16th May 1918: 6th Bgde receives orders for Ville-sur-Ancre attack

Orders came down to Brig-Gen. Paton to prepare for an attack at Ville-sur-Ancre by his 6th Brigade, an event that he himself been preparing since the 10th May. His proposal was for a night attack between moonset and dawn in the small hours, pushing past both sides of the village. On the previous nights the 24th and 22nd Battalions had by ‘peaceful penetration’ been pushing forward gradually, stealing new bits of land on either side of the river. The chief burden of the attack would fall upon the brigade’s right battalion, the 22nd Battalion who would have to capture in succession the two sunken roads known as the Little and Big Caterpillars which served the Germans Ville-sur-Ancre - E02481for their front and main line defences. To their right and higher up the spur was the 18th Battalion of the 5th Brigade and advancing and protecting the left flank of the attack was the 21st Battalion. The goal would be that by 4.45am the village of Ville would be enclosed on three sides. It was believed that the village was strongly garrisoned and there was no intention of fighting in it. To assist the 24th Battalion in the attack, ready-prepared footbridges were made by the 6th Field Company for the crossing of the river (photograph right).

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