Download PDF by John Laffin: Digging up the Diggers war. Australian battlefield

By John Laffin

ISBN-10: 0864175043

ISBN-13: 9780864175045

Australian warfare Archaeology at the ecu battlefields

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Extra resources for Digging up the Diggers war. Australian battlefield archaeology Book

Example text

There are two good orientation tables by which the whole VerdunArgonne battlefield can be studied and each important position on Vauquois is identified. The entire hill is a trap for the unwary who wander off the grassy paths, as thousands of steel pickets, which supported the forest of barbed wire, poke up in the grass and scrub. The longer ones, which still form fke de cheval entanglements, are easily visible and are as impenetrable now as they were in 1915. But many spikes were buried by explosions so that now only 8 to 12 cm lengths are exposed; some have been painted red to draw visitors' attention to the danger but many are almost invisible and can cause nasty leg wounds.

The tree had grown to maturity with the rifle, in effect, impaling it. I frequently find shrapnel shell cases as well as large shards from high explosive shells in woods. In a small copse near Combles, where I know that Diggers spent an anxious few days, I scratched several hundred shrapnel balls from the ground. Obviously, the Germans knew the Australians were there and pounded the wood with shrapnel, the most effective kind of projectile against infantry. Battlefield memorials erected by divisions and smaller units were nearly always placed at positions where intense fighting had taken place.

Right: British forward trenches at Beaumont Hamel, near Albert, and just beyond them what remains of the barbed wire defences, which were once much more extensive. T h e trenches, though much eroded and grassed over, retain their zigzag pattern. This technique minimised shell damage and casualties, but thousands of soldiers died on the field shown here. For the battlefield archaeologist, trenches stimulate study of what a soldier's life in them really meant in psychological terms. , Above: This was the Flanders battlefield in 1917.

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Digging up the Diggers war. Australian battlefield archaeology Book by John Laffin

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