Tanks with the 184th Brigade, 22nd August 1917
The Tanks at 3rd Ypres. 22nd August 1917
18 Company, F Battalion, with 184th Brigade, 61st Division, XIX Corps, 5th Army
18 Company had 8 fighting tanks in action on 22nd August 1917. (W23):
9 Section. Capt Richardson
F41, 2329, m, “Fray Bentos”, 2Lt G Hill,
F42, 2721, “Faun”, 2Lt RW Peters,.
F43, 2722, “Fritz Phlattner”, 2Lt SC Harding,
F45, 2330, m, “Fiducia”, 2Lt H Pearson,
F46, 2770, “Fay”, 2Lt GH Brooks,
F47, 2746, “Foam”, 2Lt F Harris,
F48, 2736, “Fiara”, 2Lt GW Phillips
F49, 2701, “Fairy”, 2Lt EP Ireland,
Note: Each tank I the company carried one spare man who was to act as a runner, this worked very well
3rd Brigade’s war diary states Wireless tanks were not used as they broke down prior to the action. F Battalion may have bee trying to utilise tank 581 which was previously used as a signal tank on 31st July.
9 Section – 1st wave – Green line, 10 Section 2nd wave, in support.
All Start: c18c.2.3.
1st Route: F42 with F46 in support to proceed along route: Pond farm, Hinder Cott, Schuler Gallery, Schular Farm.
2nd Route: F45 with F47 in support to proceed along route: Gravenstavel Raod to Schuler Gallery.
3rd Route: F43 with F48 in support to proceed along route: Dugoyts at 13b.2.7.; 13d.1.6.; Kansas House – Cross Cottages – to 13b 4.6
4th Route: F41 with F49 in support to proceed along route: Somme, Gallipoloi Martha House to 14c.4.9
Account of Operations
9 Section. Capt Richardson
F41, 2329, m, Fray Bentos, 2Lt G Hill, Engaged Mg in Somme Farm, then Gallipoli. Became ditched 7.20 am, D14c.3.8. Remained ditched in no mans land and under fire until abandoned on the night of the 24th,remained in action for 68 hours. 26 Aug – Handed over to No. 2 Field coy for salvage
Note: A comprehensive first hand account of this tanks lone 68 hour batlle can be read in Pages 81 to 113 of “The Boiler Plate War”, John Foley (1965) (S30)
F42, 2721, f, Faun, 2Lt RW Peters, Tank suffered a Direct Hit, right hand turret at start point. Advanced 200 yds under heavy fire and becameditched at 4am, at C18d.0.8. Spree Farm. OIC and all crew wounded. Unditched and brought back on night of 23rd.
F43, 2722, f, Fritz Phlattner, 2Lt SC Harding, Followed F41, engaged enemy Somme Farm. Ditched before 6:56 am, 28D13d.5.49, 30 yds W. of Kansas Cross. To left of “Fray Bentos”. Crew attacked with infantry. Officer KIA and all OR wounded. 26 Aug – Handed over to No. 2 Field coy for salvage
F45, 2330, m, Fiducia, 2Lt H Pearson. Ditched Schular Galleries, near Gallipoli Farm, engaged enemy with 6 pdrs. F49 attempted to assist unditching but failed. OIC and four crewmen wounded. 26 Aug – Handed over to No. 2 Field coy for salvage. 2 Nov – At D13c78 to Reigersburg Ramp (?)
F46, 2770, , Fay, 2Lt GH Brooks, Crossed British front line and overtook infantry, Engaged enemy in shell holes, Infantry failed to advance returned to locate infantry and became ditched. Abandoned at 28D13c, behind German lines following counterattack. Officer and two crewmen wounded. One crewmen KIA. 26 Aug – Handed over to No. 2 Field coy for salvage
F47, 2746, m, Foam, 2Lt F Harris, Two direct Hits, abandoned Spree Farm. Officer and five crewmen wounded. 26 Aug – Handed over to No. 2 Field coy for salvage. Not recovered. Photographed derelict later in War. (X11.p97)
F48, 2736, , Fiara, 2Lt GW Phillips then 2LT HA Aldridge, Direct hit prior to start but engine OK. Crossed start line, ditched in British front line, returned. Fresh crew put aboard with 2Lt H.A. Aldridge, attacked enemy MGs in shell holes near Pond Farm thus allowing infantry to advance. Returned and Rallied at Oosthoek Wood.
F49, 2701, , Fairy, 2Lt EP Ireland, Engaged enemy MGs Somme farm . Attempted to unditch F45 at Gallipoli. Ditched and Direct hit at Spree farm whilst returning. Tank started sinking, water over floorboards when tank abandoned. Officer and two crewmen wounded. 26 Aug – Handed over to No. 2 Field coy for salvage. 29 Sept – From C24a97 Sheet 28NE to Reigersburg Chateau
Pink = War diary of 2 Tank field Salvage Coy (W32).
Yellow = F Battalion War Diary, transcription form Bovington Tank Museum (W3).
Black = 3rd brigade War Diary (W23)
Light Blue – Jean-Luc Gibot and Phillippe Gorczynski (1999) Following the Tanks, Cambrai (S37).
Orange = Authors comments
Note: F / 6th Battalion War Diary, transcription form Bovington Tank Museum (W3), contains a detailed account of this action.