The Battle of Ginchy: Repulsing German Attacks

  • A fierce battle took place in Ginchy, with German forces launching multiple attacks.
  • The South Africans and the 8th Division both repulsed German attacks but suffered heavy casualties.
  • The Germans attempted to mass their forces for another attack, prompting a call for reinforcements.
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An attack by a second battalion from the Ginchy–Flers road was also repulsed, the battalions losing 528 men. In the early afternoon a battalion of the 8th Division attacked the north-eastern face of the wood and was also repulsed, after losing all its officers. At 3:00 p.m. on 15 July Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 6 of the 10th Bavarian Division attacked in force from the east but was partially driven back by rifle and machine-gun fire. At 4:40 p.m. Tanner reported to Lukin that German forces were massing to the north of the wood and he called for reinforcements, as the South Africans had already lost a company from the 2nd (Natal and Free State) Battalion.

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>An attack by a second battalion from the Ginchy–Flers road was also repulsed, the battalions losing 528 men. In the early afternoon a battalion of the 8th Division attacked the north-eastern face of the wood and was also repulsed, after losing all its officers. ⇒第2大隊によるギンチー–フレール道からの攻撃もまた撃退され、大軍は528人の兵士を失った。昼過ぎに、第8師団所属の1個大隊が将校全員を失った後、森の北東面を攻撃して、またも撃退された。 >At 3:00 p.m. on 15 July Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 6 of the 10th Bavarian Division attacked in force from the east but was partially driven back by rifle and machine-gun fire. At 4:40 p.m. Tanner reported to Lukin that German forces were massing to the north of the wood and he called for reinforcements, as the South Africans had already lost a company from the 2nd (Natal and Free State) Battalion. ⇒7月15日の午後3時、第10バヴァリア師団所属の第6バヴァリア予備歩兵連隊は、東から大挙して攻撃したが、ライフル射撃と機関銃砲火によって部分的に追い返された。午後4時40分に、タナーがドイツ軍隊は森の北方に集まっているとルーキンに報告し、南アフリカ軍はすでに第2(南アフリカのナタール州と他の自由州)大隊から1個中隊を失ったので、強化隊を要求した。




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ジンチー~フレール街道からの第2大隊の反撃はまた敗退し、528名を失った。 午後早く、第8師団の一個大隊が森に面した北東部を攻撃したが全将校を失ってこれもまた敗退した。7月15日午後3時、バーバリー第10師団の第6予備連隊は東から勢力を強めて攻撃したが小銃や機関銃の攻撃により部分的に後退した。 午後4時40分、タナーはルーキンに対してドイツ軍は森の北部に集結中だが、増強が必要であり、南アフリカ部隊は第2大隊(ナタール自由州)からの中隊をすでに失った、と報告した。


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    The main German attack was made by the 8th Division and part of the 5th Division from the north and north-east. Elements of nine battalions attacked with 6,000 men. Infantry Regiment 153 was to advance from south of Flers, to recapture Delville Wood and reach the second position along the southern edge of the wood, the leading battalion to occupy the original second line from the Longueval–Guillemont road to Waterlot Farm, the second battalion to dig in along the southern edge of the wood and the third battalion to occupy Prince's Street along the centre of the wood. At first the advance moved along the sunken Flers road, 150 yards (140 m) north of the wood, which was confronted by the 2nd South African Regiment along the north edge of the wood.

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    Opposite the British right, Bavarian Reserve Regiment 17 lost a switch trench facing Trivelet and then a second line was overrun, with the garrison being lost. The left of III Battalion to the south of the Trivelet road, began bombing to its right and part of I Battalion attacked frontally and from the right, taking 61 prisoners. On the Australian flank, III Battalion, Bavarian Reserve Regiment 21 was pushed back in the centre and on its right, forming a defensive flank at Kasten Weg and in front of Delangre Farm. The right flank of III Battalion, Bavarian Reserve Regiment 16 repulsed the 15th Australian Brigade and was then reinforced by the II Battalion from Rue Delaval, which joined with the left of III Battalion, Bavarian Reserve Regiment 21.

