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German Army expert please


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Does anyone know which German Unit was defending Iberia Trenches in July 1917?

TIA

David

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David

When in July and can you post a map of the exact spot which interests you? Armed with that info, something might be possible for you.

Jack

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Hello Jack,

Perhaps I can help with the location. The site is just south of the Potijze-Verlorenhoek road at a site called The Mound I believe. It is north east of Ypres, just below St. Jean. I have attached a map that might help.

I did a quick check of my maps but no luck for the time period, etc. I will keep checking but somehow I suspect you will have the answer long before I can get home from work.

Ralph

P.S. As a point of interest to those asking for German details based upon maps or British reference names you should alsways include the map if possible and remember both sides used different names for the same areas and it is difficult to match one from the other. Just a thought for future threads.

post-32-1248910594.jpg

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Depending upon the exact date you are looking at it could be the 94th IR from the 38th Division. They arrived in this area later in the month and were present during the British attack in late July.

If another date then we would need to look at the 17th Division units as the 38th Division releived them in late July, just before the attack.

Ralph

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Ralph, many thanks for the map, which confirms where I thought those particular trenches must be, though I do not have the British trench map.

David, as Ralph says, IR 94 relieved Fusilier Regiment 90 in this sector during the nights 27/28 and 28/29 July, so it is important to know the date that interests you.

Jack

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Many thanks for replies.

The war diary shows plans for 12/HLI to attack Iberia Trench at 1pm on 24th July 1917. Strangely the "List of Fallen" show KIA fatalities as 25th.

I've got lots of info at home including the precise coordinates of the attack.

Looking at map above however the width of the attack was the distance between the s on Stables and the road. The depth of the attack was up to 200 yards behind that to include Iberia Reserve Trench.

I have the map from the war diary showing the objectives and will post that later.

The following week Frezenberg Ridge was attacked.

Regards

David

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David

It is a pity that you did not want to know about 31 July because I have a very detailed description of events that day. That is because of the account contained in the IR 94 history. Unfortunately I do not have one for Grossherzoglich Mecklenburgisches Fuesilier Regiment Nr. 90 Kaiser Wilhelm . One does exist, however. It was published in three parts in Rostock in 1923-24. Someone may be able to put their hands on it. In the meantime here are acouple of map extracts, taken from the IR 94 history.

Jack

post-6447-1248959215.jpg

This is a zoom of the forward area.

post-6447-1248959293.jpg

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As you can see, neither is brilliant, but it does indicate that the attack which interests you went in against the lightly held Posten-Linie [Outpost Line], forward of the A-Linie and the Albrecht Stellung and clearly halted, or was stopped, short of the A Linie. The IR 94 history states that in a position of some depth there was a total of four positions: The I Stellung, Albrecht Stellung, Wilhelm Stellung and Flandern Stellung. The I Stellung comprised three lines: The Postengraben, the A Linie and a zone of pillboxes forming the Third Line. The first two were west of the beek, the Third Line to its east on the slope leading up to the Albrecht Stellung. It is also stated that the majority of MGs were in the Third Line, from where they had exceptionally good fields of fire. They also note that there was a further British push against the Postengraben on the morning of 28 July. Sorry I cannot help more, but possibly somebody else can fill in the gaps.

Jack

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P.S. As a point of interest to those asking for German details based upon maps or British reference names you should alsways include the map if possible and remember both sides used different names for the same areas and it is difficult to match one from the other. Just a thought for future threads.
Ralph, excellent advice. I wonder if this point, and any others that would aid the work of people with access to German sources, could be posted in the thread on getting the best out of the Forum?

Robert

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Nice work Jack, I too do not have the regimental so cannot help out on any accounts.

Robert, I am sure there are a number of items we could comment on regarding the German side, the current resources, etc. I will see if I can come up with a few to post, I am sure Jack and a few others will have good ideas as well.

One of the biggest items concerns maps. I often see requests using names of farms, trench references, etc. and while I have access to some British sources it is much easier to match a unit when the exact area is known. As Jack's regimental maps show we can often narrow the unit down to battalion or company size, know what regiment relieved another, look through accounts and match up opposing details.

Some of the archives survived the war (Prussia not being among them) so there are sources to review in the modern day. Also some Prussian unit records exist within these sources as they were attached to the regiments and divisions found in the archives.

For later periods, when the U.S. was involved the National Archives in Washington holds copies of the German unit diaries that faced U.S. troops from the first combat period to the end of the war. These were accumulated in the inter-war period when all references were still available. I am sure there are more. I will get back to the forum shortly.

Ralph

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Thanks, Ralph. I wonder if we can come up with a form of words that the GWF Team could add to the "Getting the Best Out of the Forum" forum (pardon the juxtaposition).

