Jump to content

Remembered Today:

Mauser Ridge


Nathan Greenfield
 Share

Recommended Posts

Does anyone have a pic or know where I can find one of Mauser Ridge?

I am working on a book on 2nd Ypres, and while I was at Ypres this past November, I took a few pictures which did not come out.

My main question is how steep/difficult was the terrain the Canadians assaulted on 23 April 1915.

Cheers,

Nathan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello,

Pic of the present Vanheulestraat, running over Mauser Ridge, and situated between the Ypres-Pilkem road and the Ypres-Langemark road.

Elevation here is 20-25 mtrs above sea level.

At the right of pic, out of sight was situated Hill 29, where Major Deacon with his party of Manchesters, Connaught Rangers, Sikhs, Baluchis and Pathans held out.

Regards,

Cnock

post-7723-1136582422.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 23/4/1915, the 1ste and 4th Canadian Bn attacked on a widening front from Hill Top Ridge towards Mauser Ridge over the ground shown in picture.

View from Colne Valley, East of Ypres-Pilkem Road.

FOCH Farm is situated in the middle of the picture, TURCO Farm is out of the picture to the left.

Regards,

Cock

post-7723-1136629237.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not that I am from the Rockies or anything, but you can't help but look at these pictures and wonder about the definition of 'ridge'.

Andy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you very much for the pictures.

The question of definition of "Ridge" is important. When I was in Ypres in November, I was struck by the fact that far from being "flat," as most historians say, it is rather undulating. And, that while there are higher points, "ridges" is probably not the best word to describe them.

Since, when speaking of geography, my (Canadian) Oxford English Dictionary defines "ridge" as "a long narrow hilltop, mountain range or watershed," I guess MR is a ridge, but most of us, I think, assume that a ridge is significantly higher than the land in front of it and that there is some kind of natural barrier, perhaps rock outcroppings. MR is only about 30 feet higher than the lowest point to the east; the rise is gentle, which, of course, is only relative when you are under fire and carrying 60 or so pounds on your back. But, it sure is not Missionary Ridge or Cemetary Ridge at Gettysburg.

The fact that the Germans were able to thwart both attacks on MR on 23 April 1915 is, I think, due in large measure to the fact that the artillery was absent from the first attack and fired too soon in the second. The Germans had had time to dig in since they took the ridge on the 22nd, but the Canadians and Brits had both the manpower and tactics to take the ridge--had they only had the fire power working with them.

It is interesting to note that when the Germans attacked on the 24, they attacked on the other side of the Canadian lines. Part of the reason for this, no doubt, was that that is where they had dug in the other gas cannisters. But part, I think, is that they knew that the Canadians and Brits had the range on the terrain in front of Hill Top Ridge and, had they attacked, they would have been facing defenders supported by artillery.

Thanks again,

Nathan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 16 years later...

My Great Great Uncle was in the 4th Canadian Infantry Battalion.  He and his three brothers enlisted in the CEF and thankfully they all survived. 

922197_3.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome

I looked in the Times Official Casualty Lists for H Coppin of the 4th (Central Ontario) Bn but I could not find him. The Times OCL 22/05/1915 names approx 80 wounded of the 4th Bn and the Times OCL 02/06/1915 names another 22 of the 4th Bn. Canadian Officers were named on 24/05 and 03/06 but no mention of Col Birchall or Adjutant Glover.

David Blanchard started a thread about the German Gas Attacks on Hill 60 on 01/05/1915 and I started a thread about the German Gas Attacks on 02/05/1915, in which over 400 Lancashire Fusiliers were gassed over the ground shown in Squares C 15 and C 16 of this map of La Brique (Courtesy TNA WO 95/1496  April 1915 War Diary 1 Rifle Brigade, 11 IB, 4 Div). This map has contours so you can trace the advance of 4 Bn from the photos provided by Cnock.

The second map is also of La Brique but from the August 1915 WD of 16 Infantry Brigade of 6 Div (WO 95/1605). It shows that Foch Farm mentioned by Cnock is the farm in the centre of square C 20 and also where the front lines were. I think what is shown as Canadian Farm in square C 15 is on Mauser Ridge but I might be wrong.

Cheers

Brian

1496.jpg

1605.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank You

I found H. Coppin in the List of Officers and Men serving in the First Canadian Contingent of the British Expeditionary Force, 1914. - Listed as Private H. Coppin  Pg 57(Regl.#11340).

https://archive.org/details/listofofficersme00greauoft/page/n3/mode/2up?view=theater

My Paternal Great Great Uncle was in B Coy,  Earnest Amory, Regl# 10622.  His Mother Phoebe was one of the lucky ones to survive the sinking of the Lusitania and her four sons made it back to Canada too.  

