In this latest podcast, we look at the fighting for a small but heavily defended German strongpoint on the Somme battlefield, which proved to be one of the only successes for the British in this sector on the 1st of July 1916, the Leipzig Redoubt.
We begin by looking at John Masefield whose seminal work The Old Front Line provided a remarkable view of the Somme battlefields and describes in detail the redoubt. Masefield had worked as a hospital orderly in a French military hospital where he associated with some of the greatest minds of English literature and art, and his eloquent prose describing the Somme battlefields was all the more remarkable when one considers it was written on the battlefield itself.
We look at the fighting in and around the salient which was described as resembling an abattoir at the end of the first days of fighting, with the men of the Highland Light Infantry paying a particularly heavy price for its capture.
We meet Percy Machell, a force of nature who single-handedly raised the so-called Lonsdale Battalion, which was all but annihilated by German machine guns. We look at the actions of a sport-loving NCO who was awarded a posthumous VC for his actions in the redoubt and hear about the introduction of a new weapon of war, the push pipe bomb which proved highly effective against German positions.
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