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10 Battalion B Company 23 October 1918

Battle of the Selle, 23rd October 1918

B Company, 10th Battalion with 18th Division, XIII Corps

 

B Company, 10th battalion had 8 tanks in action on 23rd October 1918.

 

B Company

2 sections 4 tanks each, split into 4 x 2 tank sub sections.

 

  Section. Captain Bailey

1st and 2nd objectives:

9331, f, 2Lt Powell ,

9326, 2Lt Pulley,

 

3rd, 4th and 5th objectives.

9185, Cpl Ward,

And another tank

 

  Section. Captain Harrison.

1st and 2nd objectives:

9172, 2Lt Sames,

9554, Sgt Bailey,

 

3rd, 4th and 5th objectives.

9848, Sgt Wilson DCM

9120, 2Lt Paul,

 

 

Orders

B Company to assist in the capture of the Red and red dotted lines. i.e. from La Cateau up to Bousies.

Start time 01:20.

 

Capt Bailey’s section

With the 54th Brigade

One half section to assist in capturing the first objective.

9848 and 9120 to proceed in front of the infantry and clear MG nests and bank of Richemenont River. Cross river and deal with Evillers North Farm and Corfdian then proceed to the fourth and fifth objectives.

 

The other half section to attack the second objective.

 

Captain Harrison’s section.

to operate with the 53rd  Brigade. Start point Q6a.2.5.

One half section to assist in capturing the first objective.

9331 – to await 2nd Bedfords on top of ravine North of Richmont Mill and to help infantry along North edge of Nashie  (very unclear)  especially White Spring and Practice Trenches in L13 central. To help infantry onto objective and then support attack on 2nd objective if able.

9326 – to await 11th Royal fusiliers at about 23b.2.6. then go forward with them to the 1st objective. Once this was taken, to pass through the 11th RF and assist the capture of the 2nd objective, paying especial attention to Epinat Farm and orchards north of it. Then rally at White Spring Farm.

These two tanks orders changes a several times. Eventually these two tanks were apparently ordered to lie up in K35d.1.5., assist the infantry in clearing a copse at k30a and then cross the River Richemont near Evillers Wood farm and support the attack on the first objective. 

 

The other half section was to attack the second objective.

9172 and 9554 to proceed towards Jacques Mill and cross river, then follow the river, go to L20 and join in attack on second objective.

 

 

Account of operations

 

Capt Bailey’s section

9331 with 2nd Bedfords. Fired 1000 SAA.

BHS completed by section commander Captain Bailey

The tanks actions are unclear as the OIC does not seem to know where the tank was during the action, due to inaccurate maps and aerial photographs of the wrong area. Some moral assistance was apparently rendered to the infantry and several MG posts were cleared

 

9326 went into action before the first objective and proceeded with the 3rd wave of infantry (Buffs). The tank passed though the 11th RF and silenced enemy Mgs and helped take the 2nd objective.

 

9185 broke down and failed to start possibly due to a broken track at k22a.1.2., thus never reached the starting point

 

Captain Harrison’s section.

One section with 53rd  brigade

 

9172 OIC and 4 men wounded. Fired 53 rounds 6 Pdr, 275 SAA.

Tank left Sp at 01:30 and proceeded along laid down route. On reaching the sunken road in k36d.9.2 the driver was wounded and the engine stopped. The enemy threw 2 bunches of bombs at the stationary tank, the tank was restarted but one track as found to be broken. The tank was abandoned at k36d.9.2.; the OIC and 4 crew were wounded whilst evacuating.

 

9554 Failed to start due to a broken track.

 

9848 Left SP at 01:15 and proceeded along route laid down. At K36b. [unclear] the tank fired on a number of MG posts, it was then received a direct hit on the top, the crew evacuated and were reported missing.

 

9120 broke down and failed to start. 9120’s crew were also gassed, 2 badly.

 

Summary

Total Tanks: 8

Failed to Start: 4

Engaged enemy: 4

Ditched / Broke Down:

Hit and Knocked out: 2

Rallied: 2

 

Rallied doesn’t include the tanks that failed to start.

Total and failed to start include the unidentified tank.

 

Aftermath

9326 and 9331 both in action on the 24th

9185 attempted to get into action on the 24th.

2Lt Sames died on the 24th October (CWG)


Sources

Preliminary Report on Operations of 10th Tank Battalion & 301st American Tank Battalion with the XIII and IX Corps 23rd October 1918 - PRO WO 95 / 103

10th Battalion Battle History Sheets PRO WO 95 / 103

S13 - The Tank Corp (1919) Major Clough Williams Ellis


Selle - 17 to 25 October 1918

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