Published By John Davies
Hindenburg Line. The Quadrilateral. 10 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. 19-23 September 1918
The Hindenberg line was a German defensive line constructed during winter 1916-1917 and to which the Germans retired in February – March 1917. The line comprised deep trench fortifications protected by thick belts of barb wire, It ran along high ground making use of reserve slopes to conceal defences.
Following the action on 18 September 1918 (Battle of Epehy, Somme. 10 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. 18 September 1918.) the 10 Bn KSLI were occupying Benjamin Post (Map) in the Hindenburg Line to the south of the Quadrilateral (Map) – a strong point in the enemy line and an objective that had not been captured. The attack was renewed on 19 September but again failed – the 10 Bn KSLI were not involved in this attack, nevertheless they were heavily shelled all day. The 20 September was spent consolidating and strengthening the defences – battalion HQ also moved up to Hussar Road.
On 21 September a third attack against the Quadrilateral was ordered. The attack would take place at dawn, the 10 Bn KSLI were withdrawn to allow a preliminary bombardment. The attack against the Quadrilateral would be made by 25 Bn RWF, the Shropshire men would then move up and occupy the strong point. At first everything went well, the objective seemed to have been taken but as the battalion advanced to occupy it was found to be still full of Germans MGs which had either had not been ‘mopped up’ or had filtered in from the north. The battalion suffered heavy losses and were forced to take cover. Fire from the Quadrilateral also fell on the rear of the main advance and by evening the attack had been halted.
Another attempt to capture the Quadrilateral was made the next day, this time 10 Bn KSLI would take the lead. The attack would go over at 1.00am preceded by a bombardment. The KSLI formed up about 15 yards from Pot Lane (Map), as soon as the bombardment lifted 2 companies rushed Pot Lane whilst the 2 other companies rushed Mill Lane (Map). Both trenches were taken after a hard and desperate fight and a foothold was established. Elsewhere the units had failed and it would not be until late afternoon that the whole of the Quadrilateral was captured and held. Over 100 German dead were counted as well as 200 PoWs and 30 MGs were captured. At 10.00pm that evening the battalion was relieved and went into the reserve line and 2 days later moved back to the rear. Casualties for 18-23 September were: Officers 3 KIA and 7 wounded, ORs 41 KIA and 16 wounded. At the relief the battalion role was 9 Officers and 279 ORs – a third of fighting strength.
Listed as KIA 29 September 1918, likely KIA between 18-23 September 1918 – Private 15347 Geoffrey Davies, 10 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. KIA 29 September 1918, Unicorn Cemetery, Vendhule
GOOGLE MAPS Satellite view centres on location of the Quadrilateral – where the A26 Autoroute crosses Gillemont Road
References and Sources WAR DIARY 10Bn KSLI. Regimental History KSLI.
B&O 1918. 100 Days. Hindenburg Line. The Quadrilateral. 10 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. 19-23 September 1918.