Published By John Davies
Frenzenberg. 13 Bn Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment). 22 August 1917.
In the days after the Battle of Langemark offensive actions continued to push the front forward and to keep pressure on the enemy. On the 22 August 1917 the 13 bn Royal Scots were in action at Frezenberg. The battalion had moved forward on the 20 August into support trenches at Frezenberg Ridge. From there they moved up to their start position and by 2.45am on 22 August 1917 was all was assembled – B & D Coys in the front line, A & C Coys in support and lined up behind along a tape that had been laid the previous night.
At 4.45am the British barrage began – this would be a creeping barrage, moving forward 100 yards every 5 minutes. The barrage fell about 200 yards in front and the men moved up as close as possible. As the barrage lifted so they moved forward. At first everything went well but progress was slowed due to the rate of the barrage. A few men were seen to fall but because of the noise it was impossible to tell where the fire was coming from.
By about 5.30am reports reached Battalion HQ from the left front (B Coy with A Coy in support) that Vampir Farm had been reached but they had been held up by MG fire from Potsdam Farm and casualties were heavy – many falling victims of sniper fire, enemy aircraft were also active strafing the lines. On the right front, men from D Coy with C in support, were seen advancing towards Potsdam Farm but no other information came back.. It was subsequently discovered that all the officers from D Coy had been killed and the attack had been stopped short.
The situation became confused. Also, with the delay in the advance, the creeping barrage had moved on leaving the troops exposed. By about 8,00am it was clear the attack had stalled. The battalion was well short of its objectives. They were holding a thinly defended line, there was still heavy sniping as well as enemy counter attacks. There were also casualties caused by ‘shorts’ – British artillery shells falling short – and forward posts had to be vacated. The fighting continued through the morning with frequent exchanges of fire. It was impossible to make any more progress. The men dug in and remained where they were until relieved during the night of 23 August and went back to Toronto Camp. Battalion casualties were all ranks 276, KIA, wounded or missing.
References and Sources WAR DIARY 13 Bn Royal Scots.
B&O 1917. Third Ypres. Frenzenberg. 13 Bn Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment). 22 August 1917.