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#4408397 - 03/02/18 02:32 AM Re: OT - visit to the front UPDATED WITH BERTANGLES 28/2 [Re: Raine]  
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Deej, did you get farther north along the front? This was a bit of a bucket list trip. My son is a history teacher and a great First War buff. I played tour guide for the air war stuff and he played tour guide for everything else.

#4408813 - 03/04/18 12:12 PM Re: OT - visit to the front UPDATED 1/3 WITH VERT GALANT AND CANDAS [Re: Raine]  
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L'Etoile du Nord
.

Raine, a giant sincere "Thank You" for sharing all these photos and info from you're fantastic trip. Makes me want to get back over there again so very much. I can't quite believe that it's been 40 years since I was tramping around England and Europe. Where the hell does time go?!

.

#4409019 - 03/05/18 07:32 PM Re: OT - visit to the front UPDATED 1/3 WITH VERT GALANT AND CANDAS [Re: Raine]  
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Filescamp Farm

After watching Robert's progress with his excellent Izel / Filescamp mod, and after researching Filescamp for my DiD campaign stories, I was very excited to see the place. Really very little has changed over the past century. Fielscamp is still a working farm (I'd love to know if it's owned by the descendants of M. Titus, so we weren't able to go traipsing around the fellow's fields, but these shots show as much as I could see.

[Linked Image]
Key to the photos below

[Linked Image]
Fig.1: The turnoff in the village of Izel-les-Hameaux onto Rue de Filescamps.

[Linked Image]
Fig 2: Filescamp Farm viewed from the embankment beside Rue de Filescamps, a slighly sunken lane, looking ENE.

[Linked Image]
Fig 3: Looking north along the tree line at the western edge of Filescamp Farm. This is the location of the row of Bessoneau hangars. There were huts flanking the northwestern edge of the farm at the top end of this slight rise. The orchard is no longer as full as described in 1917. It, too, would have been at the top of this rise, right of the tree line. Or perhaps Mother Nature has simply turned down the tree density for a better frame rate. None of the trees at left were there during the war. That area was all airfield.

[Linked Image]
Fig 4: Looking into the farm today. Unfortunately, the oldest buildings can't be seen clearly from the road because of the more recent outbuildings. We speculated whether the shed in the foreground is a repurposed wartime Nissen, but I think it's probably in far too decent shape for that.

[Linked Image]
Fig 5: Looking east along the field north of the farm (The trees at left are the farm perimeter). Here you see clearly that the field had a distinct hump north of the farm (the contour lines on wartime maps show a clear rise here).

Next posts: Doulens, Duisan Cemetery, Albert, the Somme (Pt 1)





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#4409037 - 03/05/18 08:52 PM Re: OT - visit to the front UPDATED 1/3 WITH VERT GALANT AND CANDAS [Re: Raine]  
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Raine;

Much delighted to see your pics of Filescamp, and the accompanying map makes it easy to relate the photos. Thanks mate!

It is interesting to note your comments below photo #5 about the distinct hump of land. Interestingly this is also evident in the Filescamp mod I built for WOFF. I guess my position was bang on or I just got lucky on that one.


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#4409051 - 03/05/18 09:33 PM Re: OT - visit to the front UPDATED 5/3 WITH FILESCAMP FARM [Re: Raine]  
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Raine Offline
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Robert,

After flying from Filescamp with your mod, I felt right at home there! notworthy pilot

#4409055 - 03/05/18 09:41 PM Re: OT - visit to the front UPDATED 5/3 WITH FILESCAMP FARM [Re: Raine]  
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Thanks for the acknowledge Raine. There are some aspects I would still like to Polish but that will be in a later update.


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#4410245 - 03/12/18 05:27 PM Re: OT - visit to the front UPDATED 5/3 WITH FILESCAMP FARM [Re: Raine]  
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Raine Offline
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Vimy and Doullens

After leaving Filescamp, we drove to Arras with brief stops at a CWGC cemetery at Duisan. We had planned to visit the Wellington tunnels, but time was running out so we headed straight to Vimy instead, as both the Vimy Memorial site and the Wellington tunnels closed at five o'clock.

[Linked Image]
The Vimy memorial, designed by Canadian sculptor / architect Walter Seymour Allward, is built from limestone brought from a Roman-era quarry in Croatia. The names of 11,285 Canadian soldiers who were killed in France and whose final resting place is unknown are carved around its base. The memorial was built between 1925 and 1936.

[Linked Image]
The figure of "Canada Bereft", one of a number of large sculptures on the memorial, was carved from a single 30-tonne block. She looks east over the Douai Plain.


