Leipzig Salient

The Leipzig Salient was a German defensive position built in 1915 on the Somme in France, during the First World War, opposite the village of Authuille which contained the Leipzig Redoubt on its west face. The position was to the south-west of the later Thiepval Memorial, north-east of the La Boisselle–Authuille and Thiepval–Aveluy crossroads. The German front line bulged around a quarry, which the Germans fortified and enclosed with Hindenburg Trench, which had been dug further back across the chord 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.

On the First day on the Somme (1 July 1916), the Leipzig Salient was attacked by the 1/17th Highland Light Infantry (17th HLI) of the 32nd Division. The battalion crept forward at 7.23 a.m., ready to rush the German defences as soon as the British barrage lifted at 7:30 a.m. The Scots advanced to a until 30–40 yards (27–37 m) short of the German front line, rushed forward to the redoubt when the barrage lifted and caught the German garrison while they were sheltering in their dugouts in the quarry at the centre of the redoubt. The 17th HLI then pressed on to the next objective but were forced back to the Leipzig Redoubt, where they consolidated with help from troops of the 2nd King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

The 17th HLI were joined at the redoubt by parties of the 11th Border Regiment, 1st Dorset Regiment and the 19th Lancashire Fusiliers (3rd Salford Pals) during the day and the 17th HLI were withdrawn overnight. British and German attacks at the salient continued during July, when the Reserve Army divisions north of the Albert–Bapaume road reverted to trench warfare, in which the 32nd, 25th and 49th divisions occupied Leipzig Redoubt in turn during the rest of the month. The X Corps divisions were to push forward to improve their positions and to prevent the Germans from withdrawing troops for operations against the Fourth Army to the south. Both sides made costly attacks but could rarely consolidate gains before being forced out by counter-attacks. Intermittent operations at the Leipzig Salient continued as part of the Battle of Pozières (23 July – 3 September) and the Battle of Thiepval Ridge (26–28 September), when the Thiepval Spur was captured by the 18th (Eastern) Division.[1]

References / notes

  1. Leipzig Salient. Wikipedia: The free ecyclopedia. Accessed 20 April, 2017.

Glossary of words and phrases

The above term is listed in our glossary of words and phrases of the Armed Forces of Great Britain during the Great War. Included are trench slang, service terms, expressions in everyday use, nicknames, the titles and origins of British and Commonwealth Regiments, and warfare in general. These words and phrases are contemporary to the war, which is reflected in the language used. They have been transcribed from three primary sources (see Contents). Feel free to expand upon and improve this content.
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