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Rockdoc

43rd Siege Battery

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Rockdoc

I'm not sure whether this should be in here or in Units but, working my way through the War Diary, I've discovered that, in August 1916, 24th AA Section were sent first to Causica railway station and then to a site on the slopes of La Croix Blanche, near Jujunci (Cugunci on the Austrian maps), to protect 43rd Siege Battery at Kallinova. I assume La Croix Blanche are the heights rising immediately north of Jujunci.

They were certainly annoying the enemy, whatever they were shelling, because there are frequent reports of attempts to bomb it. Also in the vicinity were a French armoured train, a French "war balloon" - observation or barrage, I wonder? - and the French 22nd and 24th AA units. Does anyone have any idea what the Siege Battery and armoured train would have been pounding around this time that would have roused so much ire from the other side of the lines?

On a slightly lighter note, the French 24th AA unit must have been further up the same slope than the British 24th AA Section. At one point the area was attacked by several planes and both the British and French guns opened up. The Diary records that the British had to cease fire and take cover when French shell cases and fragments started to fall "all round."

Keith

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MartinWills

The areas to the immediate north of the railway running through Causica were used for rest behind the lines (there was even a theatre there). I will try and dig out my map of the Gugunci area and see what if offers. The railway line marks the edge of a marshy area to the south.

Martin

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Rockdoc

Thanks, Martin. I've since transcribed 24th, 32nd and 73rd AAS Diaries up to December 1916. Both 24th and 32nd were based in the area between Janes and Kallinova for most of the time after the BSF moved north out of Camp Retranche (The Birdcage). 231st Heavy Battery were also in the area. 43rd were recorded as using 6in guns (howitzers, perhaps?) I've not yet come across a mention of what 231st were firing. 24th and 32nd were very active and each brought down several planes.

73rd were based at Dudular. 74th, whose Diary seems to have the fist five or six months missing, was based on the Seres road at two positions, 61st and 74th Kilo posts, at different times.

Is your map one of the WO298 series of French maps? I need to get the Kukus area so that I can pick up the coordinates given in the Diaries for some of the AA positions.

Thanks again,

Keith

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MartinWills

Keith,

I believe there is a copy of the map in question at the NA but my copy (British Gjevgeli 1:50,000) comes from a private collection. Unfortunately it does not go quite as far east as Gugunci - the edge lies between Kalinova and Gugunci, so I can't be as helpful as I thought. I've not checked out the coverage of the French maps, though I do have a small scale general map of the vardar area reaching over to Doiran (no lines shown) reflecting the area to the east of the Vardar where I believe the 122e and 156e divisions were in 1916 - the map came from the online french archives.

You may get some further info from apwright on the forum - I know he was exploring the area around Asagi Mahala not that long ago. Kate & I were at Kalinova in Sept of 2007 and hope to be back in the area later this year.

Gugunci will be on the Kukus (now Kilkis) 1:50,000 map (WO298/519 and 520) whilst Causica and Kalinova are on the Gjevgeli 1:50,000 map (WO298/510 to 513). By contrast Kalinova and Kilindir (including Gugunci) should be on the Kilindir 1:20,000 map (WO298/141 to 146) whilst Causica is (just) on the Smol 1:20,000 map (WO298/199 to 205). The 1:20,000 maps are second series - not sure which 1st Series maps apply or if they would be very helpful. There are a few 1:10,000 maps (eg Kilindir A/B/C/D and Smol A/B/C/D) but I don't know what these show.

Immediately north of the railway line there is a sharp rise in the landscape and billets behind the lines were sheltered in the lee of this rise, though they were bombed from time to time. The other side of the rise saw a number of secondary positions some of which I believe were artillery positions.

Are you a member of the Salonika Campaign Society? I'm sure you would find it useful and it's not expensive. Similarly given the work you have been doing on these units I imagine that any offer of an article on these units for their magazine "The New Mosquito" would be extremely welcome. The editor is "tim1915" on the forum.

Martin

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Rockdoc

Thanks, Martin. I'll make a note of those references and have a look when I go to Kew. One of the problems I'm having in doing the transcriptions is not running off at every tangent. It would be all too easy to try to follow every reference to every unit that appears but I'd never get anything completed if I let myself do that. One thing I will have to do, eventually, is some research on the French AA units to get the overall picture but where to start with that is a closed book right now that I daren't open.

Adrian Wright has been extremely helpful to me already, giving me a hand with the modern names of places and so on. Ruth and I are hoping to get to Salonika nex year for the first time and I hope I can buy Adrian a beer while I'm there. As my Grandfather was with 99th AAS, based at the Harmankoy Tumulus on the ridge north of Dudular and Harmankoy and running up to Daut-Bali, I didn't expect to go "up country" when I began to look at his Salonika experiences but I think I'll have to go up there now to get a feel for the ground where the other Sections operated. I started the work with not much more than the idea of trying to see how an AA defensive scheme worked in practice - the disposition of the sites and so on - but I'm getting sucked in a bit deeper!

I joined the Salonika Campaign Society earlier this year and am eagerly awaiting my first New Mosquito. I have a few bits and piecs that I can use for short articles but I'm not sure when I'll be able to write up the research on the AA Secions as a whole. It's already beginning to feel like another PhD! ;)

Keith

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Gardenerbill

Keith,

Did you ever get to the bottom of what the 43rd Siege Battery were shelling? I am currently researching a man who served in my Grandfathers ASC company and before he joined them he was attached to the 43rd Siege Battery around the same time. Subsequently he was regularly admiitted to hospital for Neurasthenia, Hysteria, Alcaholism etc all of which indicate possible shell shock and I wondered if it related to an incident whilst attached to the 43rd.

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