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Tomb1302

Maps and Documentation of the Battle of Amiens | 1918

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Tomb1302
Posted (edited)

Hello everyone,

 

I posted a similar thread some time ago, but have just gotten back to writing my story (Historical Fiction) that follows a young French soldier as he marches to the frontline prior to the Battle of Amiens, meeting a British Tank Gunner and a fellow French medic from a different battalion.

 

I do want to, for clarification, emphasize that 'Historical Fiction' to me means a 'fictional' account of completely true events, emotions, and people.

 

I wanted to know if anyone knew where I could access maps or visual documentations of the different armies and their organization near Amiens; Preferably anything that meets the 'plot' criteria.

 

Any help would be really appreciated, thank you.

Edited by Tomb1302

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Tomb1302

Is anyone able to point me in the right direction?

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HenryTheGerman

Dear Tomb1302

In general, the members of the forum are focusing on facts, not on fiction. Fiction contributes to historical misinterpretation or even to distortions. I am personally very sensitive regarding fictional history. Not only facts but also the spirit of the time ("Zeitgeist") can be inappropiately reproduced by fictional storytelling.

Let me tell you that my great uncle lost his young life in the Battle of Amiens. Near to Harbonniéres he had been cut down by British cavalry because he denied to surrender to his superior enemies. I spent much efforts and research work in order to retrace the details of his fighting and of his death. With the help of the fellow forum members and other helpful people and institutions I studied facts, facts and facts. - Please understand that I am afraid of coming across fictional literature that might fail to meet the seriousness to the topic and may not treat the fate of so many thousand casualities of both parties with respect and seriousness.

I have some maps and many war diaries of German Units as well, as of British Units. I also collected much literature. I am willing to share informations with you. Perhaps this will be contributing to a more fact-oriented fictional storytelling.

You are welcome to send me a PM.

 

Kind regards

 

Henry

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Tomb1302
39 minutes ago, HenryTheGerman said:

Dear Tomb1302

In general, the members of the forum are focusing on facts, not on fiction. Fiction contributes to historical misinterpretation or even to distortions. I am personally very sensitive regarding fictional history. Not only facts but also the spirit of the time ("Zeitgeist") can be inappropiately reproduced by fictional storytelling.

Let me tell you that my great uncle lost his young life in the Battle of Amiens. Near to Harbonniéres he had been cut down by British cavalry because he denied to surrender to his superior enemies. I spent much efforts and research work in order to retrace the details of his fighting and of his death. With the help of the fellow forum members and other helpful people and institutions I studied facts, facts and facts. - Please understand that I am afraid of coming across fictional literature that might fail to meet the seriousness to the topic and may not treat the fate of so many thousand casualities of both parties with respect and seriousness.

I have some maps and many war diaries of German Units as well, as of British Units. I also collected much literature. I am willing to share informations with you. Perhaps this will be contributing to a more fact-oriented fictional storytelling.

You are welcome to send me a PM.

 

Kind regards

 

Henry

@HenryTheGerman,

 

Thank you for your concern, but you misunderstand. I have lost relatives during the First World War, and have had family die liberating my country from occupation during WWII. I don't intend to do anything more than apply documentation and research into a piece that expresses the emotions of the war for the purpose to educate.

 

I think you misunderstood my use of 'Historical Fiction'. I will make up characters, but have them experience, to the best of my ability, the war as it happened, no different to the colorization of footage by Peter Jackson in 'They Shall Not Grow Old'.

 

If you better understand what I'm trying to achieve, or have any questions let me know, but, I would seriously appreciate the access to those maps to continue my piece, and finish it with the idea in mind that it is a the Great-Great-Grandson of the men who died during this war passionately retelling what his ancestors would have experienced.

 

Thank you.

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Tomb1302
55 minutes ago, HenryTheGerman said:

Perhaps this will be contributing to a more fact-oriented fictional storytelling. 

This is, exactly why I made this thread I shall add. I don't intend to write a First World War story without having every fact correct.

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Ron Clifton

The boundary between the British and French armies was the road leading roughly eastwards from Amiens to Roye. There is a semi-official account of the Battle of Amiens which has been republished by Naval & Military Press, which may be easier and cheaper for you than "1918 Volume IV" of the British Official History.

