Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (The 2/4th Battalion)

Research and Resources around the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry during WWI

Forewarned, the German Spring Offensive, 21st March 1918

From G. K. Rose, The Story of the 2/4th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry

“During the night of March 20 a raid on the Battalion’s right was carried out near Cepy Farm by the 182nd Brigade. It was successful. German prisoners from three divisions corroborated our suspicion that the great enemy offensive was about to be launched. From headquarters to headquarters throbbed the order to man battle stations.”

The Fifth Army in March, 1918
By W. Shaw Sparrow

“Next evening, at ten o’clock, after our guns had poured in a great many shells, two companies of Warwickshire troops — Shakespeare for ever! — raided the German trenches beyond Fayet, partly to get a few prisoners, and partly to learn how much the foe’s ordinary line troops had been reinforced. Fifteen Germans were captured, and three German regiments, nine battalions, were found on a span of front formerly held by one regiment, or three battalions. More valuable still was the news that in five or six hours Ludendorfi’ would open his attack. This warning was made known at once to all Headquarters, British and French.”

The Story of the 2/5th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, 1914-1918
By A. F. Barnes, M.C.

“Speculation had for a long time been rife as to the contemplated German attack. As usual, the incurable optimists said that it would never materialise, but in a raid made by the Royal Warwickshires, prisoners had been captured who stated positively that the barrage would open at 5 a.m. on March 21st and that the attack would be launched at 10.00 a.m. on that day. Even then it was thought that this news might be a piece of false information passed on for the purpose of misleading the Allies. However on the evening of the 20th, a message from Brigade to the effect that a captured German airman had stated that the attack was to commence at dawn was sent out to the companies with instructions to be prepared to move to battle stations immediately on receipt of orders to that effect.”

I also need to check out:
History of the 2/6th Bn The Royal Warwickshire Regt 1914-1919
Cornish brothers, 1929

War Diary: 2nd Wiltshire, Tuesday 19th March 1918, France, Trenches

“Quiet day. Information was received from prisoners captured that the enemy was expected to attack on the night 20/21st inst, and preparations were made accordingly. At 10pm gas was emitted from our front line. No enemy retaliation was forthcoming.”


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