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David_Blanchard

Aisne- Chemin des Dames Battle May- June 1918

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ph0ebus

Well done! I look forward to buying a copy.

-Daniel

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David_Blanchard

Thanks Daniel. I hope you can get hold of a copy in the US.

Actually there was more I wanted to add- and had to cut about 6,000 words - but it is still one of the longest Battleground books at 280 pages.

If you follow twitter my user account about the Aisne battle can be found here @foxton44

Regards

David

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Respect2WW1

I think I may have posted in one of these topics before; my Nan's nephew 57344 Pte Thomas Symonds died at (we think) the 3rd Battle of Aisne on 27th May 1918, aged 19. he was in the 3rd Bat Worcestershire reg. He was originally buried at Jonchery Survesle cemetery but then re-interred at Chambrecy British Cemetery in Marne. I don't have any photos of him in the army or any further info. His 2 brothers were also fighting in WW1 - Walter and William, all from Kiddington in Oxfordshire. The older brothers made in home, although William was wounded in the leg by a fellow soldier discharging his rifle while cleaning it (for which he was court-marshalled). I will be doing a battlefield tour next year and visiting his grave - the first and only relative ever to have visited it, so I am honoured and humbled. Any info welcomed!

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StephenJohnRoberts1958

This is an absolutely fascinating thread of posts and very useful for me. I am researching a Hoylake man for his current relations. His name was Arthur Haskins G/42993 2/Middlesex. I am assuming he was a conscript. It looks as though he had not volunteered earlier in the war due to having a family and being responsible for a sports shop. It is interesting to note that such soldiers are largely forgotten about in the popular imagination, even though they were capable of being just as brave and effective as their more talked about counterparts in the New Armies and even though they died in such great numbers in 1918.

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Guest
On 02/05/2006 at 20:59, David_Blanchard said:

Aisne Battle 27th May - 6th June 1918: Divisions and Regiments

 

149th Brigade: Brigadier General E P A Riddell (Wounded)

Head-Quarters: Centre d'Evreux

4th Northumberland Fusiliers: Lieutenant Colonel B D Gibson (KIA)

Head-Quarters: Centre Marceau

Soldiers Died: 63

Officers Died: 8

Captain J M Benson Lieut Col B D Gibson Lieut W S Jones Captain D T Turner (30th May) 2/ Lieut A E Morris 2/Lieut J E Farwell (30th May) 2/Lieut R H Smallwood 2/Lieut H R Tully ( In Soldiers Died but not in CWGC) (Photographs of all in 'When the Lantern of Hope Burned Low' by Rev R Wifrid Callin, C F)

Officers POW: 14

 

 

Morning David. A small point but wasn't Smallwood a full Lieutenant by May 1918, Medal Roll (think promoted March 1917?)

 

Mike

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charlie2

Has the total number of British PoWs taken during this period ever been established? I only seem to be able to find the total number of casualties.

 

Charlie

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Alex Helstrip

Hello. I am planning on visiting the Battlefield site next year on the centenary (27th May 2018) particularly the area around Berry au Bac and I wondered if anyone out there might be able to offer any advice on where to go and what there is to see. I am particularly interested in the movements of the 2nd Battallion the Rifle Brigade.

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charlesmessenger

Alex

 

Get David Blanchard's Aisne 1918, one of Pen & Swords's Battleground series. It will tel you everything you want to know and more.

 

Charles M 

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Alex Helstrip

Hello. Thank you for your reply and your tip. I 've read through this blog and Mr Blanchard intimated in one of his posts that he had to leave a lot out of his book in order to satisfy the requirements of the publisher. I wonder if there was much that pertained to the 2nd Battalion The Rifle Brigade. I wonder too if there will be anyone doing guided trips of the battlefield. Unlikely I know 

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charlesmessenger

Alex

 

2 RB is well covered in the book. There is even a sketch map showing how it was deployed when the Germans attacked.

 

Charles M

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David_Blanchard

Sorry I have been away from this thread for so long - latest news:

 

I will be giving the first in a series of talks this year- the centenary of the Aisne Battle of May 1918- next Wednesday 21st February:

7.45 p.m. at the Kingswood Community Association, High St., Kingswood, Bristol BS15 4AB.  

The title of the talk: ‘The Aisne Again- the essence of Blitzkrieg?’ 

