Tuesday 18 July 2017

The Geography of Umbrella Hill

Map Showing Umbrella Hill from The History of the Fifth Battalion Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment (TA)

Wednesday 18th July 1917

It is unlikely any Turks will be reading this, so the adjutant of the 1st/5th Battalion has shared with me some details about the Umbrella Hill position south of Gaza, due to be raided by the Battalion. The Turkish trenches on the hill form an advanced work some 500 yards in front of his main line of defences and 550 yards from the British lines. On the north and south the trenches are protected by a line of barbed wire entanglement two to four yards broad and four feet high and on the west by improvised obstacles of sharpened stakes known as knife rests. The hills on which the work is situated are entirely of sand, their maximum height being about thirty feet above the general level. The work appears to consist of a fire trench following the crests of the hills with a trench at the foot of the rear slopes off which short passages lead to dugouts, burrowed into the rear slopes and with numerous communication trenches into the fire trench. Three communication trenches lead back to the main position and a sunken road on the south-east appears to be used also. Nothing is known of the strength of the garrison nor of the position of machine-guns. It is unlikely that there are any deep dugouts or fire trenches other than those on the crests of the hills. All trenches are wide, probably only partially revetted with sandbags and not very deep.

Source: X550/6/8

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