Wednesday, 25 November 2015

A Lively Time

 Ball Grenade

Thursday 25th November 1915: The 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, have been in the front line near Fricourt, on the Somme, since 21st of this month. Usually things are quite quiet but this tour of the trenches has been more lively. The adjutant told us: “The enemy shelled trenches more or less in enfilade(1) from the right front on most days, but did little material damage and caused no casualties. Officers' patrols went out on various occasions at night and examined the enemy's wire entanglements and threw bombs into their trenches, they also succeeded in dropping a number of grenades into their lines with catapults and 'West' bomb throwers(2).

Source: X550/2/5

(1) That is from the flank, the line must have made a turn at this point.

(2) West Guns were small spring fired ballistas invented in 1915 by Captain Allen West. They were more cumbersome than the catapult and operators, including West Himself, could lose fingers in the mechanism. It was replaced by mortars such as the Stokes Mortar in 1916.

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