Under France




 
--
 
November 11th, 2014  
George
 

Topic: Under France


Under France
November 11th, 2014  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by George
Under France
There is certainly some amazing stuff buried out there still to be discovered.
November 12th, 2014  
George
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
There is certainly some amazing stuff buried out there still to be discovered.
Seriously! Never heard of this before!
--
November 12th, 2014  
MontyB
 
 
Really, then maybe this is worth mentioning...

Secret terror weapon of the Somme battle 'discovered'

Unleashed at the start of the Battle of the Somme, it produced a terrifying effect the like of which had never before been seen on a battlefield.




The devastatingly effective flame-thowers were credited with helping the British capture the German trenches with comparatively few losses. Here is one being tested.

By Jasper Copping

8:30AM BST 09 May 2010

From a small, concealed nozzle on the surface, the "weapon of terror" spewed flames over a range of 300 feet. As the nozzle pivoted, the jet raked along the German front line, pouring blazing oil onto the enemy position.

Four of these vast, top secret weapons were assembled in shallow tunnels beneath the mud of no-man's-land to be deployed on the first day of the Somme battle, on July 1 1916.

Two were destroyed by German shells in the build-up to the attack and could not be operated. Two others were deployed on the morning of the assault and were credited with helping the British in those areas to capture the German trenches with comparatively few losses.

But despite their success, their contribution to the ill-fated offensive has been largely forgotten.

Now, however, a team of historians and archaeologists believe they have found the last remaining machine, still buried beneath the mud of northern France.

This week they are to start digging for the device with the hope of removing and preserving it.
Peter Barton, a historian and author involved in the project, said: "The idea was to fill the enemy with terror. It was a weapon, not of mass destruction, but of mass terror, pure and simple. The idea was to force the Germans to keep their heads down long enough for your infantry to cross no-man's-land.
"They were meant to scare the Germans. It didn't kill that many people. The idea was just to make them so frightened of this horrific thing. The effect of the flame was utterly stupendous. Where they were used, the British captured the German lines with very little loss at all."

Built at a factory in Lincoln, the devices were called Livens Large Gallery Flame Projectors, after their inventor, William Howard Livens, an officer in the Royal Engineers.
To the men who operated them, the 56ft long, 2.5 tonne machines were called "Squirts", and "Judgements", by more senior officers.
Of all the experimental weapons deployed in the First World War, including tanks, gas shells and aircraft, few had greater impact on their first use, and yet none have remained so little known or as secret.

They were operated by a crew of eight men from the Royal Engines Special Brigade "Z" company but took 300 men to assemble them underground, each component part being taken into the shallow tunnels, known as "Russian Saps", in sequence. The devices then had to be filled with oil, taken underground in hundreds of cans.
The strange-looking, tubular weapons were only 14 inches wide and worked like a large syringe. A piston was pushed by compressed gas into a long chamber containing the fuel. This was then forced out through the nozzle on the surface, from where the jet of flame was projected.
For all the hours they took to assemble, the devices could only be fired three times, with each blast lasting only ten seconds.

The team involved in the recovery operation, which includes members of Glasgow University's Archaeological Research Division (GUARD), is confident it has located one of the four, at Montagne de Cappy, just south of Mametz, by studying private diaries, trench maps, mine plans, aerial photographs and official accounts of the battle.
They have also conducted geophysical studies of the site, using ground penetrating radar, which have indicated the presence of metallic objects, thought to be the remains of the weapon.

They are to start digging next week and expect the project to last three weeks. While excavating the sap, the team also have to scan for possible unexploded ordnance in the area, and are also mindful of the possibility of finding human remains. The buried Livens projector is thought to be the only remaining machine left in existence.
According to a war diary entry, it was "lost beyond recall" on June 28 two days before the battle commenced when a German shell collapsed the sap onto in.
Another one damaged in shelling was stripped of salvageable parts for spares. The other two, which fired successfully, were later removed.
Although some were provided to the Russians, after the Somme, the weapon was only deployed once more by the British, in 1917 during an offence near Diksmuide, in Belgium.

As part of a television programme, for Channel Four's Time Team and the History Channel, the team are also planning to construct a new Livens Large Gallery Flame Projector, to test the technology and recreate its terrifying impact.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/news...iscovered.html


Excellent documentary on it...