 

The father of a friend of mine was a tank commander with the Canadian Corps, attacking just north of the road to Roye. The Australian Corps were to the north, and the British 3rd Corps beyond it, protecting the left flank of the attack. Nearly 400 British tanks took part on 8th August but by 12th August, only six were still in full fighting condition.

 

Air cover for the attacks was provided by the fledgling Royal Air Force, including squadrons commanded by three men who were to rise to higher ranks in WW2 - Sholto Douglas, Keith Park and Trafford Leigh-Mallory.

 

Ron

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Tomb1302
Just now, Ron Clifton said:

The boundary between the British and French armies was the road leading roughly eastwards from Amiens to Roye. There is a semi-official account of the Battle of Amiens which has been republished by Naval & Military Press, which may be easier and cheaper for you than "1918 Volume IV" of the British Official History.

 

The father of a friend of mine was a tank commander with the Canadian Corps, attacking just north of the road to Roye. The Australian Corps were to the north, and the British 3rd Corps beyond it, protecting the left flank of the attack. Nearly 400 British tanks took part on 8th August but by 12th August, only six were still in full fighting condition.

 

Air cover for the attacks was provided by the fledgling Royal Air Force, including squadrons commanded by three men who were to rise to higher ranks in WW2 - Sholto Douglas, Keith Park and Trafford Leigh-Mallory.

 

Ron

Ron, this is key information. I very much appreciate the input - I'll look into that particular 'zone'.

 

Thank you.

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Ron Clifton

Here are some notes I made about my friend's father's involvement at Amiens:

"On 1 April 1918 he crossed from Folkestone to Boulogne, joining the Tank Corps Reserve Depot on 6 April, and on 18 May he was officially posted to 1st Battalion, Tank Corps at Frechencourt, having actually joined them on the previous day. The Battalion was equipped with Mark V* tanks, a lengthened version capable of "lifting" infantry, but otherwise of the usual "diamond" shape. In addition to its own crew of eight, with one 6-pounder gun and five machine guns, the tank could carry fourteen infantrymen, with three extra machine guns, into action.

He was wounded on 8 August 1918 (the exact nature of the wound is not specified) but remained on duty with his battalion, i.e. he was treated by the battalion medical officer, and not transferred to a medical unit.

The battalion War Diary does not mention him by name, except on his joining in May, but the list of decorations for the month of September 1918 contains his name as having been awarded the MC. This would have been an "immediate award", given by the Commander-in-Chief (Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig) under delegated powers, although the official notification in the London Gazette did not appear until November 1918. However, because of its mention of his wound, it is possible to confirm that he was awarded the MC for his actions on 8 August 1918, and in particular between noon and 9 p.m. that day. This was the first day of the Battle of Amiens, the beginning of the "Hundred Days" of continuous Allied successes which led to the German capitulation on 11 November.

London Gazette 1918 page 13131 (7 November 1918):
His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the following awards to the under-mentioned Officers and Warrant Officers in recgnition of their gallantry and devotion to duty in the Field:-
.  .  .
Awarded the Military Cross:
.  .  .
(page 13148)
Temporary Second Lieutenant William Robert George BURFIELD, Tank Corps.
For conspicuous gallantry when in command of a Tank, which was carrying infantry. After three direct hits, the infantry officer being killed, he got his crew and the infantry out of the Tank and formed several strong points with his machine guns. He then returned to the Tank and fired the six-pounder gun, until he was wounded and the Tank in danger of falling into the enemy's hands, whereupon he blew it up and went back to the machine gun posts. His courage was a fine example to all."

 

Moreuil was on the objective line for capture on 8th August, but owing to strong German artillery resistance it was the only objective not taken on that day. However, it was taken by 9 a.m. on the following day.

 

Ron

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Tomb1302
2 minutes ago, Ron Clifton said:

Here are some notes I made about my friend's father's involvement at Amiens:

"On 1 April 1918 he crossed from Folkestone to Boulogne, joining the Tank Corps Reserve Depot on 6 April, and on 18 May he was officially posted to 1st Battalion, Tank Corps at Frechencourt, having actually joined them on the previous day. The Battalion was equipped with Mark V* tanks, a lengthened version capable of "lifting" infantry, but otherwise of the usual "diamond" shape. In addition to its own crew of eight, with one 6-pounder gun and five machine guns, the tank could carry fourteen infantrymen, with three extra machine guns, into action.

