The French counter-attack towards Pilckem
22 April 1915: 20.00
By order of General Putz, commander of the French Détachement d'Armée Belgique (D.A.B.), a regiment from the D.A.B. reserve was put at the disposal of General Quiquandon, commander of Groupement d'Elverdinghe and 45th Algerian Division. He was ordered to use this regiment to make a counter-attack to regain the lost ground of the French forward positions. This regiment would move into the battle area later in the evening.
In the meantime, however, at about 8pm the French went into a counter-attack with six companies of the 7th Battalion Zouaves under Colonel Mordacq. Having crossed the Yser Canal south of Boesinghe. They passed through the area south-east of Boesinghe, where the original French front-line units had withdrawn by this time. This area currently formed the extreme French right wing. The counter-attacking companies continued in the direction of Pilckem and also began to extend its front to the east to try to establish a link with the British again.
After a couple of hours of fighting, however, the attack had made little progress.(1)
British Support Requested by the French
Just before 8pm the French liaison officer had visited the 1st Canadian Division headquarters at Chateau des Trois Tours, Brielen. He informed them about the French counter-attack and asked the British to support it. This was agreed to. Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon-Hall, of the Canadian Divisional Staff, then informed the British V. Corps headquarters in Poperinghe that 1st Canadian Division had ordered the 3rd Canadian Brigade to make a counter-attack towards Kitchener's Wood in support of the French.
“French liaison officer has just been here and says they are going to counter attack towards PILCKEM aaa I have ordered 3rd Bde. to make a counter attack towards U.27.
From 1st Canadian Div. 8.16pm
G W Gordon-Hall” (2)
Three-quarters of an hour later at 8.45pm V. Corps headquarters forwarded this information to the British Second Army headquarters at Hazebrouck in France.(3)
Acknowledgements & Notes
Kitchener's Wood: see the page British heavy guns captured in Kitchener's Wood
(1) Les Armées Françaises dans la Grande Guerre, Tome II, Troisième Partie, Chapitre XV, p. 700
(2) Official History of the Canadian Forces in The Great War 1914-1919, Appendices, no. 366, p. 242
(3) Official History of the Canadian Forces in The Great War 1914-1919, Appendices, no. 374, p. 243