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The inauspicious beginnings of the 18 October attack were described with grim and brutal reality by the official historian: "In almost every brigade, forming-up positions had been taped out in front and careful compass bearings taken of the direction of the advance. When the moment of the assault arrived the British front positions and the approaches thereto were a maze of water-logged shell-holes and flooded trenches.

As the troops struggled forward through the darkness (the moon being obscured by heavy rain clouds) officers and men stumbled and fell in the slippery ooze; rifles and Lewis guns became clogged with it so that bomb and bayonet were soon the only weapons." 'Military Operations. France and Belgium, 1916 (Vol II), Captain Wilfrid Miles, 1938 (p.444).

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