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Remembered Today:

Help needed with map of German regiment


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Hi there

I am researching an aspect of the Battle of Morval, 25 September 1916 and I would be very grateful if someone could assist me, please.

I am interested in the defence put up by Reserve Infantry Regiment (RIR) 236, part of 51 Res. Div. on this day. I have read the relevant war diaries of the (British) 95 Brigade, 5th Division. and also the regimental history of RIR 236, which is useful up to a point. The information missing is the location, ie disposition of  RIR 236's companies/battalions when they were attacked that day, principally by the 1/East Surreys, 95 Brigade.

I know that RIR 236 was placed between Morval and Combles, but I would like to know the positions of each company, if possible. This information is often shown on German maps contained in the regimental histories. Sadly, the history of RIR  has no maps. 

I attach two maps which I hope will explain what I'm after. The first map shows the general disposition of the British 5th Division, including the 95 Brigade. I'm speculating that the RIR 236 was defending the Birken Riegel and Mince/Meat Trenches (part of the Gallwitz Riegel), in square 16. (Both maps come from NLS, 1/20,000,  57c SW, Sept. 1916).

The second map is a magnification of part of the first one. As part of attacking their first objective  the 1/East Surreys advanced up Lemco Trench Ie n-e), to its junction with Mince Trench. Intense German fire forced them to turn right up Liebig Trench. They finally fought their way through to Mince Trench, but their progress up Lemco and Leibig Trenches cost the Surreys over 150 casualties. The rest of the day was less fraught and by close of play the Division was encamped to the east of Morval.

So - I hope the above explains the situation and I hope it was not too tedious.

Summarising, the RIR 236 history says they had four companies, the equivalent of one battalion, holding the front line that day, the 1,9, 11 & 12/236. Knowing exactly where they were, would help me to understand how they coped with the attack of the East Surreys, before they were finally overwhelmed. I would be very pleased to hear from anyone who has a map showing the disposition of the RIR's companies that day or who has other information which would help.

Thanks - Bill

(ps - Lemco Trench was part of the German trench called the Birken Riegel, which (I think) joined Bouleaux Wood to the Gallwitz Riegel/Mince Trench).

IMG_1161 - Copy.jpg

IMG_1162 - Copy 1.2 mb.jpg

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Have you followed the sequence of reliefs starting on page 219 of the history of RIR236? The locations seem reasonably accurate.  

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Hi Charlie

Thank you very much for your helpful reply and sorry for the delay in replying. I had been hard at work re-reading pages 219-226 . This helped with the disposition of the RIR 236 before the attack of  the 95th Brigade and especially the East Surreys, on 25/9/16.

There was a sentence on page 221 about the strength of three companies  of I/236 entering the front line on 22/9 with 'about 80 rifles each.' That was about 1/3rd of their original strength! They did well to put up any sort of defence that day.

Thanks again for your help. If you were to  come across any relevant maps for RIR 236, I'd like to see them.

Cheers - Bill

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