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I have expanded this page and included Operation Alberich which already has a page because it seems to me that they go together. I'm not sure that all the narrative is necessary but put it there so that the page is comprehensive. If desirable it can be pruned and material moved to other pages. It could do with a fresh pair of eyes though.Keith-264 (talk) 10:59, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't think that the article makes it sufficiently clear that the line was incomplete when the withdrawal began, with positions not fully dug and concrete not properly set due to the winter.
I can add some detail here
The discussion of the reverse slope is good, but I would add that some of the defenders did not like the layout, as they could only check what the British were up to by sending out patrols to their own wire.
I don't have a source for this
Bean, vol. IV, The AIF in France 1917, p. 267 Hawkeye7 (talk) 19:01, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
The description of British tactics is not right. Rawlinson's Fourth Army pursued the Germans with cavalry alone, allowing them to move at their own pace. Gough's Fifth Army used columns of reinforced brigades, which were capable of minor attacks thereby forcing the Germans to withdraw faster than they intended. (Not "strong patrols" as the article says. Calling them patrols makes the reader think they were platoons, not reinforced brigades.) These were called "advance guards" but were not advanced guards as described in the FSR, because the main body was not "supported by larger forces moving forward more deliberately behind them"; on the contrary, they were out on a limb.
I can alter the terms in the description to make the size of the various units explicit but the sources I have most certainly don't say that British troops went out on a limb, quite the opposite. The Div hists I have concur with the OH on this. I can add something about the Fifth Army needing to be ready for its supporting operations in Arras and the ground being easier to cross than further south. Fourth Army infantry divisions were part of the pursuit as well as cavalry but again this might be terminology - did you have in mind the British units closest to the Germans or all the units which were advancing in front of the main body?
Bean, vol. IV, The AIF in France 1917, pp. 150-154 Hawkeye7 (talk) 19:01, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
They were, however, supported by the medium artillery. Gough considered the fact that medium artillery could displace forward as easily as the field artillery as the outstanding tactical lesson of the campaign.
Do you have a source for this?Keith-264 (talk) 18:43, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for taking so much trouble, there's plenty of room for improvement. Pity about German sources in English though, they are even sparser than usual. Keith-264 (talk) 18:43, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
I've just been looking at Bean but haven't got to those bits yet.Keith-264 (talk) 19:41, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Guards Div hist, p. 206 15 Mar, patrols skirmishing in St Pierre Vaast Wood, 18th, XIV Corps cavalry passed through, 19th advanced guards to advance to vicinity of Nurlu. 8th Div hist, p, 108 18 Mar, advance into southern SPV wood advanced with Wiltshire Yeomanry. Keith-264 (talk) 23:08, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Haig Dispatches p. 73 advanced troops on west bank of the Somme Brie bridge repaired sufficient for infantry, by 19 Mar infantry held line of Somme with infantry outposts and cavalry patrols over the river. Line of cavalry outposts with infantry in support Germaine-Hancourt-Nurlu-Bus. 74 successive lines of resistance... by main bodies of infantry...cavalry and infantry outposts maintained touch and covered consolidation.... cavalry took an active part....Keith-264 (talk) 23:25, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Just found an analysis by II Corps of the advance to the H Line which says the opposite of the Australian OH about the advanced forces being out on a limb, corresponding to the OH criticism that the advance was slow and hesitant ("bewildered and helpless") found in http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/599/ Thomas, A. M. (2010). British 8th Infantry Division on the Western Front, 1914–18. Birmingham UK: Birmingham University. OCLC 690665118. conclusions at Corps level seem a bit parochial.Keith-264 (talk) 19:54, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
I've added this from a magazine article but can't find all the bibliographical details (the magazine has no cover) if anyone can help I'd be grateful,it's Purnell's History of the First World War. Thanks.Keith-264 (talk) 07:04, 13 April 2013 (UTC)