Author Topic: "A Last Stand". The 2nd Manchesters at Beaumont Hamel 18.11.16.  (Read 16064 times)

Offline mack

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Re: "A Last Stand". The 2nd Manchesters at Beaumont Hamel 18.11.16.
« Reply #30 on: December 28, 2014, 11:46:12 AM »
with regards to the 60 wounded in serre trench,i have details of 37 men from B.coy,33 from C.coy and 18 from D.coy and 6 from A.coy,who were all taken prisoner,most of them wounded,i only have info on 5 men from A.coy who were prisoners,its very likely that the wounded men in serre trench were a mixture of these companies.

mack ;D
« Last Edit: November 06, 2021, 01:33:38 PM by mack »

timberman

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Re: "A Last Stand". The 2nd Manchesters at Beaumont Hamel 18.11.16.
« Reply #31 on: December 28, 2014, 04:34:11 PM »
Thanks for posting Mack.

Philip have you seen this?

http://www.redtwo.plus.com/nml/p_serre.htm

and this on the BBC web site

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwone/wilfred_owen_gallery.shtml

Timberman

Offline PhilipG

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Re: "A Last Stand". The 2nd Manchesters at Beaumont Hamel 18.11.16.
« Reply #32 on: December 29, 2014, 05:50:07 PM »
Timberman,

Thank you for drawing my attention to those two pieces which I had not previously seen.  They brought back many memories of visits to the area in years past. Regards. PhilipG.

Offline mack

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Re: "A Last Stand". The 2nd Manchesters at Beaumont Hamel 18.11.16.
« Reply #33 on: January 03, 2015, 12:56:43 AM »
the men who made the stand,were captain gwythers men,they had advanced along serre trench as far as the village,but in the mist,they had failed to spot a large german dugout,from which the germans emerged,cutting off the men,they were quickly surrounded but refused to surrender and all were killed,they were later found grouped together.

pte 41560 harry waterhouse of B.coy[captain rayners men]
in a letter to his parents,he told them that he was ok and said he was a POW,he went on to say that he was taken prisoner with a lot of his company on 18th November.

Lt Davidson was in command of D.coy.he and most of his men were captured

A.coy were in three places at the time,20 men were in support of D.coy,others had been sent to find more bombs and the rest were manning the front trench.

that just leaves C.coy.

mack ;D




Offline PhilipG

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Re: "A Last Stand". The 2nd Manchesters at Beaumont Hamel 18.11.16.
« Reply #34 on: January 03, 2015, 01:02:26 PM »
To Mack,

Such tenacity, which I find is of such great help to me in my research into the affairs of the Regiment. Thanks.

To Timberman,

In the "digging" photograph and on the horizon in the clump of trees, I can see the location of La Signy Farm, where in accommodation beneath the house and farmyard, 2 platoons of "B" Coy. of the 2nd Mcrs. were retained as reserves on 12th January 1917.  (To the left of the photograph, of course, is Serre Road No. 2 Cemetery).

In the "Hibberd" piece, I am sure you will have noticed the brooch that Susan Owen is wearing as being a replica of the Artists' Rifles regimental badge.  Regards to both. PhilipG.





Offline PhilipG

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Re: "A Last Stand". The 2nd Manchesters at Beaumont Hamel 18.11.16.
« Reply #35 on: January 04, 2015, 12:02:50 PM »
Timberman,

Your reference to the "diggings" prompted me to look at my photograph of the site.  I see that for safety reasons a "windsock" had been erected in case a gas shell was found to be leaking.  Some years ago, some soldiers who had volunteered to reduce the vegetation on the Butte de Warlencourt told me that they had blemishes on their arms and hands which the officer in charge attributed to traces of gas in the soil they had been removing.  The former battlefields can be very dangerous!  Regards, PhilipG.

timberman

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Re: "A Last Stand". The 2nd Manchesters at Beaumont Hamel 18.11.16.
« Reply #36 on: January 04, 2015, 09:03:28 PM »
I can remember our trip in 2010 to the Somme
and seeing live shells that were left on the side of
the road by the farmers for later collection (I hope)
Also the building work being carried out
and thinking God help them when digging out the
footings.
Just walking through the fields and finding bits of shell casings
and shot ect.

