On the opposite side of the Arras-Cambrai road the 12th Division were to attack from the eastern edges of
In his instructions sent out to RMOs and his field ambulances, the ADMS noted:
“Medical Officers should consult with CO's as to the distribution of Regimental Stretcher Bearers, but judging from past experience it is advisable only to send over 8 bearers and 8 reserve with the Companies keeping the other 8 bearers and 8 reserve in reserve till the MO calls for them.”
In common with the other divisions, having reinforced and re-supplied the RAPs of the attacking battalions, the OC Bearers established dumps of stretchers and similar stores on the likely routes of evacuation, before allocated the remaining men of the pooled bearers to clear the frontline. When the attack began the bearers at the RAP would take over the vacated aid posts and use them as bearer posts as the advance continued. Sites for up to four ADSs had been prepared in the streets of
Once the attack began the division advanced despite resistance from defensive works forward of Observation Ridge, only a few lying cases arriving at the ADSs in the morning. During this stage of the fighting two RMOs became casualties, replacements quickly being found from officers of the field ambulances. The close relationship between RAP and field ambulance enabled swift replace of MO casualties with doctors experienced in the realities of trench warfare. Maintaining touch with the advancing troops the bearers moved forward. As the advance ground to a halt near Feuchy chapel they set up an aid post in a recently abandoned German dressing station. From here casualties were evacuated directly down the Arras-Cambrai road, with ambulances coming as far forward as Tilloy.With the zone between frontline and
As evening approached, the ADMS noted a build up of casualties around the ADSs. This is likely to have had a number of causes; one RAP [no 3] had received many more casualties than others, causing an imbalance and congestion in the chain; as the front advanced the movement of casualties became easier within a, relatively, safe zone leading to a sudden influx; the extraction of casualties from the captured positions could only be done after some degree of defensive re-organisation again causing a rush of casualties. Movement had been inhibited by the explosion of an ammunition dump near to the railway bridge adjacent to No 1 ADS and the advance of cavalry units hindering the work of 15 Motor Ambulance Convoy.
To clear his ADSs the ADMS called for a concentrated effort from 15 Motor Ambulance Convoy, a 15-car convoy being sent to the division. Having cleared the ADSs, by midnight they were again full with 180 lying cases, a further 14 car convoy being required, the ADSs eventually being clear of all casualties by 8 am on 10 April. With the largest advance of a single division in this study, the 12th Division settled down to hold its gains, its chain of evacuation forming around posts along the Arras-Cambrai road. This route provided good communications from the frontline to the rear, but with ambulance cars not able to proceed past Tilloy the hand carriage of casualties, necessarily slow, continued. By the early hours of 10 April 37 officers and 1009 men had been treated and evacuated, on 11 April 8 officers and 383 men had been admitted but 20 men hadn't been evacuated immediately. The evacuation chain had begun to falter.
The absence of MDSs made the field ambulance cars somewhat redundant, by pooling them under the command of 15 Motor Ambulance Convoy they had been fully employed during the early part of the offensive and the large deployments needed to clear the dressing stations during the night 9/10 April had been possible. But as the units advanced, with new posts appearing, control of the cars became too remote. Feeling the moment had come, perhaps a few hours too late, DDMS Thompson released the ambulance cars back to their parent units, but the process wasn't completed smoothly.
This, the only significant breakdown in the evacuation chain, had not been caused by the field ambulances but by the removal of its assets. The idea of employing the otherwise idle ambulance cars elsewhere in the chain was sound, but didn't require their removal from their parent units, the field ambulance. If left under their own OC's control the inherent flexibility of the field ambulance would have enabled the cars to switch focus as required.
Across the front many critically injured men had received, basic, but sufficient treatment of their wounds. Their comfort had been given every possible priority,partly to raise the individual’s morale but more clinically to ward off shock. Often rising their own lives, the men of the field ambulance had successfully ensured the rapid removal of the wounded, some reaching a CCS within two hours.
TNA: WO 95/1834 ADMS war diary Medical Arrangements dated 3 April 1917
Each RAP received 1 officer, 1 NCO and 18 men from the field ambulances in the 72 hours before the attack. The field ambulances supplied each RAP with 50 tins of water, candles, 60 stretchers, 80 blankets, 20 waterproof sheets [for protection of the blankets] dressings, rations [both for medics and casualties] and splints, possibly including three Thomas splints
Strictly speaking this didn't occur until the RMO had left the aid post, it does however seem that most RMOs moved out into no mans land quite early
For a short period in the afternoon all four ADS did open but the two above provided the bulk of the care. Their positions on a main road allowed easy access and a maximum distance RAP to ADS of 1.1 miles.
Captain Prentice, RMO 5th Royal Berkshires, was wounded and Captain Edey 6th Buffs sprained his ankle.
 By October 1917 at the latest this practice had become formalised. In Standing orders the ADMS of 56th Division requires all doctors to be trained ready to take over as RMO, to do so they must have completed a month at the field ambulance including five days attachment to the sanitary section and ten days to a functioning RAP. TNA: WO 95/ 2938.
 This allowed the post to “open” rapidly. The combined artillery related problems of the entrances facing the “wrong” way and the Germans knowing the exact location seemed to have been often accepted in return for the degree of shelter given.
The aid post at Feuchy Chapel was quickly converted into a British ADS, this was a bound forward of 3.01 miles, measured in a straight line using Linesman.
Someone had placed a red flag on the roof of this RAP, attracting casualties from across the division's front. some stray casualties from the nearby 15th Division also made it to this aid post
Many of these were German prisoners of war. As all casualties were to be treated equally this may be due to a clearance of the captured positions. TNA: WO 95/1834 “Report on Operations from 5.30 am 9th April to 6 pm 11th April 1917 by the ADMS dated 11 April
The 37th Division was expected to pass through and seize Monchy. Bearers of the 12th Division's field ambulances would be required to remove 37th Division's casualties, and those of 3rd Cavalry Division from in front of Monchy.
TNA: WO 95/1843 36th & 37th Field Ambulance
Field Ambulance cars would normally be held at or around the MDS and be used to collect casualties from the ADS. If the situation allowed they might be used to clear posts further forward ie RAPs.
RAMC units aimed to provide hot drinks to those passing through the chain, this extended to setting up at least one refreshment stall on the route of the walking wounded.