He was wounded on 8 August 1918 (the exact nature of the wound is not specified) but remained on duty with his battalion, i.e. he was treated by the battalion medical officer, and not transferred to a medical unit.

The battalion War Diary does not mention him by name, except on his joining in May, but the list of decorations for the month of September 1918 contains his name as having been awarded the MC. This would have been an "immediate award", given by the Commander-in-Chief (Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig) under delegated powers, although the official notification in the London Gazette did not appear until November 1918. However, because of its mention of his wound, it is possible to confirm that he was awarded the MC for his actions on 8 August 1918, and in particular between noon and 9 p.m. that day. This was the first day of the Battle of Amiens, the beginning of the "Hundred Days" of continuous Allied successes which led to the German capitulation on 11 November.

London Gazette 1918 page 13131 (7 November 1918):
His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the following awards to the under-mentioned Officers and Warrant Officers in recgnition of their gallantry and devotion to duty in the Field:-
.  .  .
Awarded the Military Cross:
.  .  .
(page 13148)
Temporary Second Lieutenant William Robert George BURFIELD, Tank Corps.
For conspicuous gallantry when in command of a Tank, which was carrying infantry. After three direct hits, the infantry officer being killed, he got his crew and the infantry out of the Tank and formed several strong points with his machine guns. He then returned to the Tank and fired the six-pounder gun, until he was wounded and the Tank in danger of falling into the enemy's hands, whereupon he blew it up and went back to the machine gun posts. His courage was a fine example to all."

 

Moreuil was on the objective line for capture on 8th August, but owing to strong German artillery resistance it was the only objective not taken on that day. However, it was taken by 9 a.m. on the following day.

 

Ron

Incredible account, thank you Ron. You've helped enormously.

 

Thank you.

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JohnC

I have a German map from the period 9/10/11 August. It shows the position of some German units of the Alpenkorps and 79th Reserve Division, in the Rosieres area, at the junction of British and French sectors. If This would be useful to you, I will send photos.

Regards,

John

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DarrellDuthie

As someone who has gone this path before I would suggest first beginning with reading a good basic history of the battle to orientate yourself. Only then zoom into details/maps, etc. as the story requires. Without knowing the gist of the battle it's pretty tough to fashion a story around it. It surprises me a little your story involves no Canadians (the central thrust of the attack, and on the French left) or Australians (just left of the Canadians)!?

Good luck!

Darrell 

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Tomb1302
6 hours ago, JohnC said:

I have a German map from the period 9/10/11 August. It shows the position of some German units of the Alpenkorps and 79th Reserve Division, in the Rosieres area, at the junction of British and French sectors. If This would be useful to you, I will send photos.

Regards,

John

That would be lovely John.

 

Thank you.

 

52 minutes ago, DarrellDuthie said:

As someone who has gone this path before I would suggest first beginning with reading a good basic history of the battle to orientate yourself. Only then zoom into details/maps, etc. as the story requires. Without knowing the gist of the battle it's pretty tough to fashion a story around it. It surprises me a little your story involves no Canadians (the central thrust of the attack, and on the French left) or Australians (just left of the Canadians)!?

Good luck!

Darrell  

Darrell,

 

I am in the earliest stages of the brainstorming. THat is a loose plot I'd like to follow, but, anything is subject to change, and, I may very well incorporate the Canadians!

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ChelseaVic99

The Canadians and Australians together were the "pointy end" of the spear on August 8th.

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JohnC

German map Sheet 21 Mondidier Ost. Scale 1:50,000. Shows the area of the battlefield around Damery. The boundary between Canadian and French armies was the diagonal road from north-west to south-east through Bouchoir. The hand drawn markings relate to the 38th Division, 121st Division, 79th Reserve Division and Alpenkorps. The front lines on 7th and 8th August are shown in red. If I am reading the map correctly it seems that German units were holding out behind the front line, along the road, on 9th/10th August. This could be checked against their war diaries, if available. I think this map was not marked in 'real time' but very soon after as a situation summary by somebody who was there, or very close.

John

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Tomb1302

John,

 

Thank you so much!

 

This is fantastic information, and I really appreciate you taking the time to share!

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