[Linked Image]
One of the young Canadian guides at Vimy realised that my son and I were real history buffs (the poor girl asked me what I thought of Bishop's claims and got a 20 minute dissertation on statistics in response). She graciously said that since the weather was cold and it was late in the day, they could probably release her to give us a much more detailed tour than normal. This shot is taken in the tunnels under the ridge that were built to allow the first waves to emerge close to the German lines. The tunnels have, however, been greatly enlarged and sanitised for visitors, and do not give a real picture of what they were like in 1917.

[Linked Image]
On our return to Amiens from Vimy, we paused in Doullens. This is the town hall, where on 26 March 1918, French and British commanders met to coordinate their defence against the German spring offensive. General Foch emerged as the choice for supreme commander, and this appointment was confirmed shortly afterwards.

Next up: Somme Pt 1.

Attached Files 20180213_151923.jpg20180213_161758.jpg20180213_162146.jpg20180213_171956.jpg
Last edited by Raine; 03/12/18 05:50 PM.
#4410267 - 03/12/18 08:04 PM Re: OT - visit to the front UPDATED 5/3 WITH FILESCAMP FARM [Re: Raine]  
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Raine, thanks again for sharing your pictures and experiences. I suspect that you and your son are considered valuable assets now to the tour guide!!


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#4410285 - 03/12/18 09:40 PM Re: OT - visit to the front UPDATED 5/3 WITH FILESCAMP FARM [Re: Raine]  
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High over the Front
Indeed. Many thanks!
This thread would go along nicely with Olhams old threads he did about various historical locations using Google maps and Street View.

#4410286 - 03/12/18 09:53 PM Re: OT - visit to the front UPDATED 5/3 WITH FILESCAMP FARM [Re: Raine]  
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Hey Raine.

Isn’t that whole area very solemn!! My wife and I were there last June and I was totally blown away at the Vimy monument, trenches, tunnels-the whole area really. We had gone Ypres first and went to the Menin Gate; my great uncle served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force and was KIA 03/1916 near St. Eloi. I located his name on the monument. Anyhow glad you made it there to visit and share your experiences. Very nice pics too! Cheers!

#4410586 - 03/14/18 11:56 PM Re: OT - visit to the front UPDATED 12/3 WITH VIMY AND DOULLENS [Re: Raine]  
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Raine Offline
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Lochnagar Crater, Posieres

Our first stop on the Somme battlefield was Lochnagar Crater, near the village of La Boisselle, just a kilometre or two SW of Posieres, on the Albert-Bapaume road. On 1 July 1916, it fell to III Corps of the BEF to advance NE in line with the Albert-Bapaume road and seize La Boisselle. The village sits on a low spur with shallow valleys to the west and east ( called Mash valley and Sausage valley respectively). The Germans fortified the village heavily, and their front line trenches ran SE of Boisselle across Sausage Valley to Fricourt Farm and Fricourt Spur, flanking the British advance. Across the Albert-Bapaume road, the German lines ran due north through the fortified hamlet of Ovillers across the road, and continued towards Thiepval.

At 0730 on 1 July, the attack began with the advance of the 34th Division along Fricourt Spur. Although they enjoyed some initial success, heavy enfilade fire from La Boiselle and the German trenches in Sausage Valley stalled the lead units. Facing La Boiselle, the attacking brigades had a wide area to cross to reach the enemy lines. Just southwest of La Boisselle, a German strongpoint called the Schwabenhoehe commanded the open ground. But since the preceding November, tunneling companies of the Royal Engineers had been mining for nearly 300 metres across the valley and had placed 30 tons of ammonal below the Schwabenhoehe. At 0728 the mine was sprung, creating a crater 70-90 meters (300 ft) across on the interior and 20 metres (66 ft) deep. Heavy fighting ensued around the lips of the crater, inside of which an entire company of German defenders had perished. Prior to Messines, this was the largest man-made explosion in history.

If you've read Cecil Lewis's Sagittarius Rising, you'll recall his description of the explosion of this mine and the "Y Sap" mine, another giant mine on the opposite side of La Boisselle: "We were over Thiepval and turned south to watch the mines. As we sailed down above all, came the final moment. Zero! At Boisselle the earth heaved and flashed, a tremendous and magnificent column rose up into the sky. There was an ear-splitting roar, drowning all the guns, flinging the machine sideways in the repercussing air. The earthly column rose, higher and higher to almost four thousand feet. There it hung, or seemed to hang, for a moment in the air, like a silhouette of some great cypress tree, then fell away in a widening cone of dust and debris. A moment later came the second mine. Again the roar, the upflung machine, the strange gaunt silhouette invading the sky. Then the dust cleared and we saw the two white eyes of the craters. The barrage had lifted to the second-line trenches, the infantry were over the top, the attack had begun."

