A Battle surplus is when officers and men of a unit or Brigade are left out of action and retained to replace casualties incurred. Before an attack Operation Orders provided that a certain proportion of officers and other ranks in every unit to be engaged was not to accompany the unit into action. It was styled "first reinforcements" and was retained to form the nucleus for reconstructing the unit should the worst happen. They were also employed on special work of various kinds close behind the fire zone.
References / notes
- Edward Fraser and John Gibbons (1925). Soldier and Sailor Words and Phrases. Routledge, London p.20.
Glossary of terms and customs
This page forms part of our glossary of words and phrases of the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain during the Great War, which also includes: technicalities, trench slang, expressions in everyday use, nicknames, sobriquets, the titles and origins of British and Commonwealth Regiments, and warfare in general. Please feel free to help expand and improve this content.
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