Pozieres 1916.

Located near the old Roman road from Albert to Bepaume the little village of Pozieres is located.
The small village is formed by a few houses and a windmill.
The farm Mouquet, located near the village of Pozieres and would play a important role in the Battle of the Somme.

Nowadays, the village is completely restored to the state it was in 1914, when the Germans occupied it.


Main street, looking in the direction of Bapaume, before the war.


Main street, looking in the direction of Bapaume, shortly after the war.


Main street, looking in the direction of Bapaume, nowadays.


The church of Poziers, before the war


The church shortly after the Battle of the Somme


Immediately after capturing the town the Germans begin reinforcing the village.
Tunnels, bunkers and strong trenches turned the town, like many others in the Somme district, in a stronghold.


The OG1 Trench.
The OG1 and the OG2 connected with the Gibraltar bunker formed a famous defence line.


Aerial photograph of Pozieres before the battle.


Aerial photograph of Pozieres shortly after the battle.

When the battle commenced on 1 July 1916 Pozieres was spared in the first days. The relatively safety of the German soldiers defending the town would soon end.
To secure the high grounds of Contalmaison and the woods of Mametz, the 'fortress' Pozieres had to be conquered

On 10 July the first real battles to capture the village begun. The 13th Battalion of the Rifle brigade charged but failed miserably. Around 15 July the 8th East Lancs of the 112 brigade attacked the village, but failed just like their precedes


The Gibraltar Bunker.


On 23 July the Anzac's (1st Australion Division) saw their first action at the Somme front and they were ordered to take the village of Pozieres. From that moment on, the two names were connected.
The attack in the night of 23 to 24 July was part of an ambitious plan to conquer the line of Mash Valley-High Wood- Devil Wood-.
Perhaps the Aussie's would even succeed in taking the windmill on the hill, so the allied would get a clear view over Bapaume.

On the left flank was the 48th division that was to take Mash Valley and thereby relieving the Anzac's. On the right flank were the 1st and the 33 th division.


The attacks on the right flank failed almost immediately. Attacks on the left flank didn't book any success either.
The Anzac forces, fresh and motivated, managed to occupy the first line of trenches of the fortress. They fought their way trough the destroyed village and managed to take the houses on the right side of the road after an hour of fighting. The 48th division however, whom were ordered to link up with them on that street, advanced real slowly.
On their own initiative the Aussie's advanced further on and captured the bunker Gibraltar, the cemetery and the rest of the village. The price was high, but the Australians had set their reputation as fierce fighters


The Germans kept trying to recapture the town and therefore the village was destroyed by devastating German shellfire in the days after the battle. The bombardment was one of the heaviest of the Battle of the Somme, and perhaps the most intense of the First World War.


A crossroad near Pozieres.


The German artillery was concentrated on a small piece of ground. The Australians however, did not give up their position


German shells fall on Pozieres.


From August the Australians attacked the Mouquet farm (Mow-Cow farm), and the mill located near it.
To capture the mill the Australians lost 23.000 men in six weeks. 23.000 men to capture a piece of ground of circa 200 by 300 meter.


The mill, nowadays.


The road to the Mouquet Farm.


Mouquet Farm before the war.


Mouquet Farm, shortly after the battle.


The same spot, nowadays.


In 1918, Pozieres was captured in the great German Spring Attack


The OG1-trench, a year after the battle.


Pozieres, a year after the battle.


Mainstreet, looking in the direction of Albert.


The Pozieres batllefield.
The arrow is Pozieres.


Explanation of the picture above.


The pond at Pozieres.


The same pond after the war.


looking in the direction of Mouquet Farm


Pozieres cemetery.


A Trench map of the battlefield.


Sources:
Official history of Australia in the war of 1914 - 18 (vol III) - C.E.W. Bean.
Pozieres - Graham Keech (Battleground Europe)
Somme 1916 - Lyn MacDonald.
Guide to Australian battlefields of the western front 1916 - 1918 - John Laffin.
The Somme The Day by day account - Chris McCarthy.


Picture's:
Official history of Australia in the war of 1914 - 18 (vol XII) - C.E.W. Bean.

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