By day's end, III Corps had suffered 11000 casualties. La Boiselle was still held by the Germans.

[Linked Image]
The Cathedral of Albert with its famous golden Madonna and Child, so well modelled in WOFF

[Linked Image]
Lochnagar Crater

[Linked Image]
Looking east from Lochnagar Crater to Fricourt Spur. In the Somme area, lighter soil is an indicator of former trench lines, in this case German. The underlying chalk disturbed by digging still whitewashes the surrounding clay.

[Linked Image]
A model tank on the Tank Corps monument about 700 m NE of Posieres on the Albert-Bapaume road. This is where, on 15 September 1916, tanks first went into action. In 1944, this model tank was accidentally hit by a US fighter which was strafing a German column on the road. The hole (and bullet) are visible in this picture.

[Linked Image]
The Tank Corps Monument

[Linked Image]
Across from the Tank Corps Monument on the north side of the road is the Australian War Memorial, commemorating the many losses they suffered in capturing Posieres on 23 July 1916. The Australian attack came under enfilading fire from a German strongpoint around Posieres Windmill. The windmill, smashed by artillery, was not captured until 5 August 1916. This view of the remains of the windmill is adjacent to the Australian Memorial.



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#4410588 - 03/15/18 12:08 AM Re: OT - visit to the front UPDATED 12/3 WITH VIMY AND DOULLENS [Re: Raine]  
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Brilliant! Thanks for sharing Raine.


"Take the cylinder out of my kidneys,
The connecting rod out of my brain, my brain,
From out of my arse take the camshaft,
And assemble the engine again."
#4410589 - 03/15/18 12:10 AM Re: OT - visit to the front UPDATED 12/3 WITH VIMY AND DOULLENS [Re: Raine]  
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Thanks for sharing Raine. The overcast day you took the photos does add to the somber scene. Can't begin to imagine what it would have looked and felt like for Lewis when he observed the explosive moment. His description can't truly convey the experience.


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#4412673 - 03/25/18 06:25 AM Re: OT - visit to the front [Re: Raine]  
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FL
Originally Posted by Raine
Le Caillou, north of Genappe and south of the field of Waterloo. 17 June 1815

The day after Quatre Bras saw the allies trudging north in an apocalyptic downpour, the Prussians falling back on Wavre and ineffectively pursued by a third of Napoleon's army under Marshal Grouchy, which the Anglo-Dutch forces withdrew to Mont-St-Jean, a ridge astride the Brussels road just south of the village of Waterloo. The British fought a gallant rear guard action all day, with cavalry clashes and dashing horse artillery action holding back the French pursuit.

Napoleon made his headquarters on the night of 17 June 1815 at the farmhouse of Le Caillou, just north of the village of Genappe and several kilometres south of the Mont-St-Jean field. At breakfast on the 18th he met his commanders, laid a carpet over the breakfast tables and spread his maps, and then spelled out his plans to destroy Wellington's army and seize Brussels. Cautioned by Marshal Reille, Marshal Soult, and others who had faced Wellington in Spain and Portugal, he snapped ""Wellington is a bad general, the English are bad troops, and this affair is nothing more than eating breakfast."

[Linked Image]
Le Caillou, Napoleon's last headquarters

[Linked Image]
The tables where Napoleon ate breakfast and where he laid out his maps to brief his generals on the morning of Waterloo

[Linked Image]
The orchard of Le Caillou, where the Foot Guards of the Imperial Guard, the Emperor's personal guard, spent the night before Waterloo in driving rain.

More to follow next week -- don't worry, after Waterloo comes the Western Front!

Awesome! Napoleonic era is another favorite period of mine. I even have a Napoleon Total war campaign waiting for me to come back at some point lol. Just too hooked on Woff atm.=)

#4412674 - 03/25/18 06:29 AM Re: OT - visit to the front [Re: Raine]  
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Awesome pics!

#4413209 - 03/28/18 12:42 AM Re: OT - visit to the front UPDATED 14/3 WITH LOCHNAGAR CRATER AND POSIERES [Re: Raine]  
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Montauban, Thiepal, Bertincourt-Vélu aerodrome

[Linked Image]
The road from Carnoy to Montauban on the south flank of the 1 July 1916 push. These are the fields over which my grandfather's regiment advanced that day. I have a piece of shrapnel picked up here on my desk. The objectives were taken in this sector due to the effective and concentrated fire plan and the good support received from the French on the right flank.

