History of the War in South Africa 1899-1902 Part 35

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ORDERS FOR ATTACK ON MAGERSFONTEIN RIDGE.

1. Enemy in occupation of kopjes to N. and N.E. of camp and also high ground between Modder and Riet rivers.

2. It is intention of G.O.C. to hold enemy on north, and to deliver an attack on southern end of Magersfontein ridge (see map). On the afternoon of 10th December the position will be bombarded; it will be a.s.saulted on the 11th. With this end in view three columns will be formed.

[Sidenote: No. 1 Column.]

3. No. 1 Column will a.s.semble on ground N.E. of 9th brigade camp at 3 p.m. on 10th December in following formation:--

9th Lancers.

Mounted Infantry.

G. Battery R.H.A.

Brigade Division R.F.A. and Howitzer Battery.

Highland Brigade (in ma.s.s).

Bearer Company, Highland Brigade.

2nd Yorks.h.i.+re Light Infantry.

Sec. T.B., R.E.

Balloon Sec. R.E.

The C.R.A. will arrange for a portion of the ammunition column to accompany this force.

4. The advance will be directed on the southern end of Magersfontein ridge.

5. At 3 p.m. the R.H.A., cavalry and mounted infantry will advance covering the front from railway to Modder river; the mounted infantry forming escort to R.H.A. After the reconnaissance the cavalry will withdraw to the right flank of Highland brigade and protect that flank, leaving a party to watch the left of artillery.

6. At 3.10 p.m. the remainder of the column will advance on the southern end of Magersfontein ridge, keeping well under shelter of Outpost ridge (concealed from view of enemy) in following order:

Advance Guard--half-battalion; followed at 2.30 p.m. by half-battalion, R.F.A., remainder of force (except 2nd Yorks.h.i.+re L.I.) in the order of parade.

7. The R.F.A. will, when within range, open fire on the ridge, applying to G.O.C. Highland brigade for an escort.

8. The remainder of column will form up concealed to right rear of artillery in action.

9. The 2nd Yorks.h.i.+re L.I. will proceed from place of a.s.sembly along the northern bank of Modder river (under guidance of Rimington's Guides) to Bridle Drift[199] four miles up river, where they will entrench themselves against attack from all sides--especially from north-east to south.--Entrenching tools to be carried. Signal communication to be established (if possible) with Highland brigade, and with Modder River camp.

[Footnote 199: This was another name for Voetpads Drift; the latter name is used on map No. 13.]

10. The Sec. T.B., R.E., will lay a field cable from 9th brigade camp to Highland brigade as they proceed.

11. G.O.C. will receive reports at head of main body of Highland brigade.

12. Half rations for 11th December will be carried in haversacks; and half forage for animals on them. These rations and forage not to be consumed before 11th.

13. One blanket per man will be carried (rolled by dismounted troops).

Great coats will not be taken, but will be stored in tents or brigade stores, under charge of details left behind.

14. Tents will not be struck.

15. All horses will be watered immediately before starting.

[Sidenote: No. 2 Column.]

16. On the 10th December No. 2 Column, under the command of Major-General Pole-Carew, C.B., composed of 1 battalion, 9th brigade, Naval brigade (with 4.7-in. gun), and Rimington's Guides, will a.s.semble at such hour and place as may be fixed by him, so that the column will be in position at 4 p.m. to co-operate with No. 1 Column, making a diversion against Magersfontein ridge (along the railway).

This force will remain in position on the night of 10th, and will recommence the bombardment on the morning of 11th; but the fire is _on no account to be directed on the southern end of the ridge which the infantry will be a.s.saulting_.

[Sidenote: No. 3 Column.]

17. No. 3 Column, under command of Major-General Sir H. Colvile, K.C.M.G., C.B., composed as under, will a.s.semble on the same ground as No. 1 Column at such hour as the commander will direct, so as to enable the column to reach 500 yards to the left rear of the R.F.A.

brigade division position (of No. 1 Column) by 3 a.m. on the 11th December, where the commander will report to an officer of the Divisional Headquarter Staff sent to meet the column. A Staff Officer of No. 3 Column will accompany No. 1 Column to ascertain the position of artillery brigade division.

The orders regarding great coats, blankets, and tents (paragraphs 13 and 14) for No. 1 Column will apply to No. 3 Column.

No. 3 Column will consist of 12th Lancers, No. 7 Field Company R.E., Guards' brigade, Bearer Company Guards' brigade, Field Hospitals Guards' and Highland brigades and divisional troops, ammunition column.

[Sidenote: Supply column.]

18. The Supply Column (with five days' rations), escorted by half Gordon Highlanders, will a.s.semble at the place of a.s.sembly of Nos. 1 and 3 Columns at 4 a.m. on the 11th December, and will follow the route taken by No. 1 Column for two miles, and await orders.

[Sidenote: General.]

19. The Divisional Signalling Officer will arrange for signalling communication being kept up between Nos. 1 and 2 Columns on the 10th December.

20. Outposts protecting Modder River camp will be taken over by 9th Brigade at 8 a.m. on 10th December.

21. No light is to be lit or smoking allowed from 7 p.m. on 10th to 4 a.m. on 11th.

22. During the absence of the Lieut.-General Commanding, the command at Modder River will, after departure of No. 3 Column, devolve on Major-General Pole-Carew, C.B., details of Nos. 1 and 3 Columns being attached to 9th brigade.

23. Arrangements will be made by G.O.C. Cavalry brigade for the care of all horses belonging to Nos. 1 and 3 Columns left at Modder River.

Horses and men of Divisional Headquarter Staff left behind will be attached to 9th brigade.

24. If any of these orders are not understood, a Staff Officer should attend at Divisional Headquarters.

By Order, C. W. DOUGLAS, Col., C.S.O.

Modder River, 10th December, 1899.

CHAPTER XX.

THE BATTLE OF MAGERSFONSTEIN.[200]

[Footnote 200: See maps Nos. 13, 13(a), 13(b) and free hand sketch.]

History of the War in South Africa 1899-1902 Part 35

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History of the War in South Africa 1899-1902 Part 35 summary

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