Friday 8 July 2016

Day Eight on the Somme

Saturday 8th July 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Today marks one week since this Battle of the Somme began and 2nd Bedfords, having been largely observers thus far, found themselves at rest in the Bois-des-Tailles where they attended a church service. Word has spread during the day that they may be wanted to shoulder the burden of the attack in the coming few days and so the service was especially poignant.

The rest of their division (30th) has been attacking a place called Trônes Wood. This wood lies on the east-west road from Guillemont to Montauban, and is shaped like a spearhead, the tip of its spear pointing due north to the village of Longueval. The wood lies north of Hardcourt-aux-Bois and north-east of Maricourt and is the next obstacle in the drive north towards the Roman road from Albert to Bapaume.

The attack began at 8 am after a bombardment of the wood. The attack was made from Bernafay Wood towards the south edge of Trônes Wood but was met with heavy fire and failed with great loss. An attack by the French on the division’s right flank had some success but the 30th Division’s failure made an impact on their attack too. An attack on the trench called Maltz Horn Trench this afternoon by both British and French was successful. Maltz Horn Farm, or rather its ruins, remain in German hands(1).

The attack on Contalmaison continues but little was achieved today due to the glutinous nature of the ground. We had heard that the village had, in fact, been abandoned along with a nearby wood but, no such luck! And this evening an attack on the village has been repulsed.

Source: X550/3/wd

(1) The proper name was Maltzkorn Farm after its founder, an 18th century German called Paul Maltzkorn.

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