wwII trench systems

Discussion in 'General' started by raf, Jan 6, 2007.

  1. raf

    raf Senior Member

    having seen many websites regards the defence of Britain some say there was a trench system ive only ever seen a few pictures and they are located over looking the beeches.

    apart from the anti tank ditch were there any and still remainy trenches in the uk.


    also ive seen diagrams of the design of anti tank ditches and if designed correctley then the tank will get stuck so how did the German infintary get through them in Belgium.

    also were the ww1 trench system in france ever used by all sides during any battles in wwII i know that the Maginot line was used by the yanks.

    hope to here from you soon cheers.
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    also were the ww1 trench system in france ever used by all sides during any battles in wwII

    By 1939 they were nearly all filled in except preserved ones like those at Vimy. Some were left in woods for nature to reclaim.
    There was some fighting over the old battlefields 1940 at places from WW1 such as Arras. Later in 1944 the old WW1 [British]battlefields were driven across during the "Great Swan".
    Croonaert is your man to answer this in more detail.
  3. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    Didn't happen much. Both sides pretty much zoomed across them in 1940 and again in 1944, one side in retreat, the other in advance.

    The BEF found the retreat through Poperhinge and Armentieres in 1940 highly emotional, as those were WW1 battlefields. One gunner had to destroy his battery's pieces, which were the same weapons his father had manned in 1918, just equipped with new tires.

    However, the fighting did not seem to take place on the actual sites. Some of the British CWGC gardeners were evacuated at Dunkirk. One stayed behind, John Leech, on the Somme, and he hid evading RAF airmen in his cemetery's tool shed.

    After the Germans won, they destroyed or defaced Belgian and French memorials that honored their 1918 victory. The "Last Post" was not played at the Menin Gate, until the day the Polish Armoured Division liberated Ypres. That afternoon, Belgian firefighters played the somber tones at the gate, while bullets whizzed around them. I believe there are still some bullet marks in the gate.

    There was some fighting for Ypres, as mentioned, but not a lot. The southern battlefields at Verdun and the Argonne did not see much action, either. The Americans stormed Metz, of course, and the Germans had upgraded their WW1-era forts to defend that city, and also used some Maginot Line positions.

    My favorite comment on this subject comes from an American named Austin White, who went to Verdun in 1918, and wrote his name on the side of a fort.

    Then, in 1945, he went back, and added more words. Here is what he wrote:

    Austin White, Chicago, Ill. 1918
    Austin White, Chicago, Ill. 1945

    This is the last time I want to write my name here.
  4. raf

    raf Senior Member

    nice post thanks kiwi
  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Currently reading The Fifth British Division 1939 to 1945.
    page 34.

    In the early hours of 22nd May [1940]....took up positions on Vimy Ridge....some of them were as 17 Inf Bde had been , in the old trenches of the first World War preserved as part of the Canadian Memorial. On the memorial itself the 92 Fd Regt had established an Artillery Observation Post.

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    However, the fighting did not seem to take place on the actual sites.

    Sometimes it did. Hollebeke,Zandvoorde, The Bluff, Kemmel Hill, Loker, Oostaverne to name but 6 WW1 sites, all saw action in what was perhaps the two most important days that the British Army ever spent in the vicinity of Ypres.

  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    What did I say in post #2?
    Only took him nearly 4 months to reply. :)
    Something else I should have added was that 2nd Div was holding the line of the La Basse Canal, 27th May '40. Parts of that line bordered the areas of the WW1 battlefields, such as Cuinchy, La Basse, Violaines, Festubert etc etc.

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