I just searched H. Coppin in the Canadian Libraries and Archives and found this;

https://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?op=pdf&app=CEF&id=B1988-S003

Looks like he moved to the 12th Res Bn and set sail for Canada Oct.15 1915 after being shot in the arm. 

Thanks for the maps and photos. I'm always interested in finding out more. It's great to see all the information out there - Lest We Forget

 

War Diary for the 4th(Central Ontario)Bn has Birchall listed as killed on the 23rd April 1915, 7pm - page 54

https://recherche-collection-search.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/home/record?app=fonandcol&IdNumber=1883210&q=9-52 war diaries 4th Battalion

 

 

 

Press clipping – Lt.-Col. A. P. Birchall is depicted in this illustration at the moment he fell during the charge of the 4th Canadian battalion (2nd battle of Ypres). This picture appeared on the cover of the Winnipeg Evening Tribune on July 20th, 1915, and it is entitled: "Come on, boys! Give it to 'em!". The description reads: "This picture, drawn especially for The Tribune, the New York Herald, and the London Sphere, shows the superb charge of the Fourth Canadian Battalion in face of German shell fire at Ypres. Lieutenant Colonel Birchall, carrying a light cane, in accordance with an old custom, fell dead while cheering his men, who charged onward in response to his last words."

922197_1.jpg

922197_2.jpg

922197_4.jpg

922197_t9.png

p2043820068-4.jpg

Edited by jmans
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I made a profile of the advance of 9th Royal Scots on 23rd April 1915 (p.77 of my book), to the west of the Canadians. You can do this with the contour lines to be found on this map http://maps.nls.uk/view/101464906  

There is also a good panorama in that area, one frame of which is https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205272348 

IWMQ37682.jpg.95a9a12533fda818500c7c8bd4bfad3a.jpg  ©

Turco Farm

John Ewing (The Royal Scots 1914-1919) notes, ‘The ridges were really inconsiderable elevations, but in the low, flat country of Flanders they were of supreme tactical importance.’

Edited by Neill Gilhooley
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Neill

There are two maps of Boesinghe in the July and December 1915 WD of 49 Div HQ General Staff. I have cropped this one from December 1915 to show the contours in more detail as it is 1:10 000 whereas the NLS map is 1:20 000. It shows Hill Top Farm from where the IWM photograph was taken. 

There is also a French or Belgian map in the December WD with the names of farms in English.

Courtesy TNA WO 95/2765.

Brian

2765.jpg

Neill

There are two maps of Boesinghe in the July and December 1915 WD of 49 Div HQ General Staff. I have cropped this one from December 1915 to show the contours in more detail as it is 1:10 000 whereas the NLS map is 1:20 000. It shows Hill Top Farm from where the IWM photograph was taken. 

There is also a French or Belgian map in the December WD with the names of farms in English.

Courtesy TNA WO 95/2765.

Brian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's very good Brian, thank you. They both have 1m contours.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

May I strike a note of cartographic caution. Contours on Great War maps are not very accurate, some were taken from the French 1:80,000 series and transferred or redrawn on later maps but sadly the French levelling was poor. A map may have a 1 metre contour but it may reflect the whims of the draughtsman rather more than we would like. This had a major impact on artillery.

It not obvious but different survey teams produce a map at different times. One for the planimetry and one for the levelling. Both are extremely time consuming so budgets govern the number of times an area is surveyed. Roads change more quickly than hill shape (unless you blow up Hill 60!*) so re-levelling is not likely to be a high priory- it is quicker and easier to take old levelling surveys and re-use them.

Pre war the levelling would have been by spirit levels, in war that is not possible so if you are lucky, the contours came from stereo photogrammetry but the draughting style on the above maps looks reminiscent of the French 1:80,000 so I would not place too heavy a reliance on the contours.

Howard

* ‘Gentlemen, we may not make history tomorrow, but we shall certainly change the geography.’ Attribution uncertain but many claim it was General Charles Harington.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 25/11/2022 at 10:06, Howard said:

May I strike a note of cartographic caution.

Thank you Howard, good gen. I think in this case the errors would have to be significant to make much of a change to a gradual 2% slope, but you are right - we shouldn't shoot to it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...