In the weeks following the German's detonating their mine at the Bluff, the 2nd Battalion had been removed from the front line there and sent to another area in the Ypres Salient.
In the four weeks that they were away from the area, the inevitable happened. The Germans mounted a well-orchestrated attack on the 14th February, which won for them, the Bluff and it's system of tunnels and trenches. Crucially, it also allowed them to see miles behind the British lines from their newly won high ground. Within hours of the defeat, an attack was planned capture the Bluff back; an attack that 2nd Suffolk would be part of.
Unlike the battles of the previous months, this attack was very carefully planned. Behind the lines in those precious weeks, the attacking troops practiced, practiced and practiced again, so that every detail of the terrain, every emplacement of the enemy lines, were known to them. Small scale "sand trap" models were used to illustrate the enemy positions, nothing was left to chance. Importantly too, for the forthcoming attack, a new invention of war arrived for general issue; the steel helmet.
The troops attacking the Bluff were to be the first British troops to be issued with this new form of protective headgear. Patented in 1915 by its inventor, John Leopold Brodie, it has been trialled the previous year under the designation of "Brodie's Steel Helmet, War Office Pattern" and although it was commented that head wounds increased when wearing it, the amount of serious head wounds dramatically decreased.
By March 1915, the first supplies were ready to be issued. Painted 'lawnmower green' the men took to covering them in mud to dull down their shiny surface, and soon hessian covers were being worn to break up their distinctive outline. It was this helmet in a modified and refined form, that would remain with the Regiment until 1946.
On the evening of 1st March 1916, the 2nd Battalion moved into position, ready to assault the Bluff at first light the following day. 'A' Company went into the line to the north of the earthwork, 'B,' 'C' and 'D,' went to the south.
It was a matter of pride, having denied the position to them once, and having seen it lost in their absence, the Battalion were determined to succeed and win it back.
Welcome to our online 'blog' charting the history of the many Battalions of the Suffolk Regiment and the part they played in the Great War.
Starting back in March 2014, we have recorded the events of 100 years ago on the centenary of their happening.
Keep checking back to see how the Great War is progressing for the men of the Suffolk Regiment.