I always thought GSW meant just that shot by a Gun!!!!
not a shell with loads of shot packed into it that exploded
in the air.

Never to old to learn :)

Timberman

Offline PhilipG

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Re: "A Last Stand". The 2nd Manchesters at Beaumont Hamel 18.11.16.
« Reply #37 on: January 06, 2015, 12:41:28 PM »
Timberman,

I can have no objection to professionals carrying out excavations on the battlefields, but over the years I have seen amateurs with metal detector devices search the ground for "souvenirs" e.g at Neuve Chapelle and the Loos battlefield.  A discovery of a gold ring on display with the letters "NZ" thereon, suggests to me that a soldier's grave had been defiled.  As regards the discovery of cap badges  (Loos battlefield),their finding I suspect cannot always be the result of ploughing.   But I must admit that some years ago near Bottom Wood on the road to Contalmaison (of 12th Mcrs. fame), I was called to the edge of a field where a French farmworker presented me with a tunic button he had just found whilst hoeing. Again, I have a shell nose cap picked up at Manchester Hill, so perhaps I should not be critical of others!  PhilipG.

Offline mack

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Re: "A Last Stand". The 2nd Manchesters at Beaumont Hamel 18.11.16.
« Reply #38 on: November 06, 2021, 01:31:38 AM »
the men who made the stand,were captain gwythers men,they had advanced along serre trench as far as the village,but in the mist,they had failed to spot a large german dugout,from which the germans emerged,cutting off the men,they were quickly surrounded but refused to surrender and all were killed,they were later found grouped together.

pte 41560 harry waterhouse of B.coy[captain rayners men]
in a letter to his parents,he told them that he was ok and said he was a POW,he went on to say that he was taken prisoner with a lot of his company on 18th November.

Lt Davidson was in command of D.coy.he and most of his men were captured

A.coy were in three places at the time,20 men were in support of D.coy,others had been sent to find more bombs and the rest were manning the front trench.

that just leaves C.coy.

mack ;D




2/Lt babbage was a platoon commander in C.coy

mack

Offline charlie

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Re: "A Last Stand". The 2nd Manchesters at Beaumont Hamel 18.11.16.
« Reply #39 on: November 25, 2021, 11:37:38 AM »
It be of interest to read how the actions were seen from the other side, taken from the history of Infanterie Regiment 185.
Lager Alley = Soden Graben
Ten Tree Alley = L7
Munich/Serre Trench = Landwehrstellung
White Trench/Pendant Alley west = Serre Riegel
Walter Trench = Tübingerstellung

18th November.
Around 0645, the artillery fire swells to the heaviest drum fire. About an hour later, the British attacked with strong forces west and southwest of Serre. After initial successes, the attack was repulsed with heavy enemy losses. In the positions occupied by parts of IR 185, the attack proceeded as follows.
South of L9 (2nd Bn IR121, No. 11 Coy IR185, as well as remnants and scattered remains of various exhausted units) Following immediately behind the barrage, the first English wave succeeded in breaking through the position of No.11 Coy IR185 and 2nd Bn Reserve Infanterie Regiment 121, which had large gaps in its defence. The alarmed trench garrison counterattack the occupied positions, with Lt. Scheid, Lt. Lill, Vizefeldwebel Streibel (all No.11 Coy IR185) and Unteroffizier Schuhmann (RIR 121) distinguishing themselves, and block the entire section. The attack collapses there with heavy losses of men and material to the enemy. The English who had broken through south of the Sodengraben were attacked and captured by parts of the No.9 Coy IR185 (Lt Behm) at the point of the bayonet. The remainder (about two companies strong) is entrenched unnoticed in a second trench behind the position of 2nd Bn RIR121, which is equipped with good dugouts and unknown to the current occupants of the German position (the so-called English nest; it is only discovered and dealt with after a few days; see below).

