The Battle of the Somme - The 12 Battles of the Somme (1 July - 18 November, 1916) - CWGC

Ginchy

The Battles of the Somme: the Battle of Ginchy, 9 September 1916.

Ginchy village, a mass of shattered masonry and shell-holes by late summer 1916, had been a key objective for 7th Division in the important attack of 3 September. It was not taken and in the days immediately following repeatedly defied British assaults. A further concerted attempt on Ginchy was planned for the afternoon of Saturday 9 September as Troops move up to support the attack at Ginchy on 9 SeptemberFourth Army sought to support French attacks beyond Combles (to the south-east) and secure a stable line of attack for a large scale 'breakthrough' offensive intended for mid-September.

The task of clearing the village was given to the depleted 16th (Irish) Division. Its two attacking brigades (47th and 48th) were supported on the right by 56th Division's operations in Leuze and Bouleaux Woods. Precisely at 4.45pm on 9 September, 48th Brigade rushed towards Ginchy from the south-west but was instantly halted by a ferocious German barrage. Two minutes later, 47th Brigade's attack (from the south) was immediately cut down by close range machine-gun fire. In wet conditions, bad light and the confusion of the assault elements of the 1st Royal Munster Fusiliers veered to the flank and, there confronted by the enemy, resolutely drove the Germans back; pressing on, 48th Brigade troops were through the village by 5.30 pm and gains consolidated. The attack was characterised by dash, turmoil and heavy casualties. During the evening the Germans made several attempts to re-enter the village and fighting continued as 1st Welsh Guards relieved the exhausted 48th  Brigade later that night.

The capture of Ginchy forced the remaining German defenders out from the eastern edge of Delville Wood, but the new British line formed a salient vulnerable to German counter-attacks.

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