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bogesy

Trench Map Inquiry

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bogesy

   

A bit of a stab in the dark, but here goes:

 

I have a question regarding a trench map I have, and am wondering if anyone on this forum can enlighten me. It's a very large scale (1:1,250) trench map of the German trenches North of Hamel, in 57DSE1, Q17b (see images 1 and 2). I’m sure that’s the location, because I got it along with a sketch map of the British trenches immediately opposite, in 57DSE1, Q17c and d (image 3), and I have also checked the map against the regular series trench map for 57DSE1&2 (image 4). So I’m certain of the location.

 

What I’m trying to figure out is the inscription, since I’d like to know more about the map’s history of use. It reads: "A Battalion," "Secret," and "ABW 17th Inf: Bde." Does anyone have any idea what “ABW” can mean? I've no idea, and doubt the map was used by the 17th Infantry Brigade, since the 17th seems never to have served on this part of the line (and it’s a colon, not a period, that comes after “Inf” in the inscription, so I think “Brigade” is actually separate from “17th Inf”). I know the Royal Naval Division assaulted in this exact area in November, 1916—can ABW have some meaning in that connection? Could “A Battalion” refer to the Anson Battalion? I also know the 116th Brigade attacked here in September, 1916. Basically, I’m trying to figure out who used the map, and in what action, and I know that if anyone can help me, it would be someone on this forum… Thanks in advance for any guidance anyone can give. 

 

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brianmorris547

I think it can only be 117 Infantry Brigade of 39 Div in a raid on 03/09/1916. The Assault Battalions were 16 Rifle Brigade and 17 Notts and Derby. There are maps in the WD of 39 Div HQ General Staff (Ancestry p524 - 527/839) which confirm your maps are in the right area i.e.Q 17 b.

In the WD of 117 Infantry Brigade see Op Orders 50,51 and 52 and timetables starting on p 211/444. Maps on p 237 and 238. There are also reports of the action by the Brigadier.

Further info in the WDs of the two Units.

As for ABW there are references in the papers to Assaulting Battalions and Waves

Brian

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bogesy

Dear Brian--

Thank you very much for this response. I will definitely check the WD for the 117th. This would mean that there was just a misprint on the map, and where it says 17th they meant to say 117th, which I can easily believe. Your suggestion for ABW is particularly helpful: "assaulting battalion," and "wave." Perhaps it is the answer, after all... Many thanks for this,

          --Josh

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