In Feste Soden (from where the 2nd Bn IR23 withdrew on the evening of the 17th without being relieved; occuppied by parts of No7 Coy IR62, four MGs of IR185, in addition to some completely  apathetic scattered troops) the enemy penetrates from L9 with strong forces and pushes northwards energetically on both sides of the trench and in it overrunning a large number of dugouts. Vicefeldwebel Nothstein (MG Coy IR185) with three MGs and a covering group of the 3rd Bn IR185 counterattacked in time, brought the attack to a halt at close range and held down in a hard fight against the MG equipted English in shellholes.  Alerted to the situation by the return transport of prisoners through L9, Lt Scheid with parts of the trench garrison (mainly No.11 Coy IR185) intervenes in the fight from the south, at the same time No.10 Coy IR185 from the east, as a result of which the English (still about one company strong) are encircled and surrender, so that the German prisoners are liberated.

Further north, the British, advancing through the Serre Valley, overran the Tübingen position, occupied the Landwehr position north of the Serreriegel and are then on the right flank of 1st Bn IR185. The right flank platoon of the 1st Bn which had been badly battered by artillery fire in the Landwehr trench, is taken by surprise at about 8 o'clock in the morning. The British were, however, noticed by the machine gun posts in the next dugout and were taken under effective fire. It was not until later, after 9 a.m., when the weather cleared, that it became clear that the Landwehr position was in British hands and was constantly being reinforced. Lt Krüger (Adjutant 1st Bn IR185) immediately mustered the forces available on the right flank of the battalion (3/4 of No.1 Coy, Platoon Reichert of the No.3 Coy with a machine gun) for the counterattack and stormed the position with them under cover from the machine gun on their right flank. The enemy leaves about 70 prisoners and four machine guns in the hands of the 1st Bn in the melee, the rest flood back, pursued by No.1, 1/4 No.2 and 1/4 No.3 Coys IR185, who occupy the Tübingen position. The remnants of the No.2 and No.3 and No.4 Coys IR185 occupy the Landwehr position (until then occupied by only one MG). At the instigation of 1st Bn IR185, IR 169 in whose section the 1st Bn is now fighting, occupies the Serreriegel which had only been held by 3 MGs, with No.6 Coy IR173 at 1pm. In addition Nos. 6 and 7 Coys IR169, called up from Puisieux, occupy the Serreriegel.

At dusk 2nd Bn IR185, which had been alerted in Achiet-le-Petit, arrives in the Serreriegel with Nos, 5,6,and 7 Coys plus three MGs, and relieves Nos 6 and 7 Coys IR169 in the eastern part and occupies the trench north of Serreriegel with No. 7 Coy. No.8 Coy arrives later. At the request of IR 169, the 1st Bn relieves them during the night and moves again with three companies into the Serreriegel, with HQ and one company in the Schlüsselgraben, while the 2nd Bn. with initially two companies and 2 MGs moves into the unoccupied Landwehrgraben south of the Serreriegel up to L7.

Offline charlie

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Re: "A Last Stand". The 2nd Manchesters at Beaumont Hamel 18.11.16.
« Reply #40 on: November 25, 2021, 11:42:03 AM »
19 November. By 6 a.m., the 1st Bn had moved into the Serreriegel. In response to the report of the insufficient occupation of the position, the 2nd Bn occupied the Landwehrgraben and Feste Soden up to L9 by 9 a.m. with the HQ, four companies and two machine guns, while No.8 Company cleared some dugouts of hidden Englishmen. At 6.30 a.m. the regimental HQ moved into the command post at the southern exit of Puissieux and at 10.00 a.m. took over the section of the line held by IR23 (south-west corner of Serre to Schmittgraben). A line of riflemen advancing during the afternoon against the position south of the Beaumont Trench was repulsed. In the evening the reserve MG Detachment (4 MGs) arrives at "Abandoned Battalion 54", two MGs are brought forward to the Schlüsselgraben as regimental reserve the next morning.

20 November. At night the following are reliefs take place: Rittmeister Osterriet's subsection (recruit trench to war minister's trench), manned by No7 Coy IR 62, No.2 Coy RIR121 with an MG, by the 1st Bn IR185 (without the MG Detachment., which only relieves on the 21st), subsection 2nd Bn RIR121, manned by No.6 Coy IR121, No.16 Coy RIR99, No.9 Coy RIR121 and No2 MG Coy RIR121 by the 3rd Bn together with its MG Detachment.  2nd Bn IR185 extends northwards to the edge of the village of Serre (No.7 Coy IR173 in the Serreriegel and No.7 Coy RIR65 in the Landwehr trench are tactically subordinated to it). Regimental HQ moves to Schlüsselgraben command post at 9am. In the evening a musket squad of four muskets arrives, two of which move into the Gralsburgsappe and two to the 2nd Bn in the Landwehrgraben.