I expect most people I know in the south ( and Wales) will be able to attend. Don’t worry my friends in the North I have a number of dates scheduled for later in the year.

B9711A84-6DA5-4C4C-80EC-84A9995691EA.jpeg

Hopefully I will be able to answer any questions people may have about the battle.

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David_Blanchard
On 14/02/2017 at 08:01, Skipman said:

 

Morning David. A small point but wasn't Smallwood a full Lieutenant by May 1918, Medal Roll (think promoted March 1917?)

 

Mike

 Hi Mike,

Sorry it’s taken so long to answer- you are probably right about Smallwood- the information I had came from Wilfred Callin’s ‘When The Lantern of Hope burned Low’

 

David 

Edited by David_Blanchard

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Guest

Hi David. Excellent book that has helped me understand Lieutenant Smallwood's part in the battle more than any other and thanks for that.

 

Mike

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David_Blanchard

Hi Mike,  

 

just wondered why you are so interested in Smallwood?

 

David

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Guest

Morning David. He is one of the names on my local Memorial at Aberfeldy. He was the grandson of a local woolen manufacturer.

 

Mike

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PJS

Hi All,

 

I have a very specific question about a location related to the 3rd Battle of the Aisne.  My Grandfather was in A company of the 1/Sherwood Foresters and was captured sometime during the 1st day, (May 27, 1918). I have his International Red Cross papers and the location is listed as "Miety Wood".  I also found two other 1/Sherwood Foresters listed by the IRC as being taken prisoner at "Miety Wood" on that day. Unfortunately, the Internet seems to have never heard of such a place and I can find no such place listed on any map, including the 1918 trench maps that I have found. Current theory is that it may actually be "Miette Wood" (based on the proximity of the Miette Valley) - but there's no sign of a Miette Wood either.

 

I created a new thread for this question which can be found below:

If anyone has any input, it would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thank You

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Guest

You can check this list and see if there's anything like it Click

 

Mike

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PJS

Thank you very much for the link. Very interesting idea that it could have been a trench name. I certainly would never have come up with that. Unfortunately, no hits.

 

I just posted some more information in the original topic thread noted above.

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David_Blanchard

This French sketch map of the area around La Pecherie shows the main woods of the area- there is a Bois de la Mine

986786C3-E51D-4493-B9B2-E2999DEBAC4C.jpeg

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CROONAERT
2 hours ago, David_Blanchard said:

This French sketch map of the area around La Pecherie shows the main woods of the area- there is a Bois de la Mine ...

 

 

... which also shows (unnamed) the bois de la Miette ...

 

Dave

1.jpg

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CROONAERT

...

Le Cholera Aug 1915 sketch.jpg

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David_Blanchard

Excellent Dave, thanks for finding this! If you could also find PC Wagram in the Bois des Buttes I would be extremely grateful.

 

David

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PJS

That is truly outstanding! Thank you so much for taking the time to dig those maps out. Both of you.

 

So, it appears that we can now place at least three 1/Sherwood Foresters North of the Aisne on 27 May, 1918. Since one of them was my Grandad, I am very interested to try to piece together a timeline and narrative of what might have happened to them between 4:30 am (when the Battalion war diary says they were ordered up the line) and the time they were captured in Miety Wood (aka Bois de la Miette).

 

Battalion War Diary:
"ROUCY May 27th, 1 am: Enemy barrage opened, VENTELAY neighbourhood & transport lines gassed. About 4:30 am Battalion ordered forward to AISNE line."

 

The narrative in the war diary starts at 6:15 am and goes into some detail about what happened South of the Aisne but there's no mention of anyone crossing. One thing it does show is that it took them about 45 minutes to march from ROUCY to the river South of La Pecherie.  So, it seems to me that the first group of Sherwoods "could" have reached the Aisne as early as 5:30 am.

 

David B's (excellent) book says that they were "... ordered to move from near Roucy to occupy a position to the South of 25 Brigade Headquarters, ...".  Where exactly was 25 Brigade Headquarters at 5:30 am?  And what happened there, and when? 
 

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PJS

I thought that I would try to answer my own questions above about the 3 men from the 1/Sherwoods, each from different Companies (A Coy., D Coy. & HQ), picked up at “Miety Wood”, North of the Aisne on May 27, 1918.  So, I am concerned primarily with what happened North of the Aisne before 8am and specifically what may have happened, and when, in the MIETTE valley around LA CHOLERA farm.

