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Wendy Macpherson

~ Germans at La Basse-Ville ~

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Wendy Macpherson

Hi guys

Can anyone please tell me what German division were in the trenches around the La Basse-Ville or Warneton sector in the August of 1917. I believe there was a German sniper doing havoc at this time and also the German artillery indiscriminate shelling my fellow Kiwis and our best mates the Aussies. Things were pretty quiet at the time, other than the Wellington's and the Auckland's trying to boot the Germans out of La Basse-Ville a little earlier on in the June-July 1917.

Unfortunately or fortunately which ever way you look at it, the New Zealander's were pulled out of the area and sent North for the Third Battle of Ypres in the November, so a bit of unfinished business to that end. I gather the Germans left also, or did they hang about and strengthen their line again.

I'd like to find out what German division was responsible for accidentally dropping a shell on my GA and seven other kiwis on the 11th August 1917.

Always appreciative for your help and advise......... Wendy

post-49999-033792800 1295690306.jpg

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Wendy Macpherson

Part of the New Zealand Divisions front August 1917

post-49999-080147200 1295690544.jpg

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Wendy Macpherson

I think I have posted this in the wrong forum, should I move it to 'Units and Formations' :unsure:

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jacksdad

Gidday Wendy

not really an answer... but i have just finished doing some research on Messines for a guidebook. I can not say i have noted down who the Germans were, but a long shot maybe the German grave/s still buried here and there in the CWGC

I assume that German graves list the regiment or Battn?

So having said that i note just on a quick look through my information that Canterbury boys killed that day seem to be buried at London Rifle Cemetery a few of them are buried in plot IV. row B and i see one German grave in the A row infront of them, there is a whole row after IV C but they maybe Germans burying Germans in 1918?

Another long shot maybe Prowse as i notice a few buried behind the Kiwis buried in III C and those Kiwis date from July - August.

all you need if this works is a photoor the info on those German graves.

...Roger

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Wendy Macpherson

Hi Roger

Well that's bit of a cunning plan :ph34r: must admit I never thought about that angle.Finding out about the graves at the London Rifle Brigade Cemetery could be bit of a challenge. Every web site I have looked at so far only has the allied details. I'll get in touch with Pierre Vandervelden from 'In Memory' web site and see if he has any details.

My GA is at the London Rifle and all those chaps I talk about in the first post are the same as you mention.

Here is a few photos of the Kiwis at London Rifle http://www.inmemories.com/Cemeteries/londonrifle.htm I collected these photos a while ago.

Thanks for your help :thumbsup: .... Wendy

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Glenn J

Wendy

I should think Bavarian 16th Division. They were holding the line with their right on the River Lys at Warneton during this period:

11. Bayer. Infanterie-Regiment

14. Bayer. Infanterie-Regiment

Bayer. Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment 21

8. Bayer. Feldartillerie-Regiment

Regards

Glenn

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Robert Dunlop

Wendy, I will check some other sources when I get back home (PM me if I forget). I have the intelligence reports for the British Second Army throughout this period.

Robert

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Wendy Macpherson

:mellow: Aha....the 16th's Well well well,, Great stuff Glenn.

Thanks for finding that information for me, much appreciated. I'll now have to put my armature super-sleuth research skills to the test and check out the 16th Division.

post-49999-071933900 1295816362.jpg

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Wendy Macpherson

Wendy, I will check some other sources when I get back home (PM me if I forget). I have the intelligence reports for the British Second Army throughout this period.

Robert

:thumbsup: Ok thanks Robert, they should make interesting reading!

Wendy

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Chris

Wendy

Different year i know but cracking image if you follow the link to a card showing the german trenches in this area earlier in the war.

http://cgi.ebay.de/Foto-Graben-Stellung-LA-BASSE-VILLE-1-WK-Belgien-/110638754202?pt=Militaria&hash=item19c295699a

Chris

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Wendy Macpherson

Wendy

Different year i know but cracking image if you follow the link to a card showing the german trenches in this area earlier in the war.

http://cgi.ebay.de/F...=item19c295699a

Chris

Thanks Chris :)

I have just emailed the seller to get a cost of shipping to New Zealand. If they are reasonable I'll have a we bid.

Edit: Just brought the postcard, so when I get it i'll post a copy here :D

Wendy

Edited by Wendy Mac...

