Dorset Wood - Tripsrath

Discussion in 'WW2 Battlefields Today' started by Jonathan Ball, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Would anyone know if remains of British slit trenches still exist within the fringes of Dorset Wood, near Tripsrath just to the north of Geilenkirchen?
    I know from the book Battle for the Roer Triangle : Operation Blackcock, January 1945 by Gootzen and Connor that a number of them were ploughed up in around 2005 but I'm curious if any still remain to this day?

    Any photos , maps etc would be of the greatest help.

    Thanks
    JB
     
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  2. Philip Reinders

    Philip Reinders Very Senior Member

    When I visit the location they were still there.
     
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  3. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Thanks, Philip. That's really good and interesting to hear. Have you any photographs from your visit?
     
  4. Philip Reinders

    Philip Reinders Very Senior Member

    Must have them somewhere, will try to find them.
     
  5. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Again, thanks Philip. How long ago did you visit the wood?
     
  6. Philip Reinders

    Philip Reinders Very Senior Member

    I think it was 201, when ding research for my 4th Dorset book.
     
  7. raydartec

    raydartec New Member

    Hello,

    I'n a new member and I'm very familiar with the Location because until I moved to Niederbusch, this is where the 43rd Wessex Division enterd Germany, I used to live in Niederheid, which is next to the Dorset Woods. During the next days I will have a look and see what might be left over. In the last years there were a lot of tree cutting operation in that wood and the heavy tractors messed up the ground, I will check anyway.

    Best wishes

    Norbert
     
  8. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Many thanks, Norbert. I await your visit with the greatest of interest.
     
  9. raydartec

    raydartec New Member

    Hallo,

    today I went into the "Dorset Woods" and took a few pictures of some trenches and dugouts. It looks to me that they are British, because the trench was leading away from the dugout, which was facing the Germans. The location was in the middle oft he northern part of the woods, because the southern part is now farmland.
    Dorset 1.jpg Dorset 2.jpg Dorset 3.jpg Dorset 4.jpg Dorset 5.jpg
    I hope I find a way to attach the pictures.

    Norbert
     
  10. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Norbert

    Many, many thanks for this information and the photographs. It's very much appreciated.
     
  11. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    I'll be on the ground exploring these slit trenches in Dorset Wood next month. The following is a nice anecdote from Major 'Henry' Hall of 4/Dorsets.

    It was just like the First World War. My 'A' Company took over the top left of the wood. On my right flank, George Mead, a Company CO of 5 Dorset was buried in his slit trench by a near miss. I was there to liaise with him. We dug him out. As his head was exposed the first thing he said was 'will somebody light my pipe, the bloody thing's gone out..
     
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  12. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    I paid a visit to the woods last Sunday. The evidence of the positions held in the wood over the winter of 1944/45 are indeed very much in evidence. This first photo is taken from the line held by men from the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division on Sunday 19 November. It's the southern edge of the northern section of the wood. 5/Dorsets where dug in along the northern edge of the southern section of the wood. That would have been about halfway across the field you can see in the photo today.

    Capture.JPG

    After seizing the southern section of the wood on 19 November, 5/Dorsets were forced to dig in for the night before resuming the push north the following morning. That night, in the pouring rain, the Dorsets came under a terrific bombardment from the Westwall ahead of them. Private Eric Tipping was to write of that night:

    We had by that time learned how near a shell would fall, by the sound it made in flight. Being below ground reduced casualties, but to be in a shallow slit trench under prolonged shell and mortar fire can push a man to the limits. I found it made me dig deep in to my inner self to stop the panic; it forced me to ask myself how much more I could take before I cracked. As the shells fell nearer and nearer to my trench, the noise made my head feel as though it was going to split open. I had to fight myself from giving in to the strain and getting up and running away from it all; I knew it had to be endured. I recall forcing myself to think of other things in my life that I had known before all this. As the shells moved away, being young, I was able to quickly compose myself back to near normal, because I must admit that ever afterwards I had a dread of being caught above ground during an artillery barrage. Such was the strain at the time, that I remember cursing when one of our tanks started up its engine as I knew that the noise would bring more shells down on us. When you looked at the size of the craters and the closeness to which they had fallen on our slits, it was amazing that any of us remained alive. But like all things in life, there is an element of luck, or fate, or help from above, depending on your viewpoint

    The following morning the attack, supported by the entire weight of the 43rd Divisions Artillery went in. The Germans had fallen back deeper in to positions within the woods during the night to in anticipation of the inevitable bombardment they knew would be coming. On entering the woods, 5/Dorsets engaged in sporadic hand to hand fighting as they pushed through. Today, you can follow the axis of the advance on a wide track through the woods.

    Capture.JPG

    In following the track you can see off to the right many of the old slit trenches and dug outs from that winter.

    Capture.JPG

    Capture.JPG

    Capture.JPG
     
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  13. raydartec

    raydartec New Member

    Dorset Woods.jpg Hallo
    here you have a aerial view of the Dorset Woods on the 18th Nov. 1944.
    Nr.23 Hatterath
    Nr.24 Rischden
    Nr.25 Tripsrath
    Nr.26 Hahnbusch
     
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