21 November. Increased readiness due to dense fog. In the afternoon, unsuccessful attack by the British against the neighbouring section on the right with associated increased artillery activity.

22 November. 6 a.m. 1st Bn IR 15 (Hauptmann Forstner) arrives at the Serreriegel as brigade reserve. In the afternoon an English attack is nipped in the bud by an Artillery barrage.

23 November. 3 a.m. No.6 Coy IR173 in the Serreriegel is relieved by No.2 Coy RIR15. At 6 a.m. heavy artillery fire begins. The "English nest" is discovered. From 4:30 in the afternoon, the enemy laid down a barrage on the Serregraben up to the Ancre, which was followed by a strong attack at 5:15 in the evening. In front of Feste Soden it collapsed in machine-gun and infantry rifle fire; south of the Beaumontgraben the attack was immediately smothered in an artillery barrage and infantry rifle fire. In contrast, in the area of the No.11 Coy, the enemy benefiting from a covered approach succeeded in breaking in and surprising parts of the company in its dugouts. Immediate counterattacks from the north (No.9 Coy) and south (No.12 Coy) cleared the trench section in a bloody melee and freed the prisoners. Those of the enemy who got beyond the trench, as well as the parts flooding back, perished in the infantry and flanking machine-gun fire.

In the south, the enemy advances into the old trench sections up to the Gralsburgsappe and is repulsed twice by the garrison using hand grenades. The waves advancing against Kriegsministergraben (1st Bn IR 25) are taken under devastating flanking machine gun fire. 6:20 in the evening, the fire subsided; the attack was completely defeated with extremely bloody losses for the enemy. A platoon of No.6 Coy IR185 moves to Feste Soden as reinforcements.

24 November. Very weak artillery activity. In the evening No.5 Coy is billeted in the western part of Serre. The 3 MGs of IR169 with the 2nd Bn are withdrawn, The 1st and 3rd Bns are reinforced by one MG each from the reserve detachment. At night the enemy digs-in in front of the 1st Bn.

The English Nest episode. This episode shows how difficult the fighting conditions are in a monotonous, hourly changing shellhole terrain, in which trenches and dugouts are no longer recognisable and orientation is therefore extremely difficult. The British, who had broken through on the 18th, were about two companies strong and had taken up unnoticed positions in good dugouts, unknown to the regiment, about 300 metres behind the front German line. They initially remained hidden during the day and intercepted individual people passing by until they were discovered on the 23rd by a patrol of No.12 Coy searching the area for scattered Englishmen. They even succeeded in making contact with their troops through the front German line, the contact being maintained by air, after which the futile attack to free them took place on the 23rd. After the discovery of the "nest", the 2nd Bn immediately took steps to eliminate it, but without knowing its real strength. Thus, on the 24th, a 13 man patrol from No. 12 Coy under Lt Geppert succeeded in reaching a dugout and capturing a machine gun, but had to retire due to losses caused by the stronger forces.. An attack in the afternoon failed when No.10 Coy IR 25, which was also involved, got lost. No.5 Coy IR185 also failed on the morning of the 25th.

25 November. In the meantime, the British have become weary and no longer offer any resistance to the attack vigorously undertaken in the afternoon by assault troops of Nos. 7, 9, 11 and 12 Coys IR185. 4 officers and about 160 men with a machine gun, who could have done great damage if they had taken the necessary initiative (e.g. in the attack on the 23rd), surrender; 10 German prisoners are freed as a result. The Supreme Army Command used this occasion to honour the regiment for its deeds by mentioning it in the Army Despatch of 26 November.



Offline Timberman

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Re: "A Last Stand". The 2nd Manchesters at Beaumont Hamel 18.11.16.
« Reply #41 on: November 25, 2021, 10:27:32 PM »
 
 Charlie
 Thanks for posting.
 Any thing involving the 2nd Bn is of great interest to me.

 Timberman