6th Battalion, Royal Berks
1st July 1916
 
 

Major General Sir Ivor Maxse
Commander, 18th Division

Maxse's faith in the ability and not merely enthusiasm of the New Army recruits was in direct contradiction to the attitude of most commanders on the Somme. This lead in great part to the successes of the 18th throughout the offensive...

"The system in the Division is to tell subordinates as much as possible of impending operations long before they occur...It is better to risk information leaking out through captured prisoners than to run the greater risk of ordering infantry over the parapet unacquainted with what they are expected to do or where they are to go."

"We took into our confidence the 64 section* commanders of all battalions, gave them the reason for their positions in our forming up trenches and drilled them to move from their positions direct to their objectives in the enemy's lines. Thus all ranks started with some idea of what they were to do, a conviction that their pals also knew what to do and a complete absence of any fear of being left in the lurch by them."

*A section is 14 men and (usually) a Lance Corporal who is directly responsible for them.

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