In March 1915 all units concentrated near Tidworth..

The Division was inspected by King George V on 23 June 1915. Advanced parties left for France on 11 July and the main body crossed the English Channel 16-21 July. Units initially moved to the point of assembly near St Omer.

The Division served on the Western Front for the remainder of the war, taking part in many of the significant actions:

1915
The Action of Pietre, a supporting/diversionary action during the Battle of Loos

1916
The Battle of Albert* in which the Division captured La Boisselle
The attacks on High Wood*
The Battle of Pozieres Ridge*
The Battle of the Ancre Heights*
The Battle of the Ancre*
The battles marked * are phases of the Battles of the Somme 1916

1917
The Battle of Messines
The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge***
The Battle of Polygon Wood***
The Battle of Broodseinde***
The Battle of Poelcapelle***
First Battle of Passchendaele***
The Second Battle of Passchendaele***
The battles marked *** are phases of the Third Battles of Ypres

1918
The Battle of St Quentin+
The Battle of Bapaume+
The battles marked + are phases of the First Battles of the Somme 1918
The Battle of Messines++
The Battle of Bailleul++
The First Battle of Kemmel Ridge++
The battles marked ++ are phases of the Battles of the Lys 1918
The Battle of the Aisne
The Battle of the Selle^^
The Battle of the Sambre^^ and the passage of the Grand Honelle
The battles marked ^^ are phases of the Final Advance in Picardy

The Division advanced across Marlborough’s old battlefield at Malplaquet on 8 November, after which it was withdrawn into XVII Corps Reserve. When the Armistice came into effect at 11am on 11 November 1918 the units of the Division were in billets near Bavay. By 26 November they had moved west to Naours. Demobilisation began in December 1918 and by 18/19 March 1919 the Division ceased to exist. Final cadres returned to England 21-27 June 1919.

In all the 19th (Western) Division had suffered the loss of 39381 killed, wounded and missing.

The order of battle of the 19th (Western) Division

56th Brigade
7th Bn, the King’s Own disbanded February 1918
7th Bn, the East Lancashire Regiment disbanded February 1918
7th Bn, the South Lancashire Regiment disbanded February 1918
7th Bn, the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment disbanded February 1918
4th Bn, the King’s (Liverpool Regiment) joined 3 December 1915, left 19 December 1915
56th Machine Gun Company joined 14 February 1916, although a provisional Company existed September – December 1915
left to move into 19th MG Battalion 14 February 1918
56th Trench Mortar Battery joined 17 June 1916, broken up 5 February 1918 and reconstructed 6 March 1918
9th Bn, the Cheshire Regiment joined February 1918
1/4th Bn, the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry joined February 1918
8th Bn, the North Staffordshire Regiment joined February 1918
57th Brigade
10th Bn, the Royal Warwickshire Regiment
8th Bn, the Gloucestershire Regiment
10th Bn, the Worcestershire Regiment left as a cadre June 1918
8th Bn, the North Staffordshire Regiment left February 1918
57th Machine Gun Company joined 14 February 1916
left to move into 19th MG Battalion 14 February 1918
57th Trench Mortar Battery joined 15 June 1916
3rd Bn, the Worcestershire Regiment joined June 1918
58th Brigade
9th Bn, the Cheshire Regiment left February 1918
9th Bn, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers
5th Bn, the South Wales Borderers left December 1914
9th Bn, the Welsh Regiment
6th Bn, the Wiltshire Regiment joined December 1914, left as a cadre June 1918
58th Machine Gun Company joined 14 February 1916
left to move into 19th MG Battalion 14 February 1918
58th Trench Mortar Battery joined 15 June 1916
2nd Bn, the Wiltshire Regiment joined May 1918
Divisional Troops
6th Bn, the Wiltshire Regiment left December 1914
5th Bn, the South Wales Borderers joined as provisional Pioneer Bn December 1914, conversion completed February 1915
13th Motor Machine Gun Battery joined 14 July 1915, left 7 March 1916
246th Company, MGC joined 19 July 1917, moved into 19 Mg Bn 14 February 1918
19th Battalion Machine Gun Corps formed 14 February 1918
Divisional Mounted Troops
C Sqn, the Yorkshire Dragoons Yeomanry joined 26 June 1915, left 21 April 1916
19th Divisional Cyclist Company, Army Cyclist Corps formed 19 November 1914, left 21 April 1916
Divisional Artillery
LXXXVI Brigade, RFA left 23 January 1917
LXXXVII Brigade, RFA
LXXXVIII Brigade, RFA
LXXXIX (Howitzer) Brigade, RFA broken up 8-9 September 1916
19th Divisional Ammunition Column RFA
19th Heavy Battery, RGA raised with the Division but moved independently to France on 15 July 1915 and joined XXI Bde RGA
W.19 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery RFA joined may 1916, disbanded 19 February 1918
X.19, Y.19 and Z.19 Medium Mortar Batteries RFA formed by May 1916 on 18 February 1918, Z broken up and batteries reorganised to have 6 x 6-inch weapons each
Royal Engineers
81st Field Company
82nd Field Company
94th Field Company
19th Divisional Signals Company
Royal Army Medical Corps
57th Field Ambulance
58th Field Ambulance
59th Field Ambulance
36th Sanitary Section left 9 July 1917
Other Divisional Troops
19th Divisional Train ASC 154, 155, 156 and 157 Companies
31st Mobile Veterinary Section AVC
220th Divisional Employment Company joined 19 July 1917
19th Divisional Motor Ambulance Workshop absorbed into Divisional Train 6 April 1916

Divisional histories

The Nineteenth Division 1914-1918” by Everard Wyrall

Divisional memorials


Memorial to the 19th (Western) Division at Oosttaverne crossroads on the Messines ridge south of Ypres, scene of the Division’s actions during battles here in 1917 and 1918. A similar memorial stands at La Boisselle on the Somme.

