Notes on Communications - 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade - Attack on ARLEUX - 28 April 1917

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The following is the text of an original report.[1]


2nd Cdn. Infantry Brigade.

During attack on ARLEUX 28-4-17

The 2nd Canadian Inf. Brigade relieved the 1st Canadian Inf. Brigade in the line on the night of 26/27th April 1917, with Bde H.Q. at POSEN HAUS and Report Centre at BOIS CARRE.

On the 27th April owing to continual heaving shelling, I moved the R.C to FARBUS WOOD.

Owing to the fact that up till noon 27-4-1917 it was not decided where the Brigade or Battn Battle H.Q. would be located, no definite plan could be prepared for communication.

When the position of the various H.Q. was definitely known, only 18 hours remained before ZERO to prepared the system of communication.

The attack was delivered with 5 Bns in the front line and 2 in close support.

3 LADDER lines were laid, one to each of the assaulting Bns, with the support Bns. teed on, the left support Bn. to the left front Bn, and the right support Bn to the centre Bn.

By utilising German buried cable, a common metallic circuit was laid to all Battns. with the exception of the left support, who moved their H.Q. at the last minute.

The metallic circuit was used whenever it was working, and then Battns changed to the ladder system.

Besides this, the front Bns. had latteral earth circuits, which provided very useful.

Considering that nothing existed 16 hours prior to the attach, the work of the linemen deserves attention. They laid 11½ miles of wire during this period, and under very severe shell fire.

By summing up, before the attack each front line Bn. had, :- (1) metallic pair to Bde H.Q. (FARBUS WOOD) (11) ladder line to Bde H.Q. (111) earth latteral line.

During the attack the lines were continually cut and several times it became necessary for the Bns. to put on all three lines.

It may be noted that the ladder line to the left front Bn. was broken 37 times before communication was lost. This ladder line consisted of D2 Cable. Two main legs running from 30X to 60X apart and laddered every 20X to 50X according to the nature of the ground. The total length of the line would be roughly 2 miles. The Signals on this line were clear at all times, the ground, of course, was quite dry.


A Visual signalling Receiving station was located near the H.Q. Owing to the smoke of the barrage and the ground mist, no satisfactory results were obtained.


Each attacking Bn. had a High Power Buzzer, and "IT" Sets were established at Bde H.C. and at WILLERVAL. Owing to the great number of earth circuits in use, these sets were practically useless.

During the attack, communication was very successful. The longest period the Bde H.Q. was dis. with any Bn. was 23 minutes.

(Signed) E. WEEKES Lt.


  1. Library and Archives Canada, RG 9, III, C.5., Volume 4438.