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The Canadian "Emma Gees"
A History of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps
by
Lt.-Col. C.S. Grafton

Transcribed by Dwight G. Mercer

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had to throw a defensive flank to the south, 3,500 yards of which were occupied by the 27th Battalion and 1,500 yards by the 29th Battalion. Guemappe was captured by 4 p.m. and Wancourt Tower and the top of Heininel Ridge by 4.40 p.m. of a long day of heavy fighting, and a big factor in the doubtful last stages proved to be an extemporary barrage laid down by the 2nd Canadian Divisional Artillery (Brig.-Gen. H. A. Panet). During the night the brigade captured Egret trench, securing a good jumping off trench in which 500 dead Germans were found next day. The brigade had given a fine example of a new-found versatility in attack that was to mark the Canadian Corps in many days of hard fighting to come when it turned directly south in a complete change of direction to sweep up Wancourt Ridge. It was at this juncture that a gap occurred in divisional boundaries and the Canadian Independent Force (Brutinel), operating along the Arras-Cambria road, filled until the situation was adjusted.

The 4th C.I.B. was through the first German line half an hour after zero and rushed Chapel Hill, a machine gun strong point. The brigade's casualties were light and they went on fighting into the night, getting a footing on Heininel Heights, from where the crossing of the Cojuel River could be commanded.

Batteries of No. 3 Company, 2nd Battalion, C.M.G.C., saw plenty of close-up action. "J" Battery went forward with the 21st Battalion and saw no action until reaching Nova Scotia trench and then six guns took on a duel with numbers of enemy machine guns which were soon silenced.

"M" Battery found at daybreak that they had pushed beyond their objective and withdrew to better positions in rear of Minorca trench. The battery had escaped casualties even though the positions came under heavy shell fire all afternoon. "K" Battery encountered heavy machine gun fire from the left about 2,000 yards from the start and did not get forward until two tanks waddled up and put these guns out of action, killing the crews. During the afternoon the battery fired behind Guemappe while the 18th Battalion was attacking the village.

"L" Battery followed the 18th Battalion and came into action at Nova Scotia trench, where Lieut. Bell on the right of the battalion front rushed an enemy machine gun and killed the crew. He had been severely wounded before this but insisted on carrying on and later in the day was killed. In all 40 prisoners were captured here by "L" Battery crews and bombers. The battery employed direct overhead fire with good effect. Later on the battery was to replenish its ammunition supply from tanks that had been knocked out. At Gordon Avenue the battery guns were finally mounted. Besides Lieut. Bell ...

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Transcript Copyright © 2003 Dwight G. Mercer - Badge Images Copyright © 2003 Ray Adams
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