Robert

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Sorry I couldn't get that map uploaded last night, will do so tonight.

Can someone explain please what the red dots are behind the word "Verlorenhoek" on Ralph's map. Also the crosses at "Ibex". Machine gun posts/pillboxes/wire perhaps?

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This is the map used by 12HLI when planning the raid.

post-34757-1249060999.jpg

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From the War Diary

FURTHER REPORT ON THE RAID carried out by 12th Bn HLI on 24th July 1917 by Lt Col W E St John - Following on my report additional information has been received as under :-

1 SUPPORT LINE – Hard to recognise. No revetting and is not possible by day.

2 COMMUNICATION TRENCHES – At most 3 feet deep. In a very bad state of repair. Flattened in many places.

3 THE STABLES – Simply a ruin. A small dugout exists but this shows no sign of recent occupation.

4 THE MOUND – Ground slightly raised running about 75x out into NO MANS LAND. There is a small trench (covered) but badly damaged . Water has collected. It does not appear to have been in use for some time. Positions probably MG have been neglected and are not fir for purpose

5 MG POSITIONS – Position behind the MOUND poor. Concrete position at junction of SUPPORT and IBERIA WALK – In bad condition and not fit for use. Positions beside dugouts in front line behind STABLES in good condition.

6 O.P. - In front line , behind MOUND 6-7 feet high and about 4 feet square.

7 DUGOUTS – (a) Front line, left (behind MOUND) large surface concrete shelter, in good condition – 15 prisoners taken. (Front line, right (20-25 yards south of IBERIA WALK) similar dugout, badly damaged, not fit for use. © Centre of frontage – 4 low strong concrete shelters, 2 smashed. Other 2 in good condition – 10 prisoners taken. (d) Near Eitel Fritz , concrete dugout completely damaged. A few light shelters are not damaged, but afford little protection. (e) A concrete shelter 15 ft x10 ft x 6ft, 50 yards in rear of RESERVE LINE and about 50 yards to right of IBERIA AVENUE was found to contain 3 wooden cases, each containing 10 small shells, "Whizz-bang" type. (f) There were several dugouts in RESERVE LINE those were built in behind the RESERVE TRENCH in dip of ground, and are bout 30 ft long by 8ft broad. They are about 6 ft high in front, sloping down to 4 ft in rear. (g) There is a deep dugout in IBERIA AVENUE about 50 yards east of SUPPORT TRENCH. This dugout was not entered but was bombed.

8 RAILWAY The narrow gauge railway runs along behind front line as well as RESERVE LINE but it has all been blown about.

9 RESISTANCE OF ENEMY Very poor. When the objective was carried the enemy attempted to bomb along his front line from the south but our block party gained superiority and prevented him from advancing. A few other Huns used bombs but with no effect.

10 ENEMY AEROPLANES - None to be seen during the raid – one hour after the guns ceased three enemy planes were flying very low on his lines.

11 SOS SIGNALS – None observed on our front.

Sgd WE St John Lt Col 12 HLI
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Check this thread for additional details on fighting at Iberia Trench.

 

Ralph

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David

Many thanks for posting the detailed report. There would have been a German equivalent, but it would have been burnt along with the other regimental records on 14 April 1945 when the RAF bombed the archives in Potsdam. It is a pity, because comparison of such reports is often interesting. Sometimes there is remarkable coincidence between them; at other times, they read like two separate incidents. One general point, which applies to both sides equally, is that opposition casualties are regularly exaggerated.

Jack

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Ralph....

Thanks for posting that thread which I had already seen. One thing that struck me when reading both reports was the damage inflicted by the previous attack. At the end of the1917 raid 12 HLI had lost 7 men. My Great uncle died the following day from a gunshot wound to the head. I'm wondering if the bullet has come from the distant machine gun posts? We'll never know, but it's worth some speculation.

Jack....

Thanks for your comments on this thread. The detail on the stellungs etc has been a great help and I am now noticing them in various reference books.

You commented earlier as follows ..."It is also stated that the majority of MGs were in the Third Line, from where they had exceptionally good fields of fire".

Do you think that the machine gun posts on Ralph's map (post #3) could be the red dots I am asking about in post #6?

TIA

David

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post-6447-1249197097.jpg

David

If you look through this key, you will see that dots are used for 'earthworks', a catch-all term that could be anything, but probably suggests prominent piles of spoil. If you look at the placement of the dots, you will see that they fall into no discernable pattern, so they do not appear to have any tactical significance. You would also not expect to see machine guns marked on a trench map as a base feature - a tactical sketch yes; possibly as a handwritten addition to a printed map too, but they are easily moved and so rather ephemeral.

Hope this helps

Jack

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Thanks Jack this will help me immensely with my newly acquired skill of map reading the Great War!

best regards

David

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