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Wendy Macpherson

Postcard has arrived, it's a goodie!

post-49999-072962200 1297075079.jpg

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Bryan Kyle

Hi Wendy,

 

Have you found out extra information recently - now being January 16th 2019. Just interested to know. My grand-dad was in the frontline in August 1917 as well, until mortally wounded on 7th August. NZ Machine Gun Corps - 3rd Coy. (with the 3rd Rifles Brigade).  Cheers & thanks, Bryan.

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Bryan Kyle
On 24/01/2011 at 00:54, Glenn J said:

Wendy

I should think Bavarian 16th Division. They were holding the line with their right on the River Lys at Warneton during this period:

11. Bayer. Infanterie-Regiment

14. Bayer. Infanterie-Regiment

Bayer. Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment 21

8. Bayer. Feldartillerie-Regiment

Regards

Glenn

Hi Glenn.  Good to see this contribution of yours. Can I ask where you got the information please? Just wondering - are you aware of other German units on that part of the front, at that time (July-August 1917)? Thanks in anticipation of your reply - Cheers, Bryan Kyle, Taranaki, NZ

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JeffMcN

Hello, It was the 16 Infanterie Division, (not the 16th Bavarian Infanterie Division, which was south-east of Messines, supporting 4 bID) which recruited in the Rhenish Province, around the Moselle River and Trier.  It consisted of three Infanterie Regiments: IR 28, IR 29 and IR 68. It went into the Line at Warneton on 26 June 1917 and stayed there until about 23 September 1917.

 

(ref: American Expeditionary Force General Staff Intellegence Section. (1920). Histories of Two Hundred and Fifty-One Divisions of the German Army which Participated in the War (1914-1918), compiled from records of Intelligence section of the General Staff, American Expeditionary Forces, at General Headquarters, Chaumont, France 1919. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.))

 

The counter-attack that retook La Basse Ville on 27 July was by a Bataillon of IR 29, so they would be the Regiment opposite the NZ Division.

My source is the General Staff, Headquarters 2nd ANZAC Corps, War Diary, July 1917.  AMW4-1/32/11:

      26/7/17 Wounded prisoner of 29th Infantry Regiment, 16th Division, normal, captured during night...

      27/7/17 2 a.m. New Zealand Division attacked and captured LA BASSE VILLE...

           12 prisoners were taken and considerable number of enemy were killed. Prisoners belonged to 29th I.R. 16th Division (normal).

 

You could check the August 1917 2nd ANZAC HQ War Diary to see what else turned up. I don't have August diary as my interest is Messines, and as far as I am concerned, La Basse-Ville wraps it up, as it was the coda to the 14/15 June action that sought to take the hamlet and which ended the Battle of Messines. :)

 

The artillery responsible would possibly have been 16 ID's Field Artillery Regiment, 23 FAR, unless the shell came from across the Lys - where most of the guns were, as too crowded behind the Warneton Line. In which case I would not be sure who was responsible as there were a fair number of Foot Artillery regiments (heavy artillery) located there, mostly around Comines.

 

Jeff

Edited by JeffMcN

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Robert Dunlop

Just to echo Jeff's comments, it will be difficult to be sure which battery fired a shell. Multiple batteries, even guns within individual batteries, would be involved in targeting sectors. Many German batteries were kept silent too, only coming into action during a major British offensive.

 

Robert

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Bryan Kyle
On 24/01/2019 at 13:42, JeffMcN said:

Hello, It was the 16 Infanterie Division, (not the 16th Bavarian Infanterie Division, which was south-east of Messines, supporting 4 bID) which recruited in the Rhenish Province, around the Moselle River and Trier.  It consisted of three Infanterie Regiments: IR 28, IR 29 and IR 68. It went into the Line at Warneton on 26 June 1917 and stayed there until about 23 September 1917.

 

(ref: American Expeditionary Force General Staff Intellegence Section. (1920). Histories of Two Hundred and Fifty-One Divisions of the German Army which Participated in the War (1914-1918), compiled from records of Intelligence section of the General Staff, American Expeditionary Forces, at General Headquarters, Chaumont, France 1919. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.))

 

The counter-attack that retook La Basse Ville on 27 July was by a Bataillon of IR 29, so they would be the Regiment opposite the NZ Division.

