Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The Third Battle of the Somme. Australian Corps, 1918

The album below is not a manual as such, but contains a large number of aerial photographs of the terrain fought over by the Australian Corps in 1918:

The Third Battle of the Somme. Australian Corps (Intelligence) [Nov-Dec 1918]. AP&SS. Press “A”. Large landscape-format album containing about 90 vertical and oblique air photos covering the operations of the Australian Corps from April 1918 (Villers-Bretonneux), through Hamel and Amiens in July and August, the Hindenburg Line and subsequent operations. No explanatory text except for brief captions. Possible printed as a matter of record, but with distinct emphasis on interpretation, as for example wire, artillery positions, ammunition dumps, railways, hospitals, etc. However, an accompanying printed insert in one copy gives a commemorative/propaganda context:

Herewith a Pictorial History of the Australian Corps in the 3rd Battle of the Somme, from March 27th to October 6th, 1918.

The Photographs studied with a map are in themselves an index to the extent and character of the series of brilliant operations carried out by the troops of the [Australian] Corps. During the period under review a total of 29,144 prisoners and 388 guns, thousands of machine guns, and a large number of trench mortars were captured, beside much R.E. material and other booty.

The advance of the Corps was pursued for a total distance of over 40 miles. Over 120 towns and villages besides a large number of farms, mills, woods and copses were captured, and during the latter stages of the operations many French inhabitants were released from captivity.

39 enemy divisions were engaged and defeated, of which 12 were engaged twice, 6 – 3 times, 1 – 4 times, and 6 have been since disbanded.

The Book is forwarded with best wishes for Xmas and the New Year.

General Staff (Intelligence), Australian Corps.

I am indebted to the Australian War Memorial for the information about this printed insert, which contextualises the publication.

Das Taktische Lichtbilderbuch. Juni 1917. II Teil.

This German aerial photography handbook from the First World War contains many aerial photographs of tactical features, with captions relating to camouflage and concealment. It is particularly informative about trench mortar and machine gun emplacements, and battery positions. Many of the illustrations are from the Russian front.

Das Taktische Lichtbilderbuch. Der Kommandierende General der Luftstreitkräfte. Nr. 2500/17 Lb. Juni 1917. Nur für Dienstgebrauch. II Teil. Die Deckung gegen Fliegersicht. Hergestellt in der Tiefdruckanstalt Charleville. 67pp, 32.5 x 21.5 cm, portrait format. Many aerial photographs of tactical features, with captions relating to camouflage and concealment, reproduced by photogravure.

I will post some of the images shortly, once I have scanned them.