Bombing and Shelling Reports

The terms "MORREP" (Mortar Report) and "SHELREP" (Shelling Report) are often encountered in contemporary documents and histories. The following comes from Army Training Memorandum No. 481:

BOMBING AND SHELLING REPORTS

ACI 143/43 states2:-

"Reports on enemy shelling and bombing are of the greatest value to counter-battery and intelligence staffs. All ranks will be informed that the submission of these reports is important."

The following account received from a gunner officer in ITALY describes the consequences of a platoon commander's neglect to initiate a shelling report. This account further furnishes a salutary reminder to junior commanders that it is not only the counter-battery and intelligence staffs who may benefit by these reports.

"Smith was a capable officer, and he had a good platoon. They were dug in, and the siting of their weapon pits, their arcs of fire, and all the hundred and one other details that an infantry platoon commander has to attend to, were a model of tactical and administrative sub-unit organization.

"On the morning of the second day after the platoon had occupied the position, it was spotted by a German artillery OP and lightly shelled. The enemy could not see distinctly because the sun was in his eyes. He therefore carried out a careful registration and, having recorded the target, left Smith's platoon alone and turned his attention elsewhere.

"Smith and his men noted where the shells dropped, replaced a few sandbags, and congratulated themselves on having escaped so lightly, with only one man wounded. As time passed, they heard our own guns and were gratified to assume, in a rather vague way, that the morning's work had been equalized. But Smith did not send in a shelling report.

"In the evening, the same German observer, this time with the sun behind him, fired all the guns of his battery on Smith's position. Six men were killed and several more wounded. The platoon tidied up a second time, but still Smith did not send in a shelling report.

"The inevitable happened. At first light next morning, the position was subjected to a sudden, vicious bombardment. Smith and a number of his men were killed. The enemy infantry came on through the smoke."

Every officer should have an "AB 155 Label," or a copy of it, affixed to the inside cover of his AB 155 (message form holder). COs should make sure that, if their officers have not already got the label, copies are duplicated and issued to them. The wording is as follows:

BOMBING AND SHELLING REPORT

     The following letter code will be used for shelling or bombing reports. The message will be preceded by the code word BOMREP in the case of bombing reports and SHELREP in the case of shelling reports.

All incidents of bombing or shelling must be reported at once.

A    Time from

B    Time to

C    Map reference of observer

D   Area being shelled or bombed

E   Number and nature of guns or aircraft

F   Number and nature of shells or bombs

G   Damage done

H   Bearing to flash or sound (for shelling only)

 

Example of bombing report:-

       BOMREP A 1930   B 1940   C 654123  D Village 702153   E 10  Ju87    F 20 fifty pound bombs    G heavy and on fire


Notes

  1. Army Training Memorandum No. 48 was published by the War Office in May 1944.
  2. ACI: Army Council Instruction, the British equivalent of General Orders.

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