My source is the General Staff, Headquarters 2nd ANZAC Corps, War Diary, July 1917.  AMW4-1/32/11:

      26/7/17 Wounded prisoner of 29th Infantry Regiment, 16th Division, normal, captured during night...

      27/7/17 2 a.m. New Zealand Division attacked and captured LA BASSE VILLE...

           12 prisoners were taken and considerable number of enemy were killed. Prisoners belonged to 29th I.R. 16th Division (normal).

 

You could check the August 1917 2nd ANZAC HQ War Diary to see what else turned up. I don't have August diary as my interest is Messines, and as far as I am concerned, La Basse-Ville wraps it up, as it was the coda to the 14/15 June action that sought to take the hamlet and which ended the Battle of Messines. :)

 

The artillery responsible would possibly have been 16 ID's Field Artillery Regiment, 23 FAR, unless the shell came from across the Lys - where most of the guns were, as too crowded behind the Warneton Line. In which case I would not be sure who was responsible as there were a fair number of Foot Artillery regiments (heavy artillery) located there, mostly around Comines.

 

Jeff

Hi Jeff, Thanks for this contribution - awesome !!!!!  

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Bryan Kyle
On 24/01/2011 at 00:54, Glenn J said:

Wendy

I should think Bavarian 16th Division. They were holding the line with their right on the River Lys at Warneton during this period:

11. Bayer. Infanterie-Regiment

14. Bayer. Infanterie-Regiment

Bayer. Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment 21

8. Bayer. Feldartillerie-Regiment

Regards

Glenn

Hi Glenn,

 

Just wondering your references, or sources, for this info. Great stuff, and even better when referenced. I actually want to use this information, but require referencing etc etc. I'm sure you understand.  Cheers & thanks,  Bryan Kyle in NZ

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Bryan Kyle
On 17/01/2019 at 11:16, Bryan Kyle said:

Hi Wendy,

 

Have you found out extra information recently - now being January 16th 2019. Just interested to know. My grand-dad was in the frontline in August 1917 as well, until mortally wounded on 7th August. NZ Machine Gun Corps - 3rd Coy. (with the 3rd Rifles Brigade).  Cheers & thanks, Bryan.

 

On 29/01/2019 at 17:00, Bryan Kyle said:

Hi Glenn,

 

Just wondering your references, or sources, for this info. Great stuff, and even better when referenced. I actually want to use this information, but require referencing etc etc. I'm sure you understand.  Cheers & thanks,  Bryan Kyle in NZ

 

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JeffMcN

Hi Bryan

Just had another look at 16 bID in the American reference (See above)

It gives it as consisting:

bIR 11

bIR 14

bIR 21 (not the reserve)

bFAR 3 (not bFAR 8)

The Histories also says that it was transferred from Armentieres to north of Lys in June on account of the menace of the British attack on the Lys, but was not engaged as a whole ' it sent some of its elements southeast of Messines to reinforce the 4th Bavarian Division" (p274).

Though I note the Wkikwand gives the alternative: http://www.wikiwand.com/de/16._Königlich_Bayerische_Infanterie-Division

 

you would have to go to the regimental histories to sort that out!

 

In fact, the German Official History states that bIR 11 were sent to join Gruppe Haasy (primarily a 4 bID group) on 8 June to counter the Australian 3rd Division opposite Ploegsteert Wood. 3rd Australian captured/killed the bIR 11 machine guns on 10 June. Which does place them with 4 bID.

 

 

 

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Bryan Kyle

Awesome stuff thanks Jeff.  Then later on, at that point on the front, 3rd/4th August, the NZ 3rd (Rifle) Brigade took over from Australian 3rd  Div, just north of the Douve River. My Grndfather was in 3rd Coy NZ Machine Gun Corps - they were just about always assigned to the 3rd Brigade. Grandad was killed on 7th August, presumably at that point of the frontline, so that would put those German units you mentioned, opposite the NZ 3rd Bridage/ 3 Coy NZMG Corps. Unless of course the Germans moved new units in before the 7th August, which is possible as that part of the front on their side was under pressure from the Kiwis.  My reference on our unit change - p.242, Stewart's "The NZ Division 1916-1919"

 

Thanks again Jeff - I appreciate your efforts - my next big step is to take myself off to National Archives to read the unit diaries (3rd Brig. & 3 Coy, NZMG Corps) & see what they provide.  Always handy to remember, there are 2 sides to any front-line - need the stories from both sides to fill out the picture better, methinks. Cheers & thanks, Bryan.