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    The 12th Reserve Division began to arrive from Cambrai during the afternoon of 1 July but the 5th Division, en route from St. Quentin in the south, was delayed by an air raid on the station while entraining, which killed 180 men when 60 ammunition wagons blew up. By afternoon on 1 July, the survivors of the 28th Reserve Division and Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 6 of the 10th Bavarian Division, had withdrawn to the Braune Stellung (second position) from Guillemont to Longueval and Bazentin le Grand. Bernafay and Trônes woods were undefended and the only German reserve was Bavarian Infantry Regiment 16, between Longueval and Flers. The 12th Reserve Division was rushed forward from Bapaume, having moved by train from Cambrai at 9:00 a.m. and marched to the area between Combles and Ginchy, where it was put under the command of the 28th Reserve Division and ordered to recapture Montauban and Favières Wood.

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    The left of the battalion entered the wood further north, took thirty prisoners and occupied part of the eastern edge, as German troops in the wood from I Battalion, Reserve Infantry Regiment 106, II Battalion, Infantry Regiment 182 and III Battalion, Reserve Infantry Regiment 51, skirmished with patrols and received reinforcements from Guillemont. Around noon, more German reinforcements occupied the north end of the wood and at 6:00 p.m., the British artillery fired a barrage between Trônes Wood and Guillemont, after a report from the French of a counter-attack by Reserve Infantry Regiment 106. The attack was cancelled but some German troops managed to get across to the wood to reinforce the garrison, as part of a British battalion advanced from the south, retook the south-eastern edge and dug in.

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    The red line (second objective) which here was little further forward from the first objective (green line) was reached and two platoons from each attacking company moved up, ready to advance to the blue line (final objective) which began at 6:24 a.m. The second and final lines (red and blue) were contiguous on the right from Hessian Wood but the Germans defending the wood were still fighting when the advance was due to resume. Two companies of the right hand battalion managed to advance after suffering many losses and then a platoon went to assist the centre battalion. A number of dugouts were cleared and 50 prisoners were taken, which enabled the centre battalion to get into the north end of the wood and gain touch with the left-hand battalion in the south-west corner. On the front of the 57th Brigade, the Germans at Wood Farm and Belgian Wood were overrun by a bayonet charge and the blue line (third objective) reached on time. During this advance, machine-gun sections and a battalion liaison detachment of the 39th Division pushed forward to North Farm, which was captured with four machine-guns and 29 prisoners. At 8:10 a.m., the protective barrage lifted 200 yd (180 m) and patrols were sent forward to establish outposts and to clear the area of remaining German troops; Moat Farm and Funny Farm were mopped-up. Consolidation was begun despite machine-gun fire from Hollebeke Château, the green line (first objective) was dug-in and the ground forward to the blue line (final objective) defended in depth by outposts. A German counter-attack was attempted at 7:30 a.m. and "annihilated" by small-arms and artillery fire. In X Corps to the north, the 39th Division on the right, prolonged the southern defensive flank, from Groenenburg Farm northwards, down the slope to the Bassevillebeek. The division suffered badly from German fire as it advanced 800 yd (730 m) to its objective, from hidden dug-outs in the area further north, which had already stopped the 41st Division. When the division reached its objective it swung back its left flank to link with the right hand brigade of the 41st Division.

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    The attack had not reached its furthest objectives but had advanced the line 500 yards (460 m) on the right, 1,000 yards (910 m) in the centre and 800 yards (730 m) on the left. Boom Ravine was captured but the Germans had retained Hill 130 and inflicted 118 casualties on the 6th Brigade, 779 casualties on the 99th Brigade of the 2nd Division and 1,189 casualties in the 18th Division, a total of 2,207 British casualties. On the north bank, the 63rd Division attacked with the 188th Brigade and two battalions of the 189th Brigade, to capture 700 yards (640 m) of the road north from Baillescourt Farm towards Puisieux, to gain observation over Miraumont and form a defensive flank on the left, back to the existing front line. Two battalions attacked with a third battalion ready on the right flank to reinforce them or to co-operate with the 18th Division between the Ancre and the Miraumont road.