[Linked Image]
The British Memorial to the Missing at Thiepval, inscribed with the names of 72,085 soldiers with no known grave. On 1 July 1916, British X Corp advanced here into uncut wire and the fire of 30 machine guns -- with predictable results.

[Linked Image]
Remnants of a German OP and the Ulster Memorial, just north of Thiepval. The memorial tower is built on the site of the Schwaben Reboubt, eventually taken by the 36th (Ulster) Division. I picked up a rusty section of German barbed wire a few feet from this place.

[Linked Image]
Site of Bertincourt-Vélu aerodrome, where Jasta 2 was founded under Boelke on 10 August 1916, Von Richthofen reported here when he joined the unit at the beginning of September. We are looking south towards the village of Bertincourt where the pilots were billeted

[Linked Image]
The aerodrome was to the right of this road on the near side of the woods. We are now looking in the opposite direction from the previous shot, north towards the village of Vélu, just out of sight over the far ridge.

[Linked Image]
This shot is taken from the field close to where I stood for the previous photo, but looking 45 degrees to the right (i.e. northeast). As you can see, the ground sloped down to the road. Although hangars and sheds were built all along the tree line, the main flying field was on the high ground to the right.



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#4413214 - 03/28/18 01:27 AM Re: OT - visit to the front UPDATED 14/3 WITH LOCHNAGAR CRATER AND POSIERES [Re: Raine]  
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Thanks again Raine. Great pictures. It’s like being there, when reading your descriptions.


"Take the cylinder out of my kidneys,
The connecting rod out of my brain, my brain,
From out of my arse take the camshaft,
And assemble the engine again."
#4413261 - 03/28/18 11:49 AM Re: OT - visit to the front UPDATED 14/3 WITH LOCHNAGAR CRATER AND POSIERES [Re: Raine]  
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Raine fantastic experience you had! I really appreciate your sharing the photos.


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#4413267 - 03/28/18 12:17 PM Re: OT - visit to the front UPDATED 14/3 WITH LOCHNAGAR CRATER AND POSIERES [Re: Raine]  
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Thanks a lot for this fantastic tours and your explanations, Raine.

#4413565 - 03/29/18 07:48 PM Re: OT - visit to the front UPDATED 27/3 WITH MONTAUBAN AND THIEPVAL (SOMME) AND BERTINCOURT-VELU AERODROME [Re: Raine]  
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Beaumont-Hamel

Beaumont-Hamel holds a special place in the soul of Newfoundlanders. Newfoundland was a British colony in 1916, and did not join Canada until 1949. The Newfoundland Regiment, now the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, was part of the British 29th Division at the Somme. On 1 July 1916, its 800 men were part of a third wave. After the first two waves HQ were confused and thought the German front line trenches were at least partially taken. They therefore released the 1 Nfld and 1 Essex battalions. The communications trenches from the Newfoundlanders' second-line trench to the British front-line trenches were clogged with dead and wounded and under intense bombardment, so the men had to advance an extra 200 metres above ground just to reach their jumping-off point. The objectives were a further 500 m. The land here is flanked by higher ground on both sides and the German machine-gunners had excellent enfilading positions.

Eight hundred Newfoundlanders began the advance on the morning of 1 June 1916. That night, only 68 men answered the roll call. Few made it to the objective, being pinned down well short. Later in the day an officer of the KOSBs (from the first wave) gathered about 40 men from the shellholes and pushed up to the objective, but could not hold it.

[Linked Image]
The caribou is the regimental symbol. This is one of five identical statues that mark battle sites of the Newfoundland Regiment. A sixth identical bronze statue can be seen in St. John's, NL. When I saw it there I was told that the St. John's statue is facing east to Beaumont-Hamel, where an identical statue faces west to Newfoundland. Romantic, but false. The Beaumont-Hamel statue fittingly faces east towards the objective. The base of the statue is covered in rocks and plants from Newfoundland.

[Linked Image]
Looking east to the objective from a position close to the British front-line trenches. The German lines were close to the cemetery in the distance.

[Linked Image]
Not far from the start line stood a small and shattered plum tree where, for the most part, the attack faltered amidst uncut wire and intense machine gun fire. The men christened it the "Danger Tree." The original tree did not survive. This is a replica.

Next posts: Ypres salient


Attached Files 20180214_161814.jpg20180214_162116.jpg20180214_162308.jpg
Last edited by Raine; 03/29/18 07:59 PM.
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