November 12th, 2014  
MontyB
 
 
First World War tunnels to yield their secrets
By Jasper Copping

12:01AM BST 26 Aug 2007


As battle raged across the fields of Flanders, British soldiers found brief respite from the horrors of the First World War in "underground towns" far below the mud and gore. Now, more than 90 years after the armies left and the extraordinary networks of tunnels were flooded, the task of finally revealing their secrets has begun.



The prize, archaeologists and historians believe, is an unprecedented insight into the lives of British troops on the Western Front.



They believe that, because of the absence of light and oxygen in the flooded tunnels, possessions, such as beds, weapons, helmets, clothing and even newspapers, will have been preserved and will be found exactly as they were left in 1918.

After finding the entrances to dozens of miles of tunnels in the countryside near the Belgian town of Ypres, archaeologists and historians last week began extensive surveying work. Robots will then be sent into the tunnels before, eventually, experts from Britain and Belgium hope to pump out the water so that they can venture into the subterranean military towns.



Situated in the middle of the front line between the Germans and the Allied troops, the market town of Ypres was the scene of some of the worst carnage of the First World War. During four years of fighting, the town was almost entirely destroyed and 500,000 soldiers and civilians died in an area of just over nine square miles.


According to the original trench maps, drawn up by British engineers, hospitals, mess rooms, chapels, kitchens, workshops, blacksmiths, as well as rooms where exhausted soldiers could rest, were hewn from the soil, far beneath the water table. Dozens of "fighting tunnels", offshoots which were burrowed under German trenches before being exploded, were also built.
The rooms, connected by corridors measuring 6ft 6in high by 4ft wide, were fitted with water pumps but, when the troops left within weeks of the war ending, they were slowly submerged. Remarkably, during 1917 and 1918, more people lived underground in the Ypres area than reside above ground in the town today.


Peter Barton, a British historian who has been advising the research team, said: "These were basically underground villages and in some of the cases, small towns.
"They haven't been seen since September 1918 when the British attacked and swept the Germans back over this land. Things will be exactly as they were left. This is a unique opportunity. They will be perfectly preserved time capsules.


"The tunnels were left far, far in the rear [as the British soldiers advanced] and within weeks they would have been full of water. So when the Belgians returned, all they would have seen was a little door in a trench full of water."


In recent years, the extensive wartime tunnelling has been the cause of mounting problems for the authorities in Flanders as the timber planks, used to support the labyrinths, began to rot and cave in, causing subsidence.
Dr Tony Pollard, head of Glasgow University's Archaeological Research Division, said: "These are important archaeological sites but they are beginning to subside and collapse. They are becoming a danger to buildings and people so we need to find out more about where they are and how extensive they are."


Initially, experts are concentrating on three locations, and will use scanning equipment to find the main chambers. One network, near the village of Hooge, once housed 1,000 soldiers, while a second, Vampire Dugout, near Zonnebeke, was briefly captured and occupied by the Germans in their last-ditch Spring Offensive in 1918, before being retaken.


The third, Hill 60, which housed up to 3,000 troops, is near Zwarteleen, close to a railway line between Ypres and Menin.
Although some artefacts may eventually be removed from tunnels and handed to the local authorities and on to museums, those in charge of the project - the largest of its kind - intend to leave most in place.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...r-secrets.html


November 14th, 2014  
George
 
Was aware of the man portable flamethrowers, but hadn't heard of these huge ones.
November 14th, 2014  
tetvet
 
Both sides were desperate to brake the trench warfare gridlock flame throwers , Gas , tanks but the real tie breaker was on the way , the American soldier , in slightly less than 6 months it was over .
November 14th, 2014  
MontyB
 
 
Well to be honest the war was really done by 1917 as the Royal Navy's blockade of Germany had crippled its ability to wage war.
November 14th, 2014  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by George
Was aware of the man portable flamethrowers, but hadn't heard of these huge ones.
William Howard Livens was the man who invented it, he was an interesting character and is mentioned in the book "Gas! The Story of the Special Brigade by Charles Faulkes" it is well worth a read.
November 14th, 2014  
tetvet
 
Lafayette we are here have no more fear the Yanks have landed .
 


Similar Topics
Dowding's Costly Blunder in the Battle of France
'Bin Laden' in warning to France after kidnap in Niger
Russia, France locked in Mistral talks
Riots in France offer wake-up call to U.S.
A tribute to France.