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    Despite these losses the majority of the Ottoman armies had managed to withdraw relativity in one piece, but they had been split with no way for one to support the other if or when they were attacked. Further the Ottoman Seventh Army on the British right was cut off from the Palestinian rail network and all their supplies would have to be brought in by road. In preparation for the attack, against Jerusalem, the ANZAC Mounted Division and the 54th (East Anglian) Division, would form a defensive line on the coastal plain, while the XXI Corps moved into the Judaean Mountains. Instead of a direct assault on Jerusalem, Allenby planned to first cut off the city from their supply routes in the north. The plan was for two infantry division, the 75th Division on the left, the 52nd (Lowland) Division in the centre, with the horsemen from the Yeomanry Mounted Division on the right, to move on Jerusalem with the 75th using the main Jaffa–Jerusalem road. The two outer division's would circle around Jerusalem meeting at Bireh 10 miles (16 km) to the north of the city. In the way of the 75th Division was the village of Nebi Samwil also known as the "Tomb of Samuel", the traditional burial site for the biblical prophet Samuel. Nebi Samwil rests at the top of a hill 2,979 feet (908 m) above sea level, 3.1 miles (5.0 km) to the north of Jerusalem. From the village observers can see into Jerusalem and it controls the road from the coast to the west and the road from Samaria to the north into the city. The village was part of the Ottoman defences in front of Jerusalem and its capture was considered vital, to the eventual capture of the city. The attack began on 18 November, with the Australian Mounted Division clearing Latron, which was in the way of the 75th Division. The next day the Yeomanry Mounted Division with the furthest to go moved off first. Followed by the 52nd (Lowland) Division which departed from Ludd and the 75th Division from Latron. The two other divisions travelling astride nothing more than tracks, found it more difficult and their vehicles and heavy weapons had to turn back. The advance also coincided with the start of the winter rains, which not only affected the terrain, but also caused problems for the troops, who were only equipped for a desert war and lacked any winter clothing.

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    In the early morning, Reserve Infantry Regiment 153 and two companies of Infantry Regiment 52, entered the wood from the north and wheeled to attack the 3rd South African Battalion from behind, capturing six officers and 185 men from the Transvaal Battalion; the rest were killed. By mid morning, Black Watch, Seaforth and Cameron Highlanders in Longueval tried to charge into the wood but were repulsed by German small-arms fire from the north-west corner of the wood. The brigade was short of water, without food and unable to evacuate wounded; many isolated groups surrendered, after they ran out of ammunition. In the afternoon, the 53rd Brigade advanced from the base of the salient to reach Thackeray at the South African headquarters but were unable to reach the forward elements of the South African brigade. This situation prevailed through the night of 19–20 July.

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    However, from 16 April onwards, it was apparent that the Nivelle Offensive was failing and Haig came under pressure to keep the Germans occupied in the Arras sector to minimise French losses. At 04:45 on 23 April, following two days of poor visibility and freezing weather, British troops of the Third Army (VI and VII corps), attacked to the east along an approximate 9 mi (14 km) front from Croisilles to Gavrelle on both sides of the Scarpe. The 51st Division attacked on the northern side in heavy fighting on the western outskirts of Roeux Wood and the chemical works. On their left, the 37th Division, attacked the buildings west of Roeux Station and gained the line of their objectives on the western slopes of Greenland Hill, north of the railway. On the left of the main British attack the 63rd Division, made rapid progress against Gavrelle and secured the village. To the south of the Scarpe and east of Monchy-le-Preux the 29th Division gained the western slopes of the rising ground known as Infantry Hill. The Cojeul river marked a divisional boundary within the VI Corps. Guémappe on the north side of the river was the objective of the 15th Division, attacking east from Wancourt towards Vis-en-Artois.

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    The 15th Division relief of the 12th Division from 24–30 April, was allowed to proceed. Four reserve artillery batteries were moved into the 15th Division area and all units were required to rehearse gas alerts daily. The British were equipped with PH helmets, which protected against phosgene up to a concentration of 1,000 p.p.m. The German attack near Hulluch began on 27 April, with the release of smoke, followed by a mixture of chlorine and phosgene gas  1 1⁄2 hours later, from 3,800 cylinders, on the fronts of Bavarian Infantry Regiment 5 and Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 5. The discharge on the front of Bavarian Infantry Regiment 9 was cancelled, as the direction of the wind risked enveloping the 3rd Bavarian Division on the right flank, in the Hohenzollern Redoubt sector.