The Ypres Salient - CWGC

'The new plan laid special emphasis on the need for heavy and medium artillery both to smash the concrete shelters A 15-inch howitzer, one of many such which pounded the enemy's reeserve area and demolished concrete fortificationsand machine-gun nests during the preparatory bombardment and to engage in effective counter-battery work before and during the assault.’ ('Military Operations. France and Belgium, 1917' (Volume II), compiled by Brigadier-General Sir James E Edmonds, London, HMSO, 1948, p.238).

1,295 (575 heavy and medium and 720 field guns and howitzers) were allocated to Plumer for the battle – more than double the number ‘to the same frontage’ as for the Battle of Pilckem Ridge. Ammunition requirements for the seven days bombardment prior to assault (and first day’s attack) were estimated at three-and-a-half million rounds. ‘Taking into account that the distance to the objective was shorter by half, the allotment would give a density of shells on this important sector of the German position nearly four times as great as on 31 July.’ (Ibid, p.239).


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