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26th Australian Infantry Battalion

The 26th Battalion was raised at Enoggera, Queensland, in April 1915 from recruits enlisted in Queensland and Tasmania, and formed part of the 7th Brigade. It left Australia in July, and, after training in Egypt, landed at Gallipoli on 12 September. At Gallipoli, the 26th played a purely defensive role and at various times was responsible for the defence of Courtney's and Steele's Posts, and Russell's Top. It withdrew from the peninsula on 12 December.

After another stint in Egypt, the 7th Brigade proceeded to France as part of the 2nd Australian Division in March 1916 In concert with the 28th Battalion, the 26th mounted the first trench raid undertaken by Australian troops on the Western Front on 6 June. The Battalion fought in its first major battle around Pozieres between 28 July and 7 August. After a short spell in Belgium, the 2nd Division came south in October to attack again in the Somme Valley. The 26th Battalion took part in two attacks to the east of Flers, both of which floundered in mud and slush.

In early 1917, the 26th Battalion joined the follow-up of the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line and attacked at Warlencourt (1-2 March) and Lagincourt (26 March). For his valorous actions at Lagincourt, Captain Percy Cherry was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. On 3 May, the Battalion was also involved in the second attempt to breach the Hindenburg Line defences around Bullecourt. Later that year the focus of the AIF's operations switched to Belgium. There, the 26th battalion fought in the battle of Menin Road on 20 September, and participated in the capture of Broodseinde Ridge on 4 October.

Like most AIF battalions, the 26th fought to turn back the German spring offensive in April 1918, and in the lull that followed mounted "peaceful penetration" operations to snatch portions of the German front line. In one such operation in Monument Wood on 14 July the 26th Battalion captured the first German tank to fall into Allied hands - No. 506 "Mephisto". In another, on 17 July, Lieutenant Albert Borrella was awarded the Victoria Cross. Later in the year the 26th participated in the great offensive that began on 8 August, its most notable engagement being an attack east of Mont St Quentin on 2 September. The Battalion's last action of the war was the capture of Lormisset, part of the operation to breach the Beaurevoir Line, on 3 October 1918. The 26th Battalion was disbanded in May 1919.


Wars of the Vendée

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Wars of the Vendée, (1793–96), counterrevolutionary insurrections in the west of France during the French Revolution. The first and most important occurred in 1793 in the area known as the Vendée, which included large sections of the départements of Loire-Inférieure (Loire-Atlantique), Maine-et-Loire, Deux-Sèvres, and the Vendée proper. In this fervently religious and economically backward region, the Revolution of 1789 was received with little enthusiasm and only a few minor disturbances. The first signs of real discontent appeared with the government’s enactment of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy (July 1790) instituting strict controls over the Roman Catholic church.

A general uprising began with the introduction of the conscription acts of February 1793. On March 4 rioting commenced at Cholet, and by the 13th the Vendée was in open revolt. The uprising coincided with rising disaffection in Lyon, Marseille, and Normandy and seriously threatened the Revolution internally at a time when it had just suffered a military defeat at Neerwinden (March 18). The peasant leaders Jacques Cathelineau, Gaston Bourdic, and Jean-Nicolas Stofflet were joined by royalist nobles such as Charles Bonchamps, Marquis de Bonchamps, Maurice Gigost d’Elbée, François-Athanase Charette de La Contrie, and Henri du Vergier, Count de La Rochejaquelein. In May the rebels (about 30,000 strong) took the towns of Thouars, Parthenay, and Fontenay, and their army, which had changed its name from “the Catholic Army” to “the Catholic and Royal Army,” turned north and on June 9 took Saumur.

Crossing the Loire River, the Vendéans marched east, seizing Angers (June 18), but failed to capture the important centre of Nantes. There followed two months of confused fighting. By autumn the government forces had been reinforced and placed under a unified command. On October 17 the main Vendéan army (about 65,000) was heavily defeated at Cholet and fled north across the Loire, leaving only a few thousand men under Charette to continue resistance in the Vendée. The Vendéans then marched north to raise the Cotentin region and occupy a few towns. They later retreated south and, after failing to capture Angers (December 3), turned east but were overtaken and defeated at Le Mans (December 12). Perhaps 15,000 rebels were killed in this bloody battle and in the butchery of prisoners that occurred afterward. Still trying to cross the Loire to reenter the Vendée, the main army was finally crushed at Savenay by the Republican forces (December 23).

General warfare was now at an end, but the severe reprisals taken by the Republican commander General Louis-Marie Turreau de Garambouville provoked further resistance. With the recall of Turreau (May) and the rise to power of the moderate Thermidorian faction in Paris (July), a more conciliatory policy was adopted. In December the government announced an amnesty, and on Feb. 17, 1795, the Convention of La Jaunaye granted the Vendée freedom from conscription, liberty of worship, and some indemnities for losses.

Charette again took up arms during a British-backed landing of exiled French nobles at Quiberon Bay, in Brittany (June 1795). The nobles’ defeat (July) and the capture and execution of Stofflet (February 1796) and of Charette (March) ended the struggle. In July, General Lazare Hoche announced that order had been restored in the west.

Subsequent, though smaller, royalist risings in the Vendée occurred in 1799, in 1815, and, finally, in 1832, in opposition to the constitutional monarchy of Louis-Philippe.


Battle of Menin, 13 September 1793 - History


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The Menin Road

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