The darkness, heavy smoke and thick fog over the battlefield both helped and hindered the attackers. It prevented them from clearly identifying their objectives - accurate compass bearings were essential for precise navigation - and slowed their forward progress over difficult ground; advancing infantry often blundered into uncleared wire and water filled shell holes. Bad visibility also prevented assistance from the air, hampered ground observers and made artillery support difficult. At the same time the half-light of early dawn, mixed with fog and smoke, in some instances shrouded the attackers' movements from the enemy, thereby assisting progress close to the German lines.
< Return the Ancre page