Transmission of Formal Messages

above From the Adjutant to all Companies.

below Message received from Brigade HQ, delivered by the Signals Office to the Adjutant.

This is a copy of an actual message sent by the Brigade Major HQ 155 Infantry Brigade to HQ 52 (Lowland) Division, copied to the Bn Headquarters of 7th/9th Royal Scots, 5KOSB and the HQ 4th Special Service Brigade, on the first day of the 155 Brigade's assault landing at Flushing reporting intelligence gained from interrogating P.o.Ws which disclosed the movement of reserve forces to reinforce the Flushing Garrison. [See page 34 for wording of message.]

In the top line of the message form the priority P indicates it is to be transmitted and handled by signals offices as 'Important'. Other prefixes: D Deferred [messages of minor importance]; when no indication used [routine messages]; P Important [used by any Officer for above ordinary routine messages, and instructions may be added such as 'To await arrival']; OP Immediate [used by Battalion Commanders or Senior Staff Officers for messages of special importance]; O Emergency [Commanders and Senior Staff Officers for messages of the utmost importance having a direct bearing on operations]; OU Most Immediate [Commander-in-Chief or his Chief Staff Officer only].

Formal messages written on a signal message form were handled by the Signals Office, always located at Battalion HQ. The Signal Corporal in charge would decide the best and/or quickest means of sending each message: line telephony, morse transmission by line, wireless telephony, runner or dispatch rider. Incoming messages from Brigade HQ or Companies would be delivered by the Signals Office to the appropriate officer at Battalion HQ.

Signals Platoon Operational Deployment

The Battalion had generally three distinct operational roles. Often required to advance towards the enemy to probe out his defensive position and locate his 'strong-points', this was known as advance to contact. In principle, the leading rifle company would have one platoon forward as it advanced towards the enemy, seeking to overcome whatever resistance it met until it could no longer do so. When the platoon was fully deployed and pinned down, the company commander would determine from his own observations and reports from the leading platoon commander about the enemy's positions and strength and then attack with his two remaining platoons. If the opposition was overcome, the advance would continue until the leading company was no longer able to move forward but pinned down by the effectiveness of the enemy's defences.

The Battalion Commander would then consider his options for deploying one or more of his rifle companies in reserve, determined to probe as fully as possible the extent of the enemy's defensive layout. Depending on the order the Brigade Commander had received from the Division, he would be ready to deploy the two battalions under his command.



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