A creeping barrage was the “name given to an artillery method of covering infantry in an attack by a moving wall of fire, shelling each successive enemy position immediately ahead, sweeping the ground over which the troops had to advance, according to the infantry rate of progress. The barrage moved forward by "lifts" usually fifty yards at a time, the shelling between "lift" usually lasting a minute and a half. Watched from a distance, in rear, the barrage seemed to "creep" forward, hence the name. It was first used in the Battle of the Somme, 1916.” 
References / notes
- Edward Fraser and John Gibbons (1925). Soldier and Sailor Words and Phrases. Routledge, London p.66.
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