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By late August 1916 the village itself had been obliterated by artillery bombardments, as testified by aerial reconnaissance photographs, which revealed an incomprehensible mass of inter-connected shell craters.

The artillery support for the 3 September attack evidenced a greater expertise on the part of the British gunners who employed not only 'ruses' to deceive the defenders (e.g. 'Chinese attacks' - a systematic intensification of the barrage to suggest an imminent attack) but much greater precision in directed fire, exemplified by the creeping barrage for the 5th Division which fell only 25 yards in front of the advancing troops.

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