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Capture of La Boisselle


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Source: ViennaUK

Copyright: CC 4.0

The Capture of La Boisselle was a British local operation during the Battle of Albert, the name given by the British to the first two weeks of the Battle of the Somme. The village of La Boisselle forms part of the small commune of Ovillers-la-Boisselle, located some 22 mi north-east of Amiens in the Somme department in Picardie in northern France. To the north-east of La Boisselle lies Ovillers; by 1916, the village was called Ovillers by the British Expeditionary Force to avoid confusion with La Boisselle, south of the road.
On 1 July 1916, the first day on the Somme, La Boisselle was attacked by the 34th Division as part of the III Corps but the bombardment had not damaged the German deep-mined dug-outs and a German listening post overheard a British telephone conversation the day before, which gave away the attack. The III Corps divisions lost more than 11,000 casualties and failed to capture La Boisselle or Ovillers, gaining only small footholds near the boundary with XV Corps to the south and at Schwabenhöhe, after the Lochnagar mine explosion had destroyed some of the defences of Reserve Infantry Regiment 110. The advance of the 103rd Brigade was over ground with a fold, which meant that the disastrous attack by the preceding brigades could not be seen as the brigade advanced to be engaged by artillery and machine-gun fire, which inflicted 70 percent casualties, before the troops had reached the British front line. The 19th Division was rushed forward from reserve, in case of a German counter-attack on Albert. The 19th Division continued the attack and captured most of the village by 4 July, completing the operation by 6 July.


Copyright: CC 3.0

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