19 Feb 2008

From the other side of the hill: Mœuvres

An event almost identical with Jünger's took place the same day and in trenches in the same field as Jünger's bombing attack the 1st December 1917, at Mœuvres, and is described in a manner as Jünger's could have been described.

Quotation from the Special Order of the Day (17th December 1917) by the 2nd British Division:
"In the Moeuvres Sector on Nov 30th 1917, when the enemy had penetrated some distance into our position and the situation was extremely critical, Capt. McReady-Diarmid at once led his company forward through a very heavy barrage. He immediately engaged the enemy with such success that he drove them back at least 600 yards, causing many casualties and capturing 27 prisoners. The following day [i.e. the day of Jünger's attack] the enemy again attacked and drove back another company which had lost all its officers [Jünger's attack?]. Capt. McReady-Diarmid at once called for volunteers and attacked. He drove the enemy back again for 300 yards, himself killing 60 of the enemy. Throughout this attack, Capt. McReady-Diarmid led the way himself, and it was absolutely and entirely due to his marvelous throwing that the ground was regained. His absolute disregard for danger, his cheerfulness and coolness at a most trying time inspired all who saw him. There is no doubt that this initiative and leadership saved an extremely dangerous situation and no praise or reward can be too great for his behaviour. This most excellent officer was eventually killed by a bomb, when the enemy had been driven back to the place where they had started."
Notice that orders of the day were not facts but military information issued for propaganda purposes. However, Captain Allastair McReady-Diarmid was rewarded with a posthumous Victoria Cross for his actions during this battle. His body was never found.

See Graham Adams, “The Curious Story of Captain Allastair McReady-Diarmid VC”, Stand To! The Journal of the Western Front Association, No. 75, January 2006, pp. 34–3

A destroyed Mk IV tank at Cambrai, 1917. NAM 1985-08-28