The Leipzig Redoubt, also known as the Granatloch was a German defensive post located in the disused chalk quarry at the western end of the Leipzig Salient. It formed part of the defences at this location and was held strongly with machine gun posts. The German front line here bulged around the quarry, which the Germans had fortified with fearsome skill and enclosed it along with the Hindenburg Trench, dug in a short distance behind, but still a part of, the salient. The Wundtwerk Redoubt (Wonderwork to the British) lay further back on a reverse slope. Nab Valley lay on the east side, Thiepval was to the north, with the fortified Mouquet Farm and the village of Pozières to the north-west. It had a clear view of the land that sloped downhill towards the British front line, which is why it was seen as an otherwise important and strategic vantage point.
Today, the immediate area doesn't resemble its former self during the bitter conflicts that took place here during the First World War; land was farmed before and after the war but the constant fighting and shelling changed the landscape forever. Inside the redoubt trees and other plant growth portray a featureless quarry, but in its day this whole area would have looked very different. Before the week-long British bombardment that commenced on 24 June 1916 the defences would have been intact and impressive to look at, as seen at the Leipzig Redoubt. Afterwards, the land looked almost unrecognizable with trench systems partly destroyed (the bombardment did not have the full effect the British Generals wanted) and others completely obliterated.
The track seen in the top right photo is the track that runs from Authuille Wood to Thiepval. The Lonsdales that survived the machine gun fire upon leaving the relative safety of Authuille Wood were leaderless moments later but some managed to reach the Granatloch with men from Highland Light Infantry and take hold of this position and keep it. Other sectors did not have the same success.
References / notes
- Leipzig Salient. Wikipedia: The free encyclopedia. Accessed 21 April, 2017.
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