Liévin, February 3, 1918

Sunday  The day passed fairly quiet. Fritz shelled at intervals. Weather much clearer and warmer, observation was none too good On guard tonight its [sic] very dark out & comparatively quiet

Good observation is essential to accuracy in artillery work, and to keep track of enemy movements. Two days ago the 13th Brigade received a new Defence Scheme, which stressed the importance of observation. (1)

OP Hill 65

The siting of an observation post in the Lens sector is literally a textbook case.

“The judicious siting of the O.P bears fruition [sic] in increased utility and comfort of operations. The O.P should not be sited in an obvious place. Maximum efficiency and accuracy is not increased by being under intermittant [sic] shellfire.” (2)

Hill 65, just west of Lens, provided an excellent view of the enemy lines, but it had two major drawbacks: first, the Germans knew that O.P.s were located there, and second, they used the two reservoirs on the hill to calibrate their artillery fire, a fact which “rendered the location of little practical value and merely encouraged casualties.” (3)  It has been abandoned until recently, but the increasing threat of a German advance now demands “the greatest vigilance and detection of any hostile offensive intentions.”(3) A new observation post is located on Hill 65, overcoming its “greatest difficulties … by very careful siting, and by deceiving the enemy as to the purpose of the work undertaken.” (3) The O.P is now in a dummy trench.

(1) War Diary of the 13th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery. Vol. 13: 4. February 1, 1918. Library and Archives of Canada.
(2) Hahn, J.E. The Intelligence Service Within the Canadian Corps, 1914-1918. Toronto, 1930. 6.
(3) Hahn, 7.

Copyright 2018. See “More about this project.”
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