The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War - Day by Day
10th March 1915On this day:
- The Battle of Neuve Chapelle The Battle of Neuve Chapelle began on the 10th of March 1915, a British offensive in the Artois region of France and broke through at Neuve-Chapelle, but the British were unable to exploit the advantage. More troops had arrived from Britain and relieved some French troops in Flanders and enabled a continuous British line to be formed from Langemarck to Givenchy. The battle was intended to cause a rupture in the German lines, which would then be exploited with a rush to the Aubers Ridge and possibly Lille, the railway terminus from the east and south-east which was used by the Germans.
The attack was carried out by IV Corps under Lieutenant General Sir Henry Rawlinson. The First Army’s line rans through the water logged meadows of the Lys valley, dominated to the east by the 40 foot high Aubers Ridge, which offered drier ground and observation over the flat plains in all directions. The village of Neuve Chapelle, had been captured by the Germans in October 1914 and lay in a salient about 2,000 yards across, within sight of the strategic town of Lille.
The plan top secret plan was to capture Neuve Chapelle in two days, launching with a ‘hurricane’ bombardment of only 35 minutes duration, using 66 heavy guns. Artillery timetables are issued, giving each battery its exact targets for each stage of the action, a most important innovation. Gun platforms are devised to give stability in the soft muddy ground. The new innovation of Aerial photographs are used to create a map showing the network of German trenches. Each of the two corps involved receives 1,500 copies of this map.
Haig insisted that every man must know exactly what his duty is. Officers familiarize themselves with the ground over which they will attack and the assaulting infantry are rehearsed in their tasks. To exploit a success, five divisions of cavalry are brought up behind the offensive front. Forming up trenches are dug along with dummy trenches for deception, advanced ammunition and supply dumps are established, the roads are improved ready for battle traffic and a light railway laid down.
At 7.30am The British bombardment opened, with three hundred forty-two guns firing on the German trenches, directed in part by eighty-five reconnaissance aircraft. More shells are fired in this short opening barrage than in the entire South African War.
At 08:05 the British and Indian divisions attacked along an 8,300 yard front. After three hours of hand to hand fighting, Neuve Chapelle is captured and four lines of German trenches over run. However, in the northern sector, a 400 yard length of German front line was not bombarded, as the guns allocated to this sector did not reach the front in time to take part in the attack. The three waves of men who advanced across No-Man’s Land faced intact German wire defences and most became casualties.
The battle would continue for three days, costing 7000 British and 4200 Indian lives. German losses are estimated to have been around 12,000.
- 1/6th West Yorks leave Strenshall 6th Battalion West Yorks left York for Gainsborough in March 1915.
- 10th March 1915 Billets and Equipment
- Poplar and Stepney Rifles proceed to France 17th (Poplar and Stepney Rifles) Battalion, The London Regiment proceeded to France on the 10th of March 1915, landing at le Havre. The 5th London Brigade was ordered to Cassel, and the remainder of the Division concentrated near Bethune and were joined by 5th London Brigade near the end of the month.
- 10th March 1915 9th Lancers in Billets
- U-Boat Index - WW1 SM U-12
Type U 9
Shipyard Kaiserliche Werft, Danzig (Werk 7)
Ordered 15 Jul 1908
Launched 6 May 1910
Commissioned 13 Aug 1911.
1 Aug 1914 - 9 Feb 1915 Walter Forstmann
10 Feb 1915 - 10 Mar 1915 Hans Kratzsch
Career 4 patrols
start date unknown - 10 Mar 1915 I Flotilla
1 Aug 1914 - 10 Mar 1915 II Flotilla
Successes 1 ship sunk with a total of 1,005 tons.
1 warship sunk with a total of 810 tons.
- 11 Nov 1914 U 12 Walter Forstmann Niger (hms) 810 British
- 9 Mar 1915 U 12 Hans Kratzsch Aberdon 1,005 British
Fate 10 Mar 1915 - Rammed and shelled by destroyer off Fife Ness then scuttled. 20 dead and 10 survivors.
The wreck of U 12 was found by a local dive team lead by Martin Sinclair and Jim MacLeod based upon research by Kevni Heath in January 2008. The wreck is some 18 miles from where U 12 was previously listed as being sunk.
On 11 November, 1914 the gunboat HMS Niger was sunk near the Deal Light Vessel by U 12 while operating from the harbour of Zeebrugge. This was the first U-boat victim of German operations originating from a Belgian port.
There was another U 12 in World War Two.
That boat was launched from its shipyard on 11 Sep 1935 and commissioned into the Kriegsmarine on 30 Sep 1935.
- More preparations for Houplines 'C' Bearer subdivision held in readiness for duty.
- 1st Bn Herts moved to St Preol Battalion moved to St Preol in support on Canal Bank and in the evening returned to billets at Bethune.
- 2/6th Suffolks in Brighton 2/6th Suffolks moved from Brighton to Southwold in Suffolk in March 1915. At Southwold it carried out general company training, musketry and entrenching skills, as they were tasked for coastal defence. They appeared to have spent a lot of time digging trenches! In April 1915, the Battalion was warned that it was to move to Norfolk for coastal defence operations, especially as Zeppelins were often attacking and bombing the East Coast. In the meantime they carried on with entrenching and coastal defence exercises.
- Further moves E Battery 3rd Brigade RHA
with 5th Cavalry Brigade at Pont du Hem.
Started at 1100 and moved to Pont du Hem - 2 miles south of Estaires in close support of 1st Army which took Neuve Chapelle. Into billets and bivouacs near there at 1900
- 10th March 1915 Improving defences
- 10th March 1915 Day 1 - Battle of Neuve Chapelle
- 10th Mar 1915 7th Mountain Battery RGA in Action
- 2nd Middlesex in action At Neuve Chapelle on the 10th March 1915, D company 15 Platoon 2nd Middlesex, under the command of Sergeant Edward George Ryde was the first over the top. It was the only platoon commanded by a sergeant.
- 1st KRRC on the Attack 1st Battalion, Kings Royal Rifle Corps are involved in failed assault by the Brigade on German trenches near Givency-lés-la-Bassée after artillery bombardment. "..if gallantry and determination could have commanded success it would have been theirs.." Casualties suffered were: NCOs and other ranks Missing believed killed (119); Killed (32); Wounded (94). In addition Captain E.P. Shakerley (killed); Captain C.A. Grazebrook (wounded and missing); 2nd Lieutenant F.P. Crawhall (believed killed); 2nd Lieutenant H. Else (wounded); Lieutenant P.J. Bevan (believed killed); 2nd Lieutenant A.R. Heron (believed killed); 2nd Lieutenant R. Fellowes (believed killed); 2nd Lieutenant K. Ward (wounded and missing. Subsequently unofficially reported prisoner of war)
- 10th Mar 1915 King George Inspects the Army
- 10th Mar 1915 4th Camerons in Action
- 10th Mar 1915 Platoon Training
- 10th Mar 1915 13th Londons in Action
- 10th Mar 1915 3rd Londons in Action
- 10th Mar 1915 At the Ready
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