In March 1917 a portion of the German army strategically withdrew behind a prepared defensive position known as the Siegfriedstellung or Hindenburg Line. This 90 mile long fortification had been constructed from late 1916. Devastation of the vacated land was designed to hamper the Allied advance.
Details of these defences around the town of St. Quentin became known to the Allies through captured German maps of February 1917. This valuable information was overprinted onto these Ordnance Survey maps one year later.
By that time, Allied attacks at Bullecourt and Cambrai had failed to break the Hindenburg line. The captured information explained why. It showed strong defences: primary and secondary infantry lines. Ovals marked the barrage areas, red shaded areas the focus of field artillery, and the positions of field guns, howitzers, anti-aircraft and naval guns.
- Article by:
- David Stevenson
- The war machine
With focus on shipping, rail, road and manpower, Professor David Stevenson explores the logistics behind the management and supply of army resources in World War One and considers what impact this had on the war’s outcome.
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A fascinating and unique insight into the planning and organisation of military campaigns, featuring over a hundred maps and charts.
Combining cutting edge scholarship with vivid and unfamiliar eyewitness accounts, from kings and generals, and ordinary soldiers, this is a pioneering and comprehensive account of the First World War.