The morning of the 24th was misty and visibility was poor, but the large number of low-flying Allied aircraft did much to inspire confidence in the men. At 6.30 am the tanks advanced disappearing off into the haze and mist.
The advance was however slow, and though the mist hid their lumbering progress, the tanks were averaging less than 50 yards a minute. The infantry kept up close behind them, but gradually one by one, the tanks broke down or got stuck in the sunken lanes.
The infantry was becoming mixed up. Heavy fire came from ‘Bleak House’ and beyond it at ‘Pam Pam Farm’ To add to this fire, the enemy around Le Quennet Farm to the north, started to fire across the Division’s line of advance.
As the Battalion advanced, it encompassed a Company of Norfolks who had floundered on the right flank and together, the attack continued through the R. Berks positions.
Within minutes, they were at the Hindenburg Line and were pushing through the gaps made by the available tanks. Onwards they pushed to the Hindenburg Support line, which was taken with almost complete effect. The Battalion pressed onwards along the high ground to the north of ‘Pam Pam Farm’. The farm itself, was still in enemy hands and several machine guns were very active in its ruins. A pair of tanks were slowly brought up and the farm fell shortly afterwards. Now the only opposition lay from Lateau Wood itself, about 150 yards onwards from ‘Pam Pam Farm’. The 6th Royal West Kent’s attacking from the north were held up by fire at La Quennet farm and their Battalion Commander had been killed and their Adjutant wounded and taken prisoner with a great number of men. Their support was essential to the taking of the wood in a pincer movement.
However, with the assistance of 6th Queens, the Battalion with the CO leading the way, pushed on and took the wood. The enemy had several heavy artillery pieces on its eastern edge and had no time to move them. They and their crews were taken in the final rush.
The advance was one of speed combined with new, if slightly inefficient technology. The Battalion, much changed since Loos, had been scythed on the Somme, but now made great advances in the final breakthrough of 1917.
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.