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The original Fourth Army plan was for its southernmost Corps, XIII Corps, to attack with two divisions the line Longueval to Bazentin-le-Grand. The attacking force was to form up under the cover of darkness in No Man's Land (nearly 1,200 yards wide) and move up to within 500 yards of the German line. The adjoining XV Corps (on the left of XIII Corps) was to attack with two divisions against Bazentin-le-Grand Wood to Bazentin-le-Petit village and cemetery from a line along the northern edge of Mametz Wood.

There was an obvious need for great secrecy in the moving of large forces in the dark to the correct 'jumping off' positions. The success of the deployment reflected great credit on the men, many of whom were 'New Army' Kitchener volunteers.

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