In reply to your letter, un-numbered of even date requesting information re German trenches etc.,
|(i)||The German Front Line trench was 12 feet deep & 3 ft wide at the bottom, sloping upwards. There was no parapet at all, but a very high parados - 3 or 4 feet in height - immediately behind the fire trench.
There were no fire steps at all. The wire in front of the German trench is very thick, from 2 to 3 feet high, thinner at the bottom than at the top, & comes to within 3 feet of the edge of the trench.
Trenches revetted with basket work & floor-boarded. The traverses were very wide.
No information is available re the Second Line, Reserve & Communication trenches.
|(ii)||Dug Outs: One Dug-out was noted. This was deep & of a type similar to those in MONK trench. It had about 18 steps & would accommodate 8 men.
The Dugout was run out under the parapet & was just at the corner & close to a traverse. The man who saw this states that there was a notice up with the following in English characters:-
"M.G. No 1. POST."
He is quite positive about this.
The Dug-out was not damaged by our fire.
|(iii)||Machine Guns:- Machine guns were fired both from emplacements & from behind parados. One emplacement in particular, was noted to be situated in a parados. The parados was hollowed out & a mound raised behind it, so as to conceal the emplacement - as per sketch on following page:-
This gun caused a great number of casualties & was situated in the German Front Line just to the South of MARK Copse.
|(iv)||No information available, except that the Front Line was thickly held, about one man per yard. [Although no underground tunnels were actually seen leading to the Front Line it is suspected that these exist, owing to large numbers of the enemy, apparently appearing from nowhere, in the Front Line.]|
|(v)||In some parts of the line the enemy scrambled out at the back of their trench & got over the parados, proceeding to throw bombs over at our men, as they were held up beyond the wire.
In one part as many as 60 Germans got over the parados in this manner & were shot down by our men standing up in front of the wire.
The Dugout previously referred to was occupied by 8 men.
White Lights were seen to be sent up from the Front line trench as soon as the attack had started.
The enemy was seen to form chains of men & pass bombs along to points at which they were required.
Douglas C. Allen Capt.
12. S. Bn. York & Lancs. Regt.
Crown copyright: The National Archives. This document may be copied and downloaded for personal and research use only. You must apply to The National Archives for permission for any other use.