The Map below is from Headquarters Branches and Services: General Staff War Diary and shows the 8th Division troop locations at 1am on May 27.

8th-Div-Positions-27-May-1918-II.PNG.97b7ee4930986abc3bd2693acfb6d446.PNG

 

Just to make this a little more personal, below is a photo of Pvt. Arthur Slater (#205455) in Oct 1917 when he was still attached to the 1/9th Manchester Regiment.  He enlisted on October 17, 1914 when he was 18 years old and fought in Gallipoli (where he was wounded) and Egypt.  In March 1917 he fought on the Western Front until he was seriously wounded in July 1917, and spent time in hospital in England and then Wales. On April 4, 1918 he was shipped back to France and was immediately transferred to the 1st Notts & Derby Regiment (1/Sherwood Foresters).  He turned 22, on May 9, 1918 (the day before the 1/Sherwoods arrived at ROUCY) and by this time was an experienced, battle hardened infantry soldier.

 

 

Arthur-Slater-Wounded-Stripes-1917.png.d8abf144469674018df23b13b0ae657c.png

 

I thought that I might be able to build up a corroborative timeline during the early morning of May 27th, North of the Aisne by tracking the blowing up of bridges and the overrunning of Artillery positions. So here goes …

The Bridge Map below is from Headquarters Branches and Services: Commander Royal Engineers War Diary; AISNE and Canal times are from Headquarters Branches and Services: General Staff War Diary. MIETTE bridge times are from Headquarters Branches and Services: Commander Royal Engineers War Diary.

Bridge-Map.PNG.ac354084ac9dd3e413b764d025bfa3ee.PNG

 

Does anyone know what the “bis” and “ter” designations after the bridge numbers mean?

 

 

 

45th Bde Artillery (approximate) positions and times they were abandoned or overrun are from the 45 Brigade Royal Field Artillery War Diary. 

5ab68a810ccc3_La-Pecherie-1918-45th-RFA.PNG.6f17adcba86839966ae340cbc8847c60.PNG

 

[The war diary for May 13th says, "18pdr Bty positions were on N. edges of BOIS CLAUSARDE & BOIS MARTEAU. 57th Battery took over unoccupied position  on S. edge of BOIS DES BOCHES. Bde HQ was established on the BOIS DES BUTTES in close touch with 23rd Inf. Bde". The narrative later says that the 1st Bie. location was in BOIS DE MINES]

Any comments on the locations and/or times above?

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bierast

My German Great-Grandfather spent about two years in this sector, from October 1914 to approximately October 1916 (the 23. Infanterie-Division was sent to the Somme piecemeal). Back then it was generally regarded as 'quiet', with the biggest operation in that period being the storming of the so-called 'Berg von La Ville aux Bois' (the "heights" of the Bois des Buttes) on 10th March 1916. Since this minor diversionary operation for Verdun was the first action of note by the premier Saxon division (containing both of the royal Grenadier regiments and the elite Schützen-Regiment 108) since the Battle of the Marne it received a great deal of attention from the Saxon media and became a popular subject for postcards.

 

Sector map from the regimental history of Schützen-Regiment Nr.108:

 

LVAB_3.jpg.cdbb017d176b49e9c8bb772d0647ebd2.jpg

 

The assault of 10th March 1916:

 

LVAB_1.jpg.62b31cf19750d4ed50e292c3b900898a.jpg

 

LVAB_2.jpg.6e9fe706530d0037743a6fa2ed4c26be.jpg

 

Ruins of La-Ville-aux-Bois and the Bois des Buttes in Spring 1916 (after the above battle):

 

LVAB_4.jpg.0fe8c75f0318704b7ceb9df3ecc2f7b1.jpg

 

My Great-Grandfather Arno Bierast as a Kriegsfreiwilliger-Gefreiter with 3. Batterie / Feldartillerie-Regiment 48, in front of the chateau in La-Ville-aux-Bois in Spring 1915. There was an extensive trench system dug through the streets of the village, which already lay in ruins at this time.

 

FAR48_Arno_LVABSchlossLaufg.jpg.73a7c70c56b70e8fd52a5b50f0a24dab.jpg

 

I have a lot more photos of this sector - the Saxons were there for a long time, and constructed the bulk of the defensive system which other units would subsequently hold against the Nivelle Offensive of 1917.

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