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Hangard Wood 1918


Hello

I'm historian and my village is very close to Hangard Wood where the 20th Bn fought in april 1918. I'm searchin any information regarding this period and this location.

Regards

 Marc PILOT

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5/11/2003, 11:47 am Link to this post Send Email to anzac research   Send PM to anzac research
 
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Re: Hangard Wood 1918


My late father was commanding the reserve company of the 7th Battalion of the London Regt., T.A. when the remainder of the Battalion was cut off in Hangard Wood. He told me that "this was at the apex of the German advance in 1918" and if my memory is correct, it would be in March or April of that year. After the encircled units had fought their way out during a co-ordinated attack with the 12th Division BEF, the 7th Battalion was withdrawn to a rest area near Amiens. I would be very glad to receive any information that you can share regarding the fighting at Hangard Wood. Robert Read, Ottawa, Canada


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Re: Hangard Wood 1918


CEW Bean's Official History Volume V is what you need, but may be hard to locate in France.
5/30/2003, 4:23 pm Link to this post Send Email to ghosken   Send PM to ghosken
 
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Re: Hangard Wood 1918


There is some information about Hangard Wood in the Official History of the War: Military Operations, France and Belgium 1918 (March-April. Continuation of the German Offensive):

p 129 - 'All through the morning (of 5th April) heavy fire had been maintained on the 54th Brigade, immediately north of Hangard, and the French 29th Division next to it, but not until 4PM did the enemy infantry (1st and 228th Divisions) advance. They gained the front line of one battalion from the British, and the cemetery of Hangard and neighbouring wood from the French. A combined counter-attack made at [sign in to see URL] PM, supported by the artillery of the 50th Division, completely recovered the lost ground.'

p. 215 - '(n)ow (10th April), owing to the situation in Flanders (launch of Operation Georgette), Sir Douglas Haig had to inform General Sir H Rawlinson that no troops could be spared for this operation (Foch's proposed advance south of the Somme) except the 5th Australian Brigade, which might be employed to cover the French left near Hangard.'

[sign in to see URL] - 'Owing to the loss of the high ground and woods south of Hangard, by the French First Army... the enemy had gained possession of a salient with observation of the Avre crossings whereby he could enfilade the British line and even a valley in which the British reserves covering the right flank were situated. (Haig) asked that the line of the Avre from Castel to Moreuil and thence the line to Hangard might be recaptured at once.

p. 382 - '(on) the 7th April, the 5th Australian Brigade attacked Bois be Hangard in the early morning. Only 3 companies were employed for the purpose and they reached their objective, capturing 56 Germans; but they were unable to remain there owing to enfilade fire, and so returned to their starting line. Lt P V Storkey, 19th Australian Battalion, was awarded the VC for his gallantry on this occasion.

(o)n the evening of the 9th, the Germans attacked and captured Hangard, but the French retook the village the same night. After a feint on the 11th, Hangard, with the exception of the cemetery and the adjacent copse which the Germans had regained in the morning, was retaken on the 12th by a counter-attack, in which the British 53rd Brigade (18th Division) assisted.'

p 385 - '(On 16th April) confirmation of the rumours of an imminent attack (by the Germans) was obtained by a British airman who reported that the trenches in and around Bois de Hangard were packed with troops. So all night Allied guns swept the probable routes and assembly points.'

p 386 - '...French XXXI Corps with the 64th and 131st Divisions held the four-mile flank of the French line to Hangard (inclusive).

(On) the morning of 24th April, the (German) attack fell on a line from Hangard inclusive to about fifteen hundred yards north of the Roman Road.'

p 397 - 'all available artillery (for the counter-attack on Villers Bretonneux) was therefore concentrated on a standing barrage, co-ordinated by the GOC III Corps Heavy Artillery, with well defined targets (including) the eastern part of the Bois de Hangard. Some of the 9/London reached Bois de Hangard and took some prisoners, but were unable to make good their hold on it and the battalion fell back to the staring line'

p 403 - 'During the afternoon (of April 25th), some uncertainty prevailed as to the exact position of the front posts of the 54th Brigade near Bois de Hangard. To clear up the situation, three whippets of the 3rd Tank Brigade were sent forward, and found a trench full of Germans west of the wood. They did great execution amongst them, driving them out of a gap between the 9/London and 7/Royal West Kent'

p 404 - 'On the night of 25th/26th, the attack made in broad daylight was a dismal failure, except that the two British battalions (7/Queens and 10/Essex, 18th Division) retook part of Bois de Hangard'

I hope this information is of interest.

Robert
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