Published By John Davies
Hindenburg Line. The Quadrilateral. 1 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. 24-25 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.
In the second half of September 1918 the advance westward was approaching the Hindenburg Line. The 1 Bn KSLI was in the thick of the fighting around Fresnoy le Petit, to the north of St Quentin, against a strong point in the German line known as the Quadrilateral (Map A). The first attempts to take the position were over the 16-18 September had failed. On the 24 September the attack was to be renewed. The 1 Bn KSLI received orders to attack and take Breton Alley (Map B) to the north of the Quadrilateral. They moved up from Trout Copse (Map C) to their assembly position in Champagne Trench (Map D) on the 23 September ready for zero hour at 5.45am the next morning. At 5am the barrage opened up and 45 minutes later they went over. Thick smoke laid down by the barrage made it difficult to see their objective and to maintain direction and contact. Heavy opposition was soon encountered but they managed to reach and occupy their objective which they consolidated. The assaults to their right, against the front of the Quadrilateral, were held up leaving their flank ‘in the air’ and exposed and the enemy were quick to counter attack from this direction which the battalion managed to fight off. The assaults against the Quadrilateral to their right continued with the battalion providing covering fire, the position was eventually taken the next day and the battalion was relieved and withdrawn back to St Quentin Wood. Battalion casualties were: Officers, 2 KIA (Lieutenants JDG Lewes(CWGC) & AA Evans(CWGC) and4 wounded: ORs 12 KIA and 64 wounded.
GOOGLE MAPS Satellite view centres on location of the Quadrilateral –
References and Sources WAR DIARY – 1Bn KSLI & Regimental History KSLI.
B&O 1918. 100 Days. Hindenburg Line. Fresnoy le Petit. The Quadrilateral. 1 Bn KSLI. 24-25 September 1918