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Post Info TOPIC: Question about German underground fortification at the Battle of the Somme


Corporal

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Question about German underground fortification at the Battle of the Somme
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Hello to all!

While not strictly vehicle related, I still have a question maybe of interest to the forum regarding the Battle of the Somme:

Behind the front line the Germany had a vast circular underground fortification near Thiepval which was created by General Franz von Soden. This helped many German soldiers survive the 7-day bombardment and was in part responsible for the heavy losses of the British infantry during the first day. Does anybody have more information on this underground fortification? I have seen the for the first time in a documentary on TV but am unable to get more information on it.

Any help or information is appreciated.

Thank you.



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Herby


Field Marshal

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An interesting drawing by David Kelsall which appeared in Michael Stedman's Battleground Europe title "Thiepval". The view is to the south east, across the Ancre, towards the Schwaben Redoubt. The vague impressions of the tunnel entrances remain in the bank along the road from St. Pierre Divion to Grandcourt.



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Corporal

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Thank you, this exactly what I am looking for. This pic was shown in the documentary as well. Does the publication you mention give more information on this?



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Herby


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ww1centenary.oucs.ox.ac.uk/space-into-place/subterranean-sanctuaries-beneath-the-somme/

Maybe something here.



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Field Marshal

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"Complexes capable of housing large bodies of men were to be built, each sunk 8-10 metres deep and with multiple exits. The largest, at St. Pierre Divion, was capable of housing 1000 men. It was constructed near the south bank of the Ancre under the shelter of the clay embankment south-west of the hamlet of St. Pierre Divion. In the embankment there were four main entrances running back towards the main shelters. Stairways connected the shelters with the trenches above and further exits were available from the tunnels sunk eastwards toward Schwaben Redoubt and the German front lines north and east of Thiepval Wood." (Stedman, "Thiepval")

Jack Sheldon, in "The Germans at Thiepval", strongly disputes the idea of tunnels connecting the Schwaben Redoubt with St. Pierre Divion.

Should you wish to walk the ground, a track leads south past the church in St. Pierre Divion, uphill to the site of the Redoubt.

 



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