The first stage of the attack opened at 6:20 on the morning of 15 September, as soldiers from the 28th , 27th ,21st ,20th , and 18th Battalions left their positions, and began to move towards the enemy trenches. The attack was an unexpected success, with the first wave taking their objectives, strategic positions outside of the village including the hard-won Sugar Refinery, by 8am that morning. Byng was ordered to attack Courcelette itself, a task that he set for the 22nd and 25th Battalions, who had to be in position by 6pm. To achieve this, they had to march 2km from the reserve areas, and jump off in broad daylight with no trench protection. The attack went ahead at 6:10pm, ten minutes behind schedule, and the two battalions ran across No Mans Land, hugging their creeping barrage. The German regiments fled the village by 6:20, and the two battalions worked to secure their position, with the 26th in support. Soon after, German counterattacks began, and the three battalions were cut off for four days. During this time, they repulsed continual attacks under increasingly difficult conditions, and with limited food and water.