Edited by Bryan Kyle

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Ghazala

The Road to La Bassée

 

I went across to France again, and walked about the line, 

The trenches have been all filled in - the country's looking fine.

The folks gave me a welcome, and lots to eat and drink,

Saying, 'Allo, Tommee, back again? 'Ow do you do? In ze pink?'

And then I walked about again, and mooched about the line;

You'd never think there'd been a war, the country's looking fine.

But the one thing that amazed me most shocked me, I should say

- There's buses running now from Bethune to La Bassée!

 

I sat at Shrapnel Corner and I tried to take it in,

It all seemed much too quiet, I missed the war-time din.

I felt inclined to bob down quick - Jerry sniper in that trench!

A minnie coming over! God, what a hellish stench!

Then I pulled myself together, and walked on to La Folette -

And the cows were calmly grazing on the front line parapet.

And the kids were playing marbles by the old Estaminet -

Fancy kiddies playing marbles on the road to La Bassée!

 

You'd never think there'd been a war, the country's looking fine -

I had a job in places picking out the old front line.

You'd never think there'd been a war - ah, yet you would, I know,

You can't forget those rows of headstones every mile or so. 

But down by Tunnel Trench I saw a sight that made me start, 

For there, at Tourbieres crossroads - a gaudy ice-cream cart! 

It was hot, and I was dusty, but somehow I couldn't stay -

Ices didn't seem quite decent on the road to La Bassée.

 

Some of the sights seemed more than strange as I kept marching on.

The Somme's a blooming garden, and there are roses in Peronne.

The sight of dear old Arras almost made me give three cheers; 

And there's kiddies now in Plugstreet, and mamselles in Armentiers.

But nothing that I saw out there so seemed to beat the band 

As those buses running smoothly over what was No Man's Land. 

You'd just as soon expect them from the Bank to Mandalay 

As to see those buses running from Bethune to La Bassée.

 

Then I got into a bus myself, and rode for all the way, 

Yes, I rode inside a bus from Bethune to La Bassée. 

Through Beuvry and through Annequin, and then by Cambrin Tower -

The journey used to take four years, but now it's half an hour. 

Four years to half an hour - the best speedup I've met. 

Four years? Aye, longer still for some - they haven't got there yet.

Then up came the conductor chap, 'Vos billets s'il vous plait.'

Fancy asking for your tickets on the road to La Bassée.

 

And I wondered what they'd think of it - those mates of mine who died - 

They never got to La Bassée, though God knows how they tried. 

I thought back to the moments when their number came around, 

And now those buses rattling over sacred, holy ground, 

Yes, I wondered what they'd think of it, those mates of mine who died.

Of those buses rattling over the old pave close beside. 

'Carry on! That's why we died!' I could almost hear them say, 

To keep those buses always running from Bethune to La Bassée!'

 

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Bryan Kyle

La Bassee is not the same as Basse-ville - different location, different battle. 100% sure of that. 

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Bryan Kyle
On 14/02/2019 at 11:31, JeffMcN said:

Hi Bryan

Just had another look at 16 bID in the American reference (See above)

It gives it as consisting:

bIR 11

bIR 14

bIR 21 (not the reserve)

bFAR 3 (not bFAR 8)

The Histories also says that it was transferred from Armentieres to north of Lys in June on account of the menace of the British attack on the Lys, but was not engaged as a whole ' it sent some of its elements southeast of Messines to reinforce the 4th Bavarian Division" (p274).

Though I note the Wkikwand gives the alternative: http://www.wikiwand.com/de/16._Königlich_Bayerische_Infanterie-Division

 

you would have to go to the regimental histories to sort that out!

 

In fact, the German Official History states that bIR 11 were sent to join Gruppe Haasy (primarily a 4 bID group) on 8 June to counter the Australian 3rd Division opposite Ploegsteert Wood. 3rd Australian captured/killed the bIR 11 machine guns on 10 June. Which does place them with 4 bID.

 

 

 

Just checked out the wikiwand reference, Jeff. It appears to be a bit more reliable than the "Histories of the 251 Division" book, at a first glance. I'm guessing that is so because it also uses German sources. Just surmising here. I might be wrong. Thanks for the wikiwand reference. Much appreciated. Cheers, Bryan.

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