Battle of the Somme trench map

This trench map was used by the Commander Royal Artillery (CRA) of 18th Division during the later stage of the Battle of the Somme. It is particularly interesting because it is ’embodying information from German prisoners’ and ‘corrected from air photographs taken on 3.10.16’. It shows how trench maps were frequently updated in the course of battle and how the use of photography was important for this. The map is hand drawn and annotated but only has a limited key in the top left. M.G. means machine gun, and the arrows on the symbols indicated their arcs of fire. German trenches are shown in red, while the hand-drawn coloured lines with numbers indicate the timings for the artillery barrage which would have supported an infantry assault – this would be directed on line ‘A’ between 0 and 2 minutes after Zero Hour, before lifting to line ‘B’ between 2 and 3 minutes from Zero, for example. (Catalogue ref: WO 95/2019)

Return